School holiday entertainment and fun for everyone

Live  theatre, movies, exhibitions, human board games, creating computer games, zookeeping, eating fairybread or healthy baked morsels, tractor-trailer rides, searching for skinks and geckos, soap making — you name it, you can do it during the April school holidays.

Kids can join Jack and Moo and have some fun watching Kidzstuff Theatre's Jack and the Beanstalk. The giant adventure of hope, courage and dreams come true runs from April 4-18 at 4 Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria.

Like its previous offerings, Kidzstuff has put its usual twist on traditional fairy stories, telling the tale of Jack and his Mum, who are facing hard times. When Jack sells Old Moo, the family cow, for a handful of beans his Mum is less than impressed.

After a night of feeling sorry for himself, Jack wakes up to a giant beanstalk in place of the beans and is suddenly faced with a choice — does he stay home and continue to mope, or does he reach for the stars and pursue the adventure of a lifetime?

To find out, book either at 11am or 2pm Monday to Friday, or 11am Saturdays by phoning 385 0292 or go to kidzstufftheatre.co.nz. Tickets cost $10, children under two are free, or the special preview on Saturday, April 4, costs $7.

There's no such word as boredom at Capital E, with its digital studio, National Theatre for Children and transformed free indoor playground to keep kids amused.

Enjoy the show Kiwi Moon at Wellington's Hannah Playhouse between April 4-18, in which a mix of magical puppets, original projection design and catchy songs tell the top tale of a little white Kiwi's journey of self discovery.

Based on Gavin Bishop's picture book of the same name, Kiwi Moon follows the tale of a little white kiwi who thinks the moon might be his mother because it is white and bright and round like him.

Children will embark on a journey through the forest floor to hula with huhu grubs; watch out for the wekas, and calypso with the handsome kakapo.

The show runs from Monday-Saturday at 11am, with a 2pm performance on April 4. Tickets cost $12.50 each. To book phone 913 3740, email capitale.foh@wmt.org.nz or go to www.capitale.org.nz.

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Also at Capital E, children can explore some of the best of what its digital studio has to offer between April 7-16.

In the MediaLab children will create a computer game with Wellington software developers Gamefroot, while in the OnTV Studio children will be at the heart of the Zombie apocalypse in Zombiewatch, a one-day workshop to create a live-recorded news broadcast.

To book go to Capital E's website or phone 913 3740.

Visitors to E Central will discover the free indoor playground transformed into a new world based on the World War I commemorations from April 7-May 2 between 9.30am-3.30pm daily.

Called Re-Build, children will find blankets with loops and hooks on the walls, cubby holes, nooks and secret spaces to find treasures, furniture, foam blocks and cardboard bricks and computers and parts to pull apart and reconstruct.

Reading Cinemas Courtenay has four new movies on offer – Home, Shaun the Sheep, Cinderella and SpongeBob Squarepants.

In Home, Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on earth and finds himself on the run from his own people. He forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own.  Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human, and together they discover the true meaning of the word home.

Then there's the action feature inspired by the classic fairytale Cinderella, which brings to life the timeless images from Disney's 1950s animated masterpiece as fully realised characters in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

As for SpongeBob Squarepants, the world's favourite sea-dwelling invertebrate comes ashore to our world for his most super-heroic adventure yet.

And from the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run comes the highly-anticipated debut of Shaun the Sheep.

In the movie version, life on Mossy Bottom farm has become rather dull, but when Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun he gets much more action than what he bargained for.

A family pass (2 adults, 2 children) costs $42, extra tickets cost $13.20 per adult and $9.50 per child. For movie times, information and bookings, go to readingcinemas.co.nz.

From April 7-17 the OSCAR-approved YMCA will offer programmes at nine venues around the greater Wellington region, including the Hutt Valley, Wellington and Porirua.

The fun-filled programmes will focus on everything from learning how to keep fit in a fun way, what games parents and grandparents used to play and human board games through to special guests from MakerSpace to learn animation, and some activities for Easter.

There will also be a chance to  explore at Staglands and local parks, go roller skating, visit Wellington Zoo and take part in the new event for the programme's grand finale, culture day.

Book online at  ymcawellington.org.nz.

Kapitall Kids Theatre will present a new and modern take on the classic story of Rumpelstiltskin. In this adaptation, a familiar hardworking farm girl named Little Bo Peep is the unfortunate target of the trickster.

Also involved in the tale are Bo's father Farmer Bo Peep and, of course, the handsome King Willy.

As the classic characters spin themselves into a tricky situation, it is up to some quick thinking and a bit of comedy gold to set the story straight. Shows will be held at the Gryphon Theatre from April 7-18 at 11am and 1pm weekdays and at 11am on Saturdays. Tickets cost $10 per person.

To book phone 934 4068 or go to kapitallkidstheatre.co.nz.

Te Papa will combine the worlds of movies, model-making, and museums to take visitors on a journey back to Gallipoli.

