The 101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids 2014

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101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Contents n Welcome ............................................... 4 n Free things to do.........................................5 n Things to do for single parents................ 8 n Things to do in the garden.................... 10 n Things to make and create.................... 15 n Fun things to learn that you’ve never done before ............... 21 n Things to do on car journeys ................ 23

n Things to do on days out ...................... 24 n Things to do on rainy days .................... 31 n T hings to do for the best sunny days .................................. 34 n Things to do as a family ....................... 37 n Things to do with your friends ............... 41 n T hings to do when you’re stuck on your own ........................................ 42

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n T hings to games to make, create and invent ................................ 45 n Things to with water................. 47 n Activity calendars..................................... 49 n Advertisers index .................................. 51

CREDITS Published by: RD Marketing and Media Contact: Production Manager: Rachel Sheehan Sales: Sandra O’Brien Online Content Creator: Eamonn Carey Design: Mandy Boosey Contact: Articles contributed by: Stacia Ragolia, Jennifer Saltiel, Marissa Rothkopf Bates


Disclaimer: Whilst every care has been taken to secure names, addresses and particulars of entries, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions. All Information is accepted as correct at time of going to press. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying and recording, without the written permission of the copyright holder, application for which should be addressed to the publisher. Such written permission should also be obtained before any part of this publication is stored in a retrieval system of any nature.

Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth A day at the races is FREE for *children under 14! Every race day at every racecourse in Ireland

That’s over 300 meetings a year including the great festival meetings listed below. You won’t beat that for value and you won’t beat it for spectacle and excitement. The whole family will enjoy a traditional day out experiencing one of Ireland’s great sporting and social traditions. It’s in the blood after all.


Log on to and join the ‘Go Racing Kids’ Club’ to receive a FREE goodie bag (Terms & Conditions apply)


GO FREE * A Race Apart.

26 racecourses across the country Annual attendance of

Anywhere in the world, when the conversation gets around to horses, it inevitably centres on Ireland. Horse Racing is a sport where Ireland commands the height of respect as a world leader.

1.39 million Europe's largest producer of foals - approx 11k per annum Over 16,500 employed Total value of assets employed €2.5 billion


Racing accounts for 70,000 tourist visits each year

Tel: 045 455 684, email: or visit


We are to racing what France is to wine and Brazil is to coffee. This success story has created huge revenues for Ireland, widespread employment in many directly and indirectly related industries, earnings from tourism and the sale of horses abroad, and hard-to-beat entertainment for hundreds of thousands of fans every year. The horse racing industry is a major contributor to Irish life, both socially and economically, and will continue to win the world over.

*Free admission when accompanied by an adult. Some racecourses allow under 16s and 18s free admission and some have family packages and other offers – see various racecourse websites for details.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

A big welcome

to the parents and children

The Irish summer is sporadic, to put it mildly. The weather can go from a balmy sunny morning, to lashing rain for the afternoon. Rain can last for weeks at a time, driving parents and children crazy! With the global economic recession appearing to have its grip on Ireland, many parents now find themselves out of work and at home more than they were before. Finances are tighter for most of us and this year, foreign holidays and planned summer activities and camps for children might not be affordable. With all of the above in mind, we have re-visited our editorial in order to offer solutions for every scenario. We’re still called ‘101 Fun Things....’, but you’ll notice that we’ve added so many things to do to in this year’s edition, that we should just be called ‘Hundreds of Things to do with Your Kids’! We have added a section of free activities at the start of the publication, and still have our sections full of suggestions for rainy days, solo ventures, and suggestions for single parents. If you find yourself inventing something new to do this summer, we would love you to let us know, so that we can include it in next year’s publication! Email us your suggestions at We would be delighted to hear from you.


things to do contributed by Kate Keehan


There are lots of free printables for kids online that will keep them amused for hours! A quick search of ‘printables for kids’ on Pinterest will bring up everything from colouring and activity sheets to finger puppets and paper cone dolls. A great resource for paper activities is, which focuses on educational printables and has a great selection of short, printable activity books for kids to fill out and colour in on various topics including ‘A Book About Me’ and ‘Summer Activity Book’. The memory books section is a great way for your child to record their memories of school, holidays, family and friends.


Find out if you can visit your local fire station. Many fire stations offer tours to local children to educate them about fire safety. It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to see what life as a firefighter is like while also teaching them valuable lessons. Fire Safety Week is held every year in early October. Check out for details on events.


Download free audio stories to listen to together. has thousands of recordings of books in the public domain, with classic children’s titles such as Aesop’s Fables, A Little Princess, The Wind in the Willows and The Velveteen Rabbit that kids will love.


Make a kite with your kids and fly it in the garden or your local park. There are some easy instructions on wikihow. com/make-a-kite. Kids will have great fun decorating the kite and streamers, and even more fun flying it! Remember to fly your kite in a gentle wind, as high winds may tear the paper or card you use.


Mix up and blow bubbles. Get the kids into the kitchen to mix up their own bubble solution and re-use an old bottle and wand! You can also make your own wands from pipe cleaners or wire hangers – with adult supervision, of course. Try this recipe for big, colourful bubbles your kids will love!

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids


●● 125ml dish washing liquid ●● 500ml water ●● 2 tsp sugar ●● A few drops of food colouring


‘I Spy’ can be enjoyed by the whole family from young toddlers to grandparents. It’s a great game to play on long car journeys too. Vary it by using colours and shapes as clues instead of the first letter. For example, a football could be, ‘Starts with the letter F’, ‘is black and white’ or ‘is round’.


Make a bird feeder using a pine cone. This is a super easy way to get kids involved with caring for their local wildlife. There’s no better place to start than the birds visiting your own garden! Simply tie some string to a pine cone, cover the pine cone with peanut butter or honey and roll it in bird seed, dried fruit or chopped nuts. Tie the pine cone to a tree and watch the birds flock to the feeder with your child!


Sing songs with actions such as ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’, ‘I’m A Little Teapot’, ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘Happy and You Know It’. You can search for videos showing the actions on YouTube, or make up your own!


Tell a silly story, taking turns with one sentence at a time, or even one word! There are endless possibilities with this form of storytelling


Make up your own secret code for talking and writing to each other. Aspiring secret agents will love this! A great way to educate your kids while having fun is to learn some basic sign language together. This is especially useful for younger children that might not be able to express their needs verbally yet.


Your hands make great puppets! Make puppet faces with your fist, using your thumb as the lower jaw. Use felt tip pens to create funny characters and put on a show!


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids


Make your own homemade ice cream. There are lots of recipes online for homemade ice cream – you don’t even need an ice cream maker for most of them! Pick a flavour, and when the ice cream has set, break out the sprinkles, syrup and sundae glasses to create ice cream masterpieces together!


Make sock puppets and put on a show. Ever noticed how two socks can go into the dryer but only one will come out? Now you have a use for those lonely socks! The sock should be long enough to reach your child’s elbow and can be any colour you like. Create a face by sewing buttons or gluing on googly eyes and use your hand to create the mouth. Kids can decorate their sock puppets with buttons, fabric markers, glitter, beads, pipe cleaners and scraps of fabric to make their own unique puppet.

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Take turns naming words for each letter of the alphabet. Start with ‘A’ and choose a word like ‘apple’ or ‘animal’ and go back and forth until you reach ‘Z’ for ‘zebra’!


Help your child to write their ‘autobiography’ – with details such as their age, height, weight and favourite colours and foods. This can be an annual project, ideal for seeing how much your child changes over the years!


Play charades. Teach your child to show whether they’re going to mime a book, movie or TV show, how many words are in the title and which word they’re miming. To indicate a movie, pretend to crank an old-fashioned camera; to indicate a book, pretend to turn a page; to indicate a TV show, draw a square in the air to represent the screen. Memorise actions such as ‘sounds like’ by cupping a hand around your ear, ‘small word’ such as ‘in’, ‘a’ or ‘the’ by bringing your thumb and index finger close together, and ‘past tense’ by sweeping your hand downwards behind your back.


Build a fort with blankets and chairs. This is a great way to bring the excitement of camping indoors on chilly nights. Set up chairs of various heights and cover them with sheets and blankets to create the roof, and then fill the fort with blankets, pillows and a night-light to create a cosy hideaway. Your fort can be used for anything from sleeping to story time.


Take advantage of good weather and have a picnic at your local park, or even in your own garden! Ask your children to help you make sandwiches and treats such as Rice Krispie buns, cupcakes and scones, and pack them together in a basket with plenty of napkins! Remember to apply plenty of sun lotion and insect repellent.


Visit your local library. All libraries cater to their smallest members, with a comfortable children’s section, ‘story time’ sessions and events to mark the Children’s Book Festival, Science Week and more. Contact your local library to see what activities they have planned throughout the year – your child’s favourite author may be dropping in!

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Have an alphabet scavenger hunt around your home or local area. Print out a list with the letters of the alphabet and boxes for your child to write down what they find, and see if you can complete the alphabet together. Hopefully you’ll have a xylophone lying around!

Have a tea party. Set a pretty table and invite your kids’ friends – or indeed their dolls and teddy bears – to ‘tea’. Scones, fairy cakes and healthy juice make perfect snacks for a tea party. You can even choose a theme such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or ‘Disney’.


Melt crayons and create some unique artwork. This is a kitchen adventure your kids will absolutely love! You will need a canvas and a variety of coloured crayons which are taped or glued on. Pick your colours and line them up along the top of the canvas until you run out of space. Make sure to lay down plenty of newspaper! With the canvas propped against a wall, take out your hairdryer, point it between the middle and the tip of your crayons and blast off! The crayons will melt down the canvas and create a unique piece of art.


Plant a garden of vegetables, herbs or flowers. Kids will love eating the produce grown in their first garden, or admiring their flowers. Let them choose a sunny spot in the garden to start and teach them the basics of gardening such as watering and feeding their plants. It’s a good idea to write up a checklist for your child with a list of tools they have or need, seeds and tasks to complete every day.


Help out at your local farm. Many open farms will be delighted to have your child muck out and help with the animals. It’s a great way for the kids to get active, learn about their favourite farm animals and have fun! Ask your local farm what activities they offer – bottle feeding lambs, collecting eggs and feeding chickens are common farm jobs that children can take part in.

Hunt for different animal tracks. See if you can find animal tracks around your local area and try and identify them using a chart – there are lots online! Try and find: ●● A dog ●● A cat

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Invent your own board game. Make a milk carton boat and see if it floats.

Volunteer with a local charity.

●● A fox ●● An otter ●● A stoat ●● A badger ●● A hedgehog

Look for cloud shapes outside. Make birthday cards for relatives and friends whose birthdays are coming up.


Use magazines to create mosaics and scenes. Help your child cut out their favourite images from magazines with a safety scissors, then use a stick glue to create unique art with them! Try challenging your child to create a collage of their favourite things, or design their own room or house using pictures cut from interior magazines.


Make tie-dye shirts using white cotton t-shirts, fabric dye and rubber bands! Why not listen to some sixties tunes while making your own authentic tie-dye shirts? Try ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes, ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys and ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra to get into the spirit of the sixties!


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids


Collect seashells and use them to make jewellery.


Beat the rain with our indoor display area!



A visit to Eagles Flying is fun for all the family. The highly entertaining and interactive shows at Ireland’s largest bird of prey centre mean excitement, photo opportunities and the chance to get close up with birds of prey. Experience eagles, hawks and vultures flying right over your head or landing beside you! There are more than 100 birds of prey –

some with a wingspan of more than three metres! If you’re lucky you can fly or touch one of them during the show. Pet Zoo: If you like cuddly creatures you can stroke the animals in our large pet zoo. We have rabbits, guinea-pigs, geese, raccoons, hens, lambs, goats, donkeys and more. A visit is fun for all the family.

BIRD SHOWS daily at 11am & 3pm (1 hour each approximately) Open: 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2.30pm – 4.30pm 01 April – 07 November

Fully wheelchair accessible. Free parking for cars and coaches

Ballymote, Co. Sligo. Tel: 071 918 9310 SAT NAV: N 54°06.207´ W 8°34.053


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do for...

single parents With grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, hoovering, work and other chores to be done, single parents often find that stress and multi-tasking is part of daily life. The daily juggle can frequently end up with the odd ball being dropped. Unfortunately, sometimes that odd ball is spending quality time with the children. It’s tempting to switch on the TV, or send them out to the garden while you get your chores done. Depending on the ages of your children, you can try to include them in not just chores, but in the running of the whole household! Instead of passing over time with the kids in order to get errands or chores completed, use these events as an opportunity to bond by including them in these activities. Not only will time be spent with the children, it will get the chores done faster and allow more time in the day for other activities.


Grocery Shopping: Make a list together of what meals everyone would like to eat for the next few days. If you have several children, you can set a meal planner where each child gets a turn at having their chosen dinner. Provide guidelines, for example, it has to be something that you have had before; it has to contain vegetables; it can’t be ice-cream! Next write out the shopping list. Allocate certain items to each child. When you go out shopping, task the children with getting certain items that are ingredients in their chosen meal. This will help them to understand that making dinner is a multistep event and will help them not only to feel that they are ‘in charge’ of dinner, but an integral part of the family. Better again, you can have each child plan dessert too!


Making Dinner: Having the kids help with dinner is a great opportunity to teach them about cooking. Admittedly, cooking with children is undoubtedly messier and more time-consuming than doing it yourself, but remember the goal here is spending quality time together. Isn’t it better to have a bit of craic together in the kitchen than for you to be doing all the work yourself while they slump in front of yet another episode of the Simpsons?

Children of all ages like to help stir, pour things into saucepans, and serve onto plates. Individual aprons are something that children love, and dressing for kitchen duty makes it an ‘event’ in little minds.


Make Pizza: Not everyone likes the same toppings and this is a great way for each child to have their own specially customised pizza. Purchase individual sized bases, pizza sauce, pre-shredded cheese and a variety of toppings, or make your own. Give each child their own base and set them to creating. Help the younger kids make smiley faces or other designs with topping and let the older kids experiment with their own blend of toppings. When all the pizzas are cooked, enjoy them at the kitchen table for a family pizza fest. More than anything, just doing something with you and having your full attention will keep children occupied and interested. It’s a great age to be a child and you’ve been given the chance to live it all over again. Young children will enjoy almost any activity as long as it’s fun. Real excitement for them is when you allow them to make noise, play with messy things, or tear things apart. Simple ideas that are suitable for one parent and one child to do together include:


Get out the pots and pans along with some spoons. Let the children bang, clang and clink for a while and you can conduct the ‘orchestra’.

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M ake a drum out of a plastic container with rice or dried pasta inside.

Go to the park. Parks and playgrounds provide an opportunity for adventurous play and allow children to explore and learn about nature and wildlife.

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Teach your child to catch. Playing catch is simple and fun. All you need is a ball and some time.

Make a box or blanket fort – a new and special space for play and privacy right in your own home. C limb a tree (a small one). Tree climbing expends energy and exercises imagination W atch cartoons together and talk about them, copy the silly voices, do the dances that the characters do B low soap bubbles. Homemade bubbles are great for outdoor fun


Paint a picture. Painting is enjoyable activity and teaches color recognition and creative exploration.

Build a birdhouse from an empty milk carton. Visit for handy instructions.

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Silly face contest. Seeing who can make the silliest face is great fun

Play with clay. Manipulating a piece of clay develops the child’s large and small muscles and helps with eyehand coordination.

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Go to the library and read to your child (sometimes they have special story tellers)

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Easy card games (go fish, concentration). A simple pack of cards (or two) can provide hours of fun.

Play Tonka trucks/Hot Wheels for action-packed fun and cool games. Let the racing begin!

Play I Spy – a guessing game that also helps in learning the alphabet

Put on music and dance around the room. You can step this up a gear by putting on a disco – close the curtains and buy some coloured lights or a disco ball.

