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Ciara O'Shea, Marketing Manager, Imaginosity

Ciara O'Shea, Marketing Manager, Imaginosity has not set their biography yet

Posted by on in Family & Parenting

Blog-osity Guest Blogger and Child Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune writes about the important lessons for our children this Christmas, in giving to others less fortunate.

Angel tree newsletter

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Posted by on in General

Imaginosity's Theatre and Programming Manager Liz Tyndall recently returned from a trip to Sofia, where she represented Imaginosity as part of the Zig Zag Festival. This European-wide project involving several children's museums, allows Imaginosity to share experiences, learn new skills and explore how other museums work around Europe. More information on the WEAVE Project can be found here. Here's Liz's account:

Untitled      Sofia

I was lucky enough to be chosen to go and represent Imaginosity as part of the Weave project in Sofia, Bulgaria this September, for three days at the Zig Zag Festival. As I jetted off on my early flight with a stopover in Frankfurt, I finally arrived at my destination in the early afternoon! Not long after I had arrived, I was due to meet the organisers of the upcoming event and many other people like myself from children's museums all over Europe. So I made my way to the meeting point looking forward to meeting the group.

Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and I was extremely excited to learn that I would be part of such an amazing festival and experience the following day. After the meeting, the group decided to go and take a look at the puppet fair that was taking place in the city that evening! There were puppet shows and clown performances taking place in a large outdoor square area, just outside the city centre, for anyone who fancied some entertainment. And the best part was it was FREE! So I was extremely grateful and really interested in watching the performances as my background is in theatre and I have a huge interest in puppetry and love to perform puppet shows myself. It was great to catch this added event during my trip and I definitely picked up some tips, especially in the use of sound effects!

Wednesday was the Festival day, all day. We met at 8am in a local park where the festival was taking place. There were 4 large tents, individual wooden letters that spelt Zig Zag (the festival's title), three workshop tables and an interactive fabric game for children to take part in. The Zig Zag festival itself is all about working with different fabrics and textiles in a very fun creative way. The children were learning to finger knit, weave, make key rings using yarn and decorate re-usable fabric bags whilst also being able to take part in an interactive fabric game! The children started at one end of the park where they collected a bag full of fabric and then they had the freedom to go to any of the hands-on areas to work with it creatively. I never knew how to weave before this day so it was super fun for me!

The interactive fabric game was my area and I loved it. Using large pieces of fabric children had to race through and weave with other fabric while their pals held up different colours of fabric each time! I thought it was so simple but so effective and the children were so engaged in it. If there was one thing I was taking home from Sofia it was this game. I will definitely use it again! I also learnt how to make pom poms from wool which I ended up adding to my clothes later that day. This might just be my new invention!

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Posted by on in Play at home

 

 

As the evenings begin to get shorter and we feel a slight chill in the air, Imaginosity will soon close its Roof Garden for the Winter months, as our loyal friend and mascot Eco Badger heads off to warner climes, leaving his Rooftop Den behind for the chilly season. There is still a short remaining week or two left to explore our garden in the city. Autumn is the most perfect time to get out and about with the family, breathe in the Autumn air and kick up a big bunch of brown and yellow leaves in your wellies. Blog-Osity Guest Blogger Joanna Fortune, writes about the benefits of the Imaginosity Roof Garden and exploring nature in general with the family.

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Modern family living has changed a lot in recent generations and as a result children and families have less and less opportunity to engage with nature and the natural environment. This is a great pity as research has demonstrated that parents who talk to their children regularly, explaining features about nature and social issues, or who read or tell stories at bedtime are more likely to foster pretend play (Shmukler 1981; Singer & Singer 2005), which is essential to children's development. Further researches into the benefits of children engaging with nature consistently show us that children's social, psychological, academic and physical health is all positively impacted when they have regular contact with nature. Try incorporating a weekly nature walk into your quality time with your children, if weather is not so good just wrap up warm and get outside even just to jump in puddles or go rainbow hunting!

