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It is that time of the year again when parents are wracking their brains for fun ideas for the upcoming half term holiday. As much as it should be a chilled out week of relaxing to recover from the previous school term, children very rarely see it this way and a chorus of ‘I’m bored’ is likely to be the most heard phrase for the majority parents during that week. Not only can it be hard to think of fun activities but a lot of things that children like to do can cost a lot of money which can often be unaffordable.
I have collected a few ideas which can be helpful in entertaining children on a budget while having lots of fun and precious family time in the process. I hope you find them helpful!
Firstly it is a great idea to explore your local area for places to visit that you may not have been to before. There may be some great walks that you can go on or cycle routes that are suitable for children. You can also turn walks into scavenger hunts where you give your children a list of things that they have to find during the walk; this adds extra excitement and competition, if there are more than one of them, plus their attention is sure to be held! Local parks and beaches can be great fun to explore and also check out your local library for any free events that they may be holding for children over the holidays. Some local leisure centres also allow kids to swim for free over the half term so check yours for details.
If the weather is bad (let’s be honest, it is quite likely) going out into the great outdoors may not be a great option. You could hold your very own disco at home with playlists that the kids make themselves and low lighting. This should hopefully wear them out within too long as well which could result in a bit of peace and quiet with a film! Board game days can also be fun, especially if you can afford a new game to tempt the children with, this could provide hours of entertainment and can be great for some family bonding. If you feel like getting creative you could bake some fairy cakes and let the kids decorate them! These could then be offered as dessert in their very own ‘restaurant’ at dinner that evening. Creating menus for dinner (which they can help to cook) with prices and pictures is a good idea to get the kids creative and interested in the food making process. You might have some great sous chefs in the making!
Meeting up with other parents and their children or inviting a friend of your child round to play can make for a less stressful, and cheap, day as they will mostly just entertain themselves! Having another child around can also diffuse any pent up sibling rivalry that may come to a head during the week. If you have another child round to your house you may be able to arrange for your child to go there one day in return which will give you some much needed time to yourself!
One tip about something that you shouldn’t do with the kids during the half term is go shopping! Not only are they likely to get bored but they will also try to persuade you to buy things that you wouldn’t otherwise buy. Also if you are stressed out while shopping you are less able to concentrate on making the best shopping decisions and may end up spending more than usual. If possible leave the kids with a friend or relative if you need to go shopping during the week to avoid ‘pester power’!
A final idea, which could work nicely to encourage good behaviour throughout the week, is to use saved money for a treat at the end of half term. This could be as big as a day out to somewhere that the kids really want to go or it could be a new toy or magazines! This gives you a plan for the end of the week plus it is a good excuse to not spend money throughout the week too!
Hopefully you will be able to put some of these ideas to good use this half term and have a great week with your kids without breaking the bank. Let us know your favourite half term activities too via our Twitter or Facebook pages!
By Sasha Davison
6th February 2014
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