Busy library in a box for isolating tamariki

Shauni James






Summer holiday plans may have been dashed for some families needing to isolate as part of the Covid response. However, Rotorua Library worked hard to ensure they could still have fun and learn. Building on relationships with health and social services, Rotorua Library’s Youth and Early Learning team obtained funding for 500 Big Busy boxes for Rotorua families with children affected by the Covid response. This included families who tested positive, or were close contacts of those who had tested positive to the virus, and were required to isolate from family and friends. A hundred of these activity boxes were for children under 5 and the other 400 for children 5 and over. They were to be distributed by health outreach services in the community to those assessed as being in need. Youth and Early Learning lead Kylie Holmes says Big Busy Boxes have been given out to families who are isolating as part of the Covid response. She says the library’s contact in the community has let them know the families are excited to receive something that showed others were thinking of them. Each activity in the Big Busy Box is not only fun, but creates opportunities for language growth and learning. Kylie says the boxes contain a library programme in a box and everything you need to complete the activity. In the boxes targeted at preschoolers there is a wearable dinosaur tail and lion puppets, and in the ones for young people there are STEM challenges and art and craft activities. Each box contains extra paper, a book and stationery, so the young people or their parents can write and keep memories in a safe place, she says. Some boxes include a book supplied by award-winning publisher Gecko Press. Kylie says, “Thanks go to the Wright Family Foundation who funded the books and Friends of Rotorua Library for all the other goodies in each box”. “They are both so generous with funding that supports projects that benefit Rotorua tamariki.” She says, “Often over summer the days can be long and hot, so it is nice to have quiet activities to do indoors too. The activities will encourage young people to think and play in different ways. They are all fun and many can also be taken outside to test, like the paper planes and a ‘hoop flyer’.”