Helen O’Callaghan looks at kids’ activities on offer at the Body&Soul festival.
HAVE a picnic with your child as you watch fire jugglers. Or get in a hot tub, as a family, under a canopy of trees.Go seed-planting with your children or watch them create flower garlands to participate in a summer solstice parade.
Go seed-planting with your children or watch them create flower garlands to participate in a summer solstice parade.
It’s all possible at the three-day Soul Kids @ Body&Soul 2016, which runs from June 17 to 19 in Ballinlough Estate, Co Westmeath.
The festival is the brainchild of mum-of-one Avril Stanley, who became an event organiser after spending much of her 20s travelling in South America, India, California and Japan, where she experienced festivals and witnessed how other cultures celebrate their traditions, customs, music, and storytelling.
Avril started Body&Soul seven years ago when her son, Jarah, was nine months old.
“My friends and I were at the stage where children were coming into our lives. It just felt natural to want to include children in the very belly of the festival.
“How could we make it feel safe and create a sanctuary for families, invite them into otherworldliness and magic?”
Avril acknowledges children learn much at school and from day-to-day family living.
“But when you go as a family to where the whole landscape has been designed to stimulate a sense of adventure, wonder and togetherness in nature, you get to experience stuff with your children you normally wouldn’t.”
Combining typical festival favourites (face-painting, giant balloons, bubbles) with nature-based exploration sums up much of what Soul Kids is about.
Eco Action workshops engage children in sensory nature walks and woodland activities. Earth Forest Education’s Forest School facilitates children to make crafts (using simple tools) that they can bring home.
Children get opportunities to follow clues and forage in the forest — and to create out of found materials fairy doors, bird houses and natural crafts.
The festival incorporates a family camping area with dedicated breast-feeding and baby changing area.
Mornings at the campsite include yoga, art workshops and face painters — in the evenings, children go to sleep with storytelling, yoga and hot water bottle filling.
Another feature is the Walled Garden, where kids rule.
Tickets for one adult and two children (€169.50) are available from
Introducing magic into kids’ lives:
* Step outside what’s known. Once a week/month, set a family goal to try something new.
* As a family, climb a hill, go for a full moon walk somewhere beautiful, forage in the woods for wild garlic.
* Break the rules — maybe on a Wednesday, it’s ok to watch a film and eat popcorn.
* Bring a sense of flexibility. Kids love to go camping, sleep outdoors and toast marshmallows.
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