Playgroup can be a wonderful way for you and your young child to connect with other families in the area. It can provide a relaxed, friendly setting in which babies, toddlers and preschoolers may explore and develop their skills through play. And parents and carers get to unwind and chat with other adults in a warm, inclusive setting too.
We’ve put together a list of some of the playgroups recommended most often in the Inner West Mums Facebook group. Most of the playgroups mentioned here are free of charge or cost just a few dollars in order to supply morning tea and maintain the activities.
Some of the playgroups listed are affiliated with Playgroup NSW, the peak body representing playgroups in New South Wales, while others are not. There are of course playgroups everywhere – and you can find many more than we could cover on the Playgroup NSW site, searching via your postcode and other criteria.
Please remember that most playgroups do not run during the NSW public school holidays or on public holidays. We’ve given contact details, Facebook groups and websites where available, so do check the schedule before attending. If you have specific queries about any of the groups mentioned here, please get in touch with them directly.
In addition to these playgroups, you may wish to check out the children’s programs at the libraries in your area. Many littlies love going to Storytime, Rhyme Time and Wiggle ‘n’ Jiggle, and these are just another way you can support your child’s development and meet other local parents. You’ll find the Inner West Council’s Little Library Lovers program here.
Abbotsford Playgroup is an outdoor playgroup with a slide, sandpit and lots of toys. There are art and craft activities each week and water play in the warmer months. The cost is $3 per week. Please email the playgroup directly at firstname.lastname@example.org before attending.
When: Friday 9.30 am
Where: Henry Lawson Community Centre, 350 Great North Road, Abbotsford
Annandale Playgroup, held at the Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, welcomes all children under school age to come along with their parents or carers. There is an indoor and outdoor area and lots of toys, craft and shared events at various times of the year. Annandale Playgroup is on every Monday, Tuesday and Friday 9.30–11.30 am (except public holidays). There’s no need to book; just pop in and meet the Day Leader for an introduction. You may bring along a snack for your child if you wish, but no nuts. The first two visits are free, then the cost is $3 per family per visit. Parking is available on the streets around the centre. Follow the group’s Facebook page for updates.
When: Monday, Tuesday and Friday 9.30–11.30 am
Where: 79 Johnston Street, Annandale (back hall of Annandale Neighbourhood Centre)
Connect Marrickville SaCC
Parents and carers with children from 0 years to school age are invited to the Connect Marrickville SaCC Friday Playgroup, which runs each Friday from 9.30–11.30 am during the school term. Bring a piece of fruit to share for morning tea. Activities include storytime, music, playdough, drama and more. For further details please see the Connect Marrickville SaCC Facebook page.
When: Friday 9.30–11.30 am
Where: Marrickville West Public School, Beauchamp Street, Marrickville
Dulwich Hill Playgroup
Held at the Dulwich Hill Senior Citizens Hall, this playgroup takes place on Wednesdays at 10 am. There is an indoor and an outdoor area. The cost per week is $2 and a piece of fruit for morning tea. Sandwiches are provided. New families are welcome.
When: Wednesday 10 am
Where: 12 Seaview Street, Dulwich Hill
Infants’ Home Playgroups
The Infants’ Home runs a range of community playgroups – including the Red Bugs group at Ashfield Park on Mondays and a dedicated playgroup for fathers on alternate Saturdays – in various Inner West locations. Families attending the Infants’ Home playgroups benefit from access to a play-based early learning program developed by an early childhood teacher, books, toys and creative materials, and information and advice from qualified professionals. Bookings are not required. A gold coin donation is appreciated. Playgroups do not run during the school holidays or on public holidays. Please see the 2019 Playgroup Calendar for details. For queries, please contact email@example.com
Inner West Multiple Birth Association Playgroup
If you are looking for some social activities for your preschool-aged multiples, you may be interested in the Inner West Multiple Births Association’s weekly playgroup. The group meets fortnightly on Thursdays at the Salvation Army Hall in Dulwich Hill from 10 am–12 pm. The playgroup offers a range of activities including craft, stories and music in a safe environment with other members. For more information, have a look at the IWMBA social calendar, Facebook group, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: Thursday 10 am–12 pm
Where: Salvation Army Hall, 54 Dulwich Street, Dulwich Hill (The entrance and carpark are on Lewisham Street.)
