Coolest Projects Showcase: A Handy Guide for Parents


Untitled design (9)Preparations are underway across Europe for this year’s Coolest Projects Awards, the excitement is building! As a parent of a CoderDojo ninja I know first-hand what it’s like to attend this showcase year on year. With this in mind I thought it would be a good idea to share some simple tips to help make the day thoroughly enjoyable for the whole family.

Knowing when to arrive, what to expect throughout the day and what to bring is extremely helpful, especially if you plan on bringing younger siblings and extended family.

If you have yet to grab tickets for siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents or friends you can get them here.

Timeline of The Day 

8:30 – 9:30 Project registration & setup

The registration desk is open to ninjas (and their parents) from 8.30am. Younger siblings are allowed to accompany the ninja at this time. Doors open to the public at 9.45am.

Each project is allocated a meter square stand with one plug socket, on which the ninja’s can put anything that helps to showcase their project.

09.45 Event Is Open to General Public

10:00 – 10.30 Opening Ceremony

10:30 – 02:30 Judging Commences

Judges will walk throughout the stands and ask ninjas about their projects in more detail. As there are so many ninjas the judging process can take a long time. You must be at your stand for the duration of judging.images (1)

Make sure your ninja has an offline version of their project ready to show judges. Hotspots are not allowed as they reduce the wifi capacity in the RDS, and with the crowds it is best not to rely on wifi to show their projects.

It’s a good idea to bring some colouring books, colouring pens, scraperfoils, sticker books, comics or small games to occupy younger ninjas and their siblings during the judging phase.

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

From one o’clock ninjas can take it easy! All participating ninjas will be given a free lunch bag with a piece of fruit, a sandwich and a drink (siblings/friends of ninja’s do not get a free lunch bag).

Instead of heading to the RDS Food Hall at lunchtime (which can be busy) some bring a packed lunch. I take my brood across the road to the Horse Show House. They have good value panini’s, soups and wraps and the usual nuggets and chips for the kids. It’s nice to get some fresh air, regroup and relax.

Last year I also brought a cooled bag with drinks, snacks and treats for my kids to dip into throughout the day. The RDS gets very warm so having bottles of cool water to hand is a lifesaver.

14:00 – 16:00 Judging Deliberation

After lunch the Judges will be deciding on which projects should win an award in each category for each of the different age groups. This provides an optimal opportunity to participate in Launch’d.

The Launch’d event will run concurrently in the RDS Industries Hall. Any ninjas interested in design will be awed by the funky set-up of the five different stages. Ninjas can hear from some of the 60 speakers who will offer inspiration on a variety of topics from gaming design to addressing social issues with tech. These talks hope to inspire and advise the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

16:00 – 17:30 Awards CeremonyScreen Shot 2016-02-10 at 16.17.47

Ninja’s will be called to enter the awards hall. The ceremony will commence with plenty of fun, music and games between the presentation of awards to those deemed by the judges as worthy recipients.

18:00 Event Close

After an awesome day of making new friends and developing confidence in their tech abilities, the ninjas can leave the RDS full of inspiration and ambition to start on their next project idea!


Anyone who hasn’t entered a project into the Awards but want to attend, including siblings and guardians of entrants, need to register for their free tickets here:

Summary of Top Tips

  • It’s a good idea to bring a small extension lead/adaptor with you to charge mobile phones/Ipads/tablets throughout the day.
  • Dress ninja’s in light layers of clothing, the Irish weather is unpredictable. Even if it’s raining and blowing a gale outside the RDS gets very warm as it fills up. Cool kids are happy kids.
  • There is bench type seating available at the display stands, but it is a good idea to bring a buggy for younger siblings so they can rest/nap.
  • I advise to bring child restraints to keep toddlers close to you as the main hall fills up quickly and little ones can easily wander off.
  • It’s a good idea to bring some colouring books, colouring pens, sticker books etc. to occupy younger ninjas and their siblings during the judging phase.
  • The RDS Food Hall at lunchtime can be busy. The Horse Show House offer good value lunches for the kids if you fancy escaping the RDS for a treat.
  • Bring a cooled bag with drinks, snacks and treats for kids to dip into during the day. The RDS can get warm so having bottles of cool water to hand is awesome.
  • Try to set up some communication system so that you can reach your ninja readily should they need to be called back to their stand. As the day goes on, ninja’s will most likely be off exploring the cool games and tech stands and it can hold up the judging process if they cannot be found when needed. I allowed my daughter use her mobile phone on the day.
  • Oh and don’t forget yourself! Bring a book, some magazines or your own laptop so you can sit back and relax while your child has a ball at the biggest youth Tech awards in Ireland!
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