Encourage them to collect conkers, acorns and leaves to do some leaf tracing at home (place a sheet of paper over a leaf and rub over it with the side of a crayon or chalk), to thread and play with conkers and tell them how you did this as a child and how much fun you had. Take a tiny acorn and show them how it grows into a huge oak tree, explaining how our trees become the paper we use to trace our leaves on and the copy books that we do our homework in. Collecting some nice stones from the beach and bringing them home to wash, dry and paint is a lovely activity for children too, as is having them plant a seed and take responsibility for watering and nurturing it every day so that it grows. Involve them when you are tending to your garden, give them a little corner they can dig in themselves.

 

 

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

 

Blog-osity Guest Blogger and Child Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune takes a look at the Dublin Diner at Imaginosity, exploring its benefits for children and for families in terms of healthy eating, happy meal-times and children's confidence around food.

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 Involving children in food play and in actual food preparation at home are a great way to introduce them to a range of different foods and to help them grow to make healthy food choices. Involving children with food preparation is also an excellent sensory play experience for young children (up to the age of 8 years) who need a lot of sensory-based engagement to support their general development at this age.Situated on Level One, the Imaginosity child-sized The Dublin Diner is a great way for children to explore, investigate and experience all aspects of food and dining out. Here your child will get the opportunity to play at finding food in the fridge, cooking up the food and clearing their plates away afterwards. It will further help your child if you continue this experience at home by asking them to fetch something for you from the fridge, have them stand beside you at the sink and wash the vegetables before you chop them and involve them in clearing the table afterwards.

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Posted by on in Imaginosity Events

Our 7th Birthday Party on August 10th was a huge success! Seven years of achievements were celebrated in one BIG BASH! We were delighted to welcome so many new faces to Imaginosity on the day and to allow everyone to experience a little bit of our magic. Young and old joined in the festivities with go-karting, mad scientist shows, magicians, acrobats, giggles, learning, games, bubbles, arts and crafts and much, much more. The feedback was really positive on the day and afterwards with comments such as: "it was just fantastic, the whole family loved it", "thank you for allowing us to come today, we had a ball," "the energy in the building was phenomenal, thank you for working so hard today," and our favourite one that we always like to hear: "we will be back to see you again soon!"

Thanks to everyone who came; to our performers, magician, acrobats and jugglers, our Mad Scientists Fizzy Lizzy and Lovely Lolly, our little candle-blowers and cake eaters and everyone who took part in our social media campaigns to be part of our day. We hope you will come back and see us again :)

Our 7th Birthday Party1

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Posted by on in General

 

 Building Photo Alan 3

This time 7 years ago we had just opened our doors and were beginning to welcome the first of hundreds of thousands of visitors that would eventually come to visit us over the following years.  But what do our visitors really think about Imaginosity? Why do they love coming back to the museum? And what are their favourite things to do when they are here? In order to figure out all of the above, we interviewed three 7-year olds who have been very frequent visitors to the museum over the last number of years.

Sienna Patterson is 7 years of age and from Dublin. Eabha Murphy is 7 years old but nearly 8 and also from Dublin! Luca O'Shea Breen will be 8 in 5 and a half weeks (but he's definitely still 7!) and from Co Wicklow.

Q1: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF IMAGINOSITY?

SIENNA:  I like the roof garden because you get to play outside and get fresh air. It's cool. I love looking at the pretend badger, or not pretend???! He's funny because he snores but  he doesn't know he smores.

EABHA:  The Supermarket because everything is there: fruit, bread. You can learn how to scan the food, because it beeps, so if you wanted to be a cashier than you could. There's also a beanstalk and it reminds me of when I went to the pantomime to see Jack and the Beanstalk. And there's a treasure chest and funny mirrors.

LUCA:  The car! I think it helps kids in learning what it's like to drive on a real road. I also like the roof top garden, with the Badger's House and the toadstools that you can jump from one to the other. I'd give it 10 out of 10.