Backyard insect safari. See how many different insects you can find in your garden

Budget permitting, establish a special routine for just the two of you such as going out for breakfast every Saturday morning together


Attend a Sports Game. Whether you take the children to an international game or even a local school match doesn’t matter – just being at the local park or a special occasion at a big stadium with your children is a great bonding opportunity. Nothing beats a takeaway after the game! Helping your children to kit out in your favourite team’s colours is great fun, as is making personalised scarves and t-shirts.


Back Garden Camping. On a nice dry week during the summer, camp out in the back garden. Buy a disposable barbeque in the local supermarket and make sausages and roast marshmallows. Make shadow shapes with your hands and a torch on the sides of the tent. Chat about all the sounds that you hear. Read a bedtime story by torchlight. With older children, you could have them camp in their own tent next to yours. Let them be in charge of erecting the tent. Letting them order you around for a while will be great for them. Just be sure to let them erect their own tent first, so that they have their technique perfected when it comes to pitching yours! Find things that you like to do that your children can do too – common interests. You could go fishing, teach your child how to play your favourite sport, or play computer games together.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids


Record that match you want to see, or the news. You can surf the web, catch up on email and watch TV when the little ones are in bed.

BALLYMALOE COOKERY SCHOOL organic farm and gardens

Maze to get lost in. Farm walk with pigs, cows and hens. See the glasshouses where we grow all our vegetables. Get your Kids Trails sheet to mark off what you see as you walk around. Come on a Saturday and stay for Saturday Pizzas. Shanagarry, Co. Cork


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do...

in the garden There are so many things to do for kids of all ages in the garden that we have decided to list over 90 activities for this section of the book alone! Remember, kids have much more fun doing creative outdoor things as opposed to playing with their computer games or music downloads. It’s healthier too! However there is a need for children to access the internet or at least visit the local library to educate themselves about their environment.

58 Nature-oriented things to do during the summer ●● List all the trees in your neighbourhood. A kids encyclopaedia from your local library will help. You may also want to look for articles on twigs and tree bark. Tree identification books can be reviewed at your school library also. ●● Find a spider web – maybe in your basement, garden shed or garage, among shrubs or some weeds, and see if the spider is there. Is the web an orb web, sheet web, or some other kind? You can have great fun finding out which type of web it is. ●● Put out a birdbath for birds and other small animals. It doesn’t have to be a real birdbath; it could be something like an upside-down rubbish bin lid! The water should be no deeper than an inch. Keep a list of the species that visit. ●● Find the star-shaped pith in an oak twig; check out your encyclopaedia or look up the internet to confirm what you have found. ●● Collect bug-eaten leaves and compare them. ●● Start a rock collection. ●● In the night sky, learn these constellations: The Plough (Ursa Major), The Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), Leo the Lion, Boötes the Herdsman, Hercules, Corona Borealis, and Draco the Dragon.

One book to help you is The Sky Observer’s Guide: A Handbook for Amateur Astronomers. There are plenty of others for you to reference at the public library or on the internet. If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of free apps that you can download that will help you plot the night sky. ●● If you see a bird collecting worms or other food for nestlings, watch the bird for a while and you will find out where their nest is. They will pop in and out of the nest all day, feeding their nestlings until they are old enough to fly. Don’t get too close to the nest though, or you will upset the bird family. ●● At night and with a torch, sneak up on a frog or squirrel and note their activities. ●● Find lichen, and figure out whether it is crustose, foliose or fruticose. ●● If you have a camera then put a box or some other structure large enough for you to hide in about five feet from the birdbath you made. After the birds become accustomed to this ‘wildlife observation blind’ (maybe a couple of days), go inside, then take a close look at what visits the birdbath. Birds can count up to ‘one’, so you may need a friend to go with you to the box, you get inside the box, then your friend leaves. The birds will see ‘one’ person go to the birdbath and ‘one’ return, so then they’ll know the coast is clear for them! Make sure and wear protective clothing. ●● In your basement or some other damp, slightly junky place, look for ‘thousand leggers’. Are they centipedes, millipedes or something else? ●● Look for squirrels around your house or in the local park. What kind of squirrels are they? ●● Make an online insect collection. ●● Find a feather and identify these parts of it: shaft, vane, barbs, and barbules. ●● Find out where the water in your house comes from. Does your town have its own well, or take water from a reservoir or river? If your water comes from a reservoir or river, does the water seem clean to you, and free of chemical pollutants? Are you content with your water situation? If not, what are you going to do about it? Read up and inform yourself. Never visit a reservoir without an adult with you.


Don’t get too close to the nest though, or you will upset the bird family

●● Hunt around for a Tree-of-Heaven or Ailanthus and see the special glands at the bases of its leaflets. When you find one, take a smell of its glands and look for any ants visiting them. You may have to visit the local botanic gardens to find one. Check out if your local area has the right climate.

●● Look for fungi. When you find a fungus, figure out what kind it is. ●● List all the butterflies in your area. Look up the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme http://butterflies.biodiversityireland. ie and take part. The site has details of butterfly monitoring workshops and relies on volunteers to submit information on butterfly sightings. ●● Find a grass flower and, identify a spikelet, the glumes, and a floret. You may need to use a pin to separate the various parts, and a magnifying glass. ●● Make phenology observations – notes about seasonal things, such as flowering, fruiting, birds nesting, frogs croaking, etc. Do you have plant pots in your garden that look dead at certain times of the year, but have flowers in full bloom at other times? Find out if they are annuals or perennials, and what the difference is. ●● Start a Nature Study Notebook, either on paper or on your computer. ●● Get involved with local efforts to save the environment and meet others who enjoy learning about nature. ●● Catch up on the latest environmental news on the web. The Irish Environmental Network has up-to-date information on everything from the wellbeing of Irish seals, to sightings of rare species around the country. ●● Start a bird list by listing all the birds that visit your garden every day. Are there any that visit your garden frequently that don’t often visit your neighbours? You might have some special environment, such as a plant whose berries they like, or a tree that is perfect for them to live in that your friends or neighbours don’t have. Expand on the list by listing birds that you see when you visit the beach, or the woods, or when you go into town. ●● Once you have your bird list, note next to each species’ name what kind of beak it has.

●● And once you have some birds listed, listen to their songs by visiting the internet! Then when you’re lying in bed some morning, you can try to identify and recognise the different birds by their birdsong. ●● Find an unusual mushroom and investigate its origins. ●● See if you can find a lucky four-leaf clover. This one could take a while! ●● Look for bats at dusk just as it’s getting really dark. They are more thick-bodied than birds and flutter instead of soar or glide. ●● Crush and smell several leaves of herbs, shrubs and trees. Do some odours strike you as chemicals the plant is using to keep insects and other animals from eating it? ●● On trees, shrubs and weeds, look for galls! ●● Pull up a clover plant from a yard that isn’t too sterile because of chemicals and look for the nitrogen-fixing nodules on the roots ●● In a garden flower, figure out the different parts. Locate the stamens (pollen-producing male part, consisting of filament and anther), pistil (female part that will mature into a fruit, consisting of stigma, style and ovary), corolla and calyx.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

●● Find out the geological age of the land on which you live. You may need to consult a geology map.

●● Make a whole jewellery set from garden flowers – a daisy chain necklace and bracelet and a buttercup pair of earrings or hair decorations. ●● If you have a dog or cat, follow them around for a while, seeing if they have a favourite part of the garden. Do they have any hiding places for toys or bones? Do they have any little holes where they bury things? ●● Search for a member of the Mint Family. Several weeds, garden flowers and herbs belong to the mint family. When you find a flowering mint plant, notice its square stem, opposite leaves, and its fruits divided into four ‘nutlets’. Often mints smell minty too. ●● If you find a bird nest, determine whether it is a scrape, platform, cup, adherent, pensile or pendulous nest.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

●● Make bark drawings. Put a piece of paper up against the bark of a tree and using a crayon, trace the pattern of the bark on to the paper. You can create a collection of different barks and colours. ●● Rub a slice of white bread on your kitchen table, or anyplace you want to, slightly moisten the bread, then put it into a jar with a top on it so the bread won’t dry out. Each day look at the bread. In a few days you should find one or more kinds of fungus established on it. Fungus spores are just about everywhere. ●● Create a whole new plant from an existing plant in your garden. To do this, take a cutting from a plant already growing in your garden. Cut at an angle, so that the cut end has a point at the end. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. Treating the cutting gives it a better chance of taking root because it has nutrients to encourage it. Place the cuttings in a weak mixture of water and a seaweed-based liquid fertilizer for a period of 3-4 hours. After this, dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone just before planting it. Start the cutting in sand, soil or even just water. Some cuttings actually produce roots better in water than in soil. Sand is a sort of compromise, but should be treated like water when it comes to adding fertilizer. Use a pencil or a chopstick to create the hole for the cutting to slip into. The cut end should be inserted to a depth of around 2.5-5cm/1-2 inches, although this is dependent on the length of the cutting. Keep the cuttings out of direct sun. When using water as the planting medium, make it a very dilute fertilizer mixture. Also make certain the plant does not get direct sunlight, as the intense UV rays are hard on the roots. Aside from how well it works, another reason to use water is that you can see what’s happening. This is not only fun, but also allows you to know when the plant is ready, without having to worry about guessing whether roots have developed. Once roots finally start, the rate of their visible growth can be astonishing, noticeably changing even hour to hour. Water well when first planted. Then, keep the cutting moist, but not over watered (try a mister). Success rates can be anything between zero (some plants cannot be rooted from cuttings at all) and 90 percent. Try not to get discouraged if it doesn’t take; equally, don’t be surprised by initial wilting in the first few days – that’s normal. Transplant the cuttings to their final growing spot once you’re certain they have taken root. With large ‘truncheons’ of willow, poplar or mulberry, trim a point on the bottom end, and ram the cutting into the ground for three quarters of its length, so that just a small part sticks above ground. This action is best done right where you want the tree to grow; no further action is necessary apart from keeping weeds and plant-eating animals away.

●● Go looking for insect eggs and notice their incredible variety of sizes, shapes, colours and designs. ●● Dig up an earthworm and with your hands moist so you don’t hurt it, see if you can identify the worm’s clitellum, excretory pores, chaetae, male pore, female pore and mouth. ●● If you have a moist, junky basement, look for daddy-long-legs! ●● Find a weed and try to identify it! ●● If you have a moist or wet place outside, look for a snail or slug. On either of them, locate the two tentacles at the top of the head, and the two stalked eyes below the tentacles. ●● If your area has outcropping sedimentary rocks, or if there is rounded streambed gravel available, look for fossils. ●● Weed a garden bed. Ask a parent to show you what are the weeds that need to be removed. See if you can pull out the whole weed with the roots intact. ●● In moist, shaded, undisturbed places, look for mosses in their spore-producing condition. Try and identify a moss’s calyptra, capsule, stalk, leaves and rhizoids. ●● Wander around and look at how the blossoms of different plants are arranged. Classify each arrangement type according to whether it is a spike, raceme, corymb, panicle, umbel, cyme, scorpioid cyme, or something else. ●● Identify just one thing in your back garden –- maybe a bird or a garden flower or an insect – and then use the Google search engine to find out all you can about it. You’ll just be amazed at what you can learn! ●● List all the ecological niches you can identify in your back garden. ●● Once you’ve made the above list, write down each species you can identify using each niche, and describe what the organisms are doing there. ●● Find a composite flower and, if it has these parts, identify its ray flowers, its disk flowers, the receptacle, and the achenes. ●● Among the birds in your area, see if you can identify these behaviours outlined in your books or online ‘Establishing & Defending Territories’; ‘family raising’ and ‘communal behaviour’.


●● Dig into the leaf litter in a forested park or beneath a hedge to find white strands of fungal hyphae.

●● Look for swifts in the summer sky. If you see some, learn more about and consider helping to conserve this wonderful species. ●● Look for wild-growing ferns. In the suburbs they may grow in the shade beneath shrubbery on the north sides of houses. They like moisture so many backyards may not have any. If that’s the case, maybe you can find one at a local park. If you find one, look for spore-producing sori, or fruit dots. ●● On the internet visit our state’s Geological Survey Web Site, where you can learn about Ireland’s geology and order geology maps. ●● Find a fruit of any kind and decide what kind it is, decide whether it’s a simple, aggregate or multiple fruit, and if it’s a simple one (as most fruits are) what kind of simple fruit. ●● If you have a special interest, such as birds, wildflowers, spiders, or whatever, consider joining an ‘e-group’ at the Yahoo Groups Page. Just go there, type your subject into the search box, and if you see a group you like, join it. ●● Find a plant with spines or thorns and try to figure out why it has them. Remember that plants evolved long ago when often large herbivores such as bison, wild horses and mastodons wandered the land. ●● Look for animal tracks in mud. You should be able to identify dog tracks, but possibly horses, rabbits or even deer. ●● Look for simple and compound eyes on an insect, as described in the eye section of your school books.

your lawn. Lie on the grass and see if you catch as many as the robins do. ●● Find a caterpillar and notice its six black jointed legs immediately behind the head, its stubby, mid-body legs called prolegs and its end ones called anal prolegs. ●● Capture, identify and then release a rodent by using one of the non-violent traps. Pay attention to the warnings about getting bitten or clawed, as well as about not upsetting the rodent. Never do this without adult supervision.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

●● Look very closely at any sand or streambed gravel you can find. Try to see crystals. If you have a magnifying glass you should at least see glass-like quartz crystals.

●● Find the scientific name of a plant or animal by using the Google search engine and typing in its common or English name. Once you have the name, use Google to find a good etymology site dealing with Latin and Greek roots, to help you understand what the scientific name is saying. ●● Become an official frog watcher. Check out!

●● On tree twigs, look for lenticels, buds and leaf scars, ●● Identify herbs in your garden. Which ones are wild and which ones have been planted by your family?


●● You’ve probably watched robins catching earthworms on

SCIENCE Monday, 4 - 5pm


Monday, 3 - 4 pm & 4 - 5pm Tuesday, 4 - 5pm

Tuesday, 4 -


●● Crush one or two leaves from the different herbs. See if other members of your family can guess the herb by smelling the crushed leaves.

Monday, 3 - 4 pm & 4 - 5pm Tuesday, 4 - 5pm


Tuesday, 4 - 5pm SCIENCE

Monday, 4 - 5pm






SCIENCE MAGICAL MATHS TECHNOLOGY N ENERGY ENGINEERING: ● ENGINEERING CO NEW ENERGY ENGINEERING: 2 ● MATHS Rockboro Primary School is pleased to announce new courses 2012/ Sparks open to all 2 for the Sparks After SchoolisProgramme. ● CREATIVE WRITING primary school children 2013! SPARKS IS OPEN TO ALL ● LANGUAGES from anyPRIMARY school.SCHOOL CHILDREN FROM ANY

● MANDARIN CHINESE ● Tuesday, 4 - 5pm

Tuesday, 4 - 5pm


Wednesday, 4 - 5pm

Wednesday, 4 - 5 p.m

Wednesday, 4 - 5 p.m


Rockboro Primary School is pleased to announce new courses for the Sparks After School Programme.

SPARKS IS OPEN TO ALL PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN FROM ANY SCHOOL The Sparks Programme has been developed in partnership with UCC and the CTYI (Ce Youth in Ireland), who the courses. We aim to provide children with a fun, sup The Sparks Programme has been developed in partnership with UCC and thewill CTYIrun (Centre for Talented stimulating environment which they Youth in Ireland), who will run the courses. We aim to provide children with a fun,insupportive andcan challenge themselves to develop their pot

The Sparks Programme has been developed by Rockboro SchoolFollowing and istherun in association with great success of the Sparks Programme to date, we have decided to add Following the great success of the Sparks Programme to date,inwe have decided addEnergy two further courses Magical Maths and to the programme. UCC and CTYI (Centre for Talented toYouth inEngineering Ireland). courses in Magical Maths and Energy Engineering to the programme. The new Sparks programme will run for 2 x 10 week sessions from 17th September 20 The new Sparks programme run for 2 x 10 week sessions from 17th September and 21st Sparkswillprovides children with a fun, 2012 supportive and January 2013. January 2013. stimulating environment inuswhich they challenge Contact by phone on can 021-4314324, email: sparksrockboro@ei Contact us by phone on 021-4314324, email: or on to log on to themselves log to develop their potential. stimulating environment in which they can challenge themselves to develop their potential.


