It seems like it was just yesterday when the kids finally went back to school after a couple of months holed up at home. Now, the second week of the school holidays has begun.
Winter can be an expensive time to keep kids entertained, especially as the wet weather makes it difficult to visit parks and playgrounds.
If you're on-duty with the kids this week, here are some free activity ideas to help keep the kids entertained without pulling out your wallet.
The great Lego minifigure house hunt
Get everyone out of the house and enjoy the historic, rambling beauty of Highwic House while helping the kids hunt for their favourite Lego minifigures.
They will need to keep their eyes peeled and use their problem-solving skills to find 12 minifigures hidden throughout the house in cabinets, shelves and other obscure places.
Using a picture sheet, kids write the location of each character beside the image and draw a picture of their favourite character. After handing in their completed sheet, they'll go into the draw to win a Lego prize and can finish off their visit making a peg-doll in the drawing room.
Entry is free for children and $10 for adults. Highwic House is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm and is based at 40 Gillies Avenue Epsom (entry is from Mortimer Pass with limited parking on-site).
Craft at local shopping malls
If your kids love craft but you don't love the mess at home, check out your local mall for free school holiday activities on offer.
If you're based near the city, Royal Oak Mall has free activities on each day, including slime-making, ceramic painting and potato stamping, between 10am and 2pm.
On the North Shore, Highbury Shopping centre has free craft sessions for kids up to eight years old from Tuesday to Friday, between 10.30am and 1.30pm. Appealing to a range of ages, Birkenhead Village has a free performance of 'Cat in the Hat' on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 2pm to 3.30pm.
Additionally, various Westfield centres, including St Lukes, are holding free Matariki star hunts to celebrate the rising of the Matariki star cluster, signalling the Maori New Year.
Movies and activities at Auckland Libraries
Return or renew the kids' books while they're kept entertained with a movie or activity at their local library.
Auckland Libraries are offering a range of free activities on different days, from origami jars at Howick, to a science workshop in Glen Eden, rock art at Papakura and a movie afternoon at Epsom, there's something for most kids to enjoy.
Indoor swimming pools
When all else fails, taking the kids to the local indoor pool will help them burn off excess energy.
Entry to Auckland Council pools is free for kids up to age 16, including Albany, Birkenhead, Franklin, Glenfield, Glen Innes, Henderson, Mt Roskill, Pakuranga, Manurewa, Massey, Otahuhu, Otara, Papatoetoe, Parnell, Stanmore Bay, Takapuna and Waiuku.
Most pools charge a small spectator fee for adults.
For more ideas, Auckland Council has compiled a list of free and chargeable school holiday activities here.