Looking for cheap or free activities to keep the kids entertained this February half term? Look no further! We've got a roundup of low-cost, fun ideas that will keep the kids busy!
It may feel like the kids have only just gone back to school after the Christmas school holidays, but here we are, the February half-term is on the way, and he may well need to find fun things to do with the kids to keep them from driving you nuts! We've come up with a selection of some of the best things that we think would be a great way to keep the kids entertained.
Keep your eye out for early Spring-inspired special events taking place locally; there are loads of half-term events taking place in my local area, there are lots of fun experiences for the whole family, and very often, there are lots of free activities for the children to enjoy, or if not free, then low-cost compared to going to expensive theme parks or taking expensive holidays; you can have family fun at a low cost no matter where you are in the country; make sure to check social media accounts for your local area, they can be a real goldmine define things to do!
Here is a selection of mainly low-cost ideas for activities to do with kids during half term:
Visit a local park and have a picnic, play games, and go for a walk. October may not be as pleasant weatherwise as the school summer holidays might be, but you can still enjoy fun activities for the whole family, maybe a treasure/ scavenger hunt, treasure trails, an obstacle course or bike ride, even on rainy days, perhaps take a flask of hot chocolate with you for a warming treat, it may not be the great outdoors as such, but its fresh air and keeping then kids of their devices and way from the tv!
Have a movie day at home and watch family-friendly films together. Alternatively, look to see if any of the local cinemas are offering special movie showings or discounted tickets (Groupon are offering 5 Vue cinema tickets for £22 at present, as are Woucher). Help the kids make popcorn at home to sneak into the cinema, it's so much cheaper to make your own and the kids will have the best time watching and listening to the corn pop!
Visit a local library and participating in storytelling events and activities can be a great idea. Alternatively, check your local council website to find out if there is a toy library locally where you can borrow toys and games instead of books! It saves having to spend a fortune buying new toys! Many libraries have Halloween-inspired events taking place, so it's worth checking to see if your local library is putting on something, as they are almost always free.
Go around the world with the kids.. for free, without the need for a road trip.. well, kind of; use a webcam app such as Earthcam to explore lots of exciting and interesting places around the world from the comfort of your living room! Watch people milling around Times Square, enjoy watching tigers roam around Dublin Zoo or maybe watch people jumping off cliffs into the sea in Jamaica; there are huge amounts of things to see, and as it's all free, what better way for the kids to explore the world, without even having to leave the house!
Go swimming; it's not really going to be the right weather for a water park visit, but maybe head to your local swimming pool, maybe go with other children and their parents and turn it into a fun group activity, as well as help the kids to improve their swimming; often there special deals on at your local swimming pool during half term, so it will probably be quite cheap as well. If you have confident swimmers for kids, have a look at any local open water events taking place; quite often during the half term, you'll find open water swimming meet-ups where you can swim in a local pond or river, under supervision, which can be great fun, but probably you'll want to wear a wetsuit as it is October, as the water temperature won't be as high as the warmer months, but there are plenty of October open water events taking place, so it's not as crazy sounding as it may seem!
Go on a nature walk, looking for plants, animals, and other natural wonders. Have the kids look around this natural environment for particular things, such as squirrels, flowers and benches and have them make a tally of how many they find. It's a good time to collect fallen leaves and conkers, so maybe take some of them home to make some nature-inspired arts and crafts. The National Trust normally has lots of activities planned for February, so look out in the newspapers as it is very likely you might be able to pick up a free family ticket to a local National Trust location.
Have a DIY day at home, making crafts and projects with the kids. What kid doesn't like mucking about with sellotape, cardboard boxes and pens? It keeps them busy for hours!
If the weather is nice, it can be fun getting the garden out of winter mode and into Spring mode. That might consist of a general tidy-up, but for the kids, they can plant some flower bulbs so you get a lovely flower display later in the year, or start off some home-grown veggies by sowing some seeds (in the house for now, as it is still chilly!). Tomato, peppers, peas and cucumbers are a great choice, Amazon offers some low-cost seed options and supermarkets and discount stores should have some in, and if not yet, they will very soon.
Have a cooking day at home, making simple and inexpensive meals and snacks with the kids. Let the kids help with the mixing, rolling and decorating etc; they will love saying that they helped make it, and it's a positive activity to help aid children’s learning and development and learn new skills.
Read thousands of magazines for free! Really? Yes indeed, grab a 30-day free trial of Readly, which is an app that allows you to read magazines and newspapers from around the world at no cost, there are loads of things for kids, including comics and puzzle books, and you can set up a separate login for different people around the house, so everyone has their own access to the app and can select what they want to read, all at the same time! Don't forget to cancel the trial before the 30 days free ends, or you'll have to pay £9.99 a month, but you might want to keep it being magazines are so expensive these days, and £9.99 is pretty reasonable for unlimited use of the magazines, and all the back copies!
Have a dance party at home and dance to the kids' favourite music. It's good exercise and means they'll sleep well that night! Maybe invite some of your children's school friends along as well, the other parents I'm sure will be very grateful for something today, as a good way to catch up with the parents and have a chat.
Have a storytelling day at home, with each person taking turns telling a story. Maybe make your own stories and act them scenes out! Creative writing is the perfect way to help the child's development and boost their imagination. You could also have a photography day, taking pictures of each other, pets, and nature, or make scenes from the child's made-up story and turn the story into a book with your pictures!
Visit a local museum or art gallery that offers free admission for kids. If you are in the London area, head to the Natural History Museum or Science Museum, as these offer free entry and are really great fun and a great place for your kids to explore , and is of course, very educational, but check first; you may need to book. Getting the train to London, then book your tickets in advance with companies such as Trainline to save money.
Make some time for stargazing. Free resources such as the National Geographic Kids website can help you out with loads of information on space, starts and the whole solar system, and as well as being educational, the slightly older kids tend to get really into finding out more about space, but is suitable for kids of all ages, and you only have to step outside your front door at night to see it, so you won't need to travel far!
Have a play day at home, using costumes, props, and imagination. Invite their friends round for a dress-up party, and let them enjoy themselves while the parents have a few minutes of rest!
Have a drawing day at home; it's always a fun activity, using pencils, crayons, or other art supplies. If you have a dry wipe board, make use of this to save using up so much paper, which isn't cheap these days!
Have a puzzle day, solving jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and other brain teasers. You might be able to borrow different puzzles from friends or relatives rather than buying new board games, or as per idea number 3; you might be able to borrow some from a toy library. If you do want to buy some new ones, make sure you check out the charity shops for bargains or Facebook Marketplace as many people have a clear out in the October half term to make room for the upcoming Christmas gifts, and so lots of items are added to Marketplace, so you might grab a bargain, or try Olio, as often people give their old games away via this free service, as well as other free things.
Have a trivia day at home, testing each other's general knowledge. There are loads of age-related general knowledge questions and answer sheets online; just give them a Google!
Have a maths day at home, solving puzzles and practising mathematical skills. It may sound like your worst nightmare, but it's good practice for the kids and good to help keep your brain active!
Keep your eyes peeled on local Facebook groups and blogs, (like the North West For Kids blog and the Fifty & fab Lifestyle Blog), to get information on local events that you may be able to attend and days out ideas, hints and tips, they can be invaluable!