School’s out for summer, and although the little ones will be squealing with delight, the parents mightn’t be as enthusiastic! The secret is to keep them entertained, so I’ve found a few interesting things taking place across the province, which are slightly outside the norm.

Puffin Watching @ Rathlin Island: The ‘clown of the sea’ is unmistakable with its black back and white colour and of course made famous by the Guinness adverts. Not only will you get to see this birds, and let’s face it who doesn’t love a puffin, but you will also get to go to Rathlin Island, which lies just six miles off the north coast and accessible by ferry from Ballycastle. Opening hours of The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre vary, check before travelling by calling 028 9049 1547. Admission is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. You’ll have to walk 89 steps to the viewing platform/ lighthouse, so be careful if you’re unsteady on your feet. 

Karisma Dance Academy @Banbridge: Dancing is a great hobby for children and young people and something which, not only gets them fit but also helps with confidence. I went to Irish dancing for about 7 years when I was younger and loved it! Now it’s all about hip hop and Karisma is leading the way in this competitive genre. Its reviews are pretty much 5* and I can see why. Karrisa Glenn who owns the studio is an amazing girl who is not only super talented, but also has a sparkling personality, guaranteed to bring any shy youngsters out of their shell. The next dance week runs from Monday 7 August-Friday 11 August and costs £15. It’s for boys and girls and no dance experience is necessary. She also has a few freelance workshops running, so check out Facebook for more info. 

Animal one-to-one @ Belfast Zoo:  The zoo is a great day out for kids and big kids, but did you know that you can get up close and personal to your favourite animal? Well providing it’s a penguin, giraffe or penguin you can get to share the experience of being an honorary keeper for the day. You’ll be able to have the option to feed them, get in beside them to learn a bit more and even get a wee snap of your experience. Although it’s a tad pricey at £65, it’s definitely one to remember and something a little bit different. You can find out more about the experience here. 

Tayto Theme Park @ Ashbourne: When Ireland’s favourite crisps makers opened a theme park we knew it was going to be fab! Located in County Meath, this sprawling venue is packed full of a amusement rides, attractions, a playground, the chance to do a crisp tour and even a zoo! When you check its social media the biggest complaint is that one day is not long enough to pack it all in! This could have something to do with the latest crowd pleaser – the Viking Voyage flume ride, which takes guests on a journey from an ancient Viking town to Celtic Ireland and delves into true Viking history with replica forts, round towers and a monastery. The track is 700m in length and can reach speeds of 60kph. This place sounds amazing!! Anybody want to lend me their child so I can go??  All details can be found here. 

Relax Kids @ Newry/Belfast: This is a pretty new to me, but I believe the programme has been going since 2000. Its award-winning 7-step technique improves emotional wellbeing and self-confidence and helps children feel calm and focussed. Relax Kids’ strategies mimic clinically-proven anger management and mitigation treatments such as therapeutic exercise and yoga, breathing exercises, and mindfulness exercises. These can be used as anger management tools, ways to help at moments of meltdown, or methods to make time-outs constructive rather than punitive. 4% of children between the ages of 5 and 16 suffer from an emotional disorder such as anxiety or depression. Relax Kids’ adaptability and flexible approaches to the seven steps mean that the program can be easily tailored to suit a particular child’s needs. The Relax Kids programme is coming to Belfast in September, so keep an eye out here.

Whatever you get up to – have a brilliant summer! And keep and keep popping back here for more fun activities over the next few weeks and months. 

Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch @GSpotsBlog or grainne@gspots.biz