Despite the chilly winter weather, children and their families will be glad to be able to spend the July school holidays out of their home bubbles.

And there is plenty on offer.

Joanna Thomas, manager Libraries, said they were excited to be celebrating Matariki these school holidays with a range of free activities covering the theme of Matariki: Ngā kura huna.

"This is about discovering and sharing knowledge around Matariki and te ao Māori.

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"We'll be crafting manu tukutuku [traditional kites], taniko weaving, cultivating kumara, and getting messy with weather science experiments, alongside stories and games.

"We'll also be getting 'techy' by creating motorised double-hulled waka. These activities must be booked in advance."

See the library website for information about how to book and session times.

She said this year the libraries would also have a limited number of "grab bags" available with craft supplies and instructions for families to pick up and take home, plus a greenscreen travelling between all four libraries so people could have their photo taken with the Seven Sisters of Matariki.

These activities are free and do not need to be booked in advance.

"We are really looking forward to running activities in the libraries again. We have missed interacting with children and families, and the life and vibrancy it brings to our spaces.

"Some of the initiatives we began in lockdown have carried across to the July holidays and the celebration of Matariki."

Thomas said during lockdown they established a mini-site, called Bubble Life, with activities and information to continue to connect with the community.

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"We're doing the same during Matariki to complement the 'in-person' activities. Packed full of crafts, activities, and information, you can find the most current link to our mini-site Matariki: Ngā kura huna on the Tauranga City Libraries Facebook page."

For all Matariki events and workshops go to mytauranga.co.nz.

BayActive team members Shane Gillum and Khushali Patel. Photo / File
BayActive team members Shane Gillum and Khushali Patel. Photo / File

She said not only was it fun to get out of the house and explore the community, it was a great opportunity to engage in activities families might not do in their own home.

"We clean up the mess, and you get to take home your creations. Plus, it's free, and everybody is welcome.

"Libraries belong to the community so it's always wonderful to see people enjoying them."

BayActive programme manager Shane Gillum said the BayActive team at the Trustpower Arena were excited to have their sporty, action-based holiday programme back without any restrictions after Covid-19.

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"We know it's been a tough time for everyone, including children, and our programmes are a great way to reward them with some active fun."

He said these programmes were perfect for children taking up sport for the first time or for children who already played a sport and wanted to develop their skills.

"Due to the active nature of these programmes they are a great way of increasing your child's physical activity, they promote healthy living and are a great break from technology."

He said there was a great range of programmes to suit children aged 5-13 years.

"All programmes are facilitated by trained, enthusiastic and energetic staff."

These July school holidays the sports available were basketball, football, Funky Fun Day (variety of up to five different sports, bouncy castle and climbing equipment), hip hop dancing, drift trikes and laser tag, and gymnastics.

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All programmes are $37 per child, run from 9am to 3pm, except for Drift Trikes & Laser Tag, which is a half-day programme. Bookings are made online through bayactive.co.nz.

Pō Pūrākau ki Tutara Wānanga at Greerton Library with Sharon Holt for Matariki Tauranga Moana during a 2018 school holiday session. Photo / Te Urumahora Mill
Pō Pūrākau ki Tutara Wānanga at Greerton Library with Sharon Holt for Matariki Tauranga Moana during a 2018 school holiday session. Photo / Te Urumahora Mill

From a Harry Potter day and Mad Hatter Tea Party, to a Playground Hop and Baking Bonanza, there is a heap of fun to be had at the Community Centre Holiday Programmes.

Play Time co-owner Thurla Solomon said the programmes were open from 7.30am to 6pm, Monday to Fridays, and were days full of activities.

The days include a variety of activities, such as games, crafts, science experiments and baking. It costs $48 a day.

There are sometimes zones for ages 9 and over if the older kids may not be that interested in the activities.

There are also school-based programmes at Golden Sands School, Fairhaven School and Otumoetai School.

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"All of our staff are pumped and ready to go. We're excited to get going again for another holiday.

"It's an amazing opportunity for children to have. We are proud of what we present to the children and we put a lot of effort into our programme."

Play Time is a local, family-owned business and all staff are police vetted with a lot of training. The programme is Winz-approved.

To book go to play-time.co.nz and click and enrol/book button.

These school holidays Bayfair Shopping Centre is continuing to grow the conversation around sustainability, all while teaching kids how to grow their own plants.

