Family Lockdown Challenge: Coding Capers!

It’s nearly the end of another week of lockdown, so it’s time for another Family Lockdown Challenge! So far we’ve explored everything from Lego to scavenger hunts, movies to Music Month — but so far we have yet to explore the wonderful world of coding!

Many of you will know that our libraries run after-school and weekend Code Clubs with the assistance of the kind folks at Code Club Aotearoa, so we thought we’d share some ideas for a fun-filled learning adventure in coding, regardless of your level or ability.

Coding is everywhere, even behind the scenes of this very blog! Here’s a snippet of HTML from one of our recent posts — can you work out which one?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the Code Club project page, choose a project that interests you, and give it a go! There are heaps of projects to choose from, from creating a simple spacey animation in Scratch to creating a 2D version of Minecraft in Python. Each project includes full instructions to guide you from zero to hero — we recommend working your way up gradually through the projects so you can build on what you learn each time.

Here are some suggestions as to where you can start:

    • If you’re a total beginner to coding, start with the Rock Band project in Scratch. It’s a super simple and fun project that has you creating your own interactive rock band! What songs can you get your band to play?
    • If you’ve tried a bit of coding before, why not try creating a simple Ghost Busters game? Check out one we created below! How many ghosts can you catch?
    • Fancy yourself a bit of a Scratch pro? Try the Dodgeball challenge or — if you’re really up for it — Create Your Own World.

Scratch not your thing? Code Club Aotearoa also host awesome projects in HTML/CSS, Python, 3D animation in Blender, and much more. Jump in and see how you go!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Celebrate Star Wars Day at Home!

IMAGE COURTESY OF https://www.starwars.com/Attention all Jedi, Bounty Hunters and Rebels! Star Wars Day is happening again on May the Fourth, which is observed and celebrated by fans of the Star Wars franchise. Despite Level 3 restrictions, there are still ways you can celebrate Star Wars Day in the comfort of your own home… and bubbles.

Celebrate Star Wars Day at home.

Star Wars has a website dedicated to information, activities and events about Star Wars Day. Why not dress up as your favourite Star Wars character, cook and craft up a storm all in the comfort of your own home. For more ideas on how to celebrate at home, have a look at 5 ways to celebrate Star Wars Day at home.

Borrow Star Wars books from our ebook collection.

Borrow ebooks all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe! Check out our amazing collection on Overdrive Kids.

image courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics
Listen to your favorite Star Wars stories read by your favourite actors.

Watch Rey (Daisy Ridley)  read “Star Wars: BB-8 On The Run,” and “Star Wars: Chewie & The Porgs,” read by Joonas Suotamo. You can also borrow “Star Wars: BB-8 On The Run,” from Overdrive Kids.



Enjoy!… and may the fourth be with you!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Support New Zealand Music Month 2020.

New Zealand Music Month is back again and is in its 20th year marks 20 years of celebrating and supporting the New Zealand Music industry. The theme for 2020’s NZ Music Month is: Support local. Stream local. Follow local. Buy local.

This year New Zealand Music month will be celebrated differently. Under Level 3 restrictions, there will be no live events in our favorite music venues, including the library. But have no fear, you can still celebrate NZ Music month and support the NZ music industry in the comfort of your own home… and bubbles.


image courtesy of https://www.nzmusicmonth.co.nz/

What is New Zealand Music Month?

May is New Zealand Music Month, which celebrates music from New Zealand, and the people who make it.

How can I celebrate this year under Level 3 nationwide lockdown? 

The NZ Music Month schedule is packed with virtual events, awards, radio specials, online seminars and promotions. Check out the events page for more information.

You can also support your librarians, many of whom also moonlight as musicians and performers. Go onto the Wellington City Libraries and Johnsonville Library Facebook pages for regular live-streaming of preschool storytime, Baby Rock and Rhyme and of course Quarantunes for nightly live performances.

You can download and print your own NZ Music month poster, which you can put on your bedroom wall or window.

Where can I find information about New Zealand Music, artists and bands?

ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about New Zealand musicians and bands. The National Library also has a page dedicated to New Zealand Music, where you can explore the culture, history and uses of music in New Zealand along with famous singers (traditional and contemporary), music awards, bands and the styles of music unique to New Zealand.

For more information, on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:

NZ Music Month official website.

New Zealand Curriculum Online – New Zealand Music Month.

NZ History – New Zealand Music Month.

