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Source: Auckland Council

While your kids may be excited for the holidays, lockdown and school holidays might be a combination that you’re dreading.

Juggling working from home and keeping the kids occupied and entertained is challenging at the best of times, but with no school for the next two weeks the pressure is on, especially if you have younger kids.

To make the next few weeks a little easier for Aucklanders with kids, we’ve put together some great online options from the Auckland Council whānau. Even better, these are all free.

Around the World in 14 Days

Auckland Council Libraries are running an online world adventure with the easy-to-use reading challenge app Beanstack. Get your tamariki (kids) to explore the Egyptian pyramids, China’s Forbidden City or even head back in time to join a Viking raid or see what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

All these are possible and more with a world of fun on offer. Discover the natural world and cultures around the globe through transport, storytelling, games, and STEAM learning. Join the Central City Library for some fun and educational activities the whole family can enjoy via interactive zoom sessions and fun Facebook challenges, from making a sourdough starter, trying and mummify some fruit, through to being a time travelling detective, or a nature explorer.

Head to the school holidays page on the Auckland Council Libraries website for more information and for a guide on how to use Beanstack. Check in with your local library (or check out their Facebook pages) to see what else is on offer these holidays.

Life is random

Do you have a tamariki that loves random facts and can recall them at will? Encourage that curiosity with MOTAT’s holiday offering, “That’s So Random”. The phrase, “did you know?” will have new meaning as MOTAT will help your young scientist to discover how probability and random theory can be found in our everyday life – from weather predictions to forecasting the economy.

They can learn about chess playing on computers, dress to impress with the Wardrobe Randomiser, create different futures with their very own origami fortune teller, or draw a unique monster with the randomised drawing game. If your tamariki or rangitahi (young person) is a budding computer programmer, help them learn basic coding with their very own code randomiser.

Nature galore

To help tamariki and mokopuna (kids and grandkids) get out into nature, Auckland Zoo has plenty to offer. Download a zoo activity book that will guide tamariki through different themes – wild work, bugs, summer, national treasures, or Africa. Or keep them engaged with all the craft and art activities, online videos and games, or explore what can be done in your backyard to both see what creatures live next to you or what native species you can encourage to set up home. All can be found at the kids activity part of the Auckland Zoo website.

In addition, the zoo webcams allow tamariki to get up close and personal with some of their favourite animals at the zoo. See how the animals are spending their days when no one is visiting or check out the zoo staff cam playlist to see some of the things the zookeepers get to spot, including lemurs grooming, red pandas exploring, and a bit of rhino pampering.  

Mental health and our wellbeing has been something we are all being encouraged to look after during lockdown and that includes our tamariki and mokopuna. With this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, it is good to think about the mental wellbeing of tamariki. Auckland Zoo has a wellbeing in nature webpage with nature-focussed activities for you and your whānau to enjoy.

Volcanoes and sea monsters

With all the maunga around Tāmaki Makaurau, we have lots of visual reminders that Auckland is built on a volcanic field. But there is always more to learn, and Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum has some great online resources to help your young volcanologist dig deeper into our explosive past.

If your tamariki are more into monsters, perhaps they could be a budding palaeontologist. Get them exploring the Sea Monsters online exhibition these holidays and see if they can tell the difference between an Ichthyosaur and a Plesiosaur.

There is plenty more to discover online too in the At Home section of the Museum’s website – games, quizzes, jigsaw puzzles, even videos from curators answering burning questions from kids and tools to become a citizen scientist.

For more ideas for the kids at home, head to the Together At Home webpage where you will find additional content on nature-based activities, books and films to enjoy and ways to keep the kids active during lockdown.