In lockdown with the kids of Paekākāriki

Tash Nilsson gathers together the creative ways tamariki and their parents are keeping sane in the Kapiti Coast village.

When our village went into lockdown with the rest of the country, many parents were no doubt wondering how they would navigate this new reality: entertaining the kids throughout their school holidays while simultaneously attempting to work from home.

Then we remembered how creative and resilient we are; and the hive mind began to provide. 

Here are just some of the innovative ways Paekākāriki has come together to support each other to keep our children entertained, connected and learning. How lucky our tamariki Kiwis are!

First, we got connected. Early on in the lockdown, local parent Sarah Moss Kennedy started up a Facebook group for families and parents to share ideas and resources (it’s packed full of them). The talented Sarah Delahunty has also started a virtual Creative Club. Sarah sets a creative task each weekday and children can post photos, videos or examples of their creative work for others to see.

Here’s a haiku from the page, written by Scarlett Gregory, aged eight.

Trees stand tall and proud.

Trees grow with water and sun.

Flowers are blooming.

Local resident and artist Rachel Benefield has brought back for lockdown the Paekākāriki Jazz Up Your Letterbox competition, which has left a trail of astonishing letterboxes in the village in the past. The village are being encouraged to stroll around to judge, with voting closing April 12 in community Facebook group Paekakariki Tauhokohoko.

This is not the only street art project. Several creative locals have taken to making chalk obstacle courses for kids and adults alike to do as part of their daily walk.

People have also taken to creating chalk drawings and street art outside their houses for people to enjoy..

Then there was this local Facebook project…

‘Secret Sandcastles’ have also been popping up on our beach.

These have included the ‘Bird’s Nest with Mum’s feet’ by Emmet Sutherland.  These are a happy surprise for local families to come across while on their daily exercise along our stretch of paradise.  

Our dedicated local teachers are taking the time to celebrate students’ birthdays on Facebook by getting dressed up to sing Happy Birthday, while also role modelling excellent social distancing!

You may have heard about the worldwide trend based on the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Since the global pandemic, people have been putting teddy bears in their windows so that children and families can go ‘on a bear hunt’ and spot the teddies as they walk past. Paekākāriki residents have also taken on this idea!

Many locals who provide after-school lessons and clubs for kids have continued these using online platforms. 

There have been virtual music lessons provided (including drum lessons by Matt Watkins), and art classes online (including from Harriet Bright). The celebrated locally-run GO club for girls has also been continuing online weekly lessons via Zoom!

Our kids are becoming video conference experts while in lockdown, conducting their own family get togethers, playdates and hangouts via the various online apps available. Here’s an example of ours!