Play and Learns: Playgroups provide socialization and fun for children and parents

Dustin McBride giggled as he placed a yellow peg inside the hole of an orange letter “t.” The toddler seemed intrigued by the colorful, letter shaped pegboards scattered across the table.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Loukas was busy with his mom using spoons to uncover treasures hidden inside a bucket full of sand. 


The boys were among a group of children enjoying Play and Learns, an Early Learning Communities’ playgroup held monthly at Oakland Family Services’ Children’s Learning Center in Walled Lake.

The playgroups for children zero to 5 years old are centered around a theme and that day it was letter recognition. Besides the ABC pegboards, the kids fished for magnetic letters; cut letters, pressed ABC stamps and listened to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

“It provides socialization for children, some of whom are the only child at home and don’t get to socialize with kids their own age,” said Margaret Sclesky, family facilitator at Oakland Family Services. “It also is a place where parents can spend time with their child and see what their likes and dislikes are and meet other parents.”

Kimberlee Sundman, a nanny who regularly brings the children she cares for to the playgroup, likes Play and Learns so much that she recruited other parents to come as well.

“I love the interaction with the other kids and the teachers,” she said. “They feel comfortable here. If I were to step out of the room, there would be no tears. They know the teachers. They love Oakland Family Services. You couldn’t ask for better teachers.”

Bring your child to Play and Learns! The playgroups also are offered monthly at Oakland Family Services in Pontiac. Early Learning Communities is funded by United Way for Southeast Michigan. Check the agency’s calendar for details or contact Julie Lemay (248) 544-4004 ext. 5202.