Things to do with kids in 2018? Read to them, go for walks and play more Dobble

Are We There Yet? Soak up the history at the Dead Zoo or try one of the Christmas pantos

Dobble: a brilliant game that provides hours of fun for all ages

Dobble: a brilliant game that provides hours of fun for all ages

 

I played a lot of Dobble over the Christmas break. For those not acquainted with it, I very much recommend adding this brilliant game – which comes in a small tin and provides hours of fun – to your shelves. If I wasn’t playing Dobble I was playing the card game 99. (Who knew mental arithmetic could be such rabidly competitive fun?)

We played cards and we played Dobble and we laughed and we argued and we sang. With my head out of the laptop and my mind off work, I got to spend hours and days of that fabled “quality time” with my daughters. I’m planning to do much more of that in 2018.

So how are you getting on with your new year parenting resolutions? Are you shouting less? Hugging more? Not sweating the inconsequential stuff? I’m using an article I read last year as a template for my parenting approach in this brand new year. The article, written by a man who lost his beautiful son Adam to an undiagnosed brain tumour, had a headline that stopped me in my tracks: ‘Every day, tell your child you love them, read to them and take them for a walk’.

In this weekly guide to family events, I suggest things you can do with your children. Some cost money, some don’t. But really every week I could just repeat the words of Benji Bennett, Adam’s father. “If you read to them, tell them you love them and take them outdoors for a walk every day you are doing something right.” These three things cost nothing and the rewards are priceless. Here’s to keeping it exactly that simple in 2018.

Winter Activity Trail

It’s always a good time to visit the Dead Zoo – okay, spoilsports, it’s actually called the Natural History Museum – on Merrion Square in Dublin. At the moment children can drop in and while away an hour or two with the seasonal activity sheet which is available at the stand in the Irish Room. Bring your pencil and your imagination and when you are finished take a walk in one of the capital’s most beautiful small parks across the road.

WHERE: Natural History Museum, Merrion Square, Dublin

WHEN: Until January 31st

COST: Free

CONTACT: 01 677 4444

Winter Funderland

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – the noise, the mayhem, those stomach-flipping waltzers – but I used to work in Funderland selling candyfloss and popcorn and I still need my annual fix of this winter Irish fairground tradition. It’s a pricey day out – €94 for a family of four wristband – but you can also choose the pay as you go option which makes it a bit more manageable.

WHERE: RDS, Dublin

WHEN: Runs until Sunday, January 14th

COST: €3 admission and pay as you go, or writstbands from €23

CONTACT: 01 668 0866

Music, Myth And Magic

At this winter exhibition in the Crawford Art Gallery’s Upper Gallery, you’ll be served massive helpings of alchemy, enchantment and mystery with paintings, sculpture and ceramics.

WHERE: Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

WHEN: Runs until Wednesday, February 28th, opens 10am daily

COST: Free

CONTACT: 021 480 5042

Let your hair down at ‘Rapunzel’ at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin
Let your hair down at ‘Rapunzel’ at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin

‘Rapunzel’

Didn’t make it to a panto yet? I’ve made a few suggestions here including this year’s Gaiety Panto where “you can let your hair down and get tangled up in laughter” at Rapunzel. Fun, magical and lavish, it has all the ingredients you would expect from an Irish pantomime. Oh yes it does.

WHERE: Gaiety Theatre, Dublin

WHEN: runs until Sunday, January 21st

COST: From €28.50

CONTACT: 01 677 1717

‘Sleeping Beauty’ Cheerios Panto

This merry crew have been coming up with pantos at the Tivoli Theatre for 10 years now, with Sammy Sausages (Alan Hughes) and Buffy (Rob Murphy). A hilarious romp written by Karl Broderick that’s a staple family outing at this time of year.

WHERE: Tivoli Theatre, Dublin

WHEN: Runs until Sunday, January 14th

COST: Tickets from €26

CONTACT: 01 454 4472

‘Beauty and the Beast’

The King and Queen arrive to the Kingdom of Renmore in search of their son, the Prince. Little do they know that he has been cursed by the Wicked Witch and turned into a Beast to be exiled to a lonely life in the castle. When Belle’s father, Potty Peter, plucks a rose from the castle gardens, the Beast is outraged and takes him captive. He later releases Peter in exchange for Belle, who he hopes will see beyond his beastly exterior. The townsfolk set out on a journey to save Belle. Will she be rescued? Will true love break the witch’s curse?

WHERE: Town Hall Theatre, Galway

WHEN: Runs until Sunday, January 14th

COST: Tickets from €15

CONTACT: 091 569 777

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