During the July school holidays, kids will be able to collect free bio cubes from the customer service desk after completing a treasure hunt around the centre.

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They will then be able to take their kits home and colour in the cube and watch their seedlings grow.

Centre manager Steve Ellingford said, "We are committed to the community surrounding us at Bayfair Shopping Centre, and you can see this through our marketing programmes and involvement in many local events and activities.

"The conversation around sustainability is important and we have made sure the bio cubes are all biodegradable and made from eco card. We will continue to grow and improve in this area.

"Centres are important places for social connection and entertainment, and we want to continue being a community hub, a common ground where people can come and feel comfortable, connected and supported."

See the details below.

Kidsflicks has a range of movie sessions on offer during the school holidays at Village Cinema, 17th Ave West.

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Examples of movies being screened are BFG, Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda, Scooby Doo, The Lion King and more. For more information go to eventfinda.co.nz.

Sergeant Trevor Brown, Western Bay Police youth services, said school holiday time could be fun and special for kids, friends and whānau.

"In the Bay we have plenty of things to do for families, with many of them free.

"There are places like Pāpāmoa Hills, McLaren Falls, Te Puna Quarry Park, and the art gallery which don't cost anything to enjoy.

"There's also the Looking Glass Garden as well as all the amazing cycle and walkways to use.

"Try out some free activities in your local area and when staying local, support our local businesses."

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He said if a child was going to be spending the day with mates, parents should talk to them, ask who they would be with and ensure all caregivers and parents knew what they were up to and shared contact details with each other.

Brown said if parents let kids have time on the internet while on their holidays, it was important to keep young ones safe online.

Online safety tips:

• Install software on your computer which either blocks restricted content so your children cannot access certain sites, or monitors activity so you can review online behaviour

• Know who your children are making contact with online. If they are not your children's actual friends then question their cyber friendship

• Netsafe has more information, www.netsafe.org.nz

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"If you have a group of children who like spending time together, perhaps you can share the caregiving between families and take turns being in charge.

"Our experience is, when kids have nothing to do and are unsupervised there's a higher chance they may get into trouble."

He said there was no excuse for children not to be busy and taking advantage of all the activities that the bay offered, many of them free.

Other July school holiday ideas
July 6 to 10 and July 13 to 17 (Monday to Friday):
- Bayfair Shopping Centre free bio cubes, 11am and 3pm, customer service desk

Saturday, July 4:
• Roller Skating Disco, Mount Maunganui Sports Centre, cnr Maunganui and Hull Rds, 5.30pm to 7pm, door sales only - entry with own skates $5, entry and skate hire $8, family two adults and two children $25

Thursday, July 9:
• Kids Holiday Painting Class With Paula Knight, Paula Knight Artist Studio, 682 Papamoa Beach Rd, 10am to 2.30pm, door sales only, suitable from 5 to 15 years, paulaknight.co.nz

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Friday, July 10:
• Cupcake Creation Class, Bay Learning Academy, 22 Farm St, Mount Maunganui, 10am to 1pm, admission $48, tickets at eventfinda.co.nz

Saturday, July 11:
• Saturday Active Gymnastics Hour, Impact Gymsport Academy, 36G MacDonald St, 10am to 11am, admission free

• Hype U18 Warehouse Party, Classic Flyers Museum, 8 Jean Batten Drive, 8pm to 11.55pm, tickets at ticketfairy.com

• Cupcake Creation Class, Bay Learning Academy, 22 Farm St, Mt Maunganui, 10am to 1pm, admission $48, tickets at eventfinda.co.nz

Sunday, July 12:
• Smiths Sports Shoes Duathlon, Trustpower Baypark, 81 Truman Ln, Mt Maunganui, 8.30am to 11.30am, triathlontauranga.org.nz

Friday, July 17:
• The Cat In The Hat, Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, 38 Durham St, 11am, 2pm and 6pm, tickets at premier.ticketek.co.nz

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• Cupcake Creation Class, Bay Learning Academy, 22 Farm St, Mt Maunganui, 10am to 1pm, admission $48, tickets at eventfinda.co.nz

Saturday, July 18:
• Saturday Active Gymnastics Hour, Impact Gymsport Academy, 36G MacDonald St, 10am to 11am, admission free