Enjoy!… and Happy New Zealand Music Month 2020!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Stand Apart Together this ANZAC Day

We will be celebrating ANZAC Day differently this year. ANZAC Services are cancelled for the first time in 104 years. However there are many ways for you you can honor our fallen and returned soldiers from the safety of your doorstep. You can:

Virtual Dawn Service:image courtesy of standatdawn.com

Take part in Stand at Dawn. Stand at your letterbox, at the front door, your lounge rooms, etc, on Saturday 25th April at 6am to remember our fallen. The official dawn service starts at 6am on Saturday 25 April. It will be broadcasted on Radio NZ National. The morning service includes the Last Post, National Anthems, and an address by Hon. Ron Mark, Minister of Defence / Minister for Veterans. For more information about the virtual dawn service and other online events, please visit the Wellington City Council website.

Activities for kids:

You can make poppies at home. image courtesy of standatdawn.comYou can place them on your window, decorate your letter box and even create you own poppy garden. For more ideas, visit the Stand at Dawn Activities page

Bake ANZAC Biscuits:image courtesy of standatdawn.com

People are making the most of their time with cooking and baking since lockdown. Why not bake some yummy ANZAC biscuits with your whanau and serve them out of the oven with a nice cup of tea after the dawn service. Click here to view the recipe.

ANZAC Fact: The biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients did not spoil and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.

Watch the Ballet from your living room:

Watch the ballet, with your ANZAC biscuit and cup of tea, from confort of your own bubble… and living room. image courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/nzballet/The Royal New Zealand Ballet will be livestreaming on Facebook a special broadcast of ‘Dear Horizon’ and ‘Passchendaele’, two works that were commissioned for our Salute programme back in 2015 and performed live with the New Zealand Army Band, to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. You can view the RNZB Facebook live event Anzac Salute here. For more information, visit the Royal New Zealand Ballet Facebook page and website.

Read up on the ANZACs and Anzac Day?

ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about the ANZACs and ANZAC Day. You can also refer to last year’s blog post and this previous post, which  provides a list of websites that will provide you with reliable information about ANZAC Day and World War 1.
Remember stay safe in your bubble, stay at home and be kind. Kia kaha!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Bubble Scavenger Hunts!

Are you looking for something to fill in a spare hour at home? Or maybe you need an activity to do on your daily walk around your neighbourhood. Have you considered a scavenger hunt?

An example of a scavenger hunt you could make at home!

A scavenger hunt is so much easier than a treasure hunt, because you don’t have to make any clues or hide any treasure! You just create a list of things to find, then get searching.

When you’re creating your list you can be as vague or specific as you like, from a red leaf or yellow flower, to something that makes a noise or something you use at school. You can give your scavenger hunts different themes too, from things inside the house (if it’s a rainy day!), to things out in your garden, or even things connected by a theme such as technology, pets, or colour. If your theme is colour, you can use the same list for every colour of the rainbow!

If you’re doing your scavenger hunt within your bubble at home, then of course you’re free to gather together all the objects you find. If you’ve created a scavenger hunt to complete while you’re out on a walk, picking things up and carrying them around isn’t the best idea at the moment. We suggest you just tick off or write down what you see, or you can turn it into a photo challenge and take pictures of all the things you find. Or you can join in the nation-wide Bear Hunt, and count how many Teddy Bears you can see in your neighbours’ windows.

Another idea is a literary scavenger hunt! Challenge yourself to read books on different subjects, by different authors, and about different characters. Can you read a book with a bear in it? How about a turtle, or one by a New Zealand author?

If you want some inspiration, check out the scavenger hunts that we’ve created to inspire you:

So get to it! Challenge yourself, or send one off and challenge your friends. We’d love to see what you come up with, so show us what you’ve been up to on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Colouring Adventures!

Our next Family Lockdown Challenge is as simple as it gets — get those pencils, felts, crayons, pastels, paints or dyes out and get colouring! For your socially-distant enjoyment, a very cool and talented librarian here has created this awesome colouring book — from the power of her imagination, to your bubble! Click the button at the top left to download it and colour at home.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to complete this colouring book with your family. Maybe Mum and Dad have to do all the vowels. Why not share with friends or family outside your bubble and have a Skype colouring session? Challenge yourself to use ALL THE COLOURS, or maybe just one! That’s the beauty of colouring — it is what you make it. You can find even more fun activities on our Kids’ Downloads page.

Take a photo of your whānau participating in this challenge, or photograph or scan your completed colouring — we’d love to see what you do! Message us or tag us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) so we can see what you’ve done, and marvel at your talents!

Stay tuned for the next Family Lockdown Challenge, where things are starting to get a little… mysterious.

Family Lockdown Challenge: Kanopy Kids!

So, in our last editions of the Family Lockdown Challengewe’ve covered everything from reading and writing to building and doing. But did you know that the library is also your hub for movies and TV?

