Here in Dubin we are now almost seven weeks into Covid-19 preventative lockdown measures. As I write, the situation here is beginning to look more positive with some restrictive measures recently eased and a phased road map for a return to normality. However, schools won’t reopen until September and creche’s and childcare for pre-schoolers won’t reopen for non-essential workers until July at the earliest. The likleyhood is that Pea won’t return to any formal childcare until September at least and the lack of routine has been detrimental to both of us. This week I’ve made a concerted effort to work with him in a more structured way. I’ve found some incredibly useful resources from Irish museums, galleries, libraries and other cultural institutions so here is a round up of some of my favourite finds.
National organisation promoting independent and world cinema.
Shorts & Resources for Little Film Fans is a weekly selection of short films suitable for ages 3-8.
The Ark – The Ark @Home
Dublin’s cultural hub for children.
Catch online streams of previously recorded events, concerts and performances and a virtual installation of Love Song, in which children were asked to record and submit their own love songs. Activity sheets and resource packs for school-aged children can also be downloaded.
Theatre company producing work for children.
Pop up Poetry for Lil Peeps will be available online from 13th June for Criunniú na nÓg, the national day for children’s creativity. Expect new poems and rhymes in Irish and English aimed at children aged up to 6.
Until then, follow Branar on Facebook for updates or try your hand at this super cute ‘Make your own pet’ crafting project.
Chester Beatty – Explore Online
Library holding manuscripts and rare books from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
There’s a wealth of content here with guided online tours of special exhibitions, 3D Virtual tours of the permanent collection, downloadable colouring and activity packs, and online how-to videos and workshops including how to make shakshuka, create an illuminated portrait or draw a mythical creature. You can even download a virtual meeting background, to liven up dull Zoom meetings.
The national organisation for children’s books.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get a hard copy of ImagineNation, the workbook from An Post and CBI, you can download it here for printing at home. You can also find reading lists themed by subject such as diversity and emotional well being and other resource packs on the CBI website. I recommend following CBI on Facebook – in celebration of the Children’s Books Ireland Awards, one shortlisted title will be featured each day on the Facebook page. Expect readings from the books, writing tips, creative exercises.
South Dublin venue for music, dance, comedy and opera.
‘Bingo Wings’ classes online, free, from Monday 11th. There are 3 classes to choose from – Creating From Home for 13-18 year olds, Mondays 6-7pm; Dance Like Nobody’s Watching for over 55’s, Wednesdays 3-4pm and We Love to Boogie, for all the family, Thursdays 2-3pm.
Cory city public art gallery and museum.
The Crawford’s website is brimful of creative inspiration but you do have to dig around a bit for content. The Talking Pictures series features a “creative prompt for happy talk and play” every Wednesday. The Homelife Sunday series includes weekly creative exercises such as making a vegetable mandala and hatching a cosmic egg. In the blog section, the 8 part Sculpture Secrets series includes a fun activity sheet for kids. Twitter seems best for keeping up to date with all of the gallery’s activities during this time.
Draoicht – #CreateAtHome
Multi-purpose arts and entertainment centre with an excellent programme of child and youth arts.
Weekly artistic prompts from #CreateAtHome. Topics have included making animal masks, papier mache book covers, building a Lego cat world and printing with recyclables.
EPIC The Irish Emmigration Museum
Interactive museum focused on the stories of the millions of Irish emmigrants and their contributions to the world.
Be a part of the museum’s next exhibition by sharing your story of Covid-19 online; download the free History-at-Home Explorers pack, add your ancestor’s name to the Emigrant Wall for The Power of a Name exhibition or simply take a VR tour of the museum.
Drogheda’s municipal gallery.
The gallery is offering weekly artist-led creative workshops. Sign up to the newsletter to gain access and watch past programme sessions online.
IMMA – IMMA Online
Contemporary art museum based in historic Dublin grounds. Explore the gallery collection online, watch exhibition videos and take part in the weekly Explorer at Home creative projects for children and their adults.
Libraries Ireland – Spring into Storytime
The national network of libraries.
Hundreds of videos of authors and library staff reading children’s stories and leading workshops can be found here. You can use the filters to search by age group and type (e.g. workshop, author reading etc). For live readings, follow your local library on social media. It is now possible to join your library online which gives access to the Tumble books library for young children, educational resources for all and Borrowbox for audio and ebooks. Some local libraries are also organising book drops for vulnerable members of the community.
Library of the late Renaisance and Early Enlightenment.
Complete jigsaws online, learn to make folded paper art, download colouring in sheets or complete the mini Lego figure hunt.
The Model – Inside Out Online Programme
Contemporary arts centre in Sligo town.
Inside Out Online includes two separate creative programmes – one for adults and one for children and families. The children’s programme consists of a series of creative activities and there’s a nice mix to cater for all ages and abilities. Simple activities have include colouring downloads and more more advanced activities include making a Cubist collage and making fabric art.
Irelands new museum of literature.
Novel Teens mini-masterclasses for teenage creative writers. For younger children aged 9+ join author Sarah Webb for Bright Sparks creative bursts. With some help these could be adapted for younger children.
Social enterprise championing creative reuse of unwanted items.
Creative Corner is a series of creative workshops with projects such as wearable art, 3-D creatures and a stringed instrument. You can also share your creations to become part of the digital exhibition. Finally, I recommend this blog post about balancing working from home and creating with childcare.
The National Centre for Circular Economy.
The Rediscover @Home series is a selection of video tutorials, tips and tours. The Children’s Education and Junior Science series includes videos has included engineering bridges, wildlife gardening and textile collage.
Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny
Multi-disciplinary arts centre in the North West.
The RCC has responded to the Covid-19 challenge in a truly creative and innovative way with a Virtual Artist-in-Residence scheme, a community photographic diary, a curated community mixtape, the Minecraft art exhibition and creative challenges for both children and adults (in association with Glebe House and Gallery. Home is Where the Art Is, the programme for children, features a daily creative challenge. Past challenges have included shadow drawing, designing a treehouse and recreating a famous painting. Responses to the challenge can be shared on the Facebook group RCC Kids and I highly recommend joining for a healthy dose of inspiration, fun and positivity.