Kids Bike Riding

So I realize for some people kids riding their bikes at 4 & 5 is a big deal and for kids as young as 2 in The Netherlands but for us having Maebh ride just before she turns 7 is huge.   And just like Soren by waiting a bit longer she and he took to it instantly! Now she wants to ride every day. While she’s not anywhere ready to ride on the street, like Soren, but in time we can cycle to school.
Her first ride was a bit wobbly!

She is so proud that when we’re in The Netherlands next she can ride a bike!!

Sketching at National Gallery and Hugh Lane Gallery

Today Maebh and I spent the day in the city center checking out the National Gallery and then the Hugh Lane Gallery. Both had family-focused drawing events on today so it was perfect timing for Soren to be invited to a football birthday party and us girls spent the day in the city.

We took the DART in which is a big adventure for a 6 year old and the bus home – with the high hopes of being at the top of the bus in the front row.  Had to settle for second to front as the people who were there were still there when it was our stop.

First up was the National Gallery.   Each Sunday from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm they have a free family event where kids are allowed in to a small area to participate in the artist-facilitated drop-in session in the atrium. These sessions are inspired by the collection and our exhibitions, are suitable for tiny tots upwards.  Each week they have a guest artist encouraging each child to explore the week’s theme. There are also free family tours taking place at 12.30 pm.  When we return with Soren, we’ll pick up a children’s audio guide at the information desk and take a family tour – which we did, but will get to that later.

It was packed, so we got a number and had a drink in the cafe before going back in.  Not sure if it’s best to arrive at 11:00 to be one of the first it at 1:00 to be one of the last?

This is the schedule for the future events.

8 January…Group of Cavalry in the Snow, by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier. With Jane Bowe
15 January… About Face with Susan Farrelly
22 January…As Still as a Statue with Beth O’Halloran
29 JanuaryThe Magic of Chinese New Year with Fala Buggy
(In association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival)
5 February… Me, Myself and I with Libby Simington
12 February… Lights and Lanterns with Louise McGrath
(In association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival)
19 February Light, Darkness, Drama with Edel Campbell
26 February… Dots and Spots: The Terrace, St. Tropez, by Paul Signac. With Valerie Moffat
5 March… The Animals of Spring with Kate Dick
12 March… Colours Around ‘The Sunshade’ by William John Leech. With Elizabeth Archbold
19 March… Artist Inspirations with Joe Coveney
26 March… Special Someone with Fiona Harrington
2 April… The Triumph of Cúchulainn by Louis le Brocquy. With Vita Ryan
9 April… Rock the Baroque with Janine Davidson
16 April… Design a Treasure Hunt with Jo May
23 April… A Party at the Palace with Eimear Murphy
30 April… The Gleaners, by Jules Breton. With Frances Coghlan

Today session was About Face with Susan Farrelly.  The artist discussed various faces and the kids using cups, made circles and various faces.

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At 12:30, we took the half hour free family tour which was great.  The tour guide spent just enough time with stops at five paintings in one gallery room- explaining them, their styles from impressionism, pointism, abstract, etc and did a great job interacting with the children and naturally, Maebh’s had was straight up interacting. She showed five paintings including: Monet, Lavery, Picasso, Yeats and Signac.

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As the cafe in the National Gallery was packed and not a seat to be found, we ended up at KC Peaches for a quick lunch.  We split a blat (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) sandwich, which was yummy but was not my first choice. I would have preferred the spicy chickpea sandwich but I knew it would be too spicy for her. And based on the size and price, it was evident we’d be splitting something.  It was yummy but I do have a gripe with them as they do not have a children’s menu nor a child version of their sandwiches.  I don’t see why they don’t offer a half sandwich portion for kids?!  Seriously, why would I buy her an adult portion knowing full-well, she could not eat a whole one herself.    Would we return yes, of course, but would go with both kids and they could split one leaving me to my favorite chickpea whatever!  Oh yeah, check out the drink which she insisted on having only to hate it (too sour)!

We then headedover to Pennys and Hugh Lane Gallery for the second art event of the day.  We had high hopes of getting her some new shirts in Penny’s but we are right in-between seasons, so was not much.   She did spy a sequin two way shirt which she has been dying to get for a long while and at €3, I couldn’t say no.

One way is Elsa the next is Olaf.  Better believe she is wearing that on Monday to school!

At the Hugh Lane Gallery, we along with a couple other kids were there at 3 pm sharp for a sketching session.  They were brought into a room with Olive, the instructor who had them first look at different photos and see if they could spot umbrellas.  After a while discussing the paintings, history, style, etc they were to sketch them.

Overall the hour was very pleasant and Maebh enjoyed it. We will be back for future events with Soren too.  After we poked around the gallery looking at he various exhibitions including the Renior, Monet, Manet and Francis Bacon studio.

Afterwards we walked to our bus (she really wanted the bus home vs DART) and stopped in an arcade on O’Connell Street to play a few games!  Fastest €5 ever spent! 🙂

All in all was a great day and look forward to doing it again.  I personally am going to visit the National Gallery again soon (either alone or with a friend) but children-free so I can go from room to room and take a tour, etc.  There are so many things in Dublin I want to see some with kids and some without.  I am having a tour of The Little Museum of Ireland in a couple weeks.

