In the fall I will have DD1 6yrs home schooled, DD2 3yrs, and a newborn. My girls have very high social needs, and so do I. I'm looking at a few play groups and wondering which ones I should schedule around for the fall. Even without the newborn, we tend to run late, and like to stay late at the park. My girls run off and play for HOURS. Park days are free, unstructured, outside, and social in nature, just the sort of thing I want us doing.
Group A - A church associated play group. This is a small group, from our UU church community that meets at local parks. The adults are my friends, and I feel pretty comfortable with them. Next year the two regular attendees close to DD1's age will be in full time school, so the kids nearest DD1's age will be a not too regular 4.5yr old and a pretty regular 3.5 yr old. There are also several 1.5-2.5 yr olds who will be attending, and I anticipate a few young toddlers coming more frequently, but I highly doubt we'll end up with more big kids. The younger kids are very much DD2's friends. The group packs lunches and stays for hours.
Group B - A well established home school group. On paper this group is a perfect fit for my family. It's a secular group, they meet every week do or die at a park and stay all day, the moms are very like minded to me. It's a casual and inclusive group, and the parks they meet at are local to me. I've been on their list since DD1 was 2.5yrs old, and gone through several phases of trying to attend park day regularly, but somehow I never quite felt like I belonged. The group can be sort of clique-ish - not so much purposefully excluding people but it's easy to feel out of place in the group (other families have said this too). DD1 knows a boy in the group she befriended last year, and has seen and played with a few times since. There are plenty of kids in her general age range. I sort of know many of the moms in the group, and DD1 sort of knows several of the kids.
Group C - A small start up home school group. This group is sort of a spin off of Group B and includes a mom I really like with a little girl DD1 really befriended through Group B. There's another mom I know from LLL years ago, who I like, but her kids aren't really friends with mine (boys a few years offset in ages from my girls). There are lots of girls close to DD1's age (boys would be fine too, but the group has almost all girls her age), though very few close to DD2's age. We've attended this group a handful of times this spring. The whole group leaves in mass at about 12:30 as soon as one family leaves. It feels like it's a 2 hour scheduled activity, not a day at the park. No one packs lunch. My girls are invariably frustrated with everyone leaving just as they were getting settled into playing. Right now we're coming from a dance class and can't arrive until about 11, but next year with a newborn I doubt I'll do much better than that. I haven't made new friends in the group, but I certainly feel welcome and it's worth giving it a shot.
Group D - A home school group that meets twice a month, generally on the same day as Group B (currently Group A meets that day too, but it's moving for the fall). It's officially a field trip group, but they also do a monthly park day. The group is from all over our metropolitan area, and meetings are generally at least 45 minutes from us, often more like 60-90. I like the vibe of the group, but with the drive times and the overlap with other park groups, I've hardly gone at all, so we really haven't made friends in the group (which leaves us less inclined to go...). If we schedule around Group B, I may attend this group more, though with a newborn, it's hard to say.
I'm trying to pick 2 groups to schedule around. Opinions?