By: Megan Gibson, ellaslist explorer
In the October school holidays my kindergartener attended one day of the three days Centennial Parklands Multi-Sports Camp. The camps are held at the E.S. Marks Athletics Field on the south western edge of Centennial Parklands. E.S. Marks is an excellent facility tucked away in residential back streets, with a full sized athletics track and oval. There is a small parking area inside the gates perfect for pulling in and dropping off children.
The camp consisted of around 30 children from all grades of primary school and two excellent male leaders provided by SportsPro. The day we attended was the final day of the three-day camp and was unfortunately rather wet to begin with.
New Skills And Team Work
The camp runs from 9am – 4pm with an optional earlier drop off available on request. The camp runs in all-weather with indoor activities scheduled for inclement weather. The benefit of a multi-sport camp is that children learn a range of skills from different sports including football, handball, hockey, track and field and more, as well as participating in trivia activities and games such as hide and seek. Additionally, children were working together in teams and pairs and learning about good sportsmanship.
The Rain Didn’t Stop The Fun & Games
Yes, the rain did hamper the programming on the day we attended as athletics had been scheduled. However, the coaches were able to engage and entertain the children for the morning in the club house.
The day began with free time as the children explored the various sports equipment available. Then when all the children had arrived there was a morning briefing and a quick quiz. The group was then split in 6/7 year old’s and 8+, an excellent plan as it allowed the younger kids the space to learn the skills they needed without being in the way of the older kids, while the other kids had a much more challenging experience.
The older children participated in a handball competition, while the younger kids had a thrilling game of “Smash Hockey” – essentially this is hockey with large cotton bud style sticks. Firstly, the coach gave the kids the run down, how to hold the sticks, what the rules were, and a quick pep talk about sportsmanship and then broke them into teams.
Then it was on for young on old, the kids were so enthusiastic and keen to participate – no one was left behind. The coach got involved making sure that all the children were involved and were sharing a turn of the action, rotating the goal keeper and keeping score.
Terrific Camp Leaders
The children spent the rest of the morning participating in a handball competition. There were plenty of rest and water breaks, with each child bringing their own snacks for the day, including lunch, and a good supply of water (it is thirsty work).
Luckily the sun came out at lunchtime and the afternoon was spent learning the ins and outs of some track and field events. They held relay races and were very pleased to be able to say they had run more than a kilometre (and were smiling and having fun while doing so).
There is lots of free time for children to choose their own activity, with plenty of support from the leaders. They enjoyed playing tag, kicking a football, exploring the ES Marks facilities and generally being active.
The leaders were excellent at engaging the children and making sure they were all involved. There was plenty of equipment to go around for all the children and a variety of sports to try. It was great to see the kids throwing themselves onto the high jump mats and trying new things.
Our Pick For School Holiday Programs
The Centennial Parklands Multi-Sport camp is a great option for children during the school holidays. While there were children there that were clearly very “sporty” I would say the camp was suitable for all kids as events were planned taking into account the kids individual interests and there was plenty of free time. Additionally, skills were taught from the ground level with no prior knowledge required. Even as a newcomer on day three of the camp each activity was explained and demonstrated and the atmosphere was very inclusive.
All in all, when the newly literate kindergartener asks to write a comment on the sign out sheet and scrawls out “it was fun” and asks if he can come again tomorrow you know you are onto a good thing.
- When navigating to the venue use the street address of “Boronia Street” in your electronic map, rather than the name “E.S. Marks Athletic Field” as the destination to make locating the entrance easier.
- Given the 9am start, traffic can be horrendous, for that reason the camp in this location is recommended to locals, otherwise make sure to leave extra time to travel to the venue.
- Pack plenty of snacks, the kids work hard and were very hungry come lunch time.
- Don’t forget comfy clothes, enclosed shoes, a hat and sunscreen as children spend much of the day outside.
- The pick-up and drop off point is the club house on the eastern side of the athletics track which is hard to miss – just follow the excited noise.
- Attendance includes a Centennial Parklands goody bag with hat, t-shirt, football and Frisbee.
- Expect tired kids at the end of the day!
I am a Sydney-sider born and bred, but spent 12 years living in Wagga, Canberra and London. I am married to an Englishman and we have three children, Eli age 5, Allegra nearly 3 and Cooper who is just 5 months.
I am a stay at home Mum and keep myself sane by getting out and about and exploring all that Sydney has to offer. The kids and I enjoy parks, museums, picnics, playgroup, gardening, walking, cycling and road-tripping. I am the typical “crafty” mum and love getting my hands dirty, taking photos, and running (sort of). You can read my blog here.