Rockboro School, Hillsboro, Boreenmanna Road, Cork. t (021) 431 4324 e w


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Learn to identify your local trees by looking at thei r trunks

●● In local gardens, hedges, weedy places and woods, look for insect pupae. Once you find one, mark it with a ribbon or other object, and then visit it each day to watch for when the adult emerges. ●● At the end of the summer, cut the purple lavender flowers from your lavender plant. Tie them together by the stems and hang them upside-down in a sunny window to dry out. Then shake or tap the stems over a piece of muslin cloth so that all the bits of purple flower fall onto the cloth. Tie the edges of the cloth together and you have a lavender-scented pouch that you can put in your clothes drawer or wardrobe to keep your clothes smelling nice. This has an added bonus of keeping moths at bay. ●● Download some free nature books from Project Gutenberg. Look for writings by John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin and Jack London. ●● If you have tomato plants in your garden or at a friend’s house, find a tomato flower and notice how its anthers are grown together. Mark a flower and day after day watch how the ovary expands, the stamens and corolla shrivel and fall off, and finally the ovary becomes a tomato. ●● When you identify a bird, see where it nests during the summer or winter. ●● At night, find a streetlight or backyard light and watch for insects that flutter into it. These insects are trying to navigate by the light as if it were a star. As they fly the insects try to keep the light at a certain angle – as must be done to fly in a straight line - while passing it by. To maintain the angle they turn to compensate, then have to turn again, and before long they are circling the light and crashing into it. ●● When you go onto the Internet for the first time each day, check out NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. This will help you keep things here on Earth in perspective! ●● Familiarise yourself with the ten most conspicuous insect orders so when you see an insect that belongs to them you’ll know which order it belongs to. The vast majority of insects you’ll find will belong to these orders, so just by learning these ten orders you can easily learn to ‘order’ your insects. ●● Figure out where your rubbish goes. The dustbin men pick it up, and then...? Is anything recycled? Is it dumped at sea or burned, causing air pollution, or put into a landfill, using valuable land? Are you happy with what happens to it? Is there anything you can do to improve the waste process? ●● Find a bean, maybe a dried bean in your kitchen, and notice its hilum. Separate its two faces, and inside the bean identify the plumule, radicle and hypocotyl. ●● Hunt around for any species of tree. Look at the species web page on the internet to see what’s so special about that tree. ●● Buy a lavender plant and put it somewhere in your garden where you can easily see it. As the plant grows during the summer, it will attract honeybees and butterflies. See if you can count how many different types of butterfly visit your lavender plant.


window where it gets some sunlight. Over the weeks watch what happens to it.

●● From a local pond or ditch, take a jar of water and set it in a

●● Look for a mushroom and see if it has the following parts: cap, stalk, gills or pores, ring, and cup. ●● If you have a microscope, look at pollen grains of different flowers and notice how different they are from one another in terms of size and shape. ●● Most insects are either ‘chewers’ or ‘suckers’. Wander around looking at miscellaneous insects, deciding which are chewers and which are suckers. ●● Calculate your Ecological Footprint on ●● If your nature-musings inspire you then write a nature based poem. ●● Learn to identify your local trees just by looking at their trunks. ●● Learn the few most common Butterfly families, so that when you meet up with an unknown butterfly you can at least say, “Well, it’s in the #### family.” ●● Understand your local weather by looking at clouds, seeing weather maps, etc. The Weather Page can help you.

make & create During the summer there is more time for little minds to become creative. Here are some ideas of things to make and do during the long summer days.

else intrigues the children. Use paper, felt, coloured plastic, markers, pipe cleaners, any materials you have on hand. Keep the Hairy Head in a small dish with water in the bottom. The ‘hair’ should sprout in less than a week. Children can style the hair with elastic bands, clips and scissors.

60 Paint your own t-shirts

59 Hairy heads

Let the kids create a work of art they can wear!

What you’ll need:

●● 2 small elastic bands

●● plain t-shirts ●● fabric paint ●● cardboard ●● brushes ●● sponges

●● Decorations

What you’ll do:

What you’ll do:

●● Have the kids start with an old t-shirt or piece of fabric in the beginning. Put a piece of cardboard under the first layer of fabric to make sure there is no leaking.

What you’ll need:

●● Old pop-sock or tights ●● Grass seed ●● Soil

●● Put 2 teaspoons of grass seed in the bottom toe of the tights. Add 1-2 cups of soil or compost. Make sure the seeds stay in the top of the head; otherwise you’ll have hair sprouting from under the eyes. Use the small elastic to pinch off a nose about half way up the head. Use the second elastic to tie off the bottom. Decorate by pasting on eyes, mouth, ears, or whatever

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to...

●● Some fabric paint comes in squeeze bottles which is good for lines, or they can use a paint brush or sponge. ●● Once the children are used to working with fabric paint, they can start working on good clothes.

Easter and Summer camps at Tipperary County Museum


Booking essential

Dates: Wednesday 23rd, Thursday 24th for both camps & Friday 25th April as numbers are Time: 11am – 1 o’clock limited Age: 6–12 yrs Adm: €30 (€15 non-refundable deposit required) A mixed media art and craft camp that offers participants the chance to try their hand at using different media and materials to create art and craft pieces inspired by Ireland’s heritage, culture and traditions. Children will get to take home everything they make. They may also make some new friends and meet old ones along the way.

MEDIEVAL SUMMER CAMP in association with Festival Cluain Meala

Dates: Tuesday 5th, Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th & Friday 8th August Age: 6-8 year olds will run from 9.30am–12.30pm and 9–13 year olds will run from 2pm–5pm. Admission: €75 (€30 non-refundable deposit required before Friday 6th July). Family discounts are available. Four day camp aims to give children a taste of what life was like in medieval times. Featuring a mix of art and craft, combat school, re-enactment, hands on activities, interactive sessions, games and presentations. New to this year’s camp is the opportunity for children to practice excavating like a real archaeologist!

Contact Julia: T: 052 61 34564 E: W:

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Hints: ●● Designs from handprints are interesting and make a great present for granny. ●● If they need pattern ideas, use the pictures in a child’s colouring book for line drawings. ●● Kids can use a sewing pencil if they want to draw a design on the shirt, and then use the paint to fill in the design. ●● We used 4 plastic ketchup bottles (from the pound shop). We bought one for the purple, red, yellow, and blue dye. We mixed the dye (per the instructions) cooled it to ‘warm’ and then poured it into the bottles. We wet the t-shirts, wrung out the water, then the children swirled the shirts, put the elastics on, and then dribbled the paint on. It was awesome, no mess at all (we did it on the grass). We let the t-shirts sit a few hours and then lay them out to dry. They turned out fabulous, all the girls were thrilled!

61 Handprint pillow cases Great idea for a gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day (or anyone else too!) What you’ll need: ●● pillow case ●● permanent fabric paint ●● cardboard ●● brushes What you’ll do: ●● Put a piece of cardboard in the middle of the pillow case so the paint doesn’t seep through. In the centre of the pillowcase, write the message: GOOD NIGHT DADDY Pour some paint onto a paper plate and stick both hands (of the child) in it and put the hand prints on either side of the message. The child can then decorate any way he or she wants with stars or moons or hearts, whatever. This could be used for anyone really, but the result is the same, a one of a kind unique and adorable pillow case that let’s the receiver know that he/she is very special in the child’s life.

62 Handprint apron “For Mother’s Day one year, we bought a plain apron and put my children’s handprints on it in different colours. I then mailed it to my sister-in-law and she did the same with her children. Then it was mailed to my mother-in-law. She loves it so much it hangs in her kitchen to this day!” This idea was sent in by Katherine Bowman.

63 Make some cookies 16

This is something to do that is truly rewarding. You can get numerous recipes from the Internet or children’s cookbooks. The project can take 30 mins or three hours depending on the amount of time you have. The choice of varieties is endless: from chocolate to vanilla, nuts to raisins, you will be the most popular person in the house.

64 Cut up an old greeting card picture and make a puzzle (Get some parental help!) Sometimes we just want a simple diversion to pass an hour or so while we wait for the rain to pass or a parent to return or even a friend to call. Why not drag out an old greeting card (Christmas, Easter, Birthday) and cut it up. Before doing so make sure to get permission! Cut it into unusual shapes. The smaller and more numerous the pieces, then the more difficult the puzzle. Use a serrated scissors to get an even more challenging puzzle!

65 Make a film The names Spielberg and Coen are synonymous with the blockbuster movies that Hollywood churns out year after year. However, many British directors such as Danny Boyle and Christopher Nolan have cropped up at Hollywood Oscar night ceremonies in recent years. If you fancy yourself as the next Nolan, or just want to give Spielberg a run for his money, why not make a home movie? The list of subjects for your movie is as limitless as your imagination. You can borrow a video camera or rent one and the world of home movies is at your fingertips. New clubs have cropped up that are dedicated to short films made on mobile phone cameras. Check out www. for some really cool ideas and tips.

66 Make a collage from magazine words and pictures Why not collect together any pictures or captions that attract your attention in newspapers or magazines. You can collect them over a period of time and store them in a shoe-box before getting them all out one rainy day and spending some time

●● For button flip-flops: If the buttons have shanks, remove them with a shank remover (sold in craft stores) or use pliers to twist the shank back and forth until it breaks off. Then hot glue the buttons to the upper straps. ●● For ribbon or rickrack flip-flops: Cut ribbon to fit along straps, and glue in place. Add trim to sides of soles, if desired. Another option: Cut ribbon into strips that are six or seven inches long and tie the strips around the straps until they’re full. ●● For animal flip-flops: Select plastic toy animals that are ‘long and low’, such as alligators, iguanas, snakes, worms, etc., and glue them to the upper straps.

arranging them in a colourful arrangement in your scrapbook or on a piece of cardboard. Glue such as Pritt-stick is ideal for sticking all the pieces on without making a mess or gluing your fingers together! Your collage could have a theme, such as flowers, or food, or it might be based on a particular colour, such as various different shades of red. Whatever collage you make, it will be an entirely unique piece of art! Instead of covering a piece of card with your collage, you might want to cover an old shoe-box to turn it into a beautiful, colourful gift box, or you could even cover a book with your collage. Use your imagination to think of other things that you could makeover with a collage. If you’re lucky enough to go on a summer holiday, you could make a collage of your trip. Collect things like ticket stubs from your holiday, stamps from the area, grains of sand from the beach, a label from an unusual ice-cream you had – anything at all really! Arrange them all in a beautiful collage display that will remind you of a great holiday.

67 Decorate a pair of flip-flops It’s a familiar sound of summer: the flip-flop-flip-flop patter of rubber sandals, worn by kids everywhere. These inexpensive beach shoes are trendy and readily available at places including chain clothes shops, supermarkets, chemists and even petrol stations! Flip-flops come in a wide range of colours, but crafty kids can add fun embellishments. If the decorations look faded or worn out by summer’s end, these fun foot fashions are so inexpensive that you’ll want to start over again next year! What you’ll need: ●● A plain pair of flip-flops ●● Favourite decorations such as silk flowers, plastic ‘gems’, buttons, shiny paillettes, thin silk or grosgrain ribbon, rickrack trim, small plastic or stretchy toy animals, feathers... whatever suits their fancy! ●● Hot glue gun (for adults only) What you’ll do: For silk flower, gem or paillette flip-flops: Remove stems from flowers and reserve some leaves if desired. Let kids design their

●● For feather flip-flops: Glue on as many as your ticklish toes can stand!

68 Make paper bag people

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

foot fashions, then an adult can hot glue the flowers, gems or paillettes to the upper straps, making sure they don’t interfere with toes!

What you’ll need: ●● Large paper shopping bag or grocery bag (don’t worry about designs on the outside) ●● Scissors ●● Handheld hole punch; if you don’t have one, use sharptipped scissors to punch holes ●● Several paper clips ●● Yarn or twine ●● Several sheets of newspaper ●● Masking tape ●● Markers or crayons What you’ll do: ●● Cut off the bottom of the bag and trim off any handles. Cut along one corner so the bag lies flat. Fold the bag in half and draw a large outline of a person, like a giant gingerbread man, with rounded hands and feet. ●● Cut through both layers of the bag to get two ‘paper people’ patterns. Using paper clips to hold the two pieces together, punch holes all around the outside edge, about one inch apart and one inch in from the edge. Remove paper clips. ●● Place each pattern plain side up (any advertising logos on the outside of the bag will be hidden inside when sewn together). Use markers or crayons to decorate the front and back of the paper person. ●● Cut a long length of yarn or twine and wrap a piece of masking tape around one end to use as a ‘needle’. Place the paper patterns on top of each other, with the ad logos facing inside. Sew the pieces together, lacing the yarn through the holes. ●● When you have about 10 holes left, stop sewing and stuff the paper person with small balls made from crumpled newspaper. Finish sewing it together and tie a knot at the end. ●● For extra fun, tie on some lengths of yarn at the top of the head for ‘hair’.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

69 Make a marble and straw painting Near the end of the summer holidays, you’re ready to lose your marbles. Instead, pull out a handful of real marbles for a fun time. You can create fascinating abstract designs with marbles and paint. What you’ll need: ●● Deep aluminium lasagne tray, preferably with a flat bottom ●● Craft paper ●● Masking tape ●● Poster paints in assorted colours ●● Glass marbles ●● Drinking straws (optional) ●● String (optional) What you’ll do: ●● Cut a piece of craft paper to fit the inside of the tray. Secure the paper to the tray with some tape. ●● Place a coin-sized pool of paint on the paper, then add one or more marbles to the tray and tilt the tray back and forth. As the marbles roll around, they will spread the paint in an abstract design. ●● Remove the marbles and wash them to remove the paint. Wait until the painting is dry before repeating the process with another colour, if desired. ●● For a different effect, add several colours of paint at one time and let the marble motions blend the colours together. ●● To make ‘blow art’, place the tip of a drinking straw right next to - but not in - a puddle of paint. Blow gently to spread the paint outward. If the paint is not moving easily, thin it first with a few drops of water. ●● One more technique: Drag a string through a paint puddle. Use a new piece of string for each colour.

70 Make a tissue paper suncatcher To celebrate the long, sunny days of summer, try a craft that captures the strong rays of the sun! This project also lets kids tear paper into lots of little pieces - an activity that will appeal to young ‘mess makers’. What you’ll need: ●● Package of tissue paper in assorted colours ●● Clear contact paper ●● Hole punch What you’ll do: ●● Tear various colours of tissue paper into tiny pieces. Use scissors or tear the edges by hand – whatever artistic look you prefer. Place the tissue paper bits in a bowl. ●● Cut two identical lengths of clear contact paper. Very young children may be able to complete a 6-x-6" square before wandering away. Older children who love creative projects may enjoy something as large as a 24-x-18” rectangle. ●● Remove the protective paper from one sheet of the contact paper and lay it flat on the table in front of you. The bits of tissue paper, when placed on the sticky surface, will form the ‘coloured glass’ – either a planned drawing or abstract design. ●● When you are finished, an adult with a steady hand will ‘sandwich’ the artwork by covering it with the second sheet of contact paper.


●● Another option: Trim the sealed artwork into a shape such as a flower, butterfly or arched church window. Punch holes at the top, add a yarn or ribbon hanger and loop the colourful suncatcher over the window lock in a sunny window. (It can also be taped to a window.) It should last several months before the colours fade. But then you’ll have a great excuse to do this fun project again!

