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at home dad statistics map . videos . book . playgroups . message board . contact

men who change diapers change the world

Saturday, 10 January 2004
playgroup tips
Topic: playgroup tips
New Page 2

At-Home Dad Newsletter - Starting a playgroup

1. If you cannot locate a playgroup add your name to the At-Home Dad Network Playgroup list

Just send me an e-mail at with as much contact info you would like to make available. And I will add it to the At-Home Dad Network

First you can to give your At-Home Dad Network playgroup a name, you can check the playgroup list for ideas. If you have no name it will be simply The "Your Town" At-Home Dad Network

Name - Town, State
e-mail, Home page - phone
Name of your Network Playgroup

Dr Bruce Drobeck - Southlake, TX
(817) 329-3225 -
Greater Ft. Worth At-Home Dad Network

(If you need help creating a home page send me san e-mail)

2. Make out an ad - Draw up an ad.. something like this:

At-Home Dad playgroup in formation 
for fathers who are primary care givers 
for their children. This weekly playgroup 
will provide fun and support for you and 
your children. Please call John Doe at 
555-1212 for more information

This is the ad that John Wengler placed in his local suburban paper in Winnetka, Illinois. At first he received 5 calls from this ad. In a letter updating his efforts, he writes, "Now, every Friday morning, six dads and their
kids get together for coffee, support and refereeing among our toddlers from 14 months to some terrible twos. Imagine -- Bob, Tom, Pat, Andy, Palo, John and Burt -- all from adjoining towns! I actually discovered another at-home dad from around the corner!" John also states, " The moral of this story is that daddy playgroups are just waiting to happen. Consider this: There are 2 million at-home dads while the total prison population is only 1.6 million. If we can better organize ourselves then full-time parenting will seem a bit less like solitary confinement."

3. Post the ad (above) or a simple flyer in the local library children's' section. A library will usually permit you to do this.

4. Call the local mothers' groups in town, they sometimes get calls form other dads looking to connect.

5. Seek out other dads you may meet at the playground, he may also be an at-home dad.

6. Talk to your local paper - They may be interested in doing a story about your new group. (Father's Day is an ideal time, check in a few weeks before this holiday) Your statewide paper may also be interested in doing a story about your group, which may attract more members. If you would like a contact name in your state send me an e-mail at and I will send you addresses to write to in your state.

 "I found a few dads, where should we meet?"

The best place is a neutral meeting place, such as an indoor/outdoor playground. Once you get to know each other you may want to keep it that way or meet at each others house

"What do we do now?"

Your group may be happy just meeting at the local playground or you may want to plan additional activities. Curtis Cooper planned weekly activities such as trips to the zoo, local restaurants with indoor playgrounds or even to children's museums. You could also plan a day trip to a baseball game (kids permitting) You may want to seek out the local places in your area that may be of interest to your group

"What other activities can we do for the dads in our group"

One feature started by Curtis has been the "Dad's Night Out." Each month one night the dads go out to a local restaurant or event. This gives the dads time to get to know each other while the kids are at home. 

"What can I do to keep my group organized?"

The best way to keep your local events organized is to have a monthly newsletter or calendar, which can be mailed out to the members in your group, You can make a regular schedule of playgroup meetings, Dad's Nights Out and special field trips, complete with dates and time. You can also add comments on what happened on recent events.

Write an At-Home Dad Newsletter

Below is a sample newsletter from Dan Dunsmore the chapter Coordinator of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Network. you may use this as a starting point.

