Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published May 14th 2015
Ditch the digital and get out to play
"Smallsports" is a great initiative for families with preschoolers. Smallsports provides early childhood physical education classes in parks, childcare centres and playgroups on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane and Townsville. Designed for boys and girls aged 2 – 5, it's a great way of getting out and active with your little one. It introduces children to many sports with basic skills practice and lots of fun, over 5 different units each lasting a month. Run by enthusiastic coaches, Smallsports provides an active half hour session, which encourages everyone to take part. The emphasis is on helping your child increase their skills, is non competitive and child centered. As well as learning ball skills, children learn social interaction in a group setting too. Simple colour and number work is covered and the effect exercise has on your body.
The parachute unit is a favourite as kids love the popcorn game, flying pig and going "under the sea" when it is their colour. Confidence grows and the "surfing" at the end is loved by all. It's about joining in, feeling good about exercise, learning new skills and having fun with your Smallsports friends that you meet each week.
Mums, Dads, Grannies, Grandpas and friends are expected to join in with the kids and help practice the basic skills being taught. Whether it's "taking puppy for a walk" i.e. pre hockey coordination with pool noodles and tennis balls, spacial awareness of others in the "beehive" games or learning to wait your turn for a throw into the mini basketball hoop, the skills being learned go hand in hand with learning how to interact socially during sport. There are stops for a drink from your water bottle and the half hour session is just the right amount of time. Each class follows a similar structure and the end is marked by the ritual of announcing your ingredient for the salad sandwich, as each child puts their hand on the coach's hand for the "1, 2, 3 Smallsports!" cheer. Kids eagerly queue for their stamp, the soccer playing teddy being a firm favourite.
The picnic with friends after the class and free play in the adjoining playground at Robina, rounds off a great morning out for my little friends. Then all the kids head off back home, many ready for a late morning sleep in the car on the way. In a dominantly digital age, Smallsports gets back to enjoying doing what children have always traditionally done i.e. spending time outside with balls and friends. It's good watching the way the leaders encourage each child to achieve their best and manage to draw new kids, whatever their ability, out of their shell and into the activities in a fun, cheerful manner.
The Robina class is on at Cheltenham Park (cnr Cheltenham & Robina Town Centre Drive) on Wednesday mornings, 10 – 10:30am and costs $3 p child. The oval (home to Gold Coast Junior Cricket) is a spacious and safe spot for young kids with the bonus of an undercover area, which is useful for very hot or wet days. Smallsports runs at various venues on different days. A couple of late afternoon slots are scheduled too, if you can't make the morning classes. Click here for the Gold Coast timetable for 2015.