Autumn school holidays are nearly upon us in New Zealand (14-29 April) and here at the Auckland Botanic Gardens we’ve put together a series of free conservation-themed activities for kids (to match our overall conservation theme that runs until July).
We’ve worked with a graduate student, our visitor services team, volunteers and an external contractor to put together and deliver the programme, and look forward to engaging with all the families that attend.
Advertising for the programme is through our local community newspaper, online, social media, email newsletter lists and posters on site. This is traditionally very effective for us, and the advertising cost is practically $0.
Here is the overall programme – leave a comment if you’d like more details or an explanation of how we are running these activities. And let us know what you are planning for the upcoming school holidays!
Looking for ideas for school holiday programmes? Maybe there’s an activity on this programme you’d like to recreate. If you’d like more details on a specific activity, let me know in the comments and I’d be very happy to create a step-by-step blog post on it.
As with any Botanic Gardens, we offer a wide range of educational activities across a variety of age ranges. Some are more successful and/or popular than others. When you look at the community education activities that are most popular – regardless of age – odds on they include a blend of art and science.
Despite popular opinion that one is either an arty person or a science nerd, there has long been a close association between the two disciplines. Both art and science are ways in which humans investigate and explore their environment in an attempt to understand and describe the world around us. Scientists and artists may use different methodologies and appeal to different audiences, but the motivations and goals are essentially the same.
In fact, science and art has a long history of successful collaboration. The ancient Greek word for art was techne, from which the words technique and technology are derived—terms that are equally applicable to both scientific and artistic practices. Continue reading “Science and Art”→
A great school holiday programme activity is a native plant survival challenge. We simply pick a selection of specific native plants (or print some photos of certain ones if we can’t get hold of them e.g. flowers or fruit depending on the time of the year). These native plants are laid out on a table, and kids with their families have to match which plants are used for which activities in the bush. E.g. Rangiora leaves (Brachiglottis) is used as toilet paper – which as you can imagine the kids love to learn.
We set up six sets of the same activity to handle large numbers of people.
At the end of the challenge, kids are encouraged to draw a picture of what they would take into the bush, which we then add to a portfolio they leave with us, or take home with them.
Kids and parents alike love learning about how useful native plants are, and always enjoy this activity as a family. It’s simple, cheap (we created the cards once and use them repeatedly) and a wonderful way to enthuse visitors about plants.
We’ve got some fun activities planned for the upcoming school holidays. We’ve created a mixture of bookable workshops and drop-in activities to ensure a wide range of styles within the programme as well as to reach different audiences.
We are using a blend of staff, volunteers and external providers to assist with offering the programme. All advertising has been through free media so it will be interesting to see what numbers of participants we have.
What are your plans for school holiday programmes?