Q2: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IMAGINOSITY TO A CHILD WHO HAD NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

SIENNA:  It's a fun museum for children with loads and loads and loads of toys to play with. There are 3 floors, you can go up and up. There's a supermarket where you can shop and a boat with pirates and Rapunzel's hair right at the top that you can wave about. You can play the whole time and have fun.

EABHA:  It's a museum with 3 levels and it has a climbing frame to go up and down all the levels. You can get drinks and food and muffins in the cafe. There's a place where you can shoot the news, work the camera and be the newsperson. There's a pirate ship that you can pull the flag up and down.

LUCA:  It's a really fun place and you'll have a really good time. There are 3 brilliant, fun, fantastic floors, each with different things to do. There's a climber with different chambers all the way up which you can climb through. There's a rocket, there's dens and there's a ship.

 

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Posted by on in Play at home

Over the last number of years, Imaginosity has engaged with university students from throughout Europe and the United States of America through our very successful Internship Programme. The programme allows students studying subjects and areas relevant to children's education and children's involvement in the arts and sciences to learn valuable skills and gain experience over a period of time at Imaginosity. In return, we are delighted to welcome such diversity and experience to the museum and are thrilled to learn what we can from students from all over the world. Here, Lisa Stanislavski, a Pedagogy student from Germany, gives a short account of her time as an 'Imaginosity Intern' recently in the museum.

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Overwhelmed by the briskly architecture and the variety of colorful and informative play elements on every floor, I started my 12 week internship with a very good feeling and an enormous amount of motivation.
Since the entire staff was so welcoming and caring, I felt appreciated from the very first second and got along great with everybody. After just watching my colleagues doing their daily jobs at the museum for the first couple of days and helping them keep the floors clean and tidy, I was allowed to help in the arts and crafts workshops or with the preparations of them. Although I was a little worried whether the kids liked me or not, every one of them accepted me right away and I had a blast teaching them about science or arts and crafts in the workshops. I was so honored to be able to organize the music camp with one of my colleagues and to be allowed to bring in my own ideas to make it a lifelong memory for the kids. Step by step I was introduced to the daily chores that need to be done in order to keep the museum as creative and special as it is and although I was 'just' an intern, I always had the feeling that I was able to bring in myself and my own ideas and that I was equally accepted and treated. During my stay in Dublin and my awesome experience of working at imaginosity, I had the chance to meet wonderful people and be part of wonderful place filled with creativity and laughter. Although it could be difficult on busy days to keep up with the schedule and the large number of visitors, the hard work paid off as soon as the kids thankfully smiled at you after a successful workshop, showing you the results with proud and joy.
After 12 weeks of fun, creativity, dancing, arts and crafts and loads of Birthday parties at the museum, the staff organized a goodbye party for me and 2 other colleagues. That was so thankful and I could hardly believe that 3 months could be over so quickly. Saying goodbye to the museum and the entire staff was heartbreaking, but I am sure I will be back some time soon.
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Posted by on in General

By Joanna Fortune, Clinical Child Psychologist & 'Blog-osity' Monthly Guest Blogger

A walk around Imaginosity, Ireland's only interactive children's museum for the under 9's is like taking a stroll around your child's imagination, this is the inner world of a child brought to life. On offer is a myriad of rich interactive experiences for children to engage in; from meeting the Eco Badger up on the roof garden, and learning about how the unique 'green' building works, to making your way up the Climber past the Wizard's Lair and the Rocket Ship to Rapunzel's Castle. Of course, Imaginosity is a wonderful and fun place for children to be and we see this in how their faces light up when they are there, but behind the fun it is clear that Imaginosity is providing children with much more, a genuinely child centred learning, educational and development opportunity!

There is a Greek saying that 'Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play' and that is what we can all benefit from in Imaginosity.

