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Parents Panel: What's your one tip to keep kids busy over the summer?

The zoo, Tayto Park and making Dr Seuss-inspired slime.
Aug 2nd 2017, 3:57 PM 1,388 0


AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel: What’s one way you keep your kids busy during the summer holidays?

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Strickland, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

Visiting the zoo (again!)
One of the best purchases we made was a Dublin Zoo pass.  We have an individual one in my wife’s name, but another adult can go in with the pass-holder and under-3s go free. We calculated that after four visits it had paid for itself.

- Olly Keegan

Making Dr Seuss slime
They get bored quickly if they’re not outside, so I have lots of arts and crafts stuff on hand. We made Oobleck [Dr Seuss-inspired slime with cornstarch and water] last week which was great craic to play with, but very messy to clean up!

- Susannah O’Brien

Boxshall Summer Source: Ross Boxshall

Turning the back garden into a kids’ zone
Our back garden was built with kids in mind – there’s a large climbing frame with swings and a slide, playhouses, mini trampolines and a paddling pool. Thankfully the summer weather has enabled us to throw open the back doors on the house and allow them to come and go as they please.

- Ross Boxshall

Planning plenty of chores
For the days they are at a loose end, we ensure they have jobs to do in the house. We’ll break down their day into some TV, some jobs, some outside time, some Xbox. The intention is to earn something like screen time or Xbox time.  If they don’t earn it, they don’t get it.

- Alan Dooley

Suzie Kelly Source: Suzie Kelly

Hitting the park, rain or shine
I’m on a sabbatical from work so this summer has been all about no routine and enjoying free-form playtime with my boys. We go to the beach or park every day – rain or shine. I did feel a bit guilty not sending them to camps but they are having so much fun that they don’t care.

- Suzie Kelly

Cooking up a storm (kind of)
My toddler son loves copying what we do which is great for indoor playtime if the weather is bad. For example, I’ll give him real pots and pans, a wooden spoon, a bowl, and a few pine cones, and he will happily “cook” for ages!

- Marta Lisiecka

Heading to the local beach
With my two eldest (now 15 and 20), they were with a minder unless it was my day off. Things are very different this time around with my two-year-old, as I’m not working. I’m always trying to find things to do with her that don’t cost the earth. Luckily, she loves being in the back garden with her toys, and we only live ten minutes from the beach.

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- Denise Cumiskey

Boxshall woods Source: Ross Boxshall

‘Painting’ the trees outside
This summer we’ve been in the back garden a lot. My almost two-year-old is a fan of watering the plants, and my three-year-old loves ‘painting’ the trees with a paintbrush and bucket of water.

- Denise 

Picking one big day out
If it’s not some form of computer or tablet, it’s hard to get them interested. We do plenty of swimming over the summer, a few hill walks, and always one big day out – last year it was Tayto Park where we had a ball.

- Ken Hyland

To find out more about our this week’s featured panel members, check out their bios here.

Want to win a relaxing two-night getaway at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa? Simply enter your email address below. Full competition details here.

More from our Parents Panel: What have you tried to get your kids to eat?>

And even more: Which ‘must-have’ parenting purchase turned out to be a waste of money?>

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