Thursday, 10 September 2009

Spring School Holiday Family Events around Auckland

School holidays are coming up, and I know how tricky it can be to come up with fun activities to do with the kids every day while trying to avoid the “I’m bored” tantrums! The most important thing to remember is to plan. Sit down with the kids and talk about what they would like to do, and try to incorporate these ideas into the plan. Structure is important to children so having a list of what you are going to do over the holidays will be really helpful in this aspect.

The 2009 Spring school holidays are from September 26th – October 11th.

Here is a list of some ideas of activities you can do with the kids, whether you are a nanny, Au Pair, a parent or family member caring for children at home. There are plenty of opportunities and ideas available for being active and having fun with the kids over the school holidays!

Get Outdoors

There are heaps of outdoor activities you can do for very little or no cost. The Spring weather can be changeable, so take advantage of any sunny days to get out and about. You can go for a picnic, to play at the park, to the beach, and for older children there are plenty of trails and cycle trails all around New Zealand. In Auckland, find a list of local walking trails ranging from 30 minutes to several hours at the Auckland City Council website:

Plant Veges

This is a great option for the Spring school holidays – it’s the perfect time to plant easy to grow vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes. You can incorporate into this education about food and nutrition, and it will also save money on your grocery bill!


Dust off the old board games, have a waterfight on the warm days, unleash your creativity with drawing and painting, bake something yummy together, make homemade playdough, play make-believe (for example, kids love playing shopkeeper!) – the opportunities for play are endless. These options are great for those days where the weather is not ideal for getting out and about.

Get Out and About

There are plenty of no-cost places to go in your city. There are museums and art galleries in most of the main centres which are free (or ask a small donation) for entry. Most towns in New Zealand have a public library with great books for kids of all ages. There are also options which cost a bit, so if you feel like splashing out you can visit the zoo, and in Auckland there is of course Rainbow’s End and MOTAT. There are also public pools, some which are indoors, eliminating the need to wait for a sunny day – in Auckland, find a list of public swimming pools at the Auckland City Council website:

Here is a list of some upcoming events during the Spring school holidays in the Auckland region:

Wonderland: Mystery of the Orchid (runs until 12th October):

Auckland Museum, The Domain,
Parnell - Special Exhibitions Hall

Adults: $8, Children: Free. The Mystery of the Orchid is an experience best described by that popular adage of Lewis Carol's Alice: "Curiouser and curiouser!" Don't miss it. More info:

'90° South - Edmund Hillary at the Pole 1957-8' (runs until January 2011):

MOTAT, Great North Road, Western Springs - Logan Campbell Building

10am - 5pm. Our Sir Edmund exhibit tells the story of his extraordinary Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition and features one of MOTAT's most treasured artefacts - Sir Ed's modified Ferguson tractor. More info:

Starlight Express:

Vector Arena

Tickets from $45. Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Starlight Express' - one of the most successful musicals of all time, visits New Zealand for the first time since opening in London in 1984. The story follows a child's dream in which his toy train comes to life; the show is unique as all performers are on roller skates. More info:

Magic Show - Monday 28th September (runs until 10th October):

Centre Court, Westfield Manukau City Shopping Centre. Corner Wiri Station Road and Great South Road

11am and 1pm. Free. Great entertainment for all ages, heaps of prizes to be win. More info: Monya van Wyk - 978 5310 or

Auckland Heritage Festival (19 September to 4 October 2009):

Auckland Heritage Festival is a celebration of our city's heritage that involves a programme of 150 exciting, diverse and interactive events. To download a programme, click the following link:

Snake and Lizard:

The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park,
off Manurere Ave, Takapuna

10.30am and 1pm daily. Earlybird special: 28th and 29th Sept: $16; Family Pass: $70; Single: $20. Tim Bray's adaptation of Snake and Lizard, by Joy Cowley, which was the winner of the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards. It's a funny tale of two very unlikely new best friends. More info: 489-8360 or

Howick Plunket Seminars - Exercise for Mums and Bubs (Friday 2nd October):

Configure Express, adjacent to the Foodcourt at Westfield Pakuranga

11am. Gold coin donation. Configure Express will take Mums and Bubs for a tour of the gym and then demonstrate some exercises Mums can do with their Bubs to benefit their bodies post-pregnancy. Children welcome, morning tea provided. More info: Rochelle - 533 7852 or

Jack & The Beanstalk (Saturday 3rd October):

Logan Campbell Centre, ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane Rd West

10am, 1pm and 4pm. Family Pass: $30. Live theatre exposes children to new levels of creativity and imagination. Exciting children's activities like face painting, freebies, photo session with the cast, etc… More info: 361 4500 or

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