After Christmas, it always seems like you’ve just got the kids back to school and your budgets back on track when it’s already time for half term break! February can always be a tough month on the budget as January generally tends to be the month when you do all your post-festive catch ups on credit cards and try to get things in order for the coming year. So what do you do when you’ve got a whole week of the kids at home? As the weather in February in the UK can be a bit unpredictable, we’ve made a list of free or cheap activities that you can do both indoor and out to help stave away the boredom and help you keep your sanity this half term break.
Take a Hike
A little exercise is a great way to not only keep yourself in shape but also a perfect way to let the kids release any excess energy over the holidays. With so many great places to hike around the UK – The Highlands of Scotland, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Brecon Beacons – there is no shortage of great places to escape for a day or two! If you’re unable to get out of the city, why not try a free walking tour or a quick train to a nearby village for a wander? The adventure is in discovering new things together, no matter the distance! If your child/children are younger, be sure to have a stroller/buggy handy in case they get tired.
A classic choice for a rainy day in the United Kingdom, museums covering everything from science and nature to art and history are sure to encourage learning in the time spent away from classes. The Natural History Museum in London is a favourite with ever changing exhibitions including a fantastic display of dinosaur fossils and bones! Be sure to check the schedules of your local museums for possible cheap half term break activities!
Arts & Crafts
Get inspired and let their creative juices flow with a series of arts and crafts including painting, pottery, drawing and more! Why not spend a few hours doing some Valentine’s Day crafts? All it takes is a bit of red and white paper, some paint and, of course, lots of glitter! Why not try a few of these ideas from WooHome.com?
Everybody Dance Now!
When the kids are in school/at nursery, how many of you get home, turn up the tunes and get your dance on even if it’s when you’re tidying up? Instead of just popping them in front of the tv while you get your daily errands done, get them involved! Pop on the radio, or put on some of your favourite songs and give the kids each a chore to do. Make sure to take lots of breaks to have a boogie and they, and you, will enjoy these tasks so much more!
Children love when they feel like they are helping, especially with “adult” tasks like cooking. Instead of spending money ordering in or getting frozen pizzas from the supermarket, why not try making your own? Using a simple dough recipe, and whatever toppings you like, kids will love to help knead the dough and be proud of their accomplishment when they get to enjoy the fruits of their labour! If you have a couple of children, divide the pizza dough up so they can create their own invention with an assortment of toppings – and don’t forget all the cheese!
Build a Den
No matter if they’ve been in real life or not, children always seem to have an obsession with tents and camping. Let them live out their desires, even on an afternoon in the house, by dragging out sheets and blankets and helping them build their own little den in the living room. Make sure you put a duvet on the floor to make it cozy, grab a torch and turn out the lights for a proper indoor camping experience!
Visit a Farm
Chances are there will be at least a day or two over the holidays when you’ll want to get outside. If you’re looking for a budget friendly activity that the kids will love, try visiting a local farm! The kids will love checking out the animals (especially the baby lambs and goats!) and some even have local produce on hand which is a great way to teach children about where their food comes from.
Be a Tourist
We often take for granted how beautiful the landscapes and cities are in the UK. As they become a part of our daily lives, it’s easy to forget the history and the stories of the buildings and castles that surround on regularly. Help your children understand more of the world, or at least the city, around them by taking them out to be a “tourist for a day”. Take your camera and take family photos with landmarks, go on a free walking tour, or venture into any free exhibitions that might be on. Though they are not free, the hop on hop off buses can be a great way to move about your city. A bit of quick research into the public buses, though, may also prove that a simple unlimited day ticket could be just as fruitful!
More and more, researchers are studying the positive effects of meditation and physical activity for young children. The calming effects it has and the ability to align focus is a great benefit, especially in the world of excessive technology these days. Kids are also far more flexible at a younger age and may find the idea of twisting themselves into various shapes incredibly entertaining without needing to realise the physical benefits! As yoga may have been a major part of your prenatal exercise, why not encourage your children now with classes tailored for you and your child? Many local studios offer sessions for both parents and children from about age 3, together or separately. Alternatively, there are many options online that will allow you to try it from home for free! It might even become part of your morning routine and help them focus when they return to classes after their half term break!
Half term break does not have to be a week of boredom or stress. With a countless number of cheap or free activities to keep you and your children busy, the week will surely fly by in no time. No matter what the weather or your budget, the half term break can be a great time to spend time with your children and encourage learning outside of the classroom, without just popping the kids in front of the tv. Allowing your kids to join you in your daily tasks will also help them feel included and instill a feeling of responsibility early on.
We’d love to hear about your favourite go-to activities for long breaks between classes. Feel free to share them below!