Bucketloads of action for kids these holidays

There's no excuse for the kids to be bored these holidays with heaps to do around the city.

Block heads could win a trip to Florida with the Lego-building contest.
Block heads could win a trip to Florida with the Lego-building contest.

The great - or weird - timing of Easter and Anzac Day this year means many parents are taking a full 10 days' holiday to coincide with the autumn school holidays. Which means, we suspect, many parents are searching for options to keep the small sorts busy. We've rounded up some of the most amusing:

Museum amusements

Avast me hearties

Voyager NZ Maritime Museum celebrates Heroes of the Sea - with sharp questions. Are heroes always tough and strong? Are they always men? The exciting and original programme explores and celebrates historic heroes and modern heroes, including Voyager's Holiday Heroes: Sir Peter Blake, Captain Cook and Kupe.

A kids' comic-style trail booklet guides them through the museum, collecting hero stamps and joining interactive performances. Modern guest heroes will share their experiences in a family question-and-answer session.

Auckland Libraries storytelling team will have stories on board the old coastal trader, Rewa, relating even more stories of sea-bound adventurers and heroes.

Kids make medals to give to the heroes in their lives it could be mum, teacher, even the dog. Tuesday April 22-Friday May 2, 9.30am-3.30pm.

$5 per child with accompanying adults free, Auckland residents. Bookings, ph (09) 373 0800.

Brrm brrm

Motat has a big Easter weekend of Car Crazy, four days of Lego and Motat Live.

Car Crazy's interactive games includes arcade-style driving skills, slot cars and build-your-own balloon powered Jet Racer car - with racing tracks to compete. There's a self-guided Walk of Fame to see the stars of the museum's collections, including the newest Kiwi Stars and Cars, the stories behind famous Kiwis' love of the motor car.

The Lego movie prompts four days of fun (until April 21) with demonstrations from the power Lego user group (10am daily) and movie star Emmet (today and tomorrow, 10am-11.30am). Usual entrance fees.

805 Great North Road and Meola Road, Western Springs.

Blast Off

Stardome features the planetarium show Secret of a Cardboard Rocket, an up-close look at our solar system, with rocket crafts and a model rocket launch.

April 22-May 2 (not Anzac Day), 10am-1pm each weekday
Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, 670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill
Children $10, adults $8
Bookings (09) 624 1246

Arty smarty

Auckland Art Gallery's interactive kids' Kangaroo Crew, to accompany the My Country exhibition runs daily until July 20 (10am-5pm) with kangarcade games, crafts and more.

During the week, there's storytelling and music-making from the Pacific Mamas, workshops inspired by the dogs of My Country, art made from foraged and found pieces, recycling from the Roots Creative Entrepreneurs and more.

Fees apply to some activities.

Intrepid explorers

Curious youngsters can be kept busy with the exhibition of 15 of the Whittaker's Big Egg Hunt eggs (until April 22), an Easter egg trail (until Monday) to Walks on the Wild Side with the intrepid explorers looking for wildlife to shoot (with cameras) to solve clues and discover the museum's wildlife collections (April 21-May 2, excluding Anzac Day). Kids can get hands on with the natural history collection, including endangered items confiscated at border controls.

Bookings recommended. Ph (09) 306 7048.

You little devils

Not as cute as the panda babies, Auckland Zoo's new Tasmanian devils have arrived from Australia. Welcome this endangered creature with daily encounters, games and activities and become an official Auckland Zoo Tas-Maniac.

Until May 4.

Roamin' south

Hamilton's Waikato Museum has half and full-day programmes based around the Exscite and Planet Warrior sections, including making Roman weaponry (including staging an invasion across Garden Place), games and music from Grandpa's day, clay and fabric crafts and science, as well as history and curation. Fees $35 per day.

April 22-May 2.

Hands on

Block heads

The National Lego Building competition is back with Toyworld's annual search earning the winner a trip to LegoLand Florida. Build the ultimate Lego model, take a photo and enter at the local Toyworld store or website (entries close May 15). Each entrant receives a prize too.

Strummin' along

Skilled older kids can join gifted instrument maker Dave Gilberd of Goldbeard Guitars at Rutherford High School for a ukulele-making course, including bending sides, making components, assembly and finish - then playing your first instrument.
April 28-May 4, 9am-5pm. $595 plus materials.

Crafty kids

Pukekohe's Young @ Art workshops encourage kids to work with recycled and mixed media to create deep-sea creatures, homewares and giant eggs, as well as portrait techniques.

April 22-May 2. From $35. Bookings Ph 0297 712 923 or on facebook.

Pop-up art spaces

Create vertical gardens with strangers in a public park. For the first, Walking In Trees (1pm April 25-5pm, May 4) in Albert Park - commune with birds via a specially constructed staircase that wraps around a majestic tree. Older kids can join The Roots Collective in the park to create "pollen hotels" for bees (April 26-May 4), a creative experiment to bring bees back. Workshops at Auckland Art Gallery, artistic plantings at Victoria Park and more.

Ph (09) 354 2121.

It's Show Time

Sticks Stones Broken Bones
Billed as a weird and wonderful shadow puppet comedy adventure from Montreal, featuring household junk, flying chickens, brain transplants and ninjas. Perfect for adults and children (not so good if you are afraid of the dark).

April 29-May 3, 11am and 6.30pm. Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre. Tickets from $20.

Polly Hood in Mumuland

Auckland Theatre Company and Mangere Arts Centre Nga Tohu o Uenuku pair up for a very local twist on Little Red Riding Hood. An all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza of Pasifika dance, hip-hop and dancing trees.

April 26-May 3, Mangere Arts Centre. Tickets from $8 from eventfinda.co.nz.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Phineas Phrog adapts the Hans Christian Andersen tale with madcap colourful characters and toe-tapping tunes, plus plenty of physical high jinks and audience participation.
April 28-May 3, Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna. Tickets from $16.

Beauty and the Beast Junior

Pakuranga's Harlequin Musical Theatre, a cast of 8- to 12-year-olds, performs this vibrant Disney show with old favourites and new songs.

April 19-May 4, Harlequin Theatre, 563 Pakuranga Rd. Tickets from $15, ph (09) 361 1000

Owl and The Pussy-Cat

Every holidays Tim Bray and his crew bring music, songs and very funny characters to Auckland's kids. This season of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat includes magical journeys with bong trees (no need to explain).

Today until May 3, The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park, Takapuna. Tickets from $22.

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for kids

Take preschoolers on a Magic Carpet Ride with familiar and catchy tunes for a musical journey around the world.

April 23, Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna.

Young Adventurers

Wave goodbye

Join the folks at Matakana Beach Outfitters for stand-up paddle boarding surf clinic (today, Omaha Beach, 11am-1pm. $40 for rental) or the two-hour beginner holiday surf camps (April 22-May 1). matakanaSUP.co.nz or on facebook

Big Beasts

Whether you're big enough and brave enough to face the "real" dinosaurs or really real crocodiles at Butterfly Creek or the more gentle butterflies, egg-and-spoon races and giveaways (tomorrow and Monday), photo competitions and more. While you're at the airport, check out the new Runway Mountain Bike Park (behind the Airport Shopping Centre, free. Rental bikes from Natural High, $10 an hour) or stroll at the outdoor gallery of sculptures set among native trees (access through the new Esplanade).

Butterfly Creek, open daily, 9.30am-5pm.

Swinging around

Tapac's wonderful school holiday fare includes a rumble in the jungle (including a zoo visit), three- and five-day circus arts ("doing stupid things at great heights" promises one of the tutors) to acting, film making and Broadway song and dance.

Bookings essential.

- NZ Herald

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