72 Summer playdough fun

‘Poetry pebbles’ are a homemade collection of tactile words that can be arranged in any creative order.

Playing with dough helps develop hand strength, muscle control, and eye-hand coordination. It can also be a wonderful outlet for emotions and creativity. If your child is not happy putting her hands into the dough, do not force her to but try coaxing her with a drier dough or try heating it slightly in the microwave (low heat and test it yourself before giving to the child!) You can also experiment with different colours and adding glitter. Below is a collection of different recipes you can make at home for a fraction of the commercial price and making it yourself provides for language and mathematical experiences. Get goopy.

What you’ll need: ●● Bag of translucent glass pebbles. Find them in your craft store in the floral department, or at your local pet store where aquarium supplies are sold. They often come in a variety of colours; if desired, use different colours to distinguish between nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. ●● Permanent fine-tipped marker ●● Dictionary for correct spellings and inspiration


What you’ll do:

Thinned down with water, this recipe makes paste for sticking or a finger-paint base.

●● Use the marker to clearly print a different word on each pebble. Start with familiar nouns, including the names of family and friends, household objects, toys, foods and pronouns such as I, we, they and us. ●● Verbs, such as sleep, eat, play, live and says, should be recognisable (also be sure to include various forms of be, like am, was and were). Add other parts of speech that are needed for fluid sentences, such as with and because. ●● Add fun adjectives and adverbs, including crazy, silly, colourful, soft and funny. Reserve a few pebbles -- you can write new words on them as needed. Help very young children create simple sentences with the poetry pebbles. The pebbles are also great for word recognition games. Older children can use the pebbles to create stories and poems. ●● Store the pebbles in a drawstring shoe bag or a tight-fitting box lined with a piece of felt.

●● 1 cup salt ●● 2 cups flour ●● 1 cup water ●● Colouring optional

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

71 Make some pebble poetry

Keeps at least one week in a plastic bag in the fridge. DOUGH FOR CUTTERS ●● 1 pound of flour ●● ½ cup of salt ●● a few drops of olive oil ●● water to mix ●● Colouring optional Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and then add oil and colouring. Pour the water in slowly while you pull the mixture together with a spoon. When the mixture begins to bind, squeeze together with your hand and knead until quite smooth.

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You’re very welcome at the Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort

Facilities for children include: c Kids pool c Ki ds Club c Outdoor playgr ound c Kids drop-in pl ayroom c Play area in the restaurant c Special childre n’s menu

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101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

STRETCHY DOUGH ●● This is a lot of fun to play with, but it does not keep. ●● ½ bag self-raising flour ●● just under ¾ pint of water GOOPY SLIME This is a favourite! Lots of fun and very messy. ●● 2 cups water ●● ½ cup cornstarch ●● food colouring Boil the water in a pan. Add the cornstarch while stirring. When well mixed, add the colour. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Play with on a plastic surface (for ease of cleaning).

73 Make a ‘Footerfly’ print This is ideal for babies and toddlers. Just make sure to get everything ready first! Pick two or three colours of paint. Paint the toes and ball of your toddlers foot with one colour, the heel with another colour and the mid-section of the foot with the third colour, if using. Make a print with the painted foot. LONG-LIFE DOUGH This dough lasts longer and is similar to the texture of storebought dough. It will last a long time if kept in an air-tight container. ●● 1 pound flour ●● 1 cup salt ●● 3 teaspoons cream of tartar ●● A few drops of olive oil ●● ½ pint cold water ●● colouring Place all dry ingredients together in a non-stick pan and mix. Add oil and colouring. Slowly mix in the water while stirring. When mixed, continue to stir over a gentle heat. The mixture will stick to the pan so you must continue to stir. When the mixture turns into a ball, remove it from the pan and knead it until smooth. It is ready for use when cool. AIR-DRYING DOUGH When exposed to the air, this dough will dry very hard and can then be painted and glazed. ●● 1 cup corn flour ●● 2 cups bicarbonate of soda ●● 1¼ cups water


Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened to a dough-like consistency. Turn onto a board and knead lightly. Cover with a damp cloth until cool then shape as desired. Keep any unused portions covered with a damp cloth or aluminium foil.

Repeat the painting of the second foot. When you are making the print, place the foot on the ‘wrong’ side of the first print, as if the feet were crossed, rather than standing properly. The end result is that the footprints should look like butterfly wings, with the big toes as the outermost tips of the tops of the wings. Paint the body of the butterfly, with antennae in between the two footprints.

learn that you’ve never done before 74 Learn to ride Lots of little girls love ponies but plenty of boys have in an interest in all things equine. Here at Tulligmore Equestrian Centre in Ballinhassig, Co Cork there is a course to suit all budding riders. Activities include ‘Saddle Club’ with progressive badges and certs, two hours of riding daily, pony games, showjumping, dressage and an end of week gymkhana with stable management, quizzes and games.

can be group, semi private or private. All instructors are fully qualified with BHS examinations. Camps are run during all school holiday breaks for junior, intermediate and senior riders from 10am to 2pm and 10am to 4pm. Keep an eye on our website for all the upcoming camp details. Contact Norma on 086 8557744 or book online at!

75 Learn to play tennis Parks Tennis Coaching for children nationwide

With indoor and outdoor arenas, a playground, art room, lunch rooms and individual lockers there is plenty to keep your youngsters busy and warm regardless of the weather.

Parents who are looking for a low cost healthy activity for children can avail of this low cost subsidised tennis coaching for girls and boys, 6 to 17 years, beginners and improvers, in 165 venues nationwide. What better way to make the most of their leisure time than introducing them to tennis on your local public tennis courts, community centres or club in every county in Ireland. All venues listed on website.

Regular weekly lessons are held with safe and suitable horses and ponies through from the beginner to advanced. Lessons

It takes place mostly during July but times and dates can vary. Some programmes operate

As well as pony related activities there will be team games, treks and trails and arts and crafts with a qualified art teacher.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Fun things to...

SUMMER SAILING & WATERSPORTS CAMPS at the Irish National Sailing School • Saturday sailing during the school term • Birthday parties • Easter camps • Summer camps • Halloween camps


• Riding school • C hildren, teenagers – private and group lessons • A dult – beginners to advanced – private and group lessons • Livery yard with onsite laundry • Saddlery, gift shop and café • R egular children’s camps run throughout summer, Halloween, Christmas and Easter

Based in Dun Laoghaire we are the foremost provider of children’s sailing courses in Ireland catering for ages 4-18 years. T: 01 284 4195 E:

• O utdoor and indoor arenas, trekking trails, playground, arts and crafts centre For further information contact Norma on 086 8557744 or visit

Association of Irish Riding Establishments approved

Tulligmore Equestrian Centre, Ballinhassig, Co Cork


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

all year round. Girls and boys have fun, meet new friends, and learn to play tennis. Use of racquets and balls is included in the fee. All children need is their beloved trainers, tracksuit and a small fee which varies according to duration and venues. On arrival they will be greeted by local friendly tennis coaches. This is a huge opportunity to engage young people, not only in tennis-specific skills, but also in additional fundamental movement skills necessary for their physical well-being. Times and venues vary – log into or contact or call 01 8338711. Sponsored by The Irish Sports Council.

76 Go to summer camp There are hundreds of summer camps to choose from in Ireland. They cover activities as diverse as football, art, cooking and sailing, and the list of themes is virtually endless! You can go mountain biking, rock climbing, horse riding or swimming. Most are well supervised and relatively inexpensive. Remember to always check out the level of supervision and that the camp is registered and insured.

Children should wear lifejackets at all times

Lifejackets for emergency use are provided on all charter yachts. Check you have children’s jackets before you leave the marina. For anyone under 7, we recommend taking their own lifejacket that fits and that he/she likes wearing. Children should wear lifejackets at all times and you can tie your lifejacket to a central point in the cockpit so that while at sea, you can move freely but only as far as the guardrails.

77 Learn to swim

The skipper’s command must be obeyed quickly and without question, whether it is a parent or not.

We live on a small island; therefore we are surrounded by water, so knowing how to swim is very important for everyone. Children learn to swim much easier than adults; they are fearless and take to instruction quite easily. So this summer why not check out where the nearest lessons are available and give it a go. Swimming can be fun for all the family. If you know how to swim already, well done, and be safe this summer.

Take a look at the Irish National Sailing School website for more information on sailing in general, as well as details of courses in South Dublin.

78 Learn to sail A sailing holiday is a wonderful experience for children. But for it to be equally wonderful for the parents, it does help to plan ahead. Some people have been sailing on the high seas single handed with children as young as 4 months. Children absolutely adore the romance and excitement of boats.

LIVING ONBOARD The motion of the yacht is quite soporific so babies/children are often drowsy while under way. Use a loose cotton beach wrap to drape over a sleeping child to give complete sun protection in the cockpit. It is essential that all sailors understand how to use a marine toilet. There is a rather distasteful rule: “Don’t put anything in the toilet you haven’t eaten first.” Use facilities ashore whenever you are on land. Long sleeved loose cotton shirts and trousers are useful for sun protection as well as high factor waterproof sunscreen. Sunhats are important (especially legionnaire caps with protection for the back of the neck) but need elastic under the chin or they soon blow away. For swimming (and especially snorkelling) a ‘swim T-shirt’ is useful as you may end up staying in the water for hours, especially on holidays, and young backs get easily burnt. Wet wipes and anti-bacterial liquid soap are very useful in the heat. Mosquito spray for ankles is needed going ashore, especially in the evening, and antihistamine cream is useful for bites. If allowed, why not try steering towards a point on the headline or on a compass setting, spotting buoys, tending the dinghy, even recording the ship’s log. Sailing is hungry work so have enough snacks to keep yourself going while on longer passages, e.g. crisps, biscuits, sandwiches. Ginger nut biscuits are said to help seasickness.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do on...

car journeys Car journeys with children can become loud, distracting for the driver and boring for children who then become whiny and sometimes even carsick. The following few tips should give a few ideas to make the particularly long car journeys pass that little bit quicker, and with less trauma.

79 Games for the car Here’s some games to play on those boring car rides! This project is rated VERY EASY to do. What you’ll need: ●● Cardboard ●● Construction paper ●● Ice-lolly sticks ●● Scissors ●● Ruler ●● Pencil ●● Glue What you’ll do: ●● Cut a piece of cardboard into a 6x6” square. ●● Lay four ice-lolly sticks across it like a Noughts and Crosses board and then glue them down. You may have to cut the icelolly sticks so there are no cracks. ●● Take any colour of construction paper (let’s say it’s Easter). Cut out eggs as your pieces. Make 10 – 5 of any colour for one person and 5 of another colour for the other person. ●● You can use chips. ●● You can colour your cardboard. ●● Next, Noughts and Crosses!

More fun ideas: ●● Counting Games: Pick a category of things to count: red cars, lorries, houses, cows etc. Then count them. Have kids estimate how long it will take you to see 20 red cars, or pass 30 houses. ●● Hangman: Generations of school-age kids have loved this simple game and all you need is paper and pens!. The first player thinks of a person, place, movie or book title – it could be anything, really. Instead of writing out the saying, she leaves an underscore for each letter in each word. The second player guesses one letter at a time. If the mystery saying contains the letter, it is written in the correct place. If not, the first player draws a head on the hangman scaffold. When enough incorrect letters have been guessed, the dead body is complete and the second player loses. If the guesser solves the puzzle before the body is complete, he wins.

80 Have a family ‘imagine this’ session Gather your family around the table, or laze out in the back garden with this storytelling game. It also makes a great in-thecar game if you’re heading off on a journey. Each round of the game begins with the first speaker saying “Imagine this...” and introducing the start of a story (“Imagine this: You are a princess in a castle...”). Each family member then adds a line (for instance, “...and I have a pink pony!”). Continue until everyone has added a line, or keep going around and around if you’re all on a roll. Remember, each line can be as silly as the person wants to make it – that’s part of the fun!


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do on...

days out

The Summer is the perfect time to spend an entire day out visiting new places and things. The following tips include visits to places that you wouldn’t have time to do on a normal afternoon after school.

81 Visit Westport House

Cork City Gaol

Award-winning Westport House is the perfect destination for family fun, heritage and adventure activity. The beautiful historic house and its stunning interiors are complimented by equally stunning woods, lake and parkland grounds. Visitors love the story of the survival of the house - and the family who still own it - going back as far as Grace O’Malley, the 16th century Pirate Queen. The aptly-named Pirate Adventure Park is perfectly suited to children under 12 years. It will leave them screaming for more with rides, slides, boats, trains, pitch & putt, go karting as well as playgrounds and an indoor softplay. Adventurers from 8 years upwards will enjoy zorbing, zip wires, high ropes, archery and laser combat games. Create magical family memories at Westport House! Visit

82 Visit Croke Park Another great thing about Ireland is our access to sporting events. We have some of the best annual golf tournaments, rugby competitions and soccer contests in the world. It goes without saying that our GAA sports structure is the envy of sporting bodies the world over. This summer why not make your way to Croke Park and embrace a little bit of Irish sporting culture.

83 Visit a gaol Cork City Gaol 2km n/w of Patrick Street (and also on City Open Top Bus Route) Cork City Gaol is a ‘must visit’ city attraction. Furnished cells, amazingly lifelike wax figures, sound effects and fascinating exhibitions allow visitors experience daily life for prisoners and gaolers. Wandering through the Cell Wings the atmosphere suggests you are accompanied by the shuffling feet of former inmates, each representing their particular period in Irish history from pre-famine times to the foundation of the State. Original graffiti on cell walls tell the inner-most feelings of some inmates! A spectacular presentation of social history 1824-1923, suitable for all ages and nationalities (tours in 14 languages). Open Daily. Allow 1 hour for the Gaol Visit.


Or for parents, if you fancy a night out with a difference, Cork City Gaol do a night tour where you can mingle with the ghosts and inmates past, and listen for the shuffle of feet in the atmospheric setting of the West Wing. Every Thursday night the

Westport House

tour starts at 6pm. No minimum required. e10 per person. The tour takes approximately one hour and must be booked online in advance Convent Avenue, Sundays Well, Cork City. Email

84 Get creative at Rothe House & Garden Rothe House & Garden is located in the heart of Medieval Kilkenny city, and is a 400 year old townhouse and garden. Throughout the year, there is a calendar of Children’s workshops held, usually at half term and during the summer holidays. These workshops are themed: summer, Halloween, arts & crafts, Christmas etc. and tie in with Kilkenny Arts Festival and National Heritage Week. But they all have one thing in common – they are fun! Children between the ages of 5 and 12 spend two hours creating, drawing, colouring and then take home what they have made. Mary and Sinead work with the children during the two hour workshop, and encourage their artistic flair to come out. Places are limited, so it is always advisable to book in advance. For more details see, or telephone 056 7722893.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

85 Visit a chocolate factory

Rothe House & Garden

Ever wondered what takes place behind the doors of a chocolate factory? Well now is your chance to find out! What better way to do it, than to visit the Butlers Chocolate Experience Tour and surround yourself in deliciously mouthwatering chocolate? Discover where Butlers Chocolates come from and how they are made, through a chocolate movie. Wander the chocolate museum or how about seeing the Butlers Chocolate factory from a bird’s eye view as the tour guide explains how Butlers fudge, toffee, chocolate bars and assortments are produced. And that’s not all – dress up as a chocolatier and decorate your very own chocolate souvenir. Did we mention you get to enjoy plenty of chocolate tasting opportunities along the way! So what are you waiting for? Advance booking is required. Tours run daily Monday to Friday. Telephone: 01- 6710599, email or book online to avail 5% discount at

86 Visit the highest waterfall in ireland Visit Ireland’s highest waterfall set in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.

Butlers Chocolate Experience

●● Experience Ireland’s highest waterfall

●● Have a fun-filled time at the playground!