Enter Kanopy Kids(Please note that logging in to Kanopy Kids requires an adult library membership. Click here if you do not have a current adult membership). Kanopy Kids is the library’s online streaming platform for kids’ movies, TV shows, animated storytimes, and more. The best part? It’s all free, and you have unlimited watch time. On the adult version of Kanopy, you get 6 watch credits a month, but on Kanopy Kids, it’s all movies, all the time.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to watch a movie or an animated storytime on Kanopy Kids as a family, and then create a response to it. You could draw a picture, write a review, reenact your favourite scene, do a fact file on your favourite character — the world is your oyster! We’d love to see what you come up with, so please get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to show off your creative skills!

Explore and enjoy!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Kids’ Club eBook Reviews

Our last two Family Lockdown Challenges have focussed on things you can do and things you can build from the comfort of your own bubble. For this next one, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your chair. Read on to find out more!

Libraries, as I’m sure you know, are generally known for having books. Heaps and heaps and heaps of books. And even though our buildings are closed, making the 800,000-odd books they hold unavailable for now, we still have plenty of books for you — eBooks! Our eBook services, like OverDrive, BorrowBox, TumbleBooks, and more, are available 24/7 from the eLibrary — all you need is your library card number and PIN, and you’re set.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to borrow a book from our eLibrary, write a book review, and post it to the Kids’ Club review section on this very blog. At the top of the screen, click Kids’ Club, then follow the instructions to access the review form and submit it! Once that’s all done, and your review has been read by one of our lovely librarians, it will be published online for everyone to read.

Even better, once our libraries reopen, you’ll be able to redeem your book reviews for special prizes from your local library. The more reviews you write, the more prizes you’ll earn. How awesome is that?!

Did you know that eBooks can fly? They fly right around our heads until they land in your device, ready to be read!

Before you all rush off to write your first review, here are a couple of words about writing a good book review:

  • Tell us what you thought about the book! We don’t want to just read a description of the plot.
  • Useful questions to ask yourself include:
    • How did I feel at the beginning of the book?
    • How did I feel at the end? Was there a change?
    • Who was my favourite/least favourite character? Why?
    • Did this book give me any new ideas? If so, what are they?
    • Who else might like this book? Why?
    • If I had written this book, would I have changed anything about it? What, and why?
  • Be creative! We love to read reviews in the form of poems, short stories, reviews written with emojis.
  • Be careful with the boring things like spelling and punctuation. This isn’t school — you won’t be disqualified if you spell “discombobulated” wrong — but having good spelling and punctuation makes it easier for everyone else to understand what you mean!

While you’re writing your reviews, don’t forget to read through other kids’ reviews too — there are thousands and thousands of them and who knows, you may just find a book you’d like to read yourself! Happy reading!

Family Lockdown Challenge: LEGO® Building Challenges

Do you have any LEGO® fans in your house? Are you looking for fun ways to fill in your time during the lockdown? Then look no further because we’ve got you covered! We’ve put together some of the most popular LEGO® Challenges that we’ve tried during our “Let’s Go LEGO®” sessions so that you can get some inspiration and try them at home.

LEGO® Challenge #1: Why not put your chef hat on and organise a ‘LEGO® Master Chef Challenge’? Get as creative as you can and build some mouth-watering creations! From Lego-cupcakes to Lego-fruits/veggies and Lego smoothies, how many “tasteful” creations do you think you can make? Let’s find out!

LEGO® Challenge #2: Do you have any marbles lying around the house? From a ‘LEGO® Marble Run’ to a ‘LEGO® Marble Maze’, just experiment with ramps, bridges, jumps and dead ends and make your creation as simple or as complicated you want.

LEGO® Challenge #3: What about a Zip Line Challenge? Get a rope or a clothesline wire and let those creations fly! Try to add some sort of a pulley mechanism and explore concepts like slopes, angles, and gravity!

Now it’s time for you to grab some bricks and let your imagination run wild with LEGO®! We’d love to see what you have created so please take photos or videos of your creations and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Happy building!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Book Dominoes!

We’ve been thinking hard about fun, creative things we can do with our families or the people in our bubbles over the coming weeks, and after talking to the other librarians we couldn’t resist issuing you with the Book Domino Challenge.

It’s like regular dominoes, but more bookish!

How does the Book Domino Challenge work, you might ask? It’s simple — work together with your bubble-mates to take any number of books, stand them on their ends in a row, and try to create the longest unbroken domino chain you can. Don’t have enough books at home? Not a problem! You can use DVDs, CDs, playing cards, LEGO, blocks, TV remotes, pieces of wood, even actual dominoes — anything you can find that’s rectangular in shape and can stand on its end.

We’d love to see your dominoes too! You can take photos or videos of your Book Domino Challenge chains and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Let’s be creative together in our bubbles!

Stuck for ideas? Check the videos below for two examples of book dominoes put together by your librarians back in 2013. Happy toppling!