Parents are taking a more active role in family life with 45% of Irish parents saying that they regularly turn down a drink with friends in order to play with the kids at home and 51% opting to take up a new hobby to spend more time together as a family.
Additionally, 24% of parents have asked their employer for greater flexibility at work in order to get a better work/life balance. The survey of 1,000 Irish parents with children aged 10 or under, on behalf of toymaker Chad Valley, also reveals that 37% of Irish parents rely on other parents as their most valuable source of play ideas. Rob Quartermain, Head of Play at Chad Valley said: “Experts say that 15 minutes of play a day can encourage healthy childhood development and spark greater levels of creativity, so it’s not surprising that 98% of Irish parents feel playtime is important in helping to grow their child’s imagination. It is really heartening to see that Irish parents value imaginative play time and share their ideas with other parents. We really encourage this as lots of our toys are designed to stimulate imaginative play and enable family playtime.” This Chad Valley wheelbarrow set, 12.99, is suitable for ages 3+. Chad Valley was founded in Birmingham in 1860 and has over 300 products available exclusively though Argos stores; www.argos.ie
# For children or adults who hate getting water in their ears, suffer from Swimmers Ear, or have grommets, Ear Band-It is a headband, designed to hold ear plugs in place while engaging in water activities. Suitable for everyone — from beginner swimmers to water sports enthusiasts, the headband is made of durable neoprene, in sizes S, M and L, with adjustable Velcro closing, in a range of colours. It costs 24.99, including ear plugs, from pharmacies or www.pharmaher.ie
#When packing for a family picnic, it isn’t always easy to fit everything into one bag. Transport your summer treats in style, with pretty printed oil cloth, Libby, or Rosy Dot, shoulder bags from Ulster Weavers, available from the Kilkenny Shop, 22.95; www.kilkennyshop.com
#There are lots of summer camps to choose from during the holidays but if your child loves to dance, Ballet Ireland’s workshops may be an opportunity. The week-long workshops offer budding dancers, aged six to 16 — with or without any previous dance experience — the opportunity to create their own ballet. The workshops, taking place nationwide through the summer, focus on dance performance, music, mime and drama, with students helping to devise the choreography and create sets and costumes. Munster venues include The Source Arts Centre, Thurles (July 7) and Glor, Ennis, (July 14), cost from 80. For more details visit www.balletireland.ie
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