3Doodler Start Kit

Maebh loves arts & crafts so very happy Santa brought her the 3Doodler kit.  This one is the best quality one …. This is the better quality one vs the cheap one that can be bought for €12.

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With the new 3Doodler Start your creative kids can finally bring all of their wonderful and imaginative ideas to life in 3D. The 3Doodler Start 3D printing pen extrudes an eco-friendly plastic that cools and hardens rapidly, allowing kids to literally draw in the air!

It uses an Eco-Plastic that’s made entirely from food grade materials, so it’s completely biodegradable, non-toxic and BPA-free!

The 3Doodler Start is seriously easy to use too, there’s only one speed and one temperature and no software or technical knowledge required – just turn it on, insert a strand and start Doodling in 3D. It can either be used while plugged in, or charge it up and Doodle wirelessly, anywhere for up to one hour.

There are over 200 free stencils and projects available online!   So we’re going to check the site out ASAP!  Extra plastic is going to be what Maebh spends her allowance money on!   Allowance money is being introduced after the New Year.

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While I think it’s aimed for 8+, kids like Maebh 6, enjoy it and kids like Soren nearly 9 find it hard.

Loads of wasted wax but still fun!  Extra wax kits are perfect birthday presents!

Christmas Games: Kids Edition

Each year at Christmas, the family used to play game with small gifts.  You’d roll the dice and depending on the #, you would either open a present, take a present from someone, etc.

As the game has lost appeal to many of the adults, it was passed along to the kids.  We knew our kids would enjoy it.  In fact, Maebh asked if it can be played again at the Easter Break when their cousins are in from Los Angeles.

In the end they all ended up with a number of presents, some enjoyed their presents more than others. Thogh there was not a single toy which they all wanted so that was positive, there was some unknown tears. Was it successful not sure all would agree.

Also each child received a couple gifts from Santa, as he delivered their gifts to Dublin. First our kids opened their stockings and found some small things.

Astroid & Pixie left…

Between courses they opened their gifts.

Big success with gifts Santa!  A drone, Feyernoord hat and Mercedes Benz model, 3d art, painting kit and some sewing kits.

Speelbos de Kemmer – Kids Play Forest

I read about a free kids trail walk in the woods nearby Oirschot, called Speelbos de Kemmer. As it was really nice weather and as Bobbi was going for a nap, we took the walk.  Scatter throughout the woods are animals carved into wood which as you wander you will spot them.

First Soren scoped out the trail, as once you go on the trail, you have no idea which way to go as there are no signs posted.

Turns out we found all but two the ‘wart hog and kabouters’.  After we realised we missed a turn in the end… but not that important to go back in for the last two.

Next door is a tennis club with a few swings, slide, etc.  The other direction a camping area and an indoor/outdoor pool. Would be a great place to stay with kids.

My only one warning is for those with small children who run off or don’t really listen well (I know plenty!) Or for those who let their dogs run off lead, I would avoid the path which runs parallel to the major highway as there is no fence.

SteenUil Kids Playspace in Oirschot, The Netherlands

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Yesterday we all visited a Boerderij (Dutch for farm) De SteenUil which has been transformed into a restaurant with a kids play area but at the same time still a working farm.  It was sort of like Davis Farmland where there are activities for the kids including feeding the animals, but with a great looking food and beer – and as an added bonus for me they have witte beir! My beer snobbery is showing.  But I have been lucky on this trip and had some yummy white beers so will post those later when I get around to it.

What 6 year old girl doesn’t love a pair of wooden clogs!  I meant to pick her up a pair of slippers but forgot – next trip!

The kids loved it.  Inside there is a slide which you go down on snow tubes – it was hard to get the tubes up at first but with some adult help they were on a roll.  Sometimes they’d go one at a time, other times all together. Here are a few videos of their slide adventures.  Only one injury which Soren feel on this head going up the ramp but with two broken arms, we’re used to these boy injuries.

THere is also an indoor sandbox and a smaller area for toddlers – but when we were there it was a free for all of all age groups so definitely not a ‘safe toddler area.’

After doing the slide load of times, they went outside to the swings, go carts and sand area – which I would avoid – cats love to use it as a giant litter box (which we witnessed ourselves).

Then on to my favorite part -feeding the animals which required some working for it.  The farmer first had them feed the baby goats, then then donkey, cats and then had to bring their individual wheel barrows outside to the scoop hay.

After all the feeding the cows, they got to give them a cookie… in this next video you’ll see their their long tongues were a bit too much for all three of them, including Nils.

They had a barn full of ride on toys and bicycles [most of which were broken with flat tires] which if you foun a working one, you could use.  At his time Maebh still is not stable enough to ride, but had some trying and the next day kept talking about the Dutch bicycle she’d love to own.

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In the summer the place has more stuff like pony rides and more things outdoors, but it was still fun and we’ll definitely visit one more time before we leave to Dublin.  If we lived in the area, we’d buy a family membership.

Website: http://www.desteenuil.nl/  Which I believe is all in Dutch but you can still decipher the basics like entry price and location, etc.