Are you already wondering how you’ll occupy your kids over the long (hopefully hot) summer? Here are some boredom busters that will entertain, excite and maybe even educate…
1. Expect waves of pure joy at the Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School on the West Pier in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, where there are summer sailing courses for all ages, and all levels from beginners up. Students from age 4-18 are placed into four age groups and then subdivided according to their experience. Courses run through to September. There are many sailing clubs around the country running similar courses, so check out your local facilities. From €153 a week.
2. Take your child on a trip to the wild side with Tayto Park’s ‘Wild Adventures’ Summer Day Camp, which runs from 10th-14th July, 10-2.30pm. Kids can spend a week at the zoo and park with jam-packed days full of activities. They’re promised a great time discovering all there is to know about animals and the importance of preserving their habitats through hands-on activities and exciting live presentations from animal experts. Price: €150 per child.
3. Summer Stars is a free programme run by local libraries, open to all children, and is a great way to encourage a love of books. Each child who registers for the programme will receive their own Summer Stars Reading Card to record their progress, and the Summer Stars Reward Stamp will be added to their card at the library for each book they read. Fun rewards will be provided along the way. At the end of the programme, all children who have participated will be invited to attend an awards event.
4. Any would-be Wimbledon champs will love Parks Tennis, which runs from July-August. There’s two hours’ coaching every day, Monday-Friday for ages 5-18. The lessons are run in more than 160 parks and clubs throughout the country. Schedules and costs vary; equipment can be provided. Registration for all venues is on 30th June, 2pm-4pm. Cost: €55 for four weeks, or €40 for two weeks.
5. If you think you can bounce along for 5k then Wild Air Run might be just for you. Taking place in Dublin, Galway, Cork and Kilkenny on dates in July and August, the Super Milk Wild Air Run is an experience with a difference. All ages (7+) and fitness levels can enjoy this inflatable obstacle course. The focus here is on fun, not finishing times, on this 5k course, which is usually set over two circuits.
6. If your kids like a bit of adventure – and most of them do – then Ballyhaas Lakes, based in Mallow, Co Cork, might be just what the they’d like. There, you’ll find adventure summer camps for age groups from eight to 17 years old. There’s plenty of water- and land-based activities, including raft-building, archery, kayaking, abseiling, wakeboarding and zip-lining. There are various price options for different age groups. Summer camps run from 10th-31st July.
7. For sports-mad kids, the Multi-sports Academy at the National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Co Dublin, runs camps Mon-Fri, 9-3pm, for children aged 5-13.
The Academy includes over 20 different sports for children to participate in, such as Fencing, Archery, Swimming, Water Polo, Cricket, Gymnastics and Trampolining, Aquazone (for the over 9’s). There’s also an ‘extra time’ option (€30), whereby children can stay on until 5pm. Camps cost €90 per child and run between 3rd July and August 25th.
8. Don’t miss your chance to see some breathtaking aerobatic performances as planes from around the world take to the sky for the Bray Air Display, which has grown in popularity year on year. Part of the Bray Summerfest, this isn’t just for aviation fans, as there will be a funfair and food/craft markets also to enjoy. Runs from 22nd-23rd July.
9. Send your children on a space odyssey with the Space Camp, at Blackrock Castle Observatory, in Co Cork. Running from July 10th-21st July, kids from age 7-12 will discover worlds beyond our own in these week-long camps, 9.30am-12.30pm. From creating their own slime and using a real telescope, to learning about habitat design and making model rockets, this is sure to broaden horizons. Cost is €95 for a week.
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