Play groups, families, and more

Thursday, May 29, 2008

During a recent mother's day trip I realized how valuable Google Sites could be for parents and families, so as part of our latest launch I decided to create a couple of new example websites: a family site and a playgroup site.

Family website

Many families, like mine, are scattered across the US or even the world. Our family used to rely mostly on email to keep in touch and send out photos (pleases grandma, scale the photos down before sending them). Now we use Google Sites as a single place for sharing family events (never miss another birthday!), photos, recipes and news. Here are some things I like most:

  • Calendar – Anyone can see and add birthdays, graduations, upcoming trips and more. It is easy, so I am no longer a bottleneck for keeping everyone updated.
  • Photos – We are always snapping photos when we are out, and it is fun to share slideshows of these by embedding Picasa Web Albums in our website.
  • Recipes – Using the “list” page type, I put all our family recipes in one place, so I can quickly search for any recipe. Now I don’t have to look all over the place for family favorites (like my mom's famous Chicken Lasagna).

Play group website

When I became a mom my social life expanded to include other parents who had children of similar ages. Having had more than a few frustrating experiences organizing events via email, I decided to set up a play group website on Google Sites. It is very convenient that anyone in our group can add an event, upload photos of our past play dates, and update important information about their child (allergies, favorite foods, adorable videos). Here is some of the cool stuff about the play group site:

  • Home – The hub of all the action, the home page gives a quick overview of upcoming events, general announcements, a slideshow of our last activity (Swimming!), and some other fun gadgets (like top selling baby items).
  • Players! – All the members are listed in one place, and all the kids have their own detailed pages that parents can customize as they like.
  • Toddler friendly places – Combining a Google spreadsheet form with a Google maps gadget, the group can add and see good places for little kids.

These example websites were easy to set up (just added content), and they show just a couple of the many possibilities for a wide variety of groups and clubs to make their own sites on Google Sites.

Posted by Mandy Sladden, Lead Designer