There are 3 stages of Developmental Play (Embodiment Play; Projective Play; Role Play) which is how children develop their understanding of who they are and who the people and the world around them are, that sense of learning where the "I" ends and the world begins.

In summary, Embodiment Play is the first stage (from 0-3.5/4 years) and is essential to developing a sense of trust. Babies learn to trust in a physical way, not through words. This is a very sensory stage of play and touch plays a vital role. Imaginosity has two dedicated spaces for smaller children, 'Little me' on level 2 for under 12 months and 'Tir na n'Og' on level 1 for children up to 24 months. Both spaces offer smaller visitors a sense of security and safety in these specifically designed, soft play, tactile, enclosed areas.

Projective Play (from 3.5/4-5.5 years) comes next and here we see an increased focus on stories and narrations to further explore and investigate objects, people and their general environment at a deeper level. Engage your child in play with dolls and puppets in Imaginosity's theatre space and have the dolls/puppets play through things your child has experienced in their lives i.e. sharing with others, staying in their own beds etc. Level 1 in Imaginosity contains everything a child needs to "create their story" and is wonderful to encourage projective play.

Role-Play (from 5.5-7 or even 9 years) is the final stage and is about dramatic play, which children use to re-structure/re-arrange aspects of their life events to gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. There will be aspects of both Embodiment and Projective play evident in this final stage. Imaginosity's Performance area is perfect for this, as it allows and enables children to role play different characters and scenarios in a safe environment where they are in charge.

This is the seriousness of play and it is important that as parents we learn to play with our children and to become comfortable communicating with them at their developmental level, as a way of connecting with them and supporting their development.

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Posted by on in Play at home
                                                       Fathers day winner       Kart racing kids
This Father's Day we wanted to make an extra effort to celebrate all those fantastic Dads and Granddads who visit Imaginosity. We always love welcoming these special guys to the museum; whether it's for a morning Wobbler & Toddler visit, a "Granddads Go Free" session on a Tuesday afternoon, or some quality Daddy time on a Saturday morning while Mammy gets a rest! Every Father's Day we offer free entry to Dads and Granddads, but this year we decided to go that little bit further and organise a full day of fun, including Go-Karting on the plaza and a SuperDad tournament during each session!
Our SuperDad tournament was a great success – some Dads entered into the competition reluctantly, encouraged by their enthusiastic kids, while others jumped in feet first to the many challenges ahead of them. We kicked off the tournament with a yoga-brick building competition – the winners of round one were the builders of the top three tallest towers still standing after two minutes!
Round two saw the Dads and their entourages proceed to the Supermarket where they were challenged with finding every item on their shopping list in 90 seconds. All parents are familiar with the task of filling their trollies in a short and stressful amount of time, and the Dads really stepped up the plate in this round (lots of people get chicken confused with beef yeah?).
With just two SuperDads left in the mix, it was down to the Cog Wall to decide who was our first Father's Day Champion. Whoever placed the cogs in the right order to ring the bell in the shortest amount of time were to be crowned SUPERDAD! The tension was palpable, the kids were cheering, the solid plastic "SuperDad" trophy was gleaming in the corner of each Dad's eye. Each Dad had his eye firmly on the prize but eventually Jonathan Connell proved himself as the top Dad, the head honcho, officially a SUPERDAD.

We had SO much fun this Father's Day, thanks to all the Dads who threw themselves full force into the fun – each and every one of you embodied the real meaning of Imaginosity and truly proved yourselves as SuperDads.

See you next year!

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Posted by on in Education

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Rebecca, our Education Development Officer, headed off to Europe this morning, to be part of an EU Project called 'WEAVE' which brings together Italy, Bulgaria and The Netherlands to explore an interesting textile art project. Here Rebecca tells us a little bit about the project, Imaginosity's involvement and what she hopes to learn along the way.

