Things to do  |  15 Jul 2020

Canterbury kids have jumped at the chance to create quirky characters out of clay and film their antics in stop-motion animation.

The Claymation Creation workshops hosted by Christchurch City Libraries are just one of the many challenging and action-packed opportunities on offer during this year’s KidsFest.

Many of the films created during the workshops have been entered in a competition to win a screening on the KidsFest online page and a behind-the-scenes tour of the studio where TV series Kiri and Lou is made.

The annual Christchurch City Council-produced festival has been brightening up the winter school holidays for thousands of local children with many events – including eight Claymation workshops with a capacity for 12 children – fully booked. The festival wraps up on Sunday, 19 July.

Council Events and Arts Manager Lucy Blackmore says with more than 200 events to choose from, KidsFest has been as popular as ever this year, with several ticketed events selling out well before the start of the festival.

“On the day tickets went live on 5 June, the website received more than 38,000 unique views. Once again, KidsFest is bringing some extra fun to the school holidays and we’ve had some great feedback about the range of activities on offer, despite some of the key events not going ahead this year because of the COVID-19 lockdown,” she says.

Some of the most popular event listings have been the Nightlife Lantern Walk (free every evening at Riccarton Bush), The Great Fairy Hunt (free and on every day at Pearson Park and Kaiapoi Domain), Beach Horse Riding at Spencer Park Horse Park, KidsFest Under the Stars every night at the Canterbury Astronomical Society’s observatory near West Melton, and Agents of Discovery, a free augmented reality game at Spencer Park or Burnside Park.

There are also Blokart experiences, gymnastics, squash, martial arts, Nerf Battles, the chance to try being a husky musher at the International Antarctic Centre and a variety of arts and crafts workshops.

For the first time since the festival began in 1992, online activities were added this year, including free workshops on how to make your own stop-motion movie and a winter online craft club.

KidsFest was modified in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown with the programme only available online instead of as a booklet.

Some of the annual large-scale outdoor events, such as the Lantern Parade and The Big Chill, were unable to go ahead this year.

Check out KidsFest to find out what activities are happening for the rest of the holidays. Many do not require bookings.