12 Family Fun Activities to spark child creativity and expression

Between musical adventures, interactive storytelling, dancing and take-home art projects, there are a variety of family activities at this year’s Mother Tongues Festival, celebrating linguistic diversity through the arts!The Festival is made for the entire family to enjoy. However, a handful of events are designed for children between certain age groups.

To make planning simple and easy, we are going to break down our family events and activities by age group. This way, you can plan out your multilingual adventure for the whole family.
Please note, if an event is fully booked, there is an option to join a waitlist. Cancellations happen, so put your name down just in case!

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Mother Tongues Festival 2019



Jiggy continue the tradition of their musical ancestors while bringing a whole new exotic flavour to the table, more of a collective than an orthodox band, Jiggy’s mercurial lineup mixes and melds Irish traditional music, world rhythms and cutting-edge dance grooves. Jiggy took the internet by storm with their video ‘Silent Place’ celebrating the global togetherness of dance and to date, it has clocked up more than 35 million views. This has introduced the band to a brand new audience worldwide and both of their albums went to number 1 in the world music charts in Ireland, the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Poland & the UK. They are now a big hit with festival audiences across the globe.

The concert features: Robbie Harris (bodhrán & percussion), Aoife Kelly (fiddle & vocals), Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin (flute & vocals), Éamonn Galldubh (pipes & flute), Gary O’Brien (guitar), Niwel Tsumbu (guitar & vocals).


A place for growing thoughts, exploring words and sharing wishes in every language.
There are words that have no equivalent in other languages and it can be difficult sometimes to describe what you mean in a different culture. Sometimes it is hard to share your feelings, thoughts and wishes, no matter what the language! Growing Thoughts & Hanging Wishes is based around the ancient Irish custom of the Raggedy Tree or Wish Tree, where people would hang cloth, ribbons and notes on Hawthorn trees (that were believed to be magical or holy) containing their thoughts, wishes and hopes – sometimes just one word, a name or even a drawing. As the thought and paper disintegrate, the wishes are said to come true!

The tree installation will be created onsite by artist Raffaele Muraca. Everybody is invited to add their thoughts and wishes to the tree in their own language, writing on paper leaves or bits of cloth. What words do you want to share with your community and family? What is your wish for them?

Kamishibai: Fairytales in Ireland and Japan

Take part in a magical experience combining Ireland and Japan’s different, yet similar cultures. Through the art of song and origami crafts, children and their families will experience the mystical storytelling culture that Ireland and Japan share. The countries even have similar tales. Can you name them? Attend this workshop to find out and experience the shared connection between Ireland and Japan.


Create your own musical adventure! Participants will choose from a number of songs (sea-faring songs, love songs, songs about fairies) provided by Eoghan to learn the melody and the meaning of the lyrics. After, we will do a bit of lilting, a kind of mouth music traditionally used to carry a tune for dancing when no musical instruments were available. Depending on where the music takes us, participants have the option to learn traditional Sean-nós singing techniques. To end our musical exploration, we will sing songs and lilt a tune together.


In this interactive workshop with guitarist Niwel Tsumbu, participants will learn songs and hear stories about the luscious landscape and culture of Congo. Come prepared to imagine and sing together! Children may bring their own drum to add to this musical storytelling experience. For children of all ages.



Find the enchanted adventures that await you. For children between the ages of 3-6, join Kata and her puppet friends as they lead you on a magical quest. Along the way, children and their parents will be transported to another world through storytelling and interactive creative projects.


Unleash the creativity of your child! For children between the ages of 3-6, discover music through creative movement, singing, sound exploration and body percussion with Kasia Eliasz! You and your child will also have an opportunity to play real Brazilian instruments used in Samba Music including caxixi, agogo, pandeiro, tamborim and more.


Reconnect with your inner children while your little ones find their own identity by exploring creativity. For children between the ages of 3-6, You are the Artist! is not just an art workshop, it is a joyful space designed for you and your children to create magic moments together. We invite the participants to be part of the storytelling conducted by the artist by adding their family language to the story. And after that, they will create an art project to bring home to continue playing together. We create a safe and heart-warming space where everyone is welcome to speak their family language and make new friends.


For children between the ages of 3-4, in this hands-on workshop (get it!), theatre-maker Alison Ní Mháirtín will guide children and their adults through the magical art of creating bedtime stories from hand shadows. As well as learning how to make classics such as birds and other animals, participants will be invited to create characters of their own.
Please note: a knowledge of Gaeilge is not required for attendance.

Mother Tongues Festival 2019



What do you need to write a poem? For children between the ages of 7-10, find serious inspiration and serious ideas in this seriously silly poetry workshop with French children’s writer Juliette Saumande. We will play with letters, sounds and words to write poems about everything and anything. This workshop is for experienced wordsmiths and newbies alike, as we will build together our poetry toolkit together, one game at a time.


Move to rhythms and learn beyond the steps. For children 7+, Karen will share dance steps and the short stories behind them related to culture, radical friendships and collective action, through the lens of her journey in Ireland with Go Dance For Change. Using body movement and storytelling, we will dance and have fun while discovering steps and stories from rhythms such as Afro-Brazilian Dance, Dancehall and Brazilian Funk. For this beginner-friendly session, we suggest wearing comfortable and loose-fitting clothes. Anything you can move freely in and layers are always good to keep your body warm.


Put your language explorer hats on and delve into the adventure as pirates do! For children between the ages of 6-9, this journey will be led by artist and main piratess Alexandra Gogan, who’s set on building stories, conquering new languages with word games (and beyond!) and, most importantly, unleashing your seeker’s mindset.

Continue the pirate quest at the Interactive Museum of Languages for Young Audiences (IMLYA).
IMLYA is an exhibition where children have the opportunity to interact with language-based sculptures inspired by linguistic artefacts, signs, pictographs, and alphabets. By engaging with the art exhibit, children will develop an understanding of other languages and cultures and unlock their creative potential. You will find IMLYA in the Library from February 11th.

Plan A Multilingual Family Adventure For The Entire Family To Enjoy!

A special thank you
to our friends, sponsors and funders for supporting our mission to promote multilingualism and intercultural dialogue in Ireland.

Mother Tongues Festival is supported and funded by the Arts Council, South Dublin County Council, South Dublin County Tourism, Languages Connect, the French Embassy in Ireland, Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Rua Red, the Civic Theatre and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

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