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Autumn is a magical time, with the cosy dark nights, Halloween upon us and Christmas fast approaching. When we look back at our own childhood memories, most were made during these seasons and when we have kids of our own, there’s nothing we want more than to create special memories that they can look back on fondly when they’re older.
But when it comes to spending that all-important quality time together as a family, the season does bring limitations. Dark nights mean we can’t stay out as long and Ireland’s trusty autumn weather means we have to prepare for torrential downpours every time we leave the house.
So what can we do to overcome the season’s challenges and spend quality family time together to make memories that you’ll all cherish for a lifetime? Here are our top 10 ideas.
Ignore the pressure
When flicking through Instagram or Facebook, you’ll see other mums and dads posting picture-perfect updates of their little ones having the time of their lives and it may see that you’re not making enough fun for your own family.
This pressure can make it difficult to spend genuine quality time together, as you feel like you too should be uploading every moment. Although you might want to take some snaps of your kids enjoying themselves in the leaves or petting animals at an Autumn event, do it to document the moment rather than for having something to post on social media. Try to put the phones away to remove not only the distractions, but any feelings of comparison and inadequacy too.
Pumpkin carving is a fun family activity to take part in during autumn. You can pick up pumpkins all through October and early November from most grocery stores and they’ll be fairly inexpensive. You can download templates online to help you carve something extra impressive. It’s a great activity for a couple of hours in the afternoon or evening.
Make Halloween costumes and decorations
If your little ones like to get creative, you can make your own costumes or Halloween decorations together. There are lots of tutorials online and it will be great way of feeling festive together and putting a personal touch on your celebrations.
Bake an apple pie or autumn inspired cake
Who doesn’t love a nice apple pie on a cosy evening? It’s the perfect Autumn inspired dessert and is incredibly easy to make. Getting your kids involved with the preparation; from picking the apples to doing the baking, will make them enjoy it even more.
Go for an autumn nature walk
It could be argued that Ireland is at its most beautiful in Autumn when the leaves have fallen and the landscapes are rich in colour. If the weather permits, take advantage and bring your family on a special autumn nature walk to somewhere rural or far out, like Glenveagh National Park which is absolutely breathtaking at this time of year.
Punchestown Winter Festival
Whether you’re a family of horse racing enthusiasts or not, everyone at any age can enjoy the thrill of Punchestown Winter Festival. From November 18th to 19th, it’s an opportunity to get dressed up, have a fun day out with the family and do something together that you maybe haven’t done before. Tickets are €10-€15.
Have a movie night
Watching movies at home is a common occurrence for most families; whether you’re sitting down to watch Harry Potter after Sunday dinner or sticking on Despicable Me for the 1,000th time to keep the kids quiet and get some peace. But to make a real event of it, you could hold a family movie night – perhaps something Autumn or Winter themed, or something scary, depending on the age of your children. Light some candles, get some treats in, curl up under blankets or even build a fort in the living room to make it more memorable.
Wexford fringe festival
The Wexford Fringe is an annual open-access arts festival which will run from Thursday, 19th October to Sunday, 5th November 2017. There are 300 events taking place over the 17 days and includes cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music, and visual art, many of which are free to attend. If you’re in or close by to Wexford, it’s well worth paying a visit. Visit Wexfordfringe.ie
Dublin Book Festival
As one of the country’s largest book festivals, it celebrates Irish writers and Irish publishing, across a whole range of genres, from politics to literary fiction, business, illustration and children’s literature, to poetry and Irish language events. The festival this year, will run from 2-9 November with an exciting schedule of events for older and younger readers alike. Most events will take place in Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar as well as in satellite venues around the city including: National Botanic Gardens, The Gutter Bookshop, Irish Writers Centre, Fighting Words, National Library of Ireland and RDS Library.
Wild Lights 2017 at Dublin Zoo
Opening on 3rd November to 7th January 2018, Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo is an incredible family event. You’ll be able to embark on an enchanted trail and discover a dazzling array of beautifully coloured, giant lanterns inspired by wildlife; including orangutans, lions, tigers, giraffes, a 16ft porcelain elephant and a 30m long Chinese dragon. Tickets are on sale now and can be prebooked on Dublinzoo.ie.
How are you spending time as a family this Autumn? Let us know in the comments below or by using #MyIrishLife on social.
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