The Gallipoli – Opens on April 18 and will be free  to ensure everyone has the opportunity to go on a journey back to Gallipoli.

It brings together the creative artisans of Weta Workshop with the curatorial research and expertise of the national museum. While the main visitor experience for the exhibition is a tightly-held secret, Te Papa says a range of immersive, emotional experiences should be expected.

These include following the action on 3-D maps and projections, witnessing the cramped, filthy conditions that the soldiers faced, and exploring inside a scale-model of the Maheno – a luxury liner converted into a hospital ship to evacuate the sick and wounded.

Gallipoli aside, Nga Toi Arts opening weekend will be on April 11 and 12 and there'll be family fun for all. From 11am-4pm on April 11 there will be family-focused craft activities, so take along images of tupuna (ancestors) and make a whanau wall. The fun continues from 11am-3pm the following day.

To find out more go to tepapa.govt.nz.

Sign the kids up to Wellington Zoo's holiday programme, where they can meet animals, interact with zoo staff and go behind the scenes, all the while making a conservation connection. Tailored for children aged five to 12, every day from April 7-17 has a different focus, from discovering the world of ancient animals to finding out what it takes to be a zookeeper.

Each day runs from between 8.30am to 4.30pm, and costs just $65 per child. Spaces are limited. To book phone 389 3692 or go to wellingtonzoo.com.

Kids and their grown-ups loved the 2014 season of Improv For Kids so much that The Improvisors are bringing it back. It's a great opportunity to introduce kids to the world of live theatre – it's not about computer-generated effects, it's about listening to kids and making their ideas central to what happens on stage.

The interactive show where imagination is the best special effect of them all will run from April 7-18 at Circa Theatre at 11am daily.

Tickets cost $10, to book phone 801 7992 or go to circa.co.nz.

School holidays will come alive at The Roxy Cinema in Miramar with The Book of Life, Shaun the Sheep, Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast and The SpongeBob Squarepants.

Before joining Tinker Bell and friends in another exciting adventure, dress up as a fairy or a beast and enjoy some fairy bread at the special ball on April 7. There will be two sessions, at 10.30am and 12.30pm. Tickets cost $10, which include some magical lollies to eat during the film.

The Carrello gelato cart will be on site during the holidays and the new kids' menu at CoCo at The Roxy is also worth a try. For more details go to roxycinema.co.nz.

Search for skinks and geckos, come face-to-face with tuatara, try Maori craft, listen to ancient Maori stories, learn how to be a conservation hero and about pests at Zealandia.

Tailored for primary and intermediate children with a love for nature, getting outside and mucking in to make a difference, the Zealandia holiday programme has a different theme daily to ensure an exciting, fun-filled outdoor adventure. The programme runs from April 7-17, costs $55 a day and spaces are limited.

Holiday programme aside, April 11 is Wellington green gecko day, a free day for kids at Zealandia to meet and touch some amazing animals and to learn from  authors, artists and conservation rangers. For more details or to book a place on the holiday programme go to visitzealandia.com.

What better way to spend the holidays than to visit Staglands and enjoy a free off-road tractor-trailer ride?

Launched last October, Staglands' off-road tractor-trailer rides came about as a result of owner John Simisters' desire to share some, until now, unexplored areas of Staglands and have a bit of fun while doing so.

The covered wooden trailer, with a seating capacity of up to 20, was designed and handcrafted by the Staglands team.

Free rides are available for all visitors to The Reserve between April 3-19, and they will run daily from 11.30am-3.30pm, weather permitting. Admission is $8 for children aged 4-15, adults $20, three and under are free. 

For more details email wildlife@staglands.co.nz or phone 526 7529.

To refuel during the holidays try the quick, easy and healthy way – with a Justine's healthy baked morsel. There's the high protein, low carb, wheat, gluten and sugar free brownie in choc mint, Mississippi mudcake and a salted caramel.

Or try a Complete Protein cookie, available in a mini size too, including the only five-star rated health standards lemon chia cookie, perfect for kids' lunches.

On offer over Easter are a festive hot cross bun brownie, but let's not forget the wheat, gluten, egg-free gingernut, ancient grain quinoa Anzacs in original and cranberry flavours or the gluten-free choc chip cookie or five-seed breakfast cookie. For more details, visit justines.co.nz.

And there will be plenty of free entertainment at Johnsonville Shopping Centre.

Visit the centre between April 1-7, count the Easter Eggs displayed on store windows and be in to win one of four $25 centre gift vouchers.

Between April 6-10, EASYMOVES will also be on-site with Gym Sports for those looking for a bit of a challenge between 10.30am and 3.30pm each day.

In the second week, April 13-17, a fun soap-making activity will ensure the kids have lots of fun, and go home with their own special soap. Session times will be at 10am, noon and 2pm.

To book phone the centre on 478 5850 or email info@johnsonvilleshoppingcentre.co.nz.

 - Dominion Post

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