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Whats on – Summer 2016

June 10, 2016

The summer is  here and fully underway so are you making the most of it? Here are some ideas that may help…both for early childhood providers and parents…

Go outside!

So it’s grey or rainy even, no excuses, outdoors we go! Immerse children in the magic of outdoors – allow them time to appreciate change and develop an understanding of the space and their place in it. Introduce more natural plants and trees, herbs and vegetable beds into your outdoor space so children can observe the changes – flowers and fruit, leaves in the air, minibeasts galore…

Your outdoor environment should be flexible enough to change to suit the different needs of the children in your service. If it doesn’t change children can become bored, whereas an area that can be adapted makes for more enticing and rich play opportunities for children to invent. See our webpages on outdoor play to ensure that you are making the most of your outdoor space.

Build it – Take the construction blocks and other open ended materials outside to see what amazing structures children come up with. Loose materials (as opposed to fixed equipment) enable children to shape their play differently each day. See ReCreate Ireland for some brilliant open ended materials link to sand play and construction play

Eat lunch Al Fresco – If the weather is good, why not have lunch outdoors or or organise a teddybear’s picnic out in the garden. Plan it with the children discussing what sort of food you would take on a picnic and what other items you might need.


Go camping – or at least pretend! Make a den outside and discuss what things you might need to go camping. With a few carefully thought through guidelines you could even make a fire for toasting marshmallows.

Go on a scavenger hunt to look for summer treasure!

Discuss what sort of treasure you might find and make a list and/or pictures of what you might hope to find. You could make a mobile or a nature collage with what you find, using glue, leaves, flowers, small shells,  seeds, as well as card or paper.

Make some music

Why not set up an outdoor music centre ? Use a variety of bells, shakers, chimes, pots and pans, and other kitchen utensils! Or create musical instruments from materials found around the house/service. 

Take some time with the children to sit or lie outside, close your eyes, tune in to your surroundings and identify the different sounds.

Make the most of the weather

If it’s windy – make and fly a kite or make streamers to fly in the wind outside

If it’s raining – have fun splashing in puddles or making mud pies

If it’s sunny cool down with some water play below, and maybe make a water slide! 


Cool down with some Water Play

All we want to do in summer is be outside – regardless of the weather, and it’s a perfect time for having fun with water!

Most children love to play in water and there are a multitude of ways to experiment with it in your service. Water play fosters learning in all developmental areas.


Start growing and gardening

Gardening with children is great fun – they love to get mucky and see the result of their work. If you have room, why not assign them their own flower bed and help them plan out their planting? Alternatively, give them their own pot/planter. Make sure to include them in the planning and plant buying process. Herbs and salad leaves are quick to grow, and most children  enjoy eating what they have grown!

If you have small outdoor space without soil then try planting flowers in children’s old wellies.  Remember to put holes in the bottom for drainage, then children can add soil and seeds and watch the flowers grow!

Get messy!

Make space outside for sand, water, mud, gravel and other media. Have an area available where children can dig for the sake of digging, and where they can mix different materials and elements together such as sand, soil and water.

Get Out and About

National Heritage Week

From medieval fairs, night time bat walks, classical music, poetry, theatre, traditional music, storytelling, historical re-enactments, local history walks and talks, maritime and coastal events, food fairs, traditional skills workshops and archaeological digs- there’s something for everyone and most events are free at this year’s National Heritage Week.
website:; August 20-28.

FREE on first Wednesdays
Free on first Wednesdays ON THE FIRST Wednesday of every month, various heritage sites managed by the Office of Public Works that normally charge admission throw their doors open for free. So it won’t cost you anything to bring the family to the State Apartments in Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin; Charles Fort in Kinsale, Co Cork; Athenry Castle in Co Galway; Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre (Newgrange and Knowth) and Trim Castle in Co Meath and the Rock of Cashel in Co Tipperary – to name just a few.

Visit your local Library

Your local library not only has a fantastic selection of books for children , but often holds free summer events. For more see Childrens-Public-Library-Services.

They are also running a fun free summer reading programme. See Public-Libraries-Summer-Reading-Programme for all the info. 

See what else your library has on offer here.


Visit a Museum

All three National Museum sites in Dublin are free to visit, and the Museum of Archaeology, Museum of Decorative Arts & History and the Natural History Museum have some brilliant events programmes too. Don’t forget the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar either.


Visit a Park

Ireland is full of wonderful woodlands and there are plenty of parks to explore-all six of Ireland’s National Parks are free to visit. Shake off those cobwebs and take a bracing walk with Bambi… maybe join the rare white deer in Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, or the Fallow dear in Dublin’s Phoenix Park? Contact your local authority/county council if you are unsure of the nearest parks and recreation areas near

From Doneraile in Co Cork to Ards in Co Donegal, Coillte has dozens of forest parks, recreation sites, walking loops and mountain biking trails braided through its forests :


Explore for bugs and minibeasts!

The outdoors is a brilliant place to go on a bug hunt. What did you find? Spiders, worms, woodlice, beetles, slugs, snails etc. Observe the different characteristics, movement and feeding of various animals and insects. Discuss insects and how they protect themselves.



Feed the birds!

Make a bird feeder, erect in the garden, and then watch the show from your window.


Lie down and look up!

Lie on the ground and look up into a tree very quietly; do you see birds, squirrels, nests, insects, ants, spiders? What do they do?Cloud spotting characters


Head for a beach…

Some children may never have seen the sea and may love the opportunity to go for a lovely beach walk. Families may wish to go swimming when they find a suitable spot…




What more information on events in your area?










Some useful websites:

Irish Wildlife Trust

Birdwatch Ireland


Burren Beo


Outdoor play

Music Festivals Ireland




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