" One of the best parts of my role as Education Development Manager is the chance to meet with people working in all fields of education and learning. Most of the time this involves visiting schools, museums, education centres, universities and attending conferences all around Ireland. But every now and then I get a chance to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues from further afield. This month I am delighted to have the chance to take part in an EU project called 'Weave', a project developed with the support of the Cultural Programme of the European Union. The main aim of 'Weave' is to organise a series of free public events about textile art in The Netherlands, Bulgaria and Italy entitled 'Zig-Zag - Textile, fibre and felt: it's Smart Child's Play'!

 

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by Joanna Fortune, Monthly Blog-Osity Contributor and Clinical Child Psychotherapist

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Parents often ask me about pocket money and how they can use it as a positive parenting tool. Here are some tips on that.

There are many child development benefits to giving your child Pocket Money, including;

• It encourages independence

• It helps develop budgeting skills and an appreciation of the value of money

• By affording them the opportunity to decide on things they like and want, they

are developing a capacity for desire

• It can help them develop saving skills

The amount you give is absolutely up to you and should be influenced by your family's financial situation but also your child's age and stage of development. You can decide if pocket money should be earned by doing household tasks for you but I would add here that part of being in a family is the expectation that everyone helps out so I would suggest that there are set chores/tasks that your child is responsible for that they are not paid for, but you may offer them the opportunity to take on additional chores to earn money. If you do this then be consistent with it and if the chore/task is not done properly, they do not get paid for it.

In terms of what age your child should be to start this system, I would say that is your parental decision, but you could start it from as young an age as 5 years, but just ensure that the amount you are giving and the chores/tasks you expect to be done by your child are appropriate and reflective of their age and stage of development e.g. a 5 year old child can be responsible for feeding the goldfish every day and putting their dirty clothes into the laundry hamper but perhaps not loading your dishwasher.

What do you expect their pocket money to cover? Are they to buy their own phone credit or personal items (teenagers) or do you cover these and their pocket money is for extra or treat items. The amount you give should reflect this and you should be clear with your child from the outset, perhaps have a pocket money agreement you both sign up to. Do not be swayed by what you are told their friends get. You are responsible for parenting your child alone and you won't know what arrangement other parents have with their children regarding the pocket money they give so you must develop your own system and stick to it.

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Posted by on in General

 

The task ahead of them was going to be tough, but armed with lots of passion, commitment, enthusiasm and a love of stories (and lots of tea and sambos!), our competition judges headed in to their final meeting to decide on the Winners and Runners Up in the Imaginosity 'What's the Story?' Story-Making Competition last week.

We received close to 500 entries from all corners of the country this year and Imaginosity staff had shortlisted the entries down to 5 or 6 entries in each of the 5 categories. The judges had been given two weeks in which to read all short-listed entries and make their decisions in time for last week's meeting. Some arrived firm in their stance on who should win in each category and were ready to battle it out with those who did not share their views! Others came undecided on some categories and certain on others. But each and every judge arrived filled with delight and wonder at the stories that they had spent the previous fortnight reading. Each commented on the quality, the standard, the imagination and the creativity involved in each story.

Judges Meeting 2014

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

We love to make a special fuss of our Mums and Grannies when Mother's Day comes along each year. Here, Imaginosity's friends, brother and sister Ethan and Zarah Cassidy tell us why they love their Mum. Remember that Mums, Grannies, Mammies, Nanas, Mothers and Grandmas GO FREE this Sunday at Imaginosity, as we celebrate this special day. We're hosting special Mother's Day-themed activities throughout the day such as 'Baskets of Love for Mum' art workshops and 'My Mum is fabulous' story-time sessions. Check our on-line calendar for times and details.

Ethan

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

We are delighted to announce our new blogging partnership with Joanna Fortune. Joanna will be writing a Blog-osity post every month, for 12 months and we are excited to have her on-board!

Joanna Fortune is a Clinical Psychotherapist specialising in child and adolescent Psychotherapy with over 12 years experience. She is widely recognized for her use of simple supportive language to make connections with parents and children. Among many other things, Joanna is a regular contributor in the media on issues of child development and parenting. Joanna founded Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Dublin in October 2010.

