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Be creative these school holidays

Truly Creative Ways to Keep the Kids Occupied these School Holidays!

It’s school holiday time again?! That’s cause for squeals of excitement from the littles, glee from teams of tweens and sighs of relief from tired teens. But likely some head-scratching from parents who are scraping the bottom of their magic hat of rainy day tricks and treasures to keep the kiddos occupied this winter.

Fear not! Here at Wētā Workshop, we’ve rounded up a slew of suggestions for keeping the kids occupied, creative and out of trouble this school break. Whether you opt to stay warm and dry indoors or venture out and about, we’ve got you covered for keeping those humming wee brains engaged!

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Get that creative energy fizzing with some quirky, arty, crafty projects!

A tried and true (and cheap) idea for getting creative at home is sharpening those pencils and sketching something unique. Are your kids always asking you to draw their favourite animal, favourite place or their face? Get them following along with Rob - Art for Kids Hub on YouTube. It became the go-to spot on the internet for kids to learn how to draw when COVID-19 put a stop to in-class learning for millions around the world. It’s now a teacher’s staple for virtual art class. Rob’s clean lines and simple-to-follow instructions, paired with the visual of his daughter drawing with him, is a recipe for crafty success! If you have more than one amateur illustrator at home, kick things up a notch with a friendly competition to make things interesting.

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Another reliable at-home creative activity is giving tired old household items a new lease on life or turning something ordinary into an extraordinary piece of art. There’s no need to play it safe with macaroni necklaces, rock gardens or toilet paper roll rockets. Anything can be stuck to paper and painted for a textured landscape or 3D portrait. Sculptures can be created out of anything ready to be thrown out, a little glue and a lot of imagination. And ‘upcycling’ is a whole trend now that even the too-cool-for-school-and-definitely-hanging-out-with-the-parents teen in your household can get behind. Get them dreaming big with low-level furniture restoration thanks to a fresh coat of paint, or making something entirely new and different from things as mundane as sugar or salt!

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Get the kids travelling – without leaving home.

The older kids in your household are probably dreaming of when they can roam the globe and may have even put real plans on hold for trips and exchanges in the face of COVID-19. But if you’ve got secondary school students with a penchant for travel, and fantasy or sci-fi, SFX and a whole lot of fun, then you can bring the world to them: we’re joining the San Diego Comic-Con@Home this year! Wēta Workshops’ virtual Comic-Con booth will have a whole lineup of interesting activities, chats and giveaways. Things kick off on July 19, so keep an eye on this page for more details of the live stream event, and subscribe to the official Comic-Con International YouTube channel as well. Costumes are strongly encouraged.

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Experience a world where the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred

Step into our fantastical film effects workshop and explore the worlds of horror, sci-fi and fantasy in-the-making. It’s a journey through Weta Workshop’s creative process that needs to be seen to be believed.

Guided Tours
weta workshop unleashed auckland for kids

Get them out and get them thinking, at Wētā Workshop Unleashed

If stopping in to see us in Wellington isn’t on the cards these school holidays, no problem! We’ve got the ultimate Wētā Workshop experience for the kids at Auckland’s Sky City. Wētā Workshop Unleashed is a quirky little hybrid of the tour, workshop and behind-the-scenes sneak peek. Step behind the curtain to discover three original movies in the making, and get a very hands-on understanding of how our artists tick. It’s like an escape room out of the brains at Wētā Workshop. And there isn’t a twelve-year-old kid with a love for special effects, big blockbuster movies, mystery and a bit of gore who hasn’t come out of Unleashed looking like they’ve just had a little magic sprinkled over their day.

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Take their Unleashed experience to the next level: Photo Scavenger Hunt!

We strongly encourage you to get snap-happy while you’re at Wētā Workshop Unleashed! There is so much to see, touch and hear that even the spongiest of brains can’t absorb all of the creative energy completely. 

Capturing your favourite sights on camera means taking some of our [beautiful] insanity home with you. Stay tuned for a thorough checklist over the next little while, but in the meantime, here are a handful of must-have shots for you and the kids to grab!

weta workshop unleashed artist shed fantasy space
The Castle Unleashed Fantasy section
  • Jeff the Security Guard: Keep your eyes peeled for a creature we designed and brought to life especially for Wētā Workshop Unleashed. He’s a bit gruff and rough – just like the delivery of some of his Dad jokes – but he’s a fascinating character to snap a pic with and show Nanna later!
  • Sheep guts: Nope, not a typo. You’ll be amazed at what materials we can use to create the life-like innards of a wooly beast, and better yet, you can walk right through them! Add this to your rather left-of-centre photo album from the day.
  • A delicate glass window and a mysterious shadow: In the tallest tower of the greenest mountain, you’ll spot a shape moving past the smallest, most intricate stained-glass castle window you’ve ever seen. Try your best to take the perfect shot, and share the story to go with it later.

Whether you stay in or bundle up and head out, you and the kids will be more than entertained these July school holidays with this list. We look forward to seeing you in person or online, and if you make anything especially quirky and artsy this break, throw a photo of it up on Instagram with the hashtag #wētāworkshopunleashed and tag us!

The Castle Unleashed Fantasy section