Charlottesville-Albemarle Dad-to-Dad October, 1996 Newsletter

Coordinator: Dan Dunsmore (Liza, 8; Spencer, 1)
Other Active Members: Stewart Bowers (Paige, 5); Michael Christy (Berenger, 4;
Channing, 1); David Consolvo (Daniel, 2); Michael Duggan (Kate, 1); Mike Folger
(Meaghan, 3; Molly, 2); Eric Galloway (Hazel, 1); Bill Goldeen (Daniel, 5;
Shira, 1); 
Stefan Gorsch (Spencer, 1); Michael Haynes (Emily, 2); Deanne Jensen (Will, 2;
Andy, 2); Mike Johnson (Baby due any day now!); 
Dale Lawton (Israel, 2); Lance Rogers (Colin, 9; Erik, 7; Tom, 4); Scott Smith
(Mary Kate, 7; Eric, 5; Emily, 11 months); 
Rick Sprenkle (Nathan, 3; Luke, 3 months); Billy Vaughn (William, 1)
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Dad-to-Dad group is now ten months old,
and, for the first time, we have said good-bye (at least for now) to two of our
members. Of course, this is inevitable, and it is evidence that we have been
established long enough to see life situations change. We're surely in store
for more of this. Still, I don't want to take it too lightly. So, I'd like to
officially bid farewell to Mike Higgins and his daughter Allison. Mike was one
of the original four dads in this group. He and Allison took part in the WVIR
29 human-interest story that provided a great deal of publicity for the group.
Mike, Barbara and Allison are still in the area and still stay in touch. 
I'd still like to publish autobiographies by our members. So far, I've
published ones by David Consolvo, Michael Haynes, Eric Galloway and me. They
have made for interesting reading, so don't be shy.
The October 14 issue of the Washington Post includes an article about us
at-home-dad types. Kim, Liza and I are quoted in the article. Look for it
wherever you might find back issues of the Post. 
October Summary 
Tuesday, October 8 -- Dan Dunsmore's House: Dan Dunsmore (Liza &
Spencer), Michael Christy (Berenger & Channing), Mike Folger (Meaghan & Molly),
Eric Galloway (Hazel), Bill Goldeen (Daniel & Shira) and Scott Smith (Mary Kate,
Eric & Emily) were in attendance. It was fun to watch the children of similar
ages naturally group together and discover books, duplo blocks, a bouncing ball,
food, etc. in the downstairs rooms of the house.
Tuesday, October 15 -- Baja Bean Company: Michael Christy and Mike
Johnson talked about raising children in the 90's.
Saturday, October 19 -- David Consolvo's House: David Consolvo
(Daniel) welcomed Dan Dunsmore (Liza & Spencer), Michael Duggan (Kate) and
Deanne Jensen (Will & Andy) to his house. It was great to see Deanne and her
two sons again!
Tuesday, October 22 -- Greenleaf Park: Dan Dunsmore (Liza & Spencer),
Michael Duggan (Kate), Dale Lawton (Israel), Mike Folger (Meaghan & Molly), Eric
Galloway (Hazel) and Bill Goldeen (Daniel & Shira) welcomed Rick Sprenkle and
his two sons Nathan and Luke to the play group.
Tuesday, October 29 -- Greenleaf Park: David Consolvo (Daniel), Dale
Lawton (Israel), Rick Sprenkle (Nathan & Luke), Michael Duggan (Kate), Michael &
Julie Haynes (Emily & her friend) and Dan Dunsmore (Liza & Spencer) enjoyed a
crisp, clear fall afternoon together. The park was full of children and parents
and NO yellow jackets! 
November Play Group Schedule
Tuesday, November 5 -- Greenleaf Park: 3:30 - 5:00
Tuesday, November 12 -- Greenleaf Park: 3:30 - 5:00
Saturday, November 16 -- David Consolvo's House: 10:00 - 12:00 (Call David for
Tuesday, November 26 -- Greenleaf Park: 3:30 - 5:00

Since our play group will meet at David's house on the 16th and since we
are having our Dad's-Night-Out Dinner on the 19th, we will NOT have a play group
on the afternoon of the 19th.
Discovery Museum
Our rain/cold temperatures play group location will be the Discovery
Museum. I've talked to many members about this idea, and they all like it. I'm
not trying to sell memberships, but, just so you'll know, annual memberships
range from $35 to $50. For non-members, it's $3 per visit for children, $4 for
In fact, I think the Discovery Museum would make an excellent location
for all of our December, January and February play groups. Let me know what you
think about this idea. 
November Dad's-Night-Out Dinner
The Dad's-Night-Out Dinner this month will be on Tuesday, November 19,
from 6:30 to whenever, at the Monticello Brewing Company. Perhaps it's the
homemade beer, but we seem to be drawing a fairly decent crowd there each month.
Decent refers to the number of dads who show, not to their character. Be
advised. The camaraderie is reassuring. The conversation is compelling. The
owners are accommodating. The beverages are quenching. The food is bar food.
Two-Hand Touch Football
Two-hand touch football continues on the Charlottesville High School
practice field each Sunday morning from 10:00 to 12:00. Bring your cleats if
you have them!

Good luck!

If you need any additional help you may e-mail me at

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Posted by athomedad at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 20 December 2004 12:33 PM EST
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