Before I first visited a Mark Warner resort back in September I was of the opinion that I would never be a parent that puts their children in a holiday club, but the fabulous childcare at Mark Warner changed my mind as I was travelling alone with Sebastian and it gave me the opportunity to try some of the activities that they have to offer which I would have been unable to do with him in tow.
When we booked our holiday to Mark Warner Sea Garden in Turkey we were given the choice of various childcare packages for the little ones. We chose to put Sebby and Eliza in childcare in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free with us. Isaac, being at Junior club level, automatically got invited to stay for both morning and afternoon sessions and disappointingly for Kian the Teen club wasn’t running during our visit so we booked him on to do an RYA Sailing course instead.
We got to meet our childcare team not long after we arrived at their Sea Garden resort. The Toddler and Mini Club meetings were back to back and the Junior Club meeting just a few minutes after those. At each meeting the childcare manager Kirsty ran through what each club would be doing, any safety information and what times they would be open before we got to meet the team. The sessions ran daily from 9.30-12.30; 14.30 – 17.30; and the evening bedtime sessions from 19.30 – 23.00 and we had to fill out forms detailing any allergies, swimming ability, contact details and a password.
Mark Warner really do cater for children and offer a children’s meal option between 18.00 and 19.00 with food that would appeal even to the most fussy eater like Isaac, with fish fingers, chicken nuggets, spaghetti bolognese and even some more traditional options for the more adventurous child. The idea of the bedtime childcare sessions is that you can take the children to eat their meals and then get to eat yours in peace knowing they are having fun, before settling down to sleep.
The bedtime session started the evening we arrived and although we were keen to keep the kids with us, they were desperate to go and find some friends their own age and watch a film. We did make the mistake of eating our own meals far too fast and they were disappointed when we turned up to pick them up midway through a film.
Isaac and Eliza were so excited about going to their respective clubs. Isaac’s Junior Club was split into three teams, which consisted of other children of the same age, he was in the Lasers, whereas Eliza’s group was very small with just 4 of them. Each club displayed a timetable of what they were doing that day and updated in the evening for the next days activities.
In Sebby’s toddler group with Phoebe, there were just two children in a huge room packed full of toys. Of course Sebby headed straight for the trains. Each child had to be sent in with sun cream, a hat and UV swimwear and of course Sebby had to have a swim nappy, nappy and baby wipes too. You were also required to let the childcare team know where you would be in case of any problems.
I was really impressed by the childcare staff. They were all bright and bubbly and great with the children. Each child had a keyworker, Sebby had Phoebe, Eliza had Abby and Isaac had Emily, although the whole team seemed to know all the children’s names very quickly.
The activities for all of the children included trips to the beach, games in the pool and arts and crafts. Eliza and Isaac also got to try out watersports and had an hour-long session daily on either the boats or windsurfers.
Both adored being on the sea and although hubby and I had some time to ourselves we took out a kayak to explore and watch them and even tried our hand at sailing too – the kids were definitely better than us by the end of the week!
Sebby was too young to be out at sea but he got to play in the children’s pool, in the park as well as helping decorating the toddler room with his artwork.
I asked Eliza and Isaac what their favourite things about the childcare was and here is their answers:
Eliza – “My favourite thing was going windsurfing with Abby and Dom. I was scared at first but they helped me get on and helped me stand up. I liked going on the boat, we looked for lots of Nemo’s and my friend’s hat fell off but we got it out the sea. I liked doing the puppet show and liked playing and dancing”
Isaac – “My favourite thing at club was doing my show. We had a practice every day and got to perform on the stage like a star. I also really liked playing in the swimming pool and my favourite game was water polo with my friends. We went out on the sea every day and I tried windsurfing and sailing and we tried to find Sea Badgers. Emily said that when you put your hands or feet in the water they tickle them, I didn’t see one though.”
For me, knowing the children were happy, well-looked after and safe made our time apart from them more enjoyable and we proudly watched from afar as they confidently tried all these new activities and games. The highlight of our week though was seeing them perform dance routines with their new friends.
At the end of the week there was a presentation where each child got an award and I am proud to say that Phoebe, Abby and Emily know exactly what my children are like!!
Sebastian – “The Thomas the Tank Engine Award” for always going straight to the Trains!
Eliza – “The Little Miss Chatterbox Award” for always chatting.
Isaac – “The Mad Hatter Award” for being a mad hatter.
They all came away with a certificate and badge and Eliza and Sebby also did their holiday handprints too which is a lovely memento of our first holiday abroad.
Thank you Kirsty, Abby, Phoebe, Emily and all the other childcare team for making our holiday full of fun and adventure and for giving us the chance to eat our dinner in peace!!