The Parents’ Holiday Survival Guide

Christmas can be a stressful time of year and whether you’re heading away on holiday next week, or staying in town if you’ve got children you’ll be looking for ways to keep them happy and entertained over the school break.

Christchurch City Libraries has heaps of resources and recommendations to help out frazzled parents and caregivers this festive season.

Have kids, will travel

Going on a trip out of town? Long road trips (or air travel) can be a strain as boredom easily sets in. Get organised ahead of time with a range of activities and reading material to keep everyone occupied.

Cover of 52 Fun things to do in the carCover of 52 fun things to do on the planeCover of Lonely Planet Travel with childrenCover of My first trip on an airplaneCover of Backseat A-B-SeeCove of The holiday activity bookCover of Toddler's busy play book

  • In a rush and choosing’s just too time consuming? Pick up a Stories To Go Bag. Each one has age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books, a DVD, a music or story CD, and a toy or puzzle and come in a sturdy bag that’s ready to travel.

For Kids in Christchurch

There are a bunch of activities, places to go, and things to see for families staying in town over the holidays. As well as the music, books, and DVDs mentioned above you might like –

  • Our Summertime Reading Club for kids 0-16 years, which starts today. Keep a tally of the minutes spent reading over the summer and go in the draw for prizes.
  • Summertime Stories in libraries begin in early January, with sessions for both babies and older children.
  • Our Learning Centre Holiday Programmes start mid-January. Check out our calendar for Holiday Programme classes.

For more information and links to kids’ activities and organisations in Christchurch read our Holiday programmes, events, and activities page.

Coming soon to Central Christchurch

Christchurch Art Gallery opens tomorrow and the Margaret Mahy Family Playground opens next week, both offering free, interesting diversions for the younger members of the family.

Have you got any tips or recommendations for entertaining kids over the holidays? If so, please share.


Haere mai Christchurch Art Gallery

“We regret that the Gallery is currently closed for repairs.” I’m used to seeing that on the Christchurch Art Gallery website. But now there is a new message twinkling at me: “We’ll be reopening on Saturday 19 December at 10.00am.” Yes, the big news in town is that the Christchurch Art Gallery is set to re-open TOMORROW, and they are going to spoil us rotten with a Summer of Art. YAY!

The last exhibition I saw at Christchurch Art Gallery was Ron Mueck. Remember that? I was wowed, and took loads of photos.

Ron Mueck Exhibition
Ron Mueck Exhibition. October 2010. Flickr CCL-RonMueck-2010-10-01-IMG_0647

But while the gallery has been closed to the public since 22 February 2011, it has carried on its work. In the process, it has changed the perception of what a gallery is, and does. I’d like to pay tribute to the amazing team at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu  – in the last five years they’ve shown an art gallery is more than a building – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata (it is people, it is people, it is people).

Sign on Art Gallery
Kay Rosen: Here are the people and there is the steeple. Sunday 19 October 2014. Flickr 2014-10-19-IMG_2763

Here’s some of the ways the crew have kept us art lovers satisfied:

Art in the streets

Outer Spaces and artworks out there in wilding Christchurch …

1 July 2012. Michael Parekowhai's installation "On first looking into Chapman's Homer". 1 July 2012. Flickr CCL-2012-07-01IMG_472
Michael Parekowhai’s installation “On first looking into Chapman’s Homer”.  July 2012. Flickr CCL-2012-07-01IMG_4725
Gregor Kregar: Reflective Lullaby
Gregor Kregar: Reflective lullaby Friday 11 October 2013. Flickr 2013-10-11-IMG_9730
Ronnie van Hout - coming home
Comin’ down by Ronnie van Hout.  28 May 2014. Flickr 2014-05-28-IMG_0132

Read curator Felicity Milburn’s article Sparks that fly upwards on “five years and 101 installations in a gallery without walls”.

Art in libraries

Our temporary Central Library Peterborough could claim to be an Art Library. It features Richard Killeen’s the Inner binding on its frontage.

Central Library Peterborough also showcased  splendid exhibitions curated by Peter Vangioni – books and art came together in a beautiful way.

A History of the Birds of New Zealand (1873) by Walter Buller
A History of the Birds of New Zealand (1873) by Walter Buller. New Zealand Illustrated: Pictorial Books from the Victorian Age.  Friday 11 October 2013. Flickr 2013-10-11-IMG_9757


There were a steady stream of interesting exhibitions in other places. I toddled along to a space above the NG gallery, upstairs at C1 Espresso/Alices on Tuam Street, and even to a show in a house at the Wigram subdevelopment.

Keeping us in touch

Their supercool mag Bulletin, blogging, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), regular articles in The Press (the latest in the series From the Christchurch Art Gallery collection is Lara Strongman on Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica by Anne Noble)  – curators and other staff continually keep up to date with arty stuff.

Whanau fun

The Christchurch Art Gallery’s work over the last five years has kept kids in mind. As a Mum, that means a lot. For the re-opening, there’s a lolly wonderland by Tanya Schultz to welcome the kids in, as well as the Imagination Playground – and plenty more kid-friendly things to do and see.  I can’t wait to take my daughter in on Saturday and say “Here you go! This is your gallery!”

Out of the box - Christchurch Art Gallery family fun day
Saturday 27 September 2014. Out of the box family fun day. Flickr 2014-09-27-IMG_2354

Hopefully see you there on Saturday!

More art

If you want to know about the building itself over the last five years, Lara Strongman’s oral history of the gallery building, 2010-2015 is essential reading.

A Yuletide wish

A Yuletide wish from AshburtonA Happy New YearChristmas greetingSincere regards from GeraldineA volume of good wishesMay all that is bright on earth smile upon youNew Year greetingsA very happy Christmas and a bright new year

These images come from Heney family album, a private collection including a selection of photographs and postcards from the Heney family album.

Explore more Christchurch Christmas images.