●● Explore nature in the parkland

Open 7 Days a week. Summer Opening Times (May – August) 9.30am to 7pm (Last Entry 6.30pm)

●● Enjoy a Woodland Walk ●● Indulge in a sizzling BBQ or picnic

West Visit port H for de specia als & l offe rs!

Treasure Your Family Time!


Best Family Visitor Attraction



Westport House, Co. Mayo | +353 (0)98 27766 |


25 Best Halloween Event

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Mizen Head Signal Station

88 Get a family portrait taken Make a day out of getting that special picture taken of the whole family! Choose from basic packages to fun sessions where the kids can dress up or the family pet can be included. Here are some Do’s and Dont’s to guide you through the process and make sure you get that perfect shot:

a Head is h Mizen dolphin watc e r e d h n t a whale n and often r e io d t n a loc re seals u a ge! the brid

●● Consider coordinating your outfits! This doesn’t mean that everyone has to wear exactly the same thing, but if everyone wears earthy tones, pastels or shades of a particular colour, it helps the flow of the picture and ties the family together nicely. Steer clear of brightly patterned clothing or logos that might distract from the people in the photo. ●● Make sure the kids are prepared for what to expect during their photo shoot! Let them bring any props such as a favourite toy that will help them to feel more natural in front of the camera. Joke around and have fun to bring out those natural smiles! ●● Minimise cost by planning around what you already own. You don’t have to go out and buy new or special clothes for the kids – in fact, it may look stiff and unnatural if you do. ●● Know what you want and communicate this to your photographer ahead of time. Make sure to have a chat about the location, props and poses you’re planning on using.

87 Visit a signal station Mizen Head Signal Station at Ireland’s most Southwesterly point, in West Cork, is a dramatic place to visit. The Visitor Centre with Café, Gift Shop and Toilets is up at the car park. There are some displays in that building too. But then the outdoor experience starts!

●● Be spontaneous! Family portraits don’t have to be posed in a studio. Outdoor photos offer natural, flattering lighting and endless options. Consider getting your family photo taken walking the dog, dancing, or jumping in the air!

The path to the Signal Station goes down the cliffs to the Bridge and out to the point and the former Keepers’ Quarters with its interpretive displays. Along the way there are several paths up to wonderful views north up the coast to the Sheep’s Head and Beara Peninsulas and south down to the search. There is plenty to do and see. This is a world renowned whale and dolphin watch location and often there are seals under the bridge. The Bridge was closed for demolition and reconstruction for 18 months and reopened in March 2011. In November Mizen Head Bridge won the 2011 Engineering Project of the Year in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards and a Commendation in the category for Heritage Award for Building or Infrastructure Projects for the Institution of Structural Engineers. The Structural Awards are the world’s pre-eminent awards for structural engineering excellence. MIZEN CAFÉ: Homemade lunch, snacks, teas & coffees, GIFT SHOP: Souvenirs, books, cards and toys, toilet & baby changing facilities OPENING HOURS DAILY: June – Aug 10am to 6pm Mid -Mar, Apr, May, Sept, Oct 10.30am-5pm Nov-Mid-Mar Weekends 11am-4pm


TICKET PRICES: Adults e6, Seniors/Students e4.50, Child u12 e3.50, Child u 5 Free, Family Ticket (2A3C) e18, Groups 10+ less 10% 00 353 28 35225/35115

. Kerry Ballybunion Beach, Co

There is little that kids love more than a trip to the beach! Whether you live near the seaside or have to travel a bit further, sea, sand and surf are always a big treat. Let your kids try their hands at building sand castles, or burying Mum and Dad! There might be caves to explore, or rock pools to examine for beach wildlife. Remember, no environment is risk free so follow these tips to ensure a safe and fun day out for everyone: ●● Learn to swim, and swim near a lifeguard. Children should never go into the sea unless they are confident swimmers, and should never swim unsupervised by parents. Don’t rely on body boards and other flotation devices in place of swimming ability. Swimming is always safer with a lifeguard on duty and a swimming buddy, like a sibling or friend. It’s more fun, too! ●● Always obey warning signs and flags, and never tamper with lifesaving equipment. Lifebuoys may look fun, but they are there for emergencies! Signs and flags are there to alert you to beach rules and safety conditions. ●● Don’t forget sunscreen! Sunscreen is essential to protecting you and your family from harmful UV rays that can lead to painful sunburn. It should be applied frequently during your time at the beach, especially after spending time in the water. Be safe and have fun!

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

89 Go to the beach

90 Visit a planetarium A visit to a planetarium is an engaging and educational trip for the whole family. Kids will be awestruck by the experience of getting up close and personal with the night sky. Check www.astronomy. ie for your nearest planetarium with features such as a digital theatre, an observatory, special exhibitions and daily activities for kids to teach them about astronomy in an exciting way!

91 Visit a farm There is bound to be an open farm somewhere near you, where members of the public can feed and pet farmyard animals such as sheep and chickens. It’s a great way to teach kids about their local agriculture and to have respect for animals. Different farms offer different levels of involvement, so check your local farm to see what your kids can get up to. We’ve given details of some great farms below. Fruit farms are another great option, where the whole family can visit and pick their own fruit. It’s a fantastic way to encourage kids to eat healthy produce and support local farmers. Butlers Experience_Advertisement_85x120 FAO.pdf




Mizen Head







Ireland’s Most Southwesterly point! CY


For all ages in any weather

The Harbour Road, Goleen West Cork, Ireland

T: 028 35225/35115


OPEN DAILY FROM: Mid March – October WEEKENDS: November – Mid March


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

92 Copper Coast Mini Farm Copper Coast Mini Farm call themselves the friendliest little pet farm in the world! Set on the stunningly beautiful Copper Coast the farm features a giant roofed sandpit equipped with buckets and spades, friendly farm animals, a pedal go-cart track, picnic barn, museum, playhouses, animal barn and cosy tearooms serving home baking and luxury coffees. ●● Birthday parties and school, scout, play groups are also catered for.

Copper Coast Mini Farm

●● Feed and pet the friendly animals and find out where our food comes from. ●● This venue is part of the family friendly initiative led by Failte Ireland. Facilities include free parking, baby changing room, bottle and baby food heating, high chairs, spare bibs, ●● colouring and toy table in the tearooms, buggy and wheelchair access, and disabled toilet. ●● Staff are trained in first aid and customer care. Copper Coast Mini Farm is located on the R675, 5 minutes from Tramore, Co Waterford. For opening times and admission fees check out or phone on 051 396870

93 Stonebrook Farm At Stonebrook Pet Farm, you can meet all your favourite farmyard animals and enjoy a spectacular setting. Activities include collecting fresh eggs, bottle feeding pet lambs in the spring, holding baby chicks, ducklings and more! They are open weekends and bank holidays from 2-5pm during May and June, and Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 2-5pm during July and August. Guided tours run at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Visitors can bring their own picnic to the large play area, or enjoy a cuppa in the Country Kitchen. Group bookings and parties are available weekdays and weekends by appointment. For more information visit or email Alternatively call Jackie on 086 266 1720

Copper Coast Mini Farm

94 Go to a drive-in cinema Movie Junction is a 2 screen drive-in cinema in Fota Retail Park, Carrigtwohill, Cork, just a 5 minute drive from Cork City. A two screen Dublin version will be opening soon. Both open 7 nights a week showing the best of Hollywood blockbusters, classics and kids movies. Experience a different concept for Cinema in Ireland, where people can enjoy freshly made warm popcorn while they wait for Four Star Pizza to deliver their favourite hot food to their car as they enjoy the latest blockbusters. People don’t have to turn off their mobiles, and they can bring their children with complete peace of mind. The kids movies are always a big hit with families such as the Lion King and Happy Feet 2, as well as new releases. With the largest screens ever at 2,500 square feet, customers listen to the films via their car radio on a dedicated channel. There is tiered parking for full view on screen for every car
and space for 100 cars per screen. Heaters/demisters are provided on site. For screenings and times, visit

95 Visit a discovery centre The Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, Craigavon, Co. Armagh. 028 3832 2205


Stonebrook Pet Farm

Experience the history of the Lough and its wildlife through exciting exhibitions and stroll the shoreline on a peaceful guided walk.

There are six national parks in Ireland. Taking a walk in one is a chance to immerse yourself in raw, unspoilt nature. The landscapes of these protected areas vary dramatically. From the Burren’s shattered limestone rock garden to Killarney National Park’s shimmering lakes and exquisite natural woodland, each and every park is a hiker’s dream. Of course, you don’t have to go hiking to enjoy the beauty of the national parks. Just a sit down and leisurely picnic in a national park is a wonderful way to spend a sunny day out. The Burren is probably Ireland’s best known national park. More than 700 different flowering plants and ferns have been recorded there. Thus, although the Burren represents only 1% of the land-mass of Ireland, 75% of the Irish native species are contained in the area.

Connemara ponies

highest peaks – Errigal and Slieve Snaght, and there are many shorter waymarked trails too. In fact, there are guided family walks that would be suitable for younger children. Ballycroy National Park in northwest Mayo is the newest in the country. Dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range, it is a remote and unspoilt wilderness where Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain stretch into the distance.

Killarney National Park was established in 1932 to protect one of Ireland’s most precious natural habitats. Beneath the wild, rugged summits of the country’s highest mountains, it encloses a beautiful sylvan landscape of ancient woodland, spectacular waterfalls and quiet lakes. A great place to start exploring is the Muckross Estate, 5km south of Killarney Town on the famous Ring of Kerry. Most routes centre around Muckross Lake, and the quickest circuit takes around three hours. There are optional side-trips to Torc Waterfall, and these can add two or more hours to your walk.

Several of the imposing Twelve Bens are within the Connemara National Park so it’s little wonder that there’s plenty of challenging hiking on offer. But there are also more sedate routes. Pick up nature trail booklets at the visitor centre near Letterfrack. There are plenty of discoveries to be made in Connemara that young and old will be keenly interested in. Remnants of times past include ruined houses, a disused lime kiln, old sheep pens, an ice house, ancient walls and Tobar Mweelin, a well which was formerly used to supply water to Kylemore Castle.

With mountains, moorlands, lakes and woods, Glenveagh National Park in north-west Donegal offers a real wilderness feel. Experienced hikers might be tempted to climb the two

The Wicklow Mountains National Park is more usually simply referred to as Glendalough, and offers a network of nine waymarked trails. If you’re handy with a map and compass, that’s

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

96 Visit a national park

Fun, creative, educational and imaginative... Visit the historic early 17th century merchant’s townhouse in Kilkenny and discover the historic garden and musuem. Fabulous themed workshops are also available, where children learn about history, nature, seasons and more through activity and creativity, bringing home with them all that they make. Workshops available for children aged 5–12, €8 per child

For further information and calendar of events:

T: 56 7722893 E:


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

just the start. This park is also a great place for spying on nature. It is one of Ireland’s major deer habitats and bird species include ravens, red grouse, skylarks and meadow pipits. Each national park has it’s own online information. Take a look at

97 Visit an aquarium A visit to an aquarium is a great way to spend a day out, and is ideal if it’s raining! An afternoon spent wandering around an aquarium is enjoyable and relaxing for children (and adults) of all ages. Galway Atlantaquaria, National Aquarium of Ireland offers a view of the world of water through clear and interesting displays, informed helpful staff and exciting live presentations and animal interaction sessions.

Titanic Experience Cobh

The aquatic life are shown in habitats that would be almost exactly like their habitat in the wild, and so is a fantastic way to view and learn about the marine life of Ireland without having to get into the cold Irish Sea!

98 Titanic Experience The story of a legend and her connection to Titanic Experience Cobh is a permanent visitor centre, located in the original White Star Line Ticket Office in the centre of Cobh town (formally known as Queenstown) the departure point for the final 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic. Our visitor experience is presented in two parts. The first is an exciting immersive audio visual tour retracing the steps of the 123 passengers who boarded Titanic from Queenstown on April 11th 1912. Experience their anticipation of the long journey ahead and their new life waiting in America. With Fourth Officer Boxall as your virtual guide and using innovative audio visual technology and replica set designs, ‘passengers’ will experience what life would have been like on board for those 123 passengers. Passengers will share the excitement of boarding the most luxurious liner of her time and feel the horror of the tragedy on that fateful night on the 15th April 1912. The second part of the Titanic Experience examines how it all went wrong. The unbelievable and ‘almost’ impossible sequence of events that occurred to cause Titanic to sink. Using computer generated graphics to recreate the collision and subsequent sinking, film analysis of the Titanic on the seabed and expert interviews these interactive exhibits allow visitors to find out how and why the Titanic sank on that fateful night. Touchscreen computers allow you to look at the personalities on board the ship and in particular to discover the fate of our 123 Queenstown passengers. Titanic Experience Cobh is open 7 days per week from 9:00am to 6:00pm and our last tour is at 5:00pm in the Summer months and 7 days per week from 10:00 to 5:30pm with our last tour at 4:30pm in the Winter months.


Model Railway Village

99 Visit a model railway West Cork Model Railway Village is a great day out for the whole family. Not just for train enthusiasts, it has indoor and outdoor play areas. See the advert for more details. West Cork Model Railway Village, Clonakilty, West Cork 023 33224

100 Visit a craft shop It is well known that kids can be very creative and imaginative. Ireland has numerous craft shops and visitors centres offering all the family the opportunity to see unique and well crafted objects. Who knows you may have an aspiring craftsman in your midst. People craft in wood, steel, clay, cloth etc. So as a family why not check out the many centres around the country.

101 Visit a dolls house Tara’s Palace - Dolls house

Facilities include; Coach parking, Wheelchair accessibility, Restaurant and Titanic Merchandise Shopping. The tour is also available in French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Meticulously constructed by Irish craftsmen over a 10 year period, its design encapsulates the grandeur and elegance of three great 18th century mansions – Leister House, Castletown House and Carlton House.

Contact or visit for more details.

Malahide Castle Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin. 01 846 3779

rainy days 102 Enter a competition We have a great competition on page 37... win a three night stay and play including three nights camping pitch and three days tickets to Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park for a family of four – a value of e215! Why not enter today?

103 SEND A POSTCARD You don’t have to be on a foreign holiday to send postcards to people. On pieces of card, draw pictures of where you have been during your school holidays and what you have been doing. These pictures can be on the front of your postcard.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do on...

Then draw a line down the middle of the blank side. Keep the right hand side of the line for the postal address, and the left side of the line for your holiday message. You will have created a unique postcard, made personally for the person of your choice!



West Cork’s leading school tour destination • Dedicated tour leader • Educational and fun activities • Indoor and outdoor • Choo Choo train tour West Cork Model Railway Village, Clonakilty. T: (023) 883 3224 E: modelrailwayvillage


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

104 Lay out a calendar for every day of the Summer Make a daily calendar for each day of this year’s summer. Why not start organising different events, activities and projects now to fill the long summer days of this year. Remember that you may go on summer holiday so on these days you will be able to choose from local events etc. This would be a good time also to use the simple games previously made during crafts projects. Let the children help fill in the calendar. They know best what will entertain them and as we know all kids love routine.

107 Make dinner for your family This mission is one that is high on the shockability Richter scale!!! Plan dinner for the whole family some evening. Think of a menu that is easy to make and not too costly. Remember that Mummy may have lots of simple recipes to choose from in her collection of cookbooks. Remember the family will be even more impressed if you clean up after your day in the kitchen.

108 Compare a book to a film

Cut out and fill in our calendars on pages 49 and 50.

One of the resounding memories of 2nd level exams is the exam question ‘compare and contrast’. Well this time you can have a lot more fun than in the classroom!

105 Make a scrapbook of everything you do this Summer

Pick a film you like and watch it at the cinema or rent it at your local video shop. Then read the book. You will be able to reserve it at your local library. Then, when you have seen one and read the other you can write a short comparison as if you were a movie critic or newspaper journalist reviewing literature.

