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.
Kids audiobooks might be a slightly more palatable option. Listen as a family to favourites like Harry Potter, or download digital formats onto individual devices (with headphones). There’s something for every age group and taste.
Books. Anything that’s likely entertain. Check out our Holiday reading guide for some ideas. But also consider the following –
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.
This year I’m choosing Happy Holiday Reads with jaunty yellow and orange covers. It’s as good a starting place as any. The kind of book that, when you pick it up, screams out: Sun, Barbies, Vitamin D, Cherries and Margaritas! Just looking at these books is going to put the spring in your step that you need in order to make your way to the nearest pool lounger.
Hard as it may be to believe, my first choice is a sunny book written by a Swedish author: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Set in Iowa, it has a death in the very first chapter. Sarah arrives in a small derelict Iowan town on an extended visit to a penfriend who is as fascinated by books as she is. The friend has just upped and died and Sarah knows no one else in the town at all. Enter a fascinating array of characters, disarmingly introduced much-loved reads and a bit of romance. Kick back with that margarita and enjoy the ride!
Moving right along with the theme of sunny covers, happiness and… death, my next choice is One Hundred Days of Happiness. No spoiler alert necessary here, because you are told on the very first page of the book that Lucio Battistini is going to die, and the book is structured into one hundred chapterettes, one for each of his remaining days. These turn out to be the happiest one hundred days of his life. This book will make you savour the sweetness of holiday times with the poignant awareness that nothing lasts forever.
Pretty soon I’m going to be winging my way to visit grandchildren in South Africa – my book of choice for the flight is There Will Be Bears – a Young Adult novel. That is correct. My first YA book. Ever. The last time a colleague recommended a YA book to me and I issued it to my account, within ten minutes the February earthquake struck. I took it as a sign. I borrowed There Will Be Bears a week ago, and so far so good. It has as its theme the closeness of relationships between grandchildren and their grandparents (tick). It is a small light read (tick). It has a very yellow cover (tick).
And finally, I am going to sneak in Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling – despite the absence of either yellow or orange on the cover. Retracing the route he took in Notes From a Small Island, Bryson returns to England to see what, if anything, has changed on what he calls “The Bryson Line”. This is a guaranteed feel-good holiday read. But should none of these appeal, maybe have a look at my Best Reads of 2015 list.
But don’t give up on colour-coded reading yet, now could be your time. Go Team Yellow!
Canterbury Japan Day is an event organised annually by The Japanese Society of Canterbury with the aim of sharing authentic Japanese culture with Cantabrians.
In 2015 it will take place from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 1 March at Riccarton Park Function Centre, Riccarton Racecourse.
Programme of events
Planned events include:
the major attraction “Theatre of Princess Kaguya”;
performances by the Garden City Big Band, the Japanese Drums group Takumi, the Canterbury Japanese Choir, and by Koyu-kai, a group who play traditional Japanese instruments like the koto and the sangen;
the Kitsuke Obimai – a demonstration of how to put on kimono and obi;
a traditional tea ceremony;
calligraphy, bonsai, ikebana and paintings.
There will also be some 50 stalls selling Japanese delicacies and craft objects.
The history of Canterbury Japan Day
The inaugural Canterbury Japan Day was held on 11 March 2012 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Japanese Society of Canterbury and the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Japan. It also marked the anniversary of the 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.
The Day proved very popular and has become an annual event, attracting about 20,000 visitors in 2014.
The theme for this year’s Canterbury Japan Day is Autumn. Colourful leaves (koyo) will decorate the Function Centre, reflecting the fact that the viewing of Autumn leaves is a popular activity in Japan.
In 2014 the theme was Summer and in 2013 Spring.
Check out photos of previous Japan Days on our photostream.
Our online resources
Japanese organisations: listing of Japanese organisations, reflecting a range of cultural, arts and sporting associations. From CINCH, our Community Information Christchurch database.
Mango Languages: Mango is an online language learning system that can help you learn a variety of languages, including Japanese. It also contains instructions on how to learn English for native Japanese speakers. Use at a library or enter your library card & password / PIN.
Summer is well and truly here so grab your bucket and spade…and spray bottle, masonry trowel, spatula, and books on sandcastle building and get down to the beach because you could carve out a sand sculpture at the Fourth New Zealand Sandcastle Competition! The competition is being held at New Brighton beach (right by New Brighton Library) on 7 February 2015. Also, buy yourself a beach bag, sounds like you’re going to need it for all that equipment.
UPDATE: Culture Galore has been cancelled. A Community Recreation Advisor reports the park is too sodden to allow vehicle access and vehicles could also cause major damage to the fields which are used for soccer over the winter.
Culture Galore is almost here again, with the annual festival being held on Saturday March 8, 12-4pm. I love this free Christchurch City Council event. It has grown over the years from a few food stalls to a great afternoon out for the family.
It’s a wonderful bringing together of the large variety of cultural groups in our fair city, and you can listen to music, watch dances from over twenty groups and eat tasty food from around the world. There are also crafts and other items to buy from around the globe.
There are also workshops throughout the afternoon, where you can learn anything from dancing from Macedonia, TaiChi and Morris Dancing – bells and hankies included. These photographs of past Culture Galore events from our Flickr will give you more than a taste of what could be on offer.
I also love that is a suburban event, nestled in Ray Blank Park, the well ‘treed’ Ilam park on Maidstone Road. Most of the year it’s home to dog walkers, soccer teams and a good many cricket games (I know, I’ve watched a few), but for an afternoon in March it explodes with the colours, sights and sounds and smells of the United Nations.
As an aside, and shameless plug, be there before 12.40pm, and you’ll also get to see a great world music choir, Women in Harmony perform some songs on the stage, and there will be at least two Christchurch City Librarians in amongst the group – I wonder if you will be able to pick them? No, we won’t be wearing a twinset and pearls!