Inner West Steiner Playgroup
The Inner West Steiner Playgroup runs sessions during the school term on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10 am. Wednesday’s playgroup is for under twos while the playgroups on Thursdays and Fridays are for children aged 2 years and up. The groups meet in an old church building in Newtown. Enter via the gates to the left of the building. Sessions begin in the shaded courtyard garden. The cost is $180 per term for under twos and $280 for the term for over twos. For further details, check the website.
When: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10 am
Where: 35–39 Dickson Street, Newtown
Lennox House Playgroup
Lennox House Playgroup, held each day from Monday to Friday 9 am–11 am during term time in Newtown, offers a place for children to play with others while exploring with sand, water, playdough, paint and collage. Children may ride bikes, climb, slide, throw balls and hoops, play dress-ups, listen to stories, do puzzles and games, use musical instruments and build with blocks. Parents and caregivers also have the opportunity to meet others with children of similar ages. The cost is $4 per family. Please bring a piece of fruit to share for morning tea. Sandwiches are supplied.
There’s also a toy library which is open daily during playgroup and provides regular Lennox House users with a range of educational toys to borrow for just $20 per family per year. A baby gym for 0–2 year olds and occasional care are also run at the site. For further details, including other activities held at Lennox House, see the Australia Street Infants’ School website. Phone: 9519 3839
When: Monday to Friday 9–11 am
Where: Corner of Lennox and Denison Streets, Newtown (Lennox House is part of Australia Street Infants’ School.)
Leichhardt Family Day Care Playgroup
Leichhardt Family Day Care Playgroup holds play sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at Foster Street, Leichhardt, next to Lambert Park. The play sessions run during term time only. The cost is $5 per session, with the sixth session free.
When: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9.30–11.30 am
Where: 22 Foster Street, Leichhardt
Lilyfield Playgroup is a warm, inclusive playgroup held at the Jimmy Little Community Centre on Cecily Street. The group runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30–11.30 am. There’s indoor and outdoor space. The cost is $3 per session. For enquiries, please contact email@example.com
When: Tuesday, Wednesday, Fridays 9.30–11.30 am
Where: 19 Cecily Street, Lilyfield
Little Nicholson Street Play Centre
A play centre rather than a playgroup, the Little Nicholson Street Play Centre, in East Balmain, offers an informal, safe play zone where children aged 0–5 years and their parents or carers can come together to make friends, have fun and share ideas and experiences. The centre is open Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. (It is also open Saturdays for birthday parties.) Members are also invited to free events at Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas along with being welcome to book the centre for their child’s party on Saturdays. Membership costs $140 for a 12-month membership, $215 for a 24-month membership or you can attend casually with a five-trip pass (valid for three months) for $40. If you are new to the centre or area, you are welcome to one free visit. To find out more visit the website or Facebook page.
When: Monday–Friday 9 am–5 pm
Where: 13 Union Street, East Balmain (located directly behind the East Village Pub), with the main entrance to the centre accessed via a small lane on the right-hand side of the pub.
Magic Yellow Bus
The beloved Magic Yellow Bus, an Inner West Council initiative, is a free activities and community information service held at various local parks. This mobile playgroup is for children aged 0–6 years and their parents or carers. Families can connect with each other and access local community and parenting information, all in a safe and inclusive environment. Librarians visit for Storytime three times a month.
The bus visits the following locations between 9.30 and 12 pm during the school term:
Monday: Petersham Park, Petersham
Tuesday: McNeilly Park, Marrickville and Tillman Park, Tempe
Wednesday: Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown and Steel Park, Marrickville
Thursday: Enmore Park, Marrickville
Friday: Johnson Park, Dulwich Hill
When visiting Steel Park, the bus is located next to the Debbie and Abbey Borgia Recreation Centre, at the corner of Illawarra Road and Thornley Street, Marrickville.