The basics of scrapbook keeping are dead easy! You can collect everything from flowers to pictures to newspaper cuttings to internet downloads. You can gather amazing amounts of information on subjects as diverse as your family tree, your friends at school, your favourite pop stars or keep a record on your local swimming squad or Premiership club.

109 Write a poem

106 Write a letter to your best friend There really is nothing like staying in touch with friends who live far away. In this age of e-mail and Internet the wonderful art of letter writing can often be ignored. Try to revive it on a wet summer’s day. You do not have to think that hard in order to come up with someone to write to. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are enthusiastic receivers of mail and are quick to respond. Make your letter unique in appearance by using stickers, glitter and different colours for the writing!

This is an exercise that can take quite some time to master but is truly rewarding when done. The subject of your poem can be anything of your choice. The subjects are as boundless as your imagination. To start off, do not feel you should be bound by structure or rhyme. Just write and have fun!

110 Keep a diary A truly fun thing to do is to take some time out to look back on the big events in our lives. In time, there will be nothing more important than those long lazy summer days. Why not get a cheap or disposable camera or use your mobile phone to record all those people, places and things that made the summer special. Under each heading record the events in writing. In no time you will have an enormously special document!

111 Invent a new type of sandwich The most popular food in the world is the simple sandwich! It has millions of food combinations ranging from the simple ham and cheese on rye to the all American favourite peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Why not experiment over a few days. Making a different sandwich each day and record the ingredients. You can use your favourite recipes to bring to school on your first week back.

112 Send balloons with notes in them 32

Here’s an idea that is cheap, cheerful and loads of fun. Make a list of 20 people you know. Write a note to each one. It can be a note

Simply reading aloud, as you do in a classroom situation is nothing compared to the acting skills and dramatic flair required for reading a story to someone on a personal level. Voices can be changed and sound effects added to make the story more entertaining to the audience.

114 Go bowling Wicklow Bowl is located on the way into Wicklow Town from Dublin just off the N11 The biggest and brightest entertainment centre in Co Wicklow whose ground floor comprises of 12 Lanes for Ten Pin Bowling, American pool tables, simulators, air hockey and arcade games. Upstairs is given over to the Under 12s with a 15,000 sq ft indoor play area. With separate areas for all ages, Under 2s, 2 to 4 years and 5 to 12 years, Two mini football pitches, Formula 1 racing cars (separate charge e2.00 per car) and also Bumper Boats (separate charge e2.00 per car). just to say hello or to invite your friends to a party, a video show or day out. Roll them up tightly and wrap an elastic band around each one. Place them in the balloon prior to inflating. It is better to select the larger balloons in a pack for this idea. Then, armed with your list, go to each person and hand them the balloon. They will be pleasantly surprised, especially when they realise that they might have to burst the balloon to read your note!

Our Coffee Dock is open to serve you teas, coffees, scones & snacks as well as a hot food menu. So for rainy days or a just break from the Irish Summer – Wicklow Bowl & Kid Zone is the ONLY place to be in Wicklow. or Phone 0404 65222. Check out our specials on Facebook

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101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

113 Read someone a story

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things for the...

best sunny days 115 Have a picnic Planning a picnic could not be easier. You just have to know where you want to have it. You can have it in the back garden or you can have it in the park. You can have it at the beach or in a forest. You can drive, walk, swim or cycle to the picnic location of your choice. Remember, all you need are a few sandwiches and drinks to have that perfect summer’s day treat.

116 Go for a spin in a boat When you live on an island like Ireland you can be sure you are not far from the sea. Coupled with the fact we have thousands of kilometres of waterways running through the countryside, and not forgetting our extremely attractive and functional canal systems, then the challenge of taking a boat ride becomes very easy. You can rent small boats by the hour, morning, day or week. You can rent cabin cruisers for all the family. You can even hire your own 30 foot yacht if you wish. At our main sea ports there are boat clubs specifically catering for children. All you have to do is turn up. But remember to adhere to the rules of our waterways and never travel without informing the coast guard or a friend about your time schedule and route, and never ever travel alone or without a life jacket.

117 Draw a picture of your house from the outside In art class in school you have to stick to the curriculum. So, during the summer why not try to do something new. Sketches come in all forms. You do not have to be particularly skilled to draw something, yet if you do have the ability you can create a masterpiece. Start with your family home and then progress onto town buildings, local monuments, attractions or why not just sketch your favourite pop start or film star. There are plenty of photos to work from in the newspapers and magazines.


118 Visit a maze The Millennium Maze is located in Ballinafagh Farm, Prosperous, Naas, County Kildare in Ireland. It was grown to mark the Millennium and is designed in the shape of a St. Brigid’s Cross. The fully grown hedge maze covers approximately 1 acre with more than 1.5 miles of paths, with hedges over 6 feet high. Other activities include: crazy golf, sandpit, pets corner with donkeys, goats, hens, rabbits, etc. The shop and a large picnic area make a great base for those too tired to explore. Ballinafagh Farm offers a great day out for school tours, birthday parties or other family outings. Take a ball of wool with you and unravel it as you wander around the maze, then use it to track your footsteps back to where you started, or let someone else use it to find you in the maze!

119 Take a walk and record the sounds With the modern advances in technology we can now photograph or record with our mobile phones. But do not worry if you do not have access to one. You can still use the old reliable tape recorder. Go for a walk through your city and town and the then continue through a little of the countryside. Visit the zoo or a big shopping centre or any other unusual place. Then go home and try to identify all the sounds you have recorded. Write them down and keep them in a scrap book. You can compare them to sounds recorded on your school tour, holidays or visiting friends or relatives.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

120 Make ice-pops What you’ll need: ●● Fruit juice and chopped fruit (your choice) ●● Plastic moulds or small container of your choice ●● Plastic wrap ●● Toothpicks or lolly sticks What you’ll do: ●● These fruit ice treats are perfect for hot summer days. Fill mould with fruit juice and chopped fruit. Carefully cover tightly with plastic wrap (you want it to be taut across the top) and put in the freezer. When semi-frozen, pop toothpicks/lolly sticks into each one. When firm, reward your children’s patience with these yummy treats. Interesting fruit nectars, such as mango and apricot, make a truly delicious ice-lolly.

121 Improve your football skills Interest in soccer has sky rocketed in last few years with kids not only supporting our own national team but every kid has his or her favourite team in the premiership. There has been an increase in the number of soccer camps throughout the country, a lot of them up and running during the summer but you also have your venues catering for all year round soccer training opportunities. Make contact with your local sports organisation to see what is available and who knows you could be the next budding Roy Keane.

122 Have a barbecue A blue sky, the smell of sausages and burgers sizzling on the grill, OH YES it’s the famous barbecue. What a great way for a family to spend together out in the golden sunshine in their back garden to enjoy the summer break. This is an ideal family gathering but must be carried out in a safe environment.

The A-B-C of B-B-Q As evenings get longer and temperatures begin to rise, the allure of dining alfresco becomes very appealing. And while eating outdoors can be a real pleasure, it can also be very easy to spoil by failing to observe some very simple rules for safe barbecuing. Far too often the good habits we follow in the kitchen go up in smoke when the barbecue is lit. Safefood has some seasonal suggestions to help keep your barbecue events trouble-free. Clean the grill: Barbecues are great fun but do need some thought and planning in order for them to be safe for all to enjoy. Before you even begin to set up your barbecue this year and consider what to cook, it is very important the barbecue grill is given a thorough clean by scrubbing the metal rack with a damp brush dipped in bicarbonate of soda. Cook thoroughly: The big issue when barbecuing is making sure your food has been cooked thoroughly the whole way through. This is particularly important when cooking minced or skewered meats, such as burgers, sausages and kebabs on the barbecue - while the outside may look cooked, and in some cases slightly burnt, the inside can still be raw. Safefood recommends that these meats should be cooked until they are piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices run clear. If you want to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked, then pre-cooking in your kitchen oven, followed immediately by barbecuing, is preferable. Keep cool: When eating outdoors, food is away from your refrigerator for a longer period of time, which can enable germs to multiply rapidly in temperatures above 5oC. With this in mind, it is important to keep perishable foods, such as quiche and salads in the fridge until needed.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

123 Build a treehouse While some tree houses are complicated constructions, with different levels and a roof, you can build your own with some rudimentary materials. Pieces of wood can be used to make the floor of your house, while a canopy of leaves can become the roof. An adult should check over your work in order to give the all-clear and make sure it is safe and sound.

124 The hills are alive Buy a map. Find the highest hill in you’re area and pretend that it is Mount Everest. The Discovery Map series by Ordnance Survey Is a great help with this.

Always get an adult to check your tree house is saf e and sound

When we think of concerts, we think of the mega productions that have come to our country such as U2, Riverdance, Beyoncé or other such internationally recognised artists. However these concerts can be quite expensive and often sell out in advance. There are an abundance of wonderful concerts, most of which are cheap or even free to attend. Check out your local newspaper and notice-boards at the supermarket. Contact your local parish hall to enquire about their upcoming events. Check the internet or join a local player’s troupe.

Safefood recommends the following ingredients for your barbecue menu this summer:

126 Visit the zoo

●● When cooking meat and poultry on the barbecue make sure to turn it regularly to ensure it is cooked evenly on both sides, until piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices run clear

Dublin Zoo, located in the Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin city, is Ireland’s most popular family attraction and welcomed over one million visitors last year. As one of the world’s oldest and most popular zoos, the 28 hectare park is home to some 400 animals in an environment where education and conservation combine for an exciting and unforgettable experience.

●● If you like to marinate your meat, make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not used to coat vegetables or cooked meat ●● If you choose to barbecue any frozen food, it must be completely thawed on the bottom shelf of your fridge before you cook it ●● When handling raw meat and poultry, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially if preparing salads at the same time ●● Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, make sure to keep cooked meat separate from the raw meat and to use separate chopping boards, cooking utensils and plates. Harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and their juices can cross contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning ●● If there are leftovers from the barbecue, allow the food to cool before refrigerating, however make sure to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking. The golden rule for leftovers is – if in doubt, throw it out. So when planning a barbecue this summer, always think food safety and try to plan ahead. You want your friends, family and neighbours going home with memories of a good time, not a bug to remember you by!


125 Attend a concert

For more information on food safety and hygiene, nutrition and sizzling barbecue recipes, visit or call 1850 404 567 (ROI) or 0800 085 1683 (NI)

Dublin Zoo is easily accessible by car or public transport and open all year round from 9.30am daily so be sure to get there early and pack everything into one fun filled family day! For more information and news on events log onto Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 T: 353 (0) 4748900 E:

as a family 127 Visit another country This project is a little bit trickier to execute than writing a letter. However, it is a very rewarding pursuit. We are lucky in Ireland that even though we live on an island we can easily get boats, ferries, trains, and planes to other countries at a relatively low cost. There are some really exciting places to visit in the UK, France, Spain and Belgium all of which are only a few hours from Dublin by boat or plane. The costs are relatively low and the rewards are absolutely tremendous.

128 Recycle bottles and donate the money to a local charity Sometimes supermarkets, schools or small retailers offer fun programmes whereby returned glass bottles are exchangeable for vouchers for cash. These run along the ‘Computers for Schools’ idea and the money raised from the vouchers could be donated to a charity of your choice. The charity may be one that helps sick children, elderly people, the blind, homeless or an animal shelter. Sometimes the vouchers are collected and exchanged for something that a particular charity may need, for example, a guide dog for the blind, or a new lifeboat for the local rescue service.

129 Clean up a nature trail There are plenty of beautiful walks in our Irish countryside – on hills, in forests or along beaches. It is sad to see that sometimes these beautiful locations are marred by the debris left by people, either intentionally or unintentionally. Sometimes the rubbish washed up on beaches is as a result of some fishing nets being damaged, parts of floats or buoys being broken or just from seaweed being washed up during a storm. Fallen leaves can create blockages on walkways through forests. These areas mainly rely on volunteers to keep them clean and safe for people to enjoy. If you look up your local library, you may find that there is a weekly or monthly group of volunteers who meet to maintain these nearby amenities. It can be an enjoyable time whereby you make some new friends!

130 Go backpacking Backpacking is similar to our section on camping. However, traditionally the term backpacking is used to describe a slightly older camper and often describes individuals who stay in rented overnight accommodation. However, for younger backpackers, you can use the term once a backpack is used. The kids can go hill-walking, cycling or trekking with a loaded backpack containing sandwiches, treats, and drinks among other things.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do on...

131 Go camping Camping is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are new to camping, the first thing you should do is become familiar with the basic camping gear you will need. One way

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101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

is to go camping with a seasoned camper. You can quickly learn from them. Basically, you need a shelter, which could be a tent, cabin, or RV, and you need a bed, which could be a combination of sleeping bags and pads, cots, air mattresses, and comforters, and you need to eat, which may or may not require cooking utensils. First time campers usually start out as tent campers, who are also referred to as car campers because they carry all their campground needs in their car (rather than a campervan). Your first tent need not be expensive, but it should provide adequate weather protection. Campgrounds will fall into two basic categories: public or private. Public campgrounds are usually run by a government agency and include those found in national parks and forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, Army Corps of Engineer projects, and in state parks and forests. Private campgrounds are typically RV parks and campground resorts owned by private citizens or businesses. Both public and private campgrounds are well represented on the Internet. As you approach the campground entrance, the excitement begins and your heart beats a little faster. Don’t get too excited yet, there’s still the matter of checking in, picking out a site, and setting up camp. When you first arrive at the campground you’ll want to stop at the campground office and check in. Identify yourself to the campground hosts, and tell them whether you have a reservation or not. They’ll have you fill out a registration form and state the number of campers, how long you intend to stay, and whether you’re tent camping or staying in a campervan. While registering, ask to drive through the campground to pick out a site. Tell them this is your first time here, and you want to see what’s available. The office may have a map so you can see the different areas of the campground. Preparing your campsite: You’ve finally arrived at the campground, and you’re scoping out the area to see which spot looks best for setting up your campsite. What should you be looking for? Look for relatively high, level ground: There is some truth to the saying ‘high and dry’. Pick a spot to set up your tent where it is elevated from the ground around it. In a storm, rain will flow away from your tent, rather than under it. You should never set up your tent on a slope, or you’ll find yourself rolling out of your sleeping bag all night. So avoid campsites in low areas. Check for a water source nearby: Water is essential for camping. You’ll need it for all your drinking, cooking, and cleaning up. When choosing a campsite, check to see how far it is to the nearest water source. You don’t want to have to walk far with a 20 litre container. Find an adequate area for cooking: Don’t ever cook in your tent. Most campsites have a grill and picnic table. For cook stoves, locate a flat area away from any leaves, twigs, or brush that may catch fire. And never leave an unattended campfire burning. Pick another area for cleaning: Campgrounds typically have cleaning stations and water taps. Please don’t use bathrooms or drinking fountains to do your dishes. Don’t kill the flora with hot, soapy water. Use bio-degradable soap, and only dump grey water in designated areas or where it will do no harm.


Find the rubbish bins: Always keep a clean campsite. Collect all litter and keep it gathered away from your tent in a location out of reach of any of the local creatures or pests. It’s a good idea to bring plenty of plastic rubbish bags and change them daily.

Pick a campsite with some shade: It’s nice to have a shady spot to relax in during the heat of the day or while hanging out at the campsite. But as a word of caution, don’t set your tent up under trees when it’s likely to rain. Not only are you a target for lightening strikes, but you’ll also get rained on long after the storm has stopped. Time for recreation: After setting up the campsite it’s time to go do what you came here to do, play. Now is the time to enjoy doing whatever it is that you like to do. To many campers, seeing the campsite set up and smelling the country air is a refreshing change from all of the confines of the city. Take this time to just sit down, get something cold to drink, and relax.

