Rotorua's little ones can let their imagination run wild and free, with stories, arts and music activities being held in the Redwoods Forest.
As part of Rotorua Children's Weekend celebrations, there are a wide range of free family activities hosted in various venues around Rotorua next weekend.
The second of these family-friendly days will be the Redwoods Children's Day on Sunday March 4 from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.
The free activities include forest games, storytelling, log dig, bucket fun, soundscapes, clay, paint, Taiko drumming, hut building, gymnastics, a young artists alfresco art exhibition, and the opportunity to be on the stage.
Co-organiser Jill Walker of the Travelling Tuataras says there will also be bows and arrows for the little children in a safe environment, with a giant white fabric target.
She says local author Tom Moffatt will read and tell his stories, there is a different way for people to draw between the trees this year and there may be some old-fashioned games.
Children can bring along teddies and toys as there may be some movement with music which ties in with these items, she says.
"A lot of the emphasis this year will be to invent things with their parents and create their own new games.
"The beauty of being in the Redwoods is it is this wonderful resource we have."
Jill wants to encourage families to have new ways of using the forest.
"There's lots of amazing volunteers and organisations involved who all have a philosophy to enable and encourage children to play in their own unique way without a template - that's the magic of being in a forest."
She says the theme for Children's Day nationally this year is 'put children first', so she is encouraging parents and adults to stay with the children for as long as they want to be doing something, instead of putting a time limit on it.
One of the things she finds most exciting is that local children have their art work on display - "we don't get to see their art up in public very often".
The Redwoods Children's Day is co-organised with Rotorua Lakes Council.
Western Heights Primary School Room One teacher Luke Rakoczy says this is the third year his Year 5 and 6 class has created art work for the day's art exhibition.
He says getting children's art work out there is a great idea because they get to contribute to the day and they can see there is a strong purpose to their art.
"They like to show off their art work to friends and whanau."
He says the children are creating art about things they are passionate about.
"We want to make the Redwoods look really awesome and put as much effort in as possible to make these art works look choice."
He says art is a subject children enjoy and it is important to get their creative side going.
Pupil Willow Lewis, 9, has painted an angel, flowers and an apple tree.
Willow says she is excited to have her art displayed in the forest and she likes how she can express her feelings with art.
Rotorua Children's Day activities, Saturday March 3, 10am to 3pm:
- Rotorua Arts Village with English Language Partners and Multicultural Rotorua – Celebrate Peru
- Philippines Club of Rotorua – Celebrate the Phillipines
- Children's Art House – Celebrate Native America
- Rotorua Museum – Celebrate France
- Rotorua Musical Theatre – Celebrate England
- Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library – Celebrate Aotearoa
- BayTrust Rescue Helicopter – Celebrate our Emergency Services
- Rotorua Aquatic Centre – Celebrate Summer
For more information go to rotorualakescouncil.nz.