Help! It’s half term already! Six ideas to get you started…
If you have school-aged children you probably used to have mixed feelings about school holidays. On the one hand they’re great: you get to spend time with the kids and don’t have the daily hassle of school runs, lunchboxes, uniforms and homework. On the other hand you may have to make childcare arrangements if you’re working, and after a few days it’s easy to start running out of ideas as to things to do. Not to mention the cost of it all.
But now, your school-aged children may be at home anyway, being homeschooled. So a school holiday is a welcome break from that pressure, but what on earth can you do with the kids instead? So many places are closed, and we are encouraged to stay local.
So what kind of things can you do that will make a change from the daily routine, will be fun, and won’t cost the earth?
Here are six ideas:
1. Fresh air fun
If the weather is good over half term then take the opportunity to get everyone out and about in the fresh air. It’s a great way of clearing your head as well as getting some exercise. Even though you have to stay fairly local, there are probably plenty of places to visit close by.
If you live in a town or city there may be many places you have not yet explored. So you could plan a family walk, maybe with a list of things to look out for on the way and a prize for the first person to tick them all off.
If you are near open country, woods, a canal or a beach, there should be many walks that you can do whilst still social distancing.
Even during lockdown, there are historical sites such as National Trust and English Heritage that are keeping their outdoor premises open for local visitors. Many of these are free, so check out their websites to see if there is anything near to you.
2. Garden discovery
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, there is a lot that you can do there. You have an instantly available facility to get everyone outside for exercise or games, and help burn off some energy.
If your garden needs attention then why not get them involved in gardening? Even if they initially protest, it is something that many children do enjoy, and you can always offer rewards as an incentive! Garden clearing, weeding, and helping to move things around can all be really helpful ways to spend the time.
If your kids are interested in wildlife, The National Trust have produced a Sounds of Nature bingo card that you could use to identify some of the wildlife in your garden, and then take with you on one of your family walks as well.
If the weather is warm and dry enough, why not also have your first al fresco meal of 2021? It doesn’t matter if it’s only a light picnic – or even just drinks and snacks – rather than a full blown BBQ. It will be something fun to do and a positive reminder that spring is on its way.
3. Start your family fitness programme
If one of your New Year resolutions was to get fit and it hasn’t started to happen yet, then half term is a great time to reboot it. This doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, you can set challenges such as walking round your garden or street, and see who can do them in the fastest time. Or you might want to have a go at something more structured such as the Couch25K running programme.
Younger children will enjoy mini circuits including activities such as skipping, squeezing past obstacles, hoopla or throwing and catching. Or how about getting hold of some simple items such as sticks and balls to create mini golf or bowling games?
4. Movie night
Everyone loves a movie, so during half term why not treat the kids to a movie night? Allow them to stay up later than usual and snuggle on the sofa in pyjamas and onesies with favourite drinks and snacks. Then find either a DVD or On Demand movie that you would all enjoy and sit back and relax.
Due to lockdown, many new movies are now being released straight to streaming services instead of the cinema. So it’s also worth checking the listings to see if there is a new release that the whole family would enjoy.
5. Games afternoon
If the weather lets you down, then how about an old-fashioned games afternoon?
Lots of people enjoy board games, and there are a wide variety suitable for all ages. So it’s a good time to enjoy playing some of your old favourites and also search online for newer ones that you may not yet be aware of. For example, some of the popular new games last Christmas were Herd Mentality, Colour Brain, and – believe it or not – Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza.
Another idea is to see how many old-fashioned party games you can remember? Hide and Seek, Sardines, Pass the Parcel, Musical Statues and Pin the Tail on the Donkey are just a few of the many easy games around.
6. Make a bucket list
If there are things that the kids would like to do but can’t because of the current situation, then why not get them to start making the equivalent of a bucket list? It could be a list of things they want to do this year, or before they reach a certain age. You can then work through the things on their list as and when you are able to do them. As well as whiling away some time, the list can also give them some positive things to look forward to.
As a starting point, The National Trust has produced a chart called 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ with a wide range of different activities that you can tick off as you do them. There are more details about the activities on the National Trust website. You could use this list to give you some ideas about things to do and also about how to create and layout your own chart.
We hope that the above ideas help to give you some inspiration about what to do with the family this half term. If you need any extra money to help with your family’s needs during this time, then take a quick look at the online loans available from Simple Fast Loans.
Enjoy half term, and remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.