More campsite tips Keep a checklist: Itemise your gear and all the essentials that you use while camping. Depending on when and where you like to camp and what you like to do, the list will be ever changing. But most importantly use it. Plan meal times: Whether it’s just two of you or the whole family, let everyone know when it’s meal time before they run off to play. Meals take more time to prepare at the campground, but it’s also one of the chores that everyone seems to want to help out with. Keep a clean campsite: After meals do a thorough job of cleaning the dishes and the eating area, and put all rubbish in appropriate containers. Never leave food unattended at the campsite because animals will make quick use of it and usually leave quite a mess in the process. Observe campground rules: Campground rules, which are usually posted near the campground entrance, were made so that everyone can enjoy the campground. It only takes one camper from hell to ruin it for everyone else. Be a good neighbour. Take a late night walk: Check out the stars, listen to the silence, smell the fresh air. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Breaking Camp All good things sooner or later come to an end, and the same goes for camping. This is a short but important lesson. There are two important things to learn: don’t leave anything behind, and don’t leave a messy campsite. When it comes time to pack it up and head back to our other lives, consider these tips before departing:

Check the cooler: Dispose of any food wastes, empty out excess water, and replenish the ice, as needed, for the trip home. Dowse the campfire: Make sure the campfire is out. Gather all rubbish: To state it simply, leave no trace. Police the area: A broom and a leaf rake come in handy for grooming the campsite and gathering up the last of any litter. Always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. Take a potty break: Before leaving, take advantage of this opportunity to take a final bathroom break and to wash up a bit. Take a final walk around: Time for one last check. Walk around your vehicle and look around the campsite to see if anything was missed. Say goodbyes: Until next time...

Arriving home after camping The ride home after a camping trip can be long, particularly when you have a hot shower and cosy bed waiting there for you. Before relaxing, there are some final chores that need to be done. Unload your gear: First things first. Unload your car, jeep, or camper and separate everything used on the camping trip. Empty the cooler: Remove all food from your cooler and place it in the refrigerator, then rinse the cooler and allow to dry. Store food items: Return all remaining foods to the pantry, cupboard, or refrigerator. Wash the dishes: Even if you did it at the campground before leaving, it’s still a good sanitary practice to wash them again. Dispose of rubbish: Gather up and dispose of any remaining trash. Do the washing: Before washing the clothes, go outside and shake out all your camping clothes and bedding. Stow away the gear: Shake out all your gear too. If any gear is wet, lay it out or set it up to dry before packing it for storage. Mildew is much easier to prevent than it is to remove.

Store your gear Here are some final tips before you put your gear away... Get out your checklist: Take inventory of your gear as your store it, and note any broken gear that needs repair, missing items that need to be replenished, or items that you want to add to the list. High and dry: Storing gear high helps keep it away from rodents and insects. Keeping it dry helps avoid mildew. Avoid freezing: Any moisture in materials can cause damage from expansion when freezing. Some materials, even when dry, may crack in very cold temperatures. Avoid storing your gear where temperature may drop below freezing. Food smells: Rodents are attracted to the smell of food and can quickly ruin your gear chewing through it to look for food

that is no longer there. To avoid these pests, be sure to air out or wash all gear that smells of food. Remove batteries: To avoid any possibilities of corrosion, remove the batteries from any gadgets and store them separately. Closing notes: Plans for your next camping destination begin with the check list. Add any new items that may further your enjoyment of the great outdoors, and remove any that you found you didn’t need. If you’ve taken a liking to camping, keep notes of the campgrounds you’ve visited, the recipes you tried (and liked), the friends you made at the campground, and any useful tips worth remembering

132 Have a family game night While board games and card games are perfect family games for during the dark winter nights, there are also plenty of games in which the whole family can participate outdoors during the summer. On mainland Europe, groups of people are often seen out in town squares in the evenings enjoying a game of bowls. This is a game that appeals to all ages and only needs a set of balls to play. These are usually available in any shop that sells beach games. Frisbee is another outdoor game that can be played by a family group.

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Stow your gear: Use a brush or rags to wipe off gear as you stow it. Try to pack your gear as you had it when you came to the campground. It’s also a good idea to separate dirty clothes so that they will be ready to be washed when you arrive home.

133 Amusement park adventure A day out at an amusement park is a huge, huge treat for all the family to enjoy. Some tips: Start early: Being among the first ones at the park will ensure a great parking space and fewer crowds. By hitting the rides early, you’ll also be able to break for lunch at a time when the restaurants and concession stands may not be too packed with people. Pace yourself: Don’t stay from sunrise to sunset or you’ll wear yourself out. Young kids especially can become over stimulated by all of the noise and attractions. Keep the peace by taking frequent breaks and limiting the amount of rides. Bring food: many of the food stands will have long queues or yucky food! Bring portable snacks such as apples, cheese, mini bagels, animal crackers and bottled water from home. Save money on admission: Check the theme park’s Website in advance for any discount offers on admission tickets. If you plan to visit the theme park a few times during the year, you may want to consider purchasing a family season pass. In addition to unlimited access, some parks offer perks such as free entry for friends on select days and the ability to jump to the front of any line.

134 Have a family sing-song Sing a song... together! Plan a family sing-along around your favourite children’s music. Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear (as Big Bird always sang) – part of the fun is learning the tunes and lyrics together!


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

What you’ll need: CD player or karaoke machine, CDs of children’s music and Books with song lyrics (optional) What you’ll do: Allow each child and adult to pick one or more songs for which he or she will be the “song leader.” Arrange a performance space with the CD or karaoke machine in the centre (or, if you have a piano -- and a pianist -- near that), and have everyone sit around it. Have each leader get up and practice his or her song along with the track from the CD, and then “teach” the rest of the family the words.

135 Have a family art exhibition Do you have piles of precious artwork from your last year at school? This weekend, sort and organise the ‘keepers’ and then create an ‘exhibition’ in your home. Invite friends and grandparents to come for the ‘gallery’ opening - and serve cheese, fruit, wine and grape juice to make it feel like a real one! What you’ll need

Here is a task that can be turned into a great project for all the family and could end up saving somebody’s life. Your local bookshop, stationery store and some department stores carry very detailed and well illustrated booklets, directories and wall charts giving advice on how to deal with all fire issues in the home. However, a home-made plan can be just as effective if it is properly researched. It can be quite exciting to call in to your local fire station to get their advice, you would never know, you might even get a guided tour if they are not too busy. Remember that whatever form your plan takes, it will need to be produced using sturdy paper as it will be intended to last for quite some time. Another source of useful information is the inexhaustible internet.

138 Have a family talent show in the garden You know you are talented - so show it off! Drop off invitations in your neighbours’ letter-boxes (and invite the other kids to participate) or arrange for grandparents, aunts and uncles to join you for the afternoon.

●● Portfolios and storage bins c Twine ●● Pre-cut mat frames (size will depend on your artwork) ●● Card stock c Paper clips c Acid-free marking pens ●● Cheese c Fruit c Wine c Grape juice

What you’ll need

What you’ll do

●● Markers c Clothesline

●● Earlier in the week, set aside time to go through each of your art projects for the year. Put your favourites on one pile, and the not-so-favourites on another. Go through each of the favourites a second time to select five or six of the really great ones to use for the exhibit, and put the rest in a portfolio, labelled with your name, age and year of school (if 3-D projects are involved, store in large plastic bins).

●● Two flat bed sheets (ones that may get dirty)

●● Frame the exhibition pieces in the mat frames and write your name and age and the title of the work in a corner. For sculptures and other 3-D projects, write this information on the card stock (fold in half to make a ‘tent’ that will stand on its own). ●● For the exhibition, choose a space where your guests will have room to circulate. Run the twine along a wall, and use the paper clips to hang the flat artwork from the string. Set out any 3-D projects on tables around the room. When your guests arrive, walk them around the room and tell them about how you made the artwork, what it means to you and why you considers it to be one of your favourites.

136 Do some family sky-watching Late in the afternoon, or just after sunset, when everyone’s tired from the day’s swimming, playing, eating and all those other summer activities, find a grassy treeless area. Spread out a blanket and just lie down (how’s that for relaxing?). Watch the clouds if it’s daytime, and see what shapes you can see. You can also have a stargazing night: Watch and wait for the first star (make a wish!), and then look for the constellations.


137 Make a fire plan

●● Computer with printer c 8 x11“ printer paper ●● Several 8 x11“ sheets of poster board (one for each ‘act’) ●● One 22 x 28“ sheet of poster board

●● Safety pins c Fabric paint (optional) ●● Folding chairs or lawn chairs What you’ll do ●● A few days before the show, decide what you will perform – a song, a dance, a juggling act, etc. If other children are participating, gather this info (best to ask their mothers) as well. Type up the list of acts on your computer and print it out as a programme to hand out to the audience. ●● Make a sign for each act with the performer’s name and his or her talent using the 8-by-11-inch sheets of poster board. Create a ‘Welcome to our Talent Show’ poster using the 22-by-28-inch sheet of poster board. Create a curtain for your show by folding the top edge of the flat bed sheets over the clothesline and pinning it in place (if you’re feeling really inspired, let the kids decorate the curtain with the fabric paint). In your back garden, string the clothesline between two trees or poles. You now have a stage! Arrange the folding chairs or lawn chairs in rows in front of the stage. ●● At show time, have one adult act as MC and introduce each act using the individual signs. (If the youngest performers need Mum or Dad up on stage with them for support, remind them this is okay.) At the end of the show, have all the performers come out and give a big cast bow to much-deserved applause.

your friends 139 An Óige Want to escape to the great outdoors for a day of outdoor adventure activities? Join EcoAdventure Ireland in beautiful Wicklow or Killarney! Perfect for groups of 10 or more for kids from age 6 upwards and includes: ●● Archery: Will you be the next Robin Hood, or even Katniss from The Hunger Games? ●● Survival Skills: Can you rough it? Survive in the wild using only nature and your wits – build a shelter too! ●● Low Ropes: Put balance and teamwork to the test as you challenge yourself over the low ropes ●● Grass Sledding: Sledding without snow? Crazy but true! Test your nerves with this great adrenaline rush! ●● And... Mountain Biking, Pony Trekking, Orienteering, Paintball Gallery, Assault Course, Team Games and more! Perfect for kids parties – loads of fun and healthy too! Located on the stunning grounds of An Óige hostels in Wicklow and Killarney so you can stay overnight at great prices too! See for the best prices.

140 Start a band We all know the story of how U2 were put together. A simple note on the Mount Temple Street School notice board led to the greatest musical success Ireland has ever witnessed. Why not give it a shot. It could be your turn next. Beg, borrow (but don’t steal!) the instruments and get all your friends to join. Use a well-insulated garage and rock the nation!

141 Invent a new dance Here’s an idea for the creative and energetic and with all the talk about obesity, it is also a healthy form of exercise. Look at the success that Michael Flatley has achieved through his innovation of our traditional national dance, with Riverdance. But don’t feel you have to remain at home for your inspiration. The tribal dances of Africans, native American Indians and Eskimos, to name but a few, will provide an abundance of ideas for a new dance craze. Who knows – you could be the next guest dancer at the Eurovision song contest!

142 Make an obstacle course in your back garden The most important aspect for this idea is to own a back garden! But don’t worry if you do not! Maybe you have a friend who would like to build an obstacle course with you or if you

are creative, you could even build one in the local park, but be careful. Watch out for angry park attendants! An obstacle course can be made using any number of household items. Some cardboard boxes tied together with string can double as a tunnel. Chairs with planks placed between them can act as hurdles while strategically placed dustbins offer great challenges as turning points if you want to travel your obstacle course by bike. If the younger kids have left the park, then why not incorporate some of the playground attractions there.

143 Make a treasure hunt

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do with...

Plan your route and draw up a map. Treasure can be buried in a secret location, or hung from a tree branch. Place the clues along the way and prepare the route before giving your map to the treasure hunters and watching the fun unravel!

144 Set up a lemonade stall Everybody can do with a little bit of extra pocket money and on those hot Summer days, there is always a ready market for cold drinks to help busy passers-by cool down. Why not set up a little stall at the front of your house. You can buy cans of minerals at discount prices from supermarkets and sell them at a premium. You could even consider making your own product. The internet is full of fun recipes for making your own lemonade, orangeade and other sparkling beverages.

145 Learn or teach a new sport with someone Summer is the ideal time to take up outdoor sports. You and a friend could learn to play tennis. This is even a sport that you can practise alone by hitting the tennis ball against a wall. Great outdoor team sports that are easy to learn are basketball, rounders or hurling. If you have a group of friends, you could set up a tournament between different teams. By playing regularly, you will be able to learn from other team members, and in turn, you will be able to teach your skills to the new team members.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do when...

you’re stuck on your own 146 Help an elderly person with house work (Parent permission needed) Here’s one from the traditional duties of the Boy Scout. Seek out a local elderly person and offer to help with household chores. Often you will find that these elderly people have no need for your physical assistance, but thrive on human contact. You are doing so much good and are providing much happiness in somebody’s life when you pop in for five minutes to have a chat. Who knows, the rewards might be an abundance of minerals and goodies. Remember, never go to a neighbour’s house without permission from a parent and never ever go without letting somebody know where you are.

147 Learn a foreign language The next time you visit your local library, why not take some time to investigate the foreign language section. In most libraries, there will be audio tapes that offer a novel approach to learning an extra-curricular language. Have fun learning new words. Try them out on your friends and apply them to your everyday actions. Make sure that you enjoy yourself by doing a little every day so that it doesn’t become a chore.

148 Get a job (Parent permission needed) This is a project that can only be determined with long consultation with parents, teachers and other advisers. Why not get a job as a paperboy or girl! The local supermarket may offer some hours of light work and pay you handsomely for it! Check out the internet for volunteer work. Maybe a local business needs leaflet distributors. The list of opportunities is endless.

149 Discover a new favourite author or book series


Far too often, our reading material is dictated by the bestseller list. It can be a very rewarding experience to discard such guides and search out unusual authors or topics or books which would not normally be considered mainstream. There is a myriad of such reading material to be found at book fairs, libraries or second-hand bookshops, so you don’t have to dig deep in your pockets to discover the pleasures of authors or book series from other places, times or genres.

150 Become a photographer Now this is a project that is both rewarding and educational, along with being great fun and creative. Taking pictures is an art form that is easily executed but takes years to master. The secret here is practice. Why not start with a collection of black & white portraits of family and friends. Mount them as a collage to frame over your bed! Do you wish you were a better photographer? Or do you just want to start taking simple snap shots. All it takes is a little know-how and experience. Some tips to remember are always: Look your subject in the eye, always use a plain background, it is important to Use a flash outdoors also. Move in close to your subject and never ever forget to lock the focus of your camera. Get to know your flash’s range, always watch the light and feel free to experiment - take some vertical pictures or choose unusual subjects or angles. The summer holidays come and go much too quickly, but great pictures can last a lifetime! So, if you want to relive the moments you live for, be prepared to capture every priceless memory of your trip with your newfound profession. When going on holiday use the following photographer’s checklist: ●● Camera bag to protect camera from bumps and drops ●● Picture cards for about 100 pictures a week (about 64 MB and maybe a back-up 32 MB) if you do not have a digital camera then remember plenty of film. The internet is a good source of cheap film. ●● Fresh Ni-MH or Li-Ion batteries, or special camera battery and a set of back-ups ●● Battery charger (if you use rechargeable batteries) ●● Telephoto and wide angle lenses for zooming in and out ●● Kodak lens cleaning pen or lens cleaning solution and photographic lens tissue ●● Camera manual for reference ●● Plastic bag to protect camera and film from hand-inspections in airports ●● A one-time-use camera or two for panoramic shots, beach use, or emergency back-up ●● Tripod (optional) ●● A notebook to keep track of the pictures you take With your checklist sourced and the basic tips in your head you are ready for a wonderful project. If you wish to learn more why not check out some of the excellent photography schools around Ireland.

