Things to do  |  22 Sep 2020

Put a spring in your step these school holidays with our guide to what’s happening in Christchurch for families.

The fairy houses in Bottle Lake Forest Park are on the move.

Help move some fairies

Christchurch City Council Park Rangers need some helping hands to move a “fairy village” attached to trees in Bottle Lake Forest to a new location.

The trees that are currently home for the village of hundreds of small hand-made fairy houses near the forest’s Juliet Road entrance will soon be harvested for logging.

On Tuesday 29 September at 10am the homes will be moved to a new location and people are welcome to come along and help. You can also bring new fairy houses that you want to put up.

Park Rangers will help with the move and demonstrate how to attach the fairy houses without using nails, which can damage the trees.

People keen to help with relocating the fairy houses can register their interest on the What's on webpage.

Treasure hunt in te reo

A Taonga Hunt around Ōtautahi Christchurch will help children learn te reo Māori and provide fun challenges while they’re exploring the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, the Arts Centre, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puno O Wahiwhetū and Tūranga Central Library.

All families need to do is pick up a map from any of the venues and follow the clues to complete the activities. When they’ve collected stamps from the five locations there’s a free kids’ size hot chocolate as a reward at Universo cafe next to the Art Gallery. Namunamuā! The trail runs throughout the school holidays until 11 October.

Splash into Council pools

Take the kids for a swim or for some extra fun, hydroslides will be open daily at Taiora QEII from 10am until 6pm and Jellie Park from 12pm until 6pm.

There will be a big inflatable obstacle course to play on at Graham Condon each Sunday afternoon of the holidays (12.30pm - 2.30pm), Jellie Park pool most afternoons, and on weekend afternoons at Taiora QEII (2pm - 4pm).

Get arty at Christchurch Art Gallery

For creative kids, the Gallery is hosting school holiday workshops led by professional artists, including Mapping your Imaginary Journey for five to seven year olds (Monday 28 September to Friday 2 October) with Della Rees. Rees explores ways to create an imaginary map using colour, collage and pattern. Bookings are advised, costs $10.

For older children, aged 10 to 18, Watercolour Exploration led by Christchurch artist Sharnae Beardsley is for young people interested in learning watercolour techniques. From Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 October. Bookings advised, costs $20.

Go on a Penguin Hunt at Canterbury Museum

While you’re checking out the exhibitions Our Moon: Then, Now and Beyond, or Owen Mapp: Dragons and Taniwha, look out for rocks painted with penguins that have been hidden around the Canterbury Museum. Pick up an entry form and find as many as you can (26 September to 18 October).

There’s also lunar-themed storytelling for children in the light of artist Luke Jerram's four-metre glowing MOON installation on Friday 2 October from 10am until 10.30am.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited so you need to register online (note that the storytelling will not take place if Christchurch is at level 2).

You can also help celebrate the museum’s 150th birthday with a Night at the Museum from 6 to 8 October. It has created a book of 150 museum treasures – but one of the pages is missing. Kids can dress up as something from a museum, grab a torch and head to the museum from 6pm to 8pm to find the treasure from the missing page. 

Night at the Museum is usually a popular event held as part of KidsFest, but was delayed this year because of COVID-19.

Book in some time at the library

As always, Christchurch City Libraries are a treasure-trove of fun indoor activities for children in the school holidays, with Minecraft Game Zones, Claymation Creation workshops, and the Lego-loaded Imagination Station at Tūranga Central Library.  Some sessions are bookable and others are drop-in.

Improvise some comedy

Head to The Court Theatre on the first Sunday of the month, including 4 October in the school holidays, for The Early Early Late Show. It’s family-friendly improvised comedy where actors compete against each other or work together as a team to create impromptu magic.
Perfect for kids aged seven to 12, and with plenty of audience interaction, The Early Early Late Show is a fun theatre experience for kids and their grown-ups.

Spring into Arts Centre

The Arts Centre is holding a Spring School Holiday Programme with arts, crafts, music and a holiday fun zone in the North Quad. There’s a Student Makete on the last Sunday of the holidays (11 October), Music with Michal in the Great Hall on 9 October, and activities like Monster Flower Art (4 October in Market Square) and a Stencilling drop-in session (1 and 2 October).

Relax at hot pools

If you haven’t visited the He Puna Taimoana saltwater pools on the New Brighton foreshore yet the school holidays could be your chance, but make sure you plan ahead - bookings are essential. There are five outdoor pools ranging in temperature from 26°C to 40°C. Book online for one of four sessions a day between 10am and 5.30pm and take the family for a soak by the sea.