10 Cheap Activities for the Kids This Half Term

Two young children on a walk with their father

If you're lucky, half-term usually lasts one week. If you happen to be somewhere in the UK that tags all the inset days onto a half term, then you might end up with nearly two weeks to cover. 

Although it's a much-needed break for both the kids and teachers, it can be a stressful time for working mothers who have to balance work and caring for the kids. Many of us working mums struggle to find affordable and reliable childcare, which can make the half-term period challenging. So what do you do when trying to juggle work and play?

The easy option is to take some of your annual leave if you're in a job that offers this and you've got spare days. But then you're left with zero time off for yourself and potentially no days for the summer holidays.

We manage the school holidays with a mix of leave and days for our son to entertain himself. Days out are so expensive nowadays, so I'm always eager to find things that are free or very near to free. So, here are a few cheap ideas that have gotten us through:

Visit a Museum or Gallery

Many museums and galleries in the UK offer free admission, for example, the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Tate Modern in London. Check your local museum's website for admission prices and opening times.

Make sure you check their events page, as some will put on activity days during half term!

Explore a Park

Pack a picnic and spend a day exploring one of your local parks. You can tailor this how you like and go as far from home as you fancy. It's just as exciting to visit a park within a walkable distance as it is to travel somewhere further away, so there is no pressure to plan something big! (You'll need good weather for this though, and we all know that in England that isn't a guarantee - so make sure you check out our article for things to do in bad weather!)

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Check Out Local Events

Many towns and cities host free events during the half-term holiday, such as festivals, concerts, and fairs. Head to Facebook to check out your local community groups, as these events are usually shared there in the lead-up.

Visit a Library

Libraries often host free events and activities during the half-term holiday, such as story times, craft sessions, and workshops. It's definitely worth checking out what your local library has to offer!

Have a Movie Night or Day

Bring the cinema to your living room, pop on a film and cosy up all day. Be as creative as you want, you could even build a blanket fort to create a memorable atmosphere.

Indoor Activities

If you're juggling work and parenting, it's fine