Here are seven fun things to do with the kids during the school holidays in lockdown

Everywhere except Auckland and Waikato, school holiday plans are in full swing.

But yesterday's alert level announcement for Tāmaki Makaurau may have left parents a little confused over what they and their kids can and can't do during the school holidays.

It's been a long slog this lockdown and there's nothing wrong with just letting the kids crash in front of the TV during their time off school - they need a break and so do you.

But if they're getting bored with no online classes to attend and need an outlet, here are some ideas to keep them entertained over the next couple of weeks.

A socially distanced picnic in the park

One of the new alert level 3 stage 1 rules coming into effect from midnight tonight means you can meet with one other household outside for a socially-distanced picnic.

Why not pack up the picnic basket with some treats, pop on your masks and take the kids down to the park to meet with a friend - or host the picnic in your own front yard.

Nerf or laser gun tournament

Laser guns were one mum and Herald writer's life-saving purchase during lockdown - they keep kids entertained for hours, whether you play inside or outside.

Nerf wars are also a popular choice - and heading into summer, maybe it's even time to stock up on your water pistols for a backyard water fight as the weather warms up.

Auckland Museum's Sea Monsters online exhibition

This hugely popular exhibition featuring all sea creatures great and small is available as an online experience. It's the perfect way for your ocean-loving child to spend their afternoon on a rainy day during lockdown.

And if they get bored with no school activities on, the museum has countless resources available online to teach them more about their favourite animals and historical artifacts.

Go camping in the backyard

Warmer weather is on the way - but with holiday trips out of the question, you'll just have to bring the campsite to your own backyard. Pop a tent up, chuck some sleeping bags in there, add some marshmallows and sausages, and you're good to go.

But if the rain threatens your camping adventure, you can always go for the inside version - the classic blanket fort with hot chocolates and movies.

Get them in the kitchen

There's no better time for kids to brush up on their baking skills than during the school holidays. If you're sick of cooking yet another lockdown meal, why not let them make something fun for dinner like pancakes with all the toppings?

If you play your cards right, they'll discover a new hobby and you can take the night off.

Online book club

If you have a resident bookworm in your household bubble who's dying to get back to the library, you might like to sign them up for an online kids' book club.

The Stay Home book club by Read NZ is a great place to start and will get your kids inspired to read, as will the trusty Scholastic book club.

And if your kids have mates who love books just as much as they do, why not encourage them to start a book club of their own? Sort them out with a Zoom link, get their friends on board and provide plenty of reading snacks and they'll be hooked.

Do something kind for others

The kids will be missing their friends as lockdown continues, and there's no better time for them to show each other they care.

Get them to make cards, treats and organise some little care packages to send to their school friends, teachers, or grandparents in the mail. Everyone loves getting a parcel, and your kids will be so proud of themselves for helping make someone else's day.

This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.