From wacky hair days and science experiments to online story time - Northland kids and their parents have been making the most of isolation.

With schools closed and many parents off work, whānau have been using lockdown as a chance to spend time together, do activities they didn't have time for before, and get creative.

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Whangārei siblings Devante, 6, Aubrey, 1 and Beau, 6 during wacky day at home school. Photo / Supplied
Whangārei siblings Devante, 6, Aubrey, 1 and Beau, 6 during wacky day at home school. Photo / Supplied

Whangārei mum Allana McGaffin said she and her partner usually work 40 hours a week so don't get time to do a lot of activities they would like to with their two 6-year-old boys and 1-year-old daughter.


But isolation has changed that.

"We've got all this stuff that's been in the cupboard. We've got volcano kits and slime-making kits and we've been making bouncy balls. We made some gloop the other day and they noted down what it did and what it felt like and they really enjoyed it, it was quite messy but they loved it."

McGaffin said they made the first Friday of Lockdown wacky hair day so the boys coloured their hair and styled them into mohawks and did "home school" in their pyjamas.

"They loved it they thought it was so cool,"

"We've also done family trees - my partner has a boy and I have a boy and we have our daughter together so they often are wondering who is family because our family just take them on as their own and they get quite confused with it. So they did their family tree and they quite enjoyed doing it."

McGaffin said even though they weren't leaving the house, the kids were getting new experiences.

"They're loving it. Their whole attitude has changed. Usually on the weekend they don't want to do anything or they want to go out everywhere and they'll be arguing with each other. Now they haven't once asked to go out anywhere because they're content at home"

Meanwhile, Parua Bay resident Chev Vette has set up a Facebook group called Tamariki Time with Lynlee Bird to support whānau during lockdown.

She had posted videos of herself reading children's books on another page and was asked by a former work colleague if she could make a group to share the stories.


"It was from a need of other parents in the community needing a little bit of awhi when it came to ideas for occupying their tamariki at home."

Vette, who lives at home with her moko, has been encouraging parents to upload videos of their children doing activities so other kids could have a go and see their peers having fun.

"It's really interactive, our vision is for kids to get on there and read stories or do stuff or make something so it's a little more familiar," she said.

Vette said the group had only been live for a few days and was already popular.

"We've had lots of positive feedback - like I went to the service station and one of the workers said they went and asked what the kids were doing and they said 'we're listening to a story by Chev,'"

"People are using it in the background while they can go and have a cup of tea or something like that and take some time out."

Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai has also uploaded a video of herself reading a story and Vette is hoping to get more well-known Northlanders to join the group and upload videos of themselves doing activities - from rugby drills and coaching to looking for bugs. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website
"Just absolutely anything for kids to do at home. Even getting people in there and teaching te reo and tikanga - those sort of things."