What you’ll need: ●● 3 clear plastic cups ●● Water ●● Cooking oil ●● Liquid food colouring ●● Pencil What you’ll do: ●● Check with a grown-up before you begin. ●● Fill one cup about 2/3 full of water and another about 2/3 full of oil. ●● Add a few drops of food colouring to each cup. Leave space between the drops so they don’t touch. What happens? ●● Now fill the third cup about 2/3 full of water. Pour in enough cooking oil so it forms a thin layer on top of the water. ●● What do you think will happen if you add food colouring to this last cup? Make a prediction and then test it out. ●● Touch one of the drops of food colouring in the last cup with the tip of a pencil. What happens? ●● Here’s why this works. When you add food colouring to water, it mixes in. When you add food colouring to oil, it stays in a little ball and does not mix in. Why? Food colouring is mostly made of water, and water and oil don’t mix. Even if you stir them, the oil separates and forms a layer on top of the water. So when you add food colouring to the cup that has water and oil, each drop is coated with oil. That is why the drops sit in the oil layer. The oil is like a raft that helps the food colouring float. If you poke a drop with a pencil, the oil layer is broken. Then the food colouring mixes with the water and makes a cool design. Now it can be time for you to experiment. What happens if you use vinegar instead of food colouring? What happens if you use a different kind of cooking oil? Choose one thing to change (that’s the variable), and predict what you think will happen...

152 Find a pen-pal (Parent permission needed) Everyone has heard of the word ‘pen pal’. There are great benefits in relation to overseas correspondence. You can improve your language skills. You can communicate with real foreign people There are no markers, or given subjects – you can write whatever you want to whom ever you want about whatever you want (you must get parental permission first). Through pen-palling, you will get to enjoy writing in foreign languages (at least much more than paper exams!); therefore your language skills will improve. Even if you correspond with your pen pal in your first language, you will get to know how to organise your thoughts to clearly communicate your ideas to your pen pals on paper so you will be able to increase your written communication skills. This is a great opportunity to learn about foreign countries. And develop international friendships.

153 Donate some toys and clothes that you no longer use

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

151 Make up beautiful coloured designs

Find a sale of work being held in your area or visit your local charity shop. Find out what they need the most... Also check with civic groups and listed charities in your area to see if they are collecting toys for local kids. Your school may have a list. Look online to find the nearest collection box for toys if you do not have access to the internet check your local newspaper, listen to the radio or watch for announcements on television that give gift-giving guidelines and locations. Ask the agency collecting toys if it prefers its donations unwrapped so workers can see the items and match them to children who will enjoy them. If the agency prefers it, wrap the gift in colourful paper and attach a card stating the sex and age for which the toy is appropriate. Select toys that do not need batteries or additional parts that a child’s family may not be able to provide. Engage your child in selecting gifts for other kids. This is a valuable way to teach them the importance of giving. In addition to providing toys, you might also donate tickets to a sporting event or special activity, provided the child will be able to get there with adult supervision and that the cost of getting there is not prohibitive. Consider providing toys, clothes and books appropriate for older kids and teens, since they are often overlooked. If there is no drop-off point for toys in your area, work with a local organisation or school to start one.

154 Build a time capsule A time capsule is a treasure box that preserves the past. We will remember the big events--the exciting trips, the new baby, the big fish that got away-but we tend to forget the smaller features of family life. The routines that shape our days, the school papers, the size of our child’s hand, the family’s favourite foods, take on a special significance when examined twelve months later. A time capsule captures these priceless details and helps to give a sense of passing time, a slippery concept even for adults. If you plan on burying your time capsule outdoors, you will need a waterproof container: a plastic tub with a lid, or a


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Follow our safety tips and have fun bouncing!

●● Place your trampoline a minimum of 2m away from obstructions ●● Fitting a Bounce Arena can help improve the safety of a round trampoline and give added confidence to young bouncers. ●● Choose a bounce arena specifically designed for your trampoline. There are a number of different frame designs, clamping systems and tube diameters so they are not generally interchangeable.

155 Go to the circus

large jar works well. You may also use an old lunch box, or a cardboard box sealed in a knotted plastic bag. The afternoon we put our time capsule together, I asked the children to tell me the best and worst part of their day. I wrote this down beside their name and put it in an envelope. We also added individual lists of “Things I am Good At,” as well as school papers, drawings, and one special toy apiece. You can write a letter to yourself, outline feet and hands, or describe dreams, ideas, and favourite pastimes. Height and weight measurements can also be included for comparison when you dig up the capsule. Seal your treasures in a plastic bag, and place in the container. Bury the capsule in a secret place, or hide it in the house, garage, or attic. You and your family can decide when your capsule should be retrieved. Even a few months may be long enough.

155 Jump on a trampoline Once a training tool for World War II pilots and astronauts, trampolines are now primarily used for fun and exercise. But trampolines are also blamed for causing roughly 75,000 injuries a year. However used in the right way they can provide hours of fun. To this effect The Academy of Paediatrics (an American paediatric body) strongly encourages you follow these safety tips: ●● Only one person at a time ●● No somersaults or flips ●● Padding on all steel frames, hooks and springs ●● Adult supervision is a must


Safety – our 3 top tips

To further enhance safety adhere to the following instructions:

There is always fun where you see circus clowns, because whether at a party, circus or carnival, a clown is sure to give you a laugh! Clowns have been around since ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages. There are three main types of clowns which are the Auguste clown, the White Face clown and the Character clown. The Auguste clown is most often the silly clown in skits and circus acts. The Auguste clown is the clown you see in oversized, gaudy, mismatched outfits, with bright colours especially bright primary colours. The make-up of the Auguste clown is bright flesh tones with exaggerated natural features like a big red nose or outlined mouth. The White Face clown is the oldest type of clown and is usually the more intelligent of the other clowns. In skits White Face clowns often boss around the other clowns or play pranks. The dress of the White Face clown is slightly more put together, well at least for a clown anyway. They tend to dress a bit more formal in colours that match or have a common theme. The Character clown is basically a clown playing the part of a character who is exaggerated as into a clown. The more common of the Character clowns are the Tramp and Hobo clowns but other popular clown characters are cowboy, policeman, baby, and lady clowns. All clowns can register their name and look (make-up style and dress), so it is not copied. You can rent a clowns outfit for your party or rent a real clown. You can even make your own outfit from old clothes. Whatever your decision you are assured to have bundles of fun!

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

New games to...

Make, create and invent 156 Play hopping games Remember hopscotch? This is it – with a twist! What you’ll need: ●● Foot path chalk and a small distinctive stone for each player (pick out a special stone each – that’s half the fun!) What you’ll do: ●● For ‘category hopscotch’, draw a large box on the pavement (at least three feet square) and divide it into three rows of three squares each. Number each square from 1 to 9. Next, select a variety of categories such as cars, fruits, colours, animals and counties. The first player tosses a stone on the first square and jumps on one foot to every square until he or she reaches the ninth. In each square, the player must chant a word that falls into the category. For example, if the category is animals, the player might recite, “cat, dog, mouse, etc.” until he or she reaches the ninth square. ●● If a player hesitates while jumping or repeats a word, that player is out until the next round. If the player gets through all nine squares while reciting all the correct words, he or she throws the stone onto square two in the next round and can skip square one. ●● Ideally, the fun of this game is in the hopping and brainwork, not winning. Hopping games are great fun, but they also offer a physical benefit.

157 Have some fun with a hula hoop Who can resist a hula hoop? These plastic rings (especially the ones with small steel balls inside that make a terrific swishy sound) are still popular. ●● Ever try to balance a hoop? Try to find the centre point on your fingertip or forehead. For a bigger challenge, try balancing the hoop on a ruler. ●● Use a hoop as a target. Place it on the ground and toss balls or beanbags inside the circle. ●● Aim a rolling hoop at a target. Place a ball or other object on the ground. Step away a few feet and try to roll the hoop toward it. ●● Toss a hoop on top of a ‘post’ such as an empty half-gallon milk carton weighted with sand. Or place a lawn chair upside down and use the four legs as tossing targets. ●● Use a gentle push to get a large hula hoop rolling on soft grass, then try to duck down and run through it. ●● Cut a length of heavy string about a yard long, and then tie it to the hoop. Hold the string and rotate the wrist so the hoop becomes a ‘lasso’ twirling around and around. ●● Play catch with a hula hoop, tossing it back and forth to each other. ●● Find a long stick and use it to push a rolling hoop. For best results, move the stick from one side to the other as the hoop rolls along.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

158 Play scrunch basketball

160 Play a new version of simon says

What you’ll need:

Goal: To practice short term memory and listening skills

●● Pages from a magazine or newspaper ●● Bin

What you’ll do:

What you’ll do: ●● Give everyone a page from a magazine or newspaper. Magazine pages are harder for very young children, but are less messy. Scrunch the page into a ball and throw it into an empty bin. Make it a game by counting the baskets or having competitions about how far away from the bin you are. It’s a fun way to channel ‘extra energy’ and the scrunching actions really builds little hand muscles.

159 Have feather races Goal: The child will blow a feather from one end of a track to another. What you’ll need: ●● A selection of coloured feathers ●● A shoe box with no lid and the two small sides cut out. Draw a start line and a finish line at the ends where the sides have been cut out. ●● Drinking straws What you’ll do: Show the children the shoe box and tell them that it is a race track. Pick one of the feathers and place it on the start line. Say “Ready, set, go!” and then blow the feather across the track to pass the finish line. Use many short breaths to accentuate the blowing. Use a moderate air flow to ensure that the feather does not cross the finish line too quickly. Animate strongly what you are doing with your mouth and make as much ‘blowing’ noise as you can to provide a multi-sensory model to what you are doing.

●● Play Simon Says the normal way to begin with (If the leader says “Simon says touch your nose” then everyone touches their nose. If someone follows an instruction that is not lead by “Simon says” then they are out.) ●● Now make the game more of a challenge by adding in two instructions, then three, then four. You can also play the game by allowing everyone have a turn being the ‘leader’ and each time a new instruction is added with “Simon says” then people have to follow that instruction along with all other instructions given by ‘Simon’. Good for a giggle.

161 Turn your garden into a golf course With a few flower pots, your garden can be a gold course without holes! Put the flower pots on their side in various locations throughout the garden or park. You can practise your swing in getting the ball into the pots. You can easily turn the course into a game of crazy golf by putting some obstructions between the allocated tee and the ‘putting green’.

162 Milk carton bowling Imagine having your very own bowling alley at home, without the raucous atmosphere. A homemade bowling set can be set up inside or out. It’s guaranteed to bowl everyone over – with fun! What you’ll need: ●● 10 empty milk (or juice) cartons, either plastic or cardboard. To prevent odours, rinse them well with soapy water and dry thoroughly. For more of a challenge, add a cup or two of sand or rice to each carton and reseal. Rubber playground ball or basketball and a paper and pencil to keep score, if desired What you’ll do: ●● Clear out a long space in your back garden or hall for a bowling ‘alley’ – the length depends on the age of the bowlers. The ideal outdoor surface is flat and free of debris. The ideal indoor surface? Away from anything breakable! ●● At one end of your home alley, a ‘pin setter’ arranges the milk carton ‘pins’ upright in the traditional triangle pattern: one pin at the front, followed by two pins in the second row, three in the third row and four in the back row. ●● A player is positioned at the other end of the alley and rolls the ball toward the pins, aiming to knock them all down at once. Young children can start closer to the pins and work their way up to longer distances. ●● If desired, create ’bumpers’ that keep the ball inside the alley, using chair cushions or pillows inside the house or several pool ‘noodles’ outside.


●● To play, each player rolls the ball twice and counts how many pins were knocked down each time. After two throws, the pins are’reset’. Players take turns being the bowler and the pin setter.

fun with water When it’s hot outside, any activity that involves water is a fun alternative to just hanging out.

163 Make a neighbourhood dog wash Provide buckets, sponges, old towels and pet shampoo. Kids bring their dogs on a leash and work as a team to clean those dirty doggies. The pups may not love this wet activity, but the kids will!

More fun ideas: A similar event is a ‘toy wash’. Kids bring their dirty, washable toys, and you provide everything they need to make them sparkle! Hand out clean spray bottles (make sure they never held anything toxic) and let the kids fill and spray each other. Toss an inflated balloon in the air and challenge the kids to keep it floating with a stream of spray. Are you hot too? Fill a watering can and instruct the kids where to water your body: “Water my elbows,” “Water my legs” or “Water my head.”

164 Make a waterslide in the garden

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Things to do...

Spread an old or inexpensive shower curtain on the lawn and aim a steady light stream of water from the garden hose onto the surface. You can ‘slip and slide’ on the slippery plastic.

165 Play water limbo Play water limbo with a line of water from a garden hose that gets lower and lower. Or, you can to do the high jump over that same stream of water.


101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

166 Play balloon tennis Want to play tennis (or badminton) without investing in a racket or even a can of balls? To avoid the frustration of missing fast-moving balls, slow the game down a notch. Balloons move through the air at a kid-friendly pace, and these homemade ‘rackets’ offer a wide hitting surface. What you’ll need: ●● 2 wire hangers and pliers ●● 2 wood paint stirrers or rulers ●● Electrical tape ●● Old or inexpensive pair of stockings ●● Several balloons ●● Several foot-long pieces of ribbon (optional) What you’ll do: ●● Gently pull and push on the triangular frame of a wire hanger to form it into a circular shape. Use pliers to straighten the curved handle. ●● Tape the handle to a wood paint stirrer or ruler. Wind the handle securely with lots of electrical tape so the hanger ‘racket’ does not move. ●● Cut the legs off the stockings; discard the top. Stretch each leg over the rounded ‘racket’ frame and knot it at the bottom.


●● Create a ‘net’ by stringing rope across your yard or laying a line of masking tape on the ground. If desired, increase the visibility of the net by hanging some ribbons from the rope. ●● Blow up a balloon and knot it. Then you can use the homemade rackets to hit the balloon back and forth over the net!

167 Make a water painting What you’ll need: ●● Any wall or fence outside ●● Paint brushes of all sizes ●● A bucket of water What you’ll do: When the sun is out, give everyone a paint brush and access to a big bucket of water. Children can then ‘paint’ on any wall or large surface and see their designs. The sun then dries it so they can start again. You can also spray water onto the walls. It’s more fun than it sounds!

Fill in our summer holiday calendars with daily acitivities!

Cut out and keep!

Horse Racing Ireland................................3

Mizen Head Signal Station.....................27

Citywest Hotel........................................... 7

Butlers Chocolate Experience................27

Irish Raptor Research............................... 7

Movie Junction........................................29

Ballymaloe Cookery School.....................9

Rothe House & Garden..........................29

Rockboro School Sparks Programme............................................. 13

Titanic Experience Cobh......................... 31

Tipperary County Museum..................... 15

West Cork Model Railway Village....................................... 31

Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort................. 19


Irish National Sailing School................... 21

Silver Line Cruisers.................................. 51

Tulligmore Equestrian Centre................. 21

Camp Rockwell.......................................52

Westport House......................................25

Experience Ireland’s River Shannon with Silver Line Cruisers. Enjoy the thrill of captaining your own cruiser while exploring Ireland’s inland waterways, stopping where you want, going as you please. Sampling the great cuisine on offer at the many pubs & restaurants, listening and joining in with the Irish music at the various pubs along your nautical journey. As we are centrally located on the Shannon between Lough Ree & Lough Derg , the choice of fishing is endless, cast a line from the boat or take a fishing dinghy and explore the hidden areas. For your next fishing trip whether it is for a short break or a week contact us for further details:

Silver Line Cruisers, The Marina, Banagher, Co. Offaly Tel: +353 (0) 57 91 51112, fax: +353 (0) 57 91 51632 Email:

101 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

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