School’s out: how to avoid over-scheduling kids during holidays

Are We There Yet? Plenty of camps and excursions to keep everyone entertained

Families can come and pick their own fruit at Lambert’s Fruit Farm in the Dublin mountains above Rathfarnham. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Families can come and pick their own fruit at Lambert’s Fruit Farm in the Dublin mountains above Rathfarnham. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Primary schools are out for summer and that sound you hear is the ear-splitting joy of children across the land. That other sound is the weeping of working parents and guardians wondering if they’ve covered all the bases or if they’ve forgotten to fill one of the weeks up with suitably child-pleasing activities.

You’ve probably got your logistical summer spreadsheets well organised by now but, if like me you haven’t, I’ve suggested a couple of summer camp ideas (below) that are worth considering during the weeks and months ahead.

I’m going to try wherever possible not to over-schedule the children so that summer really feels like summer and not just an extention of their very busy school year.

While picking strawberries and gooseberries a few years ago in Lambert’s ‘Pick your own Fruit’ Farm in the Dublin mountains, I met a woman who told me her foolproof plan for making sure her kids got the most out of the summer months: She lets her kids plan a few days each when they are in charge of what happens. One wanted to go to the amusements in Bray, another fancied go-karting and one of them had his heart set on fruit-pickng at Lambert’s.

That’s how they ended up there on a sun-soaked morning, having a picnic on the farm and stuffing their faces with fresh fruit .

The farm is open this Saturday from 10am and the golden rule – difficult to abide by when those luscious strawberries and gooseberries are in front of your nose – is ‘pay before you eat’.

Have a good one, whatever you do this summer.

Imaginosity Summer Camps

Imaginosity, The Plaza, Beacon South Quarter, Sunday 1st July to Friday 31st August, Sandyford, Dublin, For prices and more details contact 01 2176130

Looking to book a last-minute Summer Camp that’s full of fun but also educationally stimulating? This could be the one. From Slime Factory to Star Wars-themed camps there’s something for everyone at Imaginosity. In addition to the themed camp, children will also get supervised “free play” time during their Imaginosity camp days to explore the interactive museum. This summer they will be running camps for 4-6 year olds and an older camp for children aged 7-9 years with a slightly extended day.

Spaces are limited for each camp, and so advance booking is strongly advised. Camps can be availed of daily or weekly with sibling discounts available.

Starcamp

Nationwide, camps run until the end of August, for more information and prices contact 021-4377900 or visit starcamp.ie

If your child likes to sing, dance and generally perform, this camp is guaranteed to please. Our daughters have been going to Starcamp every year for the past four years and every time they beg to go back the following summer. A Dragon’s Den winner, this clever concept is designed to bring the best out of your little stars, developing confidence even among the more reluctant performers. The Friday showcase at the end of the week, where children put on a show for parents, is a bonus but it’s a week full of teamwork, challenges and fun that they’ll talk about for weeks afterwards. Each child receives a Starcamp T-shirt. Camps run all across the country from Carrickfergus to Carlow, from Ennis to Ballincollig.

SeaFest

Galway city. June 29th-July 1st. seafest.ie

Dive in to maritime history with Seafest in Galway.
Dive in to maritime history with Seafest in Galway.

This family-friendly festival is a great way to discover Ireland’s maritime heritage. It offers interactive activities and covers everything from seafood cookery to cultural history, deep-sea exploration and science. SeaFest aims to encourage engagement with the sea and get children (and adults) more engaged with the vast briny expanses around Ireland. The festival’s events are free, although pre-booking for some activities is advised.

Science Magic

Mill Theatre Dundrum, Dublin, Saturday June 30tth, 2.30pm, Tickets €9.50, milltheatre.ie

Science and magic are a natural pairing and this show brings them together beautifully as Irish comedian and scientist Donal Vaughan brings his hugely popular science and comedy show back to dlr Mill Theatre. With some brand new tricks and some old favourites too. Suitable for ages five and over.

Medieval Mile Museum LEGO Hunt

Medieval Mile Museum, Kilkenny, Saturday June 30th to Friday 31st August, 10am-6pm, Adults €8, Children €4. Call 056 7817022

Search for these historical lego figures in the medieval mile museum, Kilkenny.
Search for these historical lego figures in the medieval mile museum, Kilkenny.

From tomorrow, 10 characters from Irish history will be hiding in Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum, in LEGO Minifigure form. Stories from Ireland’s fascinating historical past are set to be recreated by the imaginative initiative, ensuring visitors to the award-winning museum can discover their own “hidden histories” throughout the 800-year-old building. “History can be taken a little too seriously sometimes and that can be intimidating to people, particularly children,” says curator Grace Fegan.

“But when you realise that Kilkenny’s medieval history is really a collection of amazing stories and fascinating characters, that lived, worked, played, laughed and cried in this city and walked these streets, you can’t help but be captivated by it all.” The Museum’s Lego Hunt is open to visitors of all ages at no additional charge. “We had the idea, took a chance, got in touch with the Lego Idea House in Denmark and they came on board. When the package of Lego Minifigures arrived in the post from Billund we all felt like kids again – putting them together, developing their personalities and figuring out where they should be hidden in the museum.”

Ceol @ Castlefest

Nenagh Arts Centre, Co Tipperary, Friday June 29th, 7.30pm - 9.30pm, Tickets €10/€30. Call 067 34400/nenagharts.com

This is the opening concert for Nenagh Castlefest, a variety concert with music, song, storytelling and much more featuring the very best musicians and artists from across the country and UK.One for slightly older children who love music.

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