THE FIRST school break of the year officially starts today and, while it is a reason to celebrate for kids, it can often be dreaded by parents who have to entertain them for two weeks.

Luckily there are a number of activities and programmes available around Rotorua to keep the little ones occupied.

Rotorua Museum is hosting a school holiday activity trail today and tomorrow, allowing families to explore areas of thfe museum, learning Maori words and answering the questions on the activity sheet along the way.

Free with museum entry, the activity trail takes kids on a journey through the cultural treasures of Nga Pumanawa o Te Arawa and the vibrant, interactive space that is AEIOU.


During the week children are invited to the museum to take part in the autumn-themed school holiday craft sessions.

If your child is a budding artist, the Arts Village has activities available for $25-$30 a day.

The activities are broken into two programmes; one suitable for 5- to 7-year-olds and the other for 8- to 12-year-olds.

Arts Village community engagement co-ordinator Imogen Stockwell said the programmes were growing in popularity.

"We decided to set up a separate programme for the younger group of children because the demand was quite high. In the past we have just offered a couple of days each week for the younger kids.

"For the older group of children we are focusing on learning and developing artistic skills. We get artists in to teach their medium so that is a big drawcard for Rotorua's budding artists."

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Each day's activity costs $25, with the exception of the Bake, Eat & Decorate activity on April 27 which costs $30.

Meanwhile, Rotorua District Library is hosting a range of Roald Dahl-themed events to keep bookworms satisfied.

Children and teen librarian TA Rangi said the theme was an easy decision.

"My manager alerted me to the fact it has been 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl and so I thought it would make the perfect theme.

"Roald Dahl is extremely popular with many Rotorua kids who know and read his books. We have some great, themed events that cater to a diverse age group."

The activities include making a BFG dream catcher, baking Willy Wonka's whipple scrumptious fudge-mellows and taking part in the Golden Ticket Hunt.

All the events are free but some require bookings which can be made by ringing the library.

If your children prefer outdoor activities, Sport Bay of Plenty has activities that will tire out tykes.

One is geo-teering at Tikitapu (Blue Lake). Families can take part anytime but the organised event is being held on April 29.

The activity is a mix between geocaching and orienteering. Participants hunt out word markers using a smart phone. By the end of the 5.5km course a sentence has been spelled out relating to the geographical area.

Rotorua Sport Bay of Plenty recreation adviser Lauren Atkinson said the activity had been held before and was growing in popularity. "This is the first time we have held the event during the school holidays so we are hoping to generate some more interest. It's something a little different to do in the holidays and something the whole family can enjoy and take part in."