Be sure to check the Inner West Council’s Twitter feed for daily updates on the Magic Yellow Bus, including cancellations due to wet or extreme weather. The Magic Yellow Bus does not operate on public holidays or during NSW public school holiday periods.
Petersham TAFE Early Childhood Play Sessions*
In 2019 Petersham TAFE is hosting play sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 am–12pm. The sessions provide a state-of-the art, quality play environment for children 0–6 years and are staffed with qualified early childhood teachers and students completing a Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. Parents or carers are required to remain with their child/children for the duration. The cost is $10 per session for one child ($120 for the semester) or $12 for two or more children ($144).
*At the time of writing, all three play sessions were fully booked. There is a waitlist, however. Expressions of interest can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
When: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am–12 pm
Where: 27 Crystal Street, Petersham, Building B, level 1
Playtime Petersham is a structured music and activity group for children aged 5 and under and their parents and carers. There is music, movement, stories, craft, exploration, food and togetherness each week on Wednesdays from 10–11.30 am for 8 weeks of the school term (check the Facebook page for specific dates). The group also occasionally enjoys picnics in parks and aims to have an excursion each term. In addition, there are nights out for the adults to continue to get to know and support each other more. The cost per session is $2 per child/$5 per family if there are more than two children. It takes place the hall at the back of All Saints Anglican Church, Petersham. Parking is available onsite. Everyone is welcome! Follow the Facebook page Playtime Petersham for updates.
When: Wednesdays 10–11.30 am during the school term
Where: Back of All Saints Anglican Church on 325 Stanmore Road, Petersham
Rozelle Rascals meets every Monday and Thursday during the school term behind the Chapel Hill Church at 665A Darling Street. Session times are 9.30–11.30 am. At around 11 am the toys are packed up and there’s 20–30 mins of group songs and games. The cost is $4 per family per session. The playgroup offers two free initial visits. There are indoor and outdoor play spaces, so the group operates regardless of the weather. For more information, please refer to the Rozelle Rascals Facebook group.
When: Monday and Thursday 9.30–11.30 am
Where: Chapel Hill Church, 665A Darling Street, Rozelle
St John’s Playgroup Birchgrove
Each Tuesday from 10 am–12 pm at St John’s in Birchgrove babies and young children and their parents or carers gather to play and enjoy coffee and morning tea and fun with toys. Check the website for details.
When: Tuesday 10 am–12 pm
Where: Corner of Spring Street and Birchgrove Road, Birchgrove
St Peters Playgroup
Join a diverse group of families with bubs, toddlers and preschoolers on Wednesdays from 9.30 am–12 pm at St Peters Public School. Cost is $2 per session. Please bring some fruit or other healthy snack for morning tea (at 10.30 am) – nothing containing nuts, please. Come and go as it suits. For updates, please join the St Peters Playgroup Facebook group. Contact email@example.com with any enquiries.
When: Wednesday 9.30 am–12 pm
Where: St Peters Public School, School Hall, St Peters
Storytime at Livvi’s Place, Five Dock
On Mondays at 10 am during the school term Storytime is held at Livvi’s Place, Five Dock. This free, warm community event usually includes a selection of songs, a few stories and a fun art/craft activity. There is a closed Facebook group dedicated to Storytime: Friends of Livvi’s Place Five Dock.
When: Monday 10 am
Where: Timbrell Park, Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock
Village Church Annandale
The Village Church in Annandale runs a friendly playgroup for kids aged 0–5 years each Thursday during the school term from 9.45–11.15 am on Thursdays. There are indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy, and free play and group activities. There’s even a jumping castle for the kids and barista coffee for the parents and carers. The cost is $3 per session per family. The first session is free. For more information please join the Facebook group or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time: Thursday 9.45–11.15 am
Where: Village Church Annandale, corner of Booth and Johnston Streets, Annandale
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