Keeping your little ones occupied each half term can be a stressful time for parents – just thinking about activities (and distractions) is enough to drive anyone crazy! Whether it’s time, money, weather, boredom or just adapting to the kids’ ever changing whims: school holiday can be tough for even the most patient parent.
But, the good news is that with a little pre-break planning you can have this half-term in the bag, so sit back, relax and let these HomeServe holiday tips help you become that most unusual of creatures…the parent with happy, tired and satisfied kids. And you might even have a bit of time left over for, well, whatever it is that’ll make you feel happy, tired and satisfied too!
1. Take advantage of your local park, forest or nature reserve
February weather may be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you should hibernate in your home and most kids won’t even notice the weather. Dig out those layers, wrap up warm and head to a local park, forest or nature reserve – and let them wear themselves out!
Extra credit: Get creative and take some crayons and paper, to make some bark rubbing art!
Bonus parent point: all that exercise will leave plenty of room for a cheeky mid-week takeaway and glass of wine!
The Forestry Commision is a fantastic place to start, if you’re looking for your local forest to let off some steam.
2. Visit your local museum and get learning!
The UK is filled with a huge variety of fascinating museums that are free for kids, and some for adults too. It’s a great way to get out of the house, especially if it’s a grey or rainy day. Plus, you’ll all learn something new!
Extra credit: But before you go, why not give each of the children a pencil and a little pad; so they can draw or write down their favourite things as they go through the museum – something to talk about in the car journey home! You may also find that the museum has some educational (and fun!) activities for the little ones to get involved in.
Bonus parent point: take a packed lunch for the kids and treat yourself to a coffee and cake in the museum cafe.
We’ve found this great list of free museums and art galleries from Money Saving Expert – a top start!
3. Rainy day? Get the macs on, and get muddy!
If it’s rainy out, and you’re feeling extra confident; why not get the kids into their waterproofs on and let them have some muddy fun in the puddles?
Extra credit: You can always get the kids extra excited by making some paper boats to race while you’re out in the puddles! (But do take spares – they get a little droopy after a while!)
Bonus parent point: for a nominal fee (since you’ll have saved money on this trip in the first place) get the kids to be responsible for the pile of washing this trip will create.
It may be one heck of a clean-up operation, but you’ll ‘officially’ be the coolest parent ever (in that household, on that day – maybe).
4. Get creative at home – with crafts, paints and beyond
There are lots of things you can do together at home; Whether it’s painting Easter eggs, whipping up a batch of slime, or perhaps a little sensory play? You can probably find a few household things that can quickly be turned into a masterpiece in no time!
Bonus parent point: you choose the soundtrack so at least you can have a good old sing-along at the same time.
Pinterest has a great selection of simple craft ideas for kids, from household items, to get you started!
5. The great family bake-off!
Okay, so not 100% free – but it’s very cheap, so shouldn’t break the bank! Get their little fingers sticky by mixing up a batch of pre-mixed cupcakes. Fortunately, these pre-mixed boxes come with some exciting themes that will no-doubt enthrall your little one!
If you’ve got a little more budget, then there’s always gingerbread! Cut out the shapes using a ‘people shaped’ cutter, and once they’ve cooled down, the kids can decorate them with faces, clothes and hair.
We’ve found some fantastic insights on the benefits of cooking with children (from the BBC website), which means that you’ll also be a parenting legend!
6. Bonus idea: Get to your local library and get them reading
Fire up your little one’s imagination and love of reading by visiting your local library – and don’t worry if you’re not a member, it’s free to join! The kids will be able to explore bookcases full of exciting new books and take a bunch of them home and pour over. Then, before you know it, you’ll be back to get more!
Extra credit: We’ve found a handy list of ‘the best children’s books ever – as voted by parents’ from MumsNet – some classics to consider for your little one.
Here’s a few extra ideas!
Whatever you do with your children this February half-term, just remember; their most favourite thing to do, is to be with you – and I’m sure, the feeling is mutual!