Play Day fun and magic grips Offaly

ALMOST two hundred families enjoyed an afternoon of magic, music and make and do when they took part in the successful Offaly’s Play Day 2011.

ALMOST two hundred families enjoyed an afternoon of magic, music and make and do when they took part in the successful Offaly’s Play Day 2011.

The family celebration took place in Tullamore Town FC, Axis Business Park, Tullamore and was co-organised by Offaly County Council and Offaly County Childcare committee on Sunday, October 23 last. The change of venue from Lloyd Town Park, Tullamore did not deter families with young children coming together to enjoy an afternoon of free activities.

Play Day is a national initiative promoted by the National Play and Recreation Resource Centre under the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). Its aim is to promote play, games and activities and to give children an opportunity to take part in activities that are low cost and can be easily replicated at home.

On the day, Gymboree treated mums, dads, grannies and granddads and children to two sessions of music and movement, which involved dancing and singing with a parachute and musical instruments. Smaller children loved dancing to the music and catching bubbles as they twirled around.

Older children were guided through the make and do session where they created finger puppets, paper bag puppets, crowns, and artist trading cards and many of the activities can be done at home using recycled materials at little or no cost to families.

Due to the event being moved indoors, the scavenger hunt had to be suspended and the children enjoyed a signature hunt instead where they searched for signatures of pet lovers, cyclists and footballers etc. One granddad in particular was very popular for the afternoon.

Ken, Ape Events enthralled the children with his magic show and was kept busy all afternoon making balloon models of dogs, swords, hearts and dinosaurs.

Games and activities were provided by Offaly County Childcare Committee staff and the smaller children in particular enjoyed Sheena’s rendition of the Hookey Kookey. There was also face painting on the day.

Cllr Danny Owens, Chairperson of Offaly County Council, officially launched Play Day, describing the event as a “tremendous success”.

“Despite the terrible weather and change in venue, so many families turned out to participate in Play Day, which made all the preparation worthwhile,” Cllr Owens enthused, adding it was “very encouraging to see families making time to spend an afternoon playing with their children”.

Ms Sarah Mohan, Chairperson of Offaly County Childcare Committee explained Play Day was all about families. ”The aim of Play Day is to celebrate families and the role they have in encouraging children to play. Play is a fundamental right of every child and events like today promote the importance of play in early childhood’,” she said.

The organisers of the event thanked the volunteers, who helped out on the day, the Army for supplying tents for the original date and the entertainers along with Tullamore Town Football Club for allowing the use of its venue for the afternoon.