This International Youth Day (12th August), Cork city’s museums, galleries and attractions are calling on families to introduce children to culture and heritage from an early age, as they come together to make these spaces more playful and youth friendly.
Accessing culture from an early age is beneficial to youth as the culture they inherit is an important part of their developing identity. Participation in culture helps develop thinking skills, build self-esteem, and improves resilience as well as broadening horizons and encouraging curiosity. With these benefits in mind Cork City recently launched a ‘Playful Culture Trail’ featuring 30 child friendly places to explore the city’s culture, heritage, and green spaces through play. This new trail is part of an ongoing commitment by Cork City Council and other key stakeholders towards making Cork a more ‘Playful City’.
The Playful Culture Trail is illustrated on a colourful and child friendly map that can be picked up along with a unique tote bag, colouring pencils, a Pure Cork pencil, and a bookmark, from attractions and hotels in the city. Taking a youth centred approach where fun is front and centre each attraction on the trail offers a free activity pack for kids on arrival with numerous challenges to complete from scavenger hunts, to sketching tasks, crosswords, and investigation work. Along the Trail kids are encouraged to keep a beady eye out for ‘Blaithín’ – a cute and cuddly lizard who is the play trail mascot and will be playing hide and seek in lots of attractions.
Cork City’s Playful Culture Trail is calling on families to celebrate International Youth Day with an outing to check out the fun activities of the trail and enjoy the opportunity for kids to be kids in cultural spaces. Fun things to do include hopping on a bus into the city before exploring labyrinths at St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, designing costumes for superheroes at Crawford Art Gallery, finding out their Bog Age at the Cork Butter Museum, tracing tombstones at St Peter’s Church, making daisy chains at Nano Nagle Place, enjoying the playground at the Old Cork Waterworks, and lots more.
Commenting on Cork City Playful Culture Trail plans to mark International Youth Day, one of the key organisers Dr Danielle O’Donovan, Programme Manager at Nano Nagle Place, said that Cork City wants to lead the way in encouraging playful engagement in venues that may have traditionally been perceived as quiet spaces.
“Lots of us want to bring kids to museums, galleries and attractions, but often there isn’t anything designed for them to do. This summer in Cork we have turned that problem into a creative opportunity by designing playful and engaging activity packs for kids so that families feel welcome in our cultural spaces. We are delighted to celebrate International Youth Day along the Playful Culture Trail. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on young people, taking away so many of the activities they love to do for nearly a year and a half. Considering this, our commitment to making kids VIPs at cultural venues throughout Cork City is even more important.”
Also commenting, Denise Cahill, coordinator of the Playful Cork City Project and Cork Healthy Cities, said, “providing opportunities for fun and giving children every opportunity to play is more important than ever. It is wonderful to see that Cork City Council so actively supports the strong playful partnership in Cork City demonstrating a real commitment to making Cork a playful city.”
“It has been brilliant to see kids all over the city carrying their ‘Let’s Play’ branded canvas bags exploring the trail and noticing how popular seeking out Bláithín our native lizard mascot has become. It is great to be marking International Youth Day in 2021 feeling proud of initiatives like the Playful Culture Trail that have come to fruition as well as plans that are yet to be launched.”
The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Colm Kelleher says it’s incredibly uplifting to see families flock to the city’s museums, galleries, and attractions to experience the trail this summer, “there has never been a better time to explore Cork city and to introduce our children to it’s wonderful culture and heritage. I’m really proud that we are creating an open and welcome experience for families in our museums, galleries and historic sites, and look forward to discovering more of the trail with my own children”.
This project is part of an overall mission to make Cork a playful, child friendly, active city and was developed in collaboration with all the participating museums, galleries and attractions in Cork, in partnership with Playful Paradigm, Cork City Council, Cork Local Sports Partnership, Pure Cork, and Bus Eireann. Some venues are free and others offer family rates.
Source: Cork City Council