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Hi, I'm Joanna Fortune and I am delighted to be writing some blogs for Imaginosity's fabulous blog site. For those who don't yet know me, I am a psychotherapist and attachment specialist working with children, adolescents and parents in my Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Sandyford Dublin 18 ( www.solamh.com ). It has been said that I tend to view the world through the eyes of a 5 year old and this, I'm proud to say, is very true. Why not take a look at www.joannafortune.com to find out all about me and the work that I do.

So you can expect my blogs to be about child development, challenging behaviours and what they mean, as well as practical tips on parent-child play time. Whatever I am blogging about there will always be a practical tip for you to use at home with your child, ensuring15 minutes of quality play time together per day.

The weather is finally getting better and it's time to get out there and make the most of it with your children while you can. I noticed that Imaginosity were doing a great theme to welcome spring so I thought I would take their lead and talk you through a fun, sensory engaging parent-child spring time play tip. You can start this activity with a great nature walk and collect some items for your 'sensory basin' while out and about having fun.

 

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In celebration of St Patrick's Weekend, our friend Mairead who is a secondary school teacher has written a thought-provoking and helpful piece on re-discovering (or discovering for some!) our native tongues. Go raibh maith agat Mairead!

It's that time of the year again when we all start thinking of the 'cúpla focal' we once stored safely away in the back of our minds for those occasions we may need them! Your child is coming home daily and reminding you of words from another lifetime. Safely buried away but not forgotten....

Why not try to rediscover this safely buried treasure this weekend? Why not try a few ideas to make your home a little more Gaelach do Sheachtain na Gaeilge? Try labelling some of your necessary items - an citeal to make a 'cupán deas tae', or a 'muga caife'. You may need 'siúcra' and 'bainne'. Don't forget (ná dearmad) your 'fón póca', those elusive 'eocracha' that go missing every time you need to go on a trip 'sa char'r. Have you your 'málaí siopadóireachta' for the groceries?

There are some words you need when asking / telling your child what to do :

Faigh - get

Déan - do /make

Téigh - go

Brostaigh - hurry

Cuir - put

Ól - drink

Ith - eat

Seas suas - stand up

Suí síos - sit down

When you need your children to do some everyday jobs, why not challenge them as Gaeilge?

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Posted by on in General

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Roisin Ingle, Daily Features Editor with The Irish Times is a member of our 'What's the Story?' Judging Panel for this year's competition. Here Roisin tells us of her own little story-tellers and the places that their imaginations take them and the stories that they tell!

I live with somebody who can make hailstones the size of golf balls appear from the sky with just a flick of her hand. She has turned me into a statue twice today. It's her magic powers you see. I live with someone else who thinks she's my boss. I go home from work and she makes me sit at a desk with my laptop, barking orders. " Make more work," she says in her harshest "boss voice". She's got a smile Julia Roberts would kill for so all I can do is comply.

Living with two four year olds can be exhausting but mostly it is the best fun I've ever had in my life. Why? Because they don't have any limits on their imagination. The stories they tell are the tallest stories you've ever heard. There's the time they went out to our tiny back yard and found fairies hiding behind the daffodil shoots. They were busy packing for a holiday on the moon. Or the time they met a teddy bear made of jelly and decided not to eat him. "His Mum who's a butterfly and his Dad who's a giant would be so sad," they explained, their blue eyes shot through with sincerity.

They can't write yet but I'm encouraging them to start making stories, setting them down for posterity in crayon and colouring pencil, helping them realise the stories they tell have the power to entertain, astound, move and shock. They take out their pencils and draw a girl trapped in a tower. Suddenly there are orange flames leaping out from the wobbly turrets and a ladybird arrives on a horse to rescue her. Then their junior infants teacher Miss Walkin emerges from a corner of the page with a bucket of water. To look at the page, a colourful mass of pencil marks, you wouldn't know any of this, but I've been told the story. And every part makes sense. It's often said that the Irish are a nation of storytellers. And if that's the case the young people of Ireland are our laureates. I can't wait to read all the entries to the Imaginosity competition. I hope my two laureates never stop making stories. Best of luck to all of yours.

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

 

As parents, we can all see the value in encouraging our children to be creative, independent thinkers who can come up with their own creative thoughts and ideas and their own ways of solving problems, and being confident in doing so. That bit’s easy. The more difficult part sometimes is actually figuring out how to put that into practice. Time is not on our side as parents and we sometimes feel that there are not enough hours in the day. For those of us who work outside the home, we struggle to rush home, have dinner, do homework and have bath-time. For those of us whose place of work is in the home, daytime is just as busy, as we are pushed from one hour to the next meeting constant demands from our children and our home. Perhaps there just doesn’t seem to be any space in our day and in our family to squeeze in any form of creativity?

Every child is born with the ability to be creative. For some it comes naturally, just as it does for some children to ride a bike with ease or play sports well. But for others, encouragement is hugely beneficial to the child. We can train the eye, the ear and the mind to be creative and help our children gain access to a creative way of seeing and thinking about the world. We can assist them with concentration, competence, optimism, perseverance, appreciation and positivity in all that they do. We can encourage and applaud their creative activity and outcomes and we can let them know in bucketfuls how very proud we are of them and all that they do and achieve. If you are looking for ideas about how to encourage creativity, imagination and discovery in your child, the following are some pointers that we have picked up over time in Imaginosity. Perhaps one will spark an idea in your own mind as to what would interest your own child and how you could do this at home.

MOVE AWAY FROM THAT SCREEN! A child that is constantly entertained by screens and other visual media, will find it difficult to find ways to entertain themselves when that media is removed. Your child’s imagination and thought processes are pre-defined when playing a video game. They must ‘press A’ to make the guy jump or ‘B’ to make the building explode. There isn’t much imagination in these pursuits. Ditch the ipads, the smartphones, the Wiis and anything else that your child seems to be spending too much time using. We’re not suggesting to take them away completely, but do limit the time to allow creativity and imagination creep back in through those cracks in time.

ENCOURAGE THEM TO THINK OUTSIDE THE (CARDBOARD) BOX: The inside of a toilet roll can be made into binoculars, a cardboard tube can be a telescope or a racetrack for cars, a plastic bottle filled with pebbles could be a music shaker, a cardboard box could be a Formula 1 racing car, a shoebox could be an elevator on the arm of the sofa. Guide your child to think outside the box, but try not to interfere too much in the process. Allow their imaginations the time and space to self-guide.

PROVIDE THEM WITH AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THEIR CREATIVITY CAN ABOUND: Get out the paints, pencils, feathers, glue, play dough, sand, water, glitter and anything else that you think can be used. Collect, or at least put aside milk cartons or egg boxes and save them for creative pursuits. Allow your child just to ‘be’; to figure it all out for themselves and to create what they would like to create, not what you think that they should create. Another way to provide a creative environment is to take a trip outside; point out the colours in the sky, the flowers, the shapes of the trees. Encourage them to be aware of the weather and to recognise the change in the seasons, when there’s a full moon or a sky filled with brightly shining stars, get their coats on and go outside. The more aware they are of their outside environment, the more they can dream and think about their place in the world.

TV Presenter and Naturalist, Chris Packham, said: “The love that fuels a lifeties interest in wild things comes from the heart not the hard drive and what ignites it is contact. The Wild Network, which was launched in late September 2013, today reached a milestone of 1,000 member organisations – all pledging to encourage kids to play outside more and re­connect with the natural world on our doorsteps[1].   http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/news/2013/12/05/wild-things-support-campaign-get-kids-outdoors

GET MESSY! As parents (some, not all!) we have a tendency to be tidy and to immediately clean up a mess for fear of the mess becoming even bigger if left unattended. A child is not going to think or act creatively in a controlled, tidy environment. That is a fact. So give in to the mess. There’s plenty of time later on to tidy up. 

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Posted by on in Imaginosity Events

On the 3rd of February Imaginosity launches its 2nd annual “What’s The Story” competition – a BIG competition for little storymakers! The competition is open to individual children from 3 to 8 years and classes from pre-school to second class. Thanks to our very generous sponsors the winning entries will receive fantastic prizes which include bikes, Imaginosity memberships, class trips to the museum, Construction Toys, Arts and Crafts materials, puppets and more! Last year I had the privilege of being chosen as the Imaginosity representative on the judging panel and I am thrilled to be granted the opportunity once again for this year’s competition.

The first time venturing into unchartered territory is always daunting and the launch of the inaugural “What’s the Story” was no exception. The press releases were sent, leaflets and posters printed and distributed – and so the wait for entries began! The stories came through the door in gentle drifts and flurries at first – one or two a day in the beginning, the flow gradually building momentum until eventually, in the last week, the poor postman was quite literally weighed down with packages, envelopes and giant parcels. From every corner of the country children from all walks of life had picked up pens, pencils, cameras and paintbrushes to reveal to us their stories, ideas, imaginings and memories. There was something incredibly special about being a part of this drive to tap into the creativity that is evidently brimming over in children across the land.

Of course as the entries piled up in the office, I was cruelly barred from sneaking even the tiniest peek as the readers trawled through the many colourful pages. As a judge, my first glimpse of the stories was to only be after the arduous task of shortlisting was completed – a task which was valiantly (but admittedly with great delight!) taken on by Marketing Manager Ciara and General Manager Jenny.

When we eventually got there, the judging process was fun and rewarding but TOUGH – we had 5 shortlisted entries in each category and every piece of work was so different, each with its own individual strengths and merits, that we debated, discussed, yelled at each other and threw chairs full force across the room (ok, that’s an exaggeration - but as our young authors would certainly agree, what’s a story without a bit of colour?). We eventually managed to whittle down to our winners and runners up but it wasn’t an easy process! In the end the winning entrants were a mix of poetry, biography, illustrated stories and comic strips – we had tales of adventure, everyday family life and visitors from outer space to name a few.

Both Imaginosity and the competition entrants were lucky to have each and every piece of work considered and studied by a judging panel studded with such bright stars and big brains of the creative industry. It was interesting to observe the style preferences of each judge – RTE presenter Blathnaid Ni Chófaigh understandably had a grá for the entries we received as gaeilge just as Illustrator Chris Judge was a valuable commentator on the animated stories that made it to the shortlist. We are sincerely grateful that many of our judges will resume their seats this year and are also honoured to be joined by new faces such as Paul Howard of “Ross O’Carroll Kelly” fame and Irish Times journalist Roisin Ingle.

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Posted by on in Play at home
Finished product Description of task: Make an Orange Clove Pomador
Time required: 20 minutes
Suitable for ages: 3-7 years
Level: Easy
Download instructions here
Tagged in: Play play at home
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Posted by on in Play at home

Keeping with the theme of Movement and Dance for January at the museum, our friend and Yoga Expert Eike Traynor, from Purely Yoga, gives us some gorgeous helpful and active ideas for our little ones at home this month.

eike pic

Another year begins and everyone starts off with the best intentions. We all want to do better and be better. Well let this year be the year. Let's try to keep our resolutions!!

As a yoga teacher, I get to be active everyday and I love it!! My husband is very into cycling. And together we try to instill this in our children.

I have 2 sons, Josh - 4, Tristan - 3. I wanted to get them into sports straight away, and started them swimming at 11 weeks & 7 weeks.  As soon as they were old enough I signed them up to every sport. They play football, go to gymnastics. Horse ridding, Tennis, yoga, swimming and we just tried our hand (or foot!) at skiing and the boys love everything.

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