This summer, treat your children to a ‘Yes Day’

Are We There Yet? Struggling to entertain the kids through the long holidays? Struggle no more

Give your kids a Yes Day, they’ll love it.

We’re just back from our holidays in Costa del Lahincho and everyone in our house has a serious case of the post-hollier grumps. Even Ziggy the hamster – fresh from her own holiday in Shawna’s Pet Shop where she was looked after royally for only €3 a day – seems a little out of sorts.

I said yes a lot on holidays, to endless requests for slushie drinks mostly, but back at work and in a permanent fouler I’ve been saying No more often.

No, you can’t have “active ingredients” for slime, whatever they are. No, you are not bringing anything related to slime into the house. No, you can’t have any putty either because you’ve ruined five pairs of leggings with pink gunk and anyway it’s just slime in disguise, do you think I came down in the last shower? (This last one was delivered on The Day of the Great Rain, with a knowing smirk.)

Even in full No mode, when I put my weekly call-out on Twitter this week to ask people what was making them happy, I was inspired by one more generous and imaginative parent’s answer.


Emily Manning explained that she had just organised a “Yes Day” in her house. For one whole day her eight-year-old was allowed to decide what would be done with a €25 budget.

The resulting glorious-sounding Yes Day involved: baking a cake, hula hooping, nail painting, making nachos for lunch, taking the Dart to the seaside for ice-cream, a new book, face-painting, the playground, Monopoly, fajitas for dinner and a movie.

I’m going to try a Yes Day myself over the summer. With some serious strings attached – ie NO slime.

Some (mostly) slime-free things to do with children this weekend

Free family fun in Jervis Shopping Centre

All summer long, the Jervis Centre in Dublin city centre is hosting Saturday events for the whole family beginning this weekend with a Circus in the Garden. Try your hand at juggling, hula hooping and get involved in a series of circus-themed workshops. Other events through the summer include hip-hop workshops, magic and my favourite – Electrocute a Barbie Doll (sorry, Barbie). There is apparently some slime-related events too but we’ll just pretend they were cancelled.

Circus in the Garden, Jervis Shopping Centre, Dublin, Saturday, July 21st, 1-5pm. Visit


The hit Broadway musical ‘Wicked’ is back in Dublin.

This magical musical has returned to Dublin and we're all very excited about it in my house. The hit Broadway show ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and explores the untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young sorcery students. There are also themes of feminism, friendship, religion, animal rights, political unrest and body image. At its spell-binding heart, the story contains a timely message about standing up against oppression, encouraging tolerance and supporting diversity.

Wicked, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2, Tickets from €25 until Saturday, September 1st, 2018

The Art of Bubbles!

Be amazed by the bubble artists at the National Concert Hall.

Yes, Bubbles! They more than deserve an exclamation mark. These beautiful, fleeting creations are a crowd pleaser, for all ages, and this is the first time award-winning duo Marco Zoppi and Rolanda, aka The Best European Bubble Artists, have appeared in Ireland so it really is a treat. What are they going to do? Blow massive bubbles and bring joy. Who could ask for anything more?

The Art of Bubbles! Family Show, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Saturday, July 21st, 2.15pm. Tickets €10/€12. Tel: 01-417 0077

Six-word story

The best six-word story I’ve ever read is attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” Small stories are a big challenge but it will be fascinating to see what children (and adults) come up with in their six-word stories inspired by the objects in the National Museum, Decorative, Arts and History. Go along, write a tiny story and it will be added to its special story exhibition. This is a drop-in activity and no booking is required.

Six-word Story, National Museum, Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, runs until September 30th

Festival of Curiosity

Be Curious: There is so much to explore at the Festival of Curiosity.

This sixth annual festival of science, arts, design and technology is full of fun for the whole family. Check out the programme for all the events including the Curiosity Carnival which is a hands-on adventure in science, play and curious technology. Smock Alley theatre is the home of this hands-on event which includes workshops, adventures in electronics, interactive installations, crafty creatures and curious games. Don’t forget to bring along your favourite teddy bear for a health check at the Teddy Bear Hospital using some very curious technology, virtual reality and some loving care from the on-site bear doctors. Each carnival session is 50 minutes long and is recommended for children over four years of age.

Curiosity Carnival, Smock Alley Theatre, until July 22nd. Tickets €4 per person. Booking:

Stories for Breakfast, Liberties Festival

This little festival has grown into a real highlight of the summer in the Dublin 8 area with loads of family-friendly, sporting and community events. I love the sound of Stories for Breakfast which is a morning of conversation, laughs and storytelling where stories become currency. Instead of paying for your coffee, tea or fizzy drink with money, you can pay with a story. Much better than Bitcoin.

Stories for Breakfast, Tasty8 cafe, Meath Street, Dublin. 9.30-11.30am. For more festival events, visit libertiesfestival2018.como