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Play Day 2021 – Escape to New Zealand!

As we celebrate a much-needed Summer of Play with Playday 2021, the cats at Banjo HQ have been talking about how to use letters from Banjo as a springboard for further creative play. 

We often hear from parents that correspondence with Banjo helps their kids to get reading and writing, and some have also told us that travelling with Banjo has become something of a regular game in their homes too! 

There are lots of ways to supercharge the magic of Banjo’s mail – such as by doing a deep-dive into the places he visits with our extra digital resources, and of course by preparing his special international recipes too.

Why not take it one step further? You can whisk the whole family off to Banjo’s latest destination with a day of play packed with activities the kids are going to love. 

Check out these six immersive activities for a whistle-stop tour of New Zealand with Banjo – just click the links for the accompanying printables!  

The airplane ride

What you’ll need: Cushions, kiwi fruit, a Captain!

What we’ve got covered: sound effects, a special passportan activity sheeta note from the Captain.

Begin your child’s holiday to New Zealand by recreating the excitement of a plane ride in your living room. Just grab some cushions and lay them out in two rows, with just enough space for an aisle in the middle. You can play this soundtrack for the take off and landing of your magical aircraft. Don’t forget to stock up on essential travel food (sliced kiwis of course!) and to remind your child to bring their Banjo-themed passport!

Once everyone’s in position, the Captain (aka you or any other willing family member!) can read their note and present the passenger with their snack and kiwi activity sheet to complete.

Arriving in Auckland!

What you’ll need: An open space to practice your dance.

What we’ve got covered: Banjo’s first note, a Haka video.

You’ve just landed at Auckland Airport- don’t forget to mark your child’s passport to signify touch down in New Zealand! Once you’ve safely disembarked the aircraft,  it’s time to present your child with Banjo’s first note. There’s no time to waste- begin your kiwi experience by mastering the traditional Māori dance, the Haka, from this video!

Next stop: Rotorua!

What you’ll need: Baking soda and vinegar.

What we’ve got covered: Banjo’s second note, make-your-own-volcano instructions.

Why don’t you try to make your own volcano? Here’s a great video which shows you how!

A ferry ride to the South Island

What you’ll need: Paper, a sink or bathtub.

What we’ve got covered: Banjo’s third note.

Why not search online for photos of this famous water crossing- it’s stunning! Then you can watch this cool video to learn how to make paper boats and race them in the sink or bathtub together. Add plastic whales or dolphins for maximum effect!

Kahurangi National Park

What you’ll need: A watering can and some leaves.

What we’ve got covered: Banjo’s fourth note, background music.

You’ve made it to Kahurangi National Park, a.k.a your back garden or kitchen! Encourage your child to close their eyes and pretend that they really are in the centre of a big, lush forest. Play this soundscape to help spark their imagination. While their eyes are still closed, surprise them by gently tickling them with some leaves from the park and  ‘sprinkling’ them with a little luke-warm water from the watering can or a spray bottle! Get your soft toys involved too if you like! 

Stirling Point 

What you’ll need: Vanilla ice cream, golden syrup, sugar, bicarbonate of soda (or readymade honeycomb pieces!)

What we’ve got covered: Banjo’s fifth and final notethe ice cream shop signthe recipe.

Saving the best for the last; the grand finale; the icing on the cake (or the honeycomb on the vanilla ice cream in this instance!)

Today’s trip should culminate in the kitchen, which you can transform into “Banjo and ____’s Ice Cream Shop” with the signage provided. Here you can make one of New Zealand’s famous creations- hokey pokey! All you need for this signature dish is vanilla ice cream topped with pieces of honeycomb toffee.

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