When our son was two-years-old his preschool brought in a Sportplay coach every other week to play with the kids. At that time his teacher made a special point to tell me how much my son loved it. So we signed up for the local parent-tot class. The result: he complained about being tired and hungry and clung to me the whole time. So that was a learning experience; our kid does better when we are not participating.
When my son was four we signed him up for the Sportplay multi-sport drop-off program because we were looking for a way to get him active and to learn some basic sport skills. In that regard, Sportplay totally fit the bill. They had the kids laughing, running around and learning the fundamentals of many different sports. Our son came out of the first class with a huge smile and said that he loved it.
He actually enjoyed the entire first session of classes, so we signed him up for the next as well. But by the middle of that next spring session, he started to resist going.
Where: Various locations throughout Ontario
When: Year round
Activities: Toddler and tot motor skills development, multi-sport, soccer, mini camp, and more
After talking with him we realized that there were a couple of problems:
- Socially it didn’t seem to be the right mix for him and he felt like he didn’t fit in. This was no fault of Sportplay, it was just the luck of the draw.
- He said it wasn’t challenging and that he wanted to play with “real” equipment and learn the “real rules” of the sports. He felt that the program was too babyish. To be fair, Sportplay’s focus is on fundamental skills so that when kids move on to playing games like soccer or basketball they will already have the basics, but some kids, like my son, want to do it “right”.
Needless to say we didn’t sign him up for Sportplay again, but the programs served the purpose of helping our son get into sports. He played T-Ball last spring, is playing soccer again this fall for the second year in a row and he is working towards his orange belt in karate. So Sportplay probably provided the kick start to his love of sports, and at the very least it did nothing to hurt it.
I think that like most activities, whether your child enjoys this programme depends a lot on the coaches, the peer group and his or her temperament.
Here’s what a couple of other mothers had to say about Sportplay programs:
Sportplay was a great introduction to a variety of different sports, with a focus on developing some basic sport skills. The instructors made it fun and there were no winners or losers, just the pleasure of physical activity and the introduction of new skills. – E.H., whose 5-year-old daughter participated
Sportplay has been wonderful for my 5-year-old daughter. She is small for her age, and doesn’t have a lot of confidence, but in this class she is able to practice the fundamentals of various sports in a safe, fun and non-judgemental environment. The coaches are always there with a helping hand and words of encouragement, which has really boosted my daughter’s self esteem. – S.T., whose 5-year-old daughter participated