Two whole weeks with wintry weather lingering outside and restless children to entertain can be a bit of a daunting thought for some with the July school holidays just around the corner. However - as always - many Rotorua organisations and businesses can come to the rescue with an abundance of activities and events on offer to help keep the young ones thinking, active, and entertained. Reporter Shauni James finds out a bit more about what options there are to have fun and make memories these school holidays.
The July school holidays can be full of fun memories for children and their families, with an abundance of activities on offer.
Rotorua Library youth and early learning lead Kylie Holmes said these holidays saw the return of the Teddy Bears' Sleepover and Picnic.
She said on July 8 the library was inviting families to drop off a beloved bear for the night.
"We will tuck in all the bears before we go home, but last time they did terrible things after the library was closed. We hope they don't cause as much trouble this time."
She said on July 9 there would be a picnic where whānau could collect their toys and there might be footage of what the bears got up to.
Holmes said another popular activity from October returned with the Te Aka Mauri Band.
Children would be given packs of materials to create their own instruments and perform with them.
She said these holidays the library was excited to be hosting two robotics sessions in the Makerspace.
Participants would have the opportunity to work together to build a working robot that could be coded. Places in these programmes were limited and booking was essential.
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"Our holiday programmes are a great opportunity to come into the library to try a new activity, learn something and spend time with other families.
"Over the years some children and parents have formed lasting friendships after first meeting here."
Holmes said library staff enjoyed seeing tamariki try something new and enjoy spending time with their whānau.
This winter the library is also running The Great Te Aka Mauri Winter Reading Challenge for readers aged from 0 to 18.
Readers can mark off the suburbs on the Entry Form Map each time they read or are read to for every 15-minute time slot.
Children are being encouraged to read or be read to for at least six hours over the challenge period which is open and runs until August 4.
There are prizes up for grabs for those who take part, and if people have overdue fines on their library card, they can use their reading minutes in lieu of payment.
Holmes hoped lots of tamariki took up the opportunity to enter the challenge.
To see the full list of activities go to www.rotorualibrary.govt.nz.
Rotorua will explode with colour, crafts and lights on July 11 for the annual free Colour the Night event.
Organised by The Arts Village, Colour the Night brings the inner city to life and invites people to wander through art installations, catch a live play reading, take in a laser light show or make their own colourful artwork at various stations around town.
There will be new activities, with some favourites remaining.
The Arts Village director Mary-Beth Acres said the evening was a great way for people to get out and enjoy midwinter, perhaps stopping by venues they had not been in before.
She said this year they were excited to add a laser light show at the Government Gardens and had the Level 13 Theme Rooms and Costume Hire as a new host which would hold a play reading on site.
"All activities are planned with kids in mind, but there's definitely something for everyone."
It will run from 5.30pm to 8.30pm and is weather-dependent.
A full event programme can be found on Colour the Night for Matariki Facebook page or at www.artsvillage.org.nz.
Rotorua Museum is holding Matariki drop-in crafts, which will include painting Matariki-themed rocks, from July 8 to July 12, and decorating a paper cup 'pot' and learn how to plant a bean seed from July 15 to July 19.
These free craft activities are being held at the Pop Up Shop, 1201 Eruera St, from 10am to 2pm.
The Rotorua Museum is also holding a Matariki Crack the Code Activity Trail from today until July 21 at the Government Gardens.
It will have children learning more about Matariki and exploring the gardens.
Activity trails can be collected from Rotorua iSite (Fenton St) or from the Pop Up Shop during drop-in crafts.
Sport Bay of Plenty recreation team leader Sonia Lynds said it was only natural to want to stay inside and avoid the cold weather during winter holidays, but children were bundles of energy that loved to play, move and have fun.
"School holidays are a great opportunity for kids to catch up with friends at the local park or go for a fun walk or ride during the day.
"It's also a chance to encourage kids to let their imaginations run wild by asking them to invent some games to play around the house."
She said the Ministry of Health recommended children aged 5 to 17 do one hour of moderate or vigorous physical activity spread over each day, as well as a variety of light physical activities for several hours a day.
"Kids also shouldn't spend more than two hours a day on recreational screen time.
"Winter may be cold and damp, but don't let that hold you back from being active."
Animates Rotorua is running free activities on July 11 and 18 at 11am, where children can learn everything there is to know about fish. Get in early as spaces are limited.
There are plenty of other events on around town too - check out www.eventfinda.co.nz for more information on a Roller Skate Disco, Patchells Si-Lodec Rugby Holiday Programme and Opus Orchestra's Born in the USA.