Five free ideas to entertain your children during half term
When the children are on a half-term break, the costs can soon mount up - in fact, the Post Office’s half-term spending report found that parents can spend an average of £229 during this week-long holiday. February Half Term is particularly challenging - the cold, dark weather can make it hard to get out and about, so the temptation is to try and entertain your children indoors, at soft play centres and cinemas, for example.
So, is it possible to entertain your children on a budget? See our top five ideas for things to do for free below. Mix and match these with other activities that you’ll need to pay for, such as cinema trips or swimming (both of which may have cheaper times available, typically in the morning), and you’ll easily make your money go further.
1. Arts and crafts
Making something from nothing can be great, but being prepared is key. Make sure you have a lot of supplies available - and don’t think everything has to be new; instead use things that you have readily available in the house. Used magazines and papers can be great for cutting out pictures for example, the cardboard tubes from kitchen rolls can have endless uses (from trumpets, to telescopes, to crackers) and children can draw masterpieces on the back of scrap paper. Glue and coloured pens or paints are a must have. Be creative and join in - your children will love it.
2. Home cinema
Draw the curtains, turn off the lights….and turn your living room into a home cinema for the afternoon. You can either check listings for a suitable film on TV or put on a DVD. It doesn’t need to be a film your children haven’t seen before - the atmosphere will make it special. If there’s a film you’d like to see but don’t own, ask around to see if some of the parents you know have it. Or check out the local library or even local charity shops - you can pick up a bargain this way.
To make it even more special, arrange some treats. Homemade popcorn is a good one for the cinema experience, or a small bag of sweets. If you’re planning a craft day beforehand, you could even make tickets.
3. Letters for loved ones
When was the last time you received a lovely card or letter from a loved one, when it wasn’t your birthday or Eid? This can be a lovely activity, for you, for your children, and also for the recipient. Encourage your children to think about what they really love about a person - you may get some surprising answers! Then they can draw a special picture, or write a letter, depending on their ability. These make wonderful keepsakes. Make sure that you post them to the lucky person - either by hand if you live nearby, or in the postbox. It will be lovely for your children to get feedback about how much their letter was appreciated.
If you don’t already belong to a library, now’s the time to head down there and sign up. Libraries are wonderful environments for children and there’s something for all ages and abilities. Your library may also be holding special events at Half Term - ring them before you visit to find out, as you may need to book.
5. Check out what’s happening in your local area
You may be pleasantly surprised to find out what you can do in your local area for free. Country parks, historical sites, playgroups, special sessions for children - often there’s a lot of activity on our doorstep that we’re not aware of. Find out by checking out your local papers, the internet and noticeboards at schools, GP surgeries and libraries.
It makes sense to plan beforehand for the children’s holidays, and perhaps put some money aside for all the other activities you may wish to do. You may even be planning a family holiday for later on in the year.
To save for the fun things in life, find out more about Al Rayan Bank’s wide range of savings accounts, and how they can help you. Go to click here or call our Customer Services team on 0800 4086 407.