Owen Rovers, four, loves going to the open-tot soccer sessions at the Kentville soccer dome as he gets to run around and chase his friends! – Submitted
It’s winter! Who doesn’t want to curl up in a ball and hibernate? As good as this might sound, I know our boys start to go stir crazy and need a way to burn off some of that energy. While outdoor play is vital, it’s not always possible. This is where the Kentville indoor soccer facility comes into play.
Located on Park Street in Kentville next to Kings County Academy, the “dome” is an indoor soccer stadium and multi-sport facility. The field turf is actually made of ground rubber from recycled tires – hence the little black dots you’ll find everywhere when you leave!
Besides running an off-season soccer program for toddlers to adults, the soccer dome is known as a great place for family fun.
“Not everyone plays soccer,” says Dwight MacLeod, executive director of the Valley District Soccer Association. “However, by providing a variety programs, it opens the door to help people get active – especially during the winter.”
One of the most popular programs is the parent-tot open sessions every morning from September to April from 10 to 11 a.m.. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays are free while Tuesdays and Thursdays cost a toonie. Bags full of soccer balls are opened on the field for an unstructured playtime for the kids. Around the perimeter, adults walk the track.
Karen Rovers, Port Williams, has been taking her three boys to the tot soccer time for the past six years.
“It is about getting the kids into a wide-open space where they can meet with friends and burn off energy,” says Rovers.
“Particularly during stormy winter months, the soccer dome provides a nice opportunity to feel like you are getting out into a 'green' space for some exercise with the kids without having to bundle them up and worry about frosty little fingers and toes,” she added.
Kids love going because it’s always fun, and as Penelope Schofield, four, of Port Williams says, "I get to see my friends there".
There is a real community feel to the even.
“On any given open-tot day you can find seniors and parents walking the perimeter. They greet each other and grin at the antics of the kids. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are running and playing soccer or classic childhood games with the kids in the centre,” Rovers said. “There are also areas where some just spread blankets and sit with the really little ones who are observing all the action.
Families can rent the soccer field and party room for birthdays.
You can also rent the soccer dome for birthday parties. Starting at $80, you will have the soccer field for an hour and use of the party room for another hour.
“It was a pretty easy venue to have a party. It was also an activity that all ages could participate,” Rovers said.
There is also a weekly Sunday morning structured activity time for kids of all ages, which restarts in January. This program, run by Coach Joseph, encourages kids to be physically active while exposing them to a variety of games and activities. The parents were encouraged to participate and be active as well.
“Both weeks that my kids attended,” says Tyson Rovers. “They ran hard for the entire session and came home with grins on their faces asking to go back!”
“I really like playing games there!,” six-year-old Finley confirmed.
Watch for details as to when the program is starting up in January.
“It is crucial for all children to have unstructured play with and without their families,” says Anna Sherwood, the Valley regional physical activity co-ordinator. “It can build a sense of discovery on their own and a chance to play as a family. It can provide a social atmosphere where children can learn to negotiate, co-operate and share with others.”
So grab your indoor sneakers and head to the soccer dome to get moving with your family this winter!
Laura Churchill Duke from valleyfamilyfun.ca spent years taking her boys to the tot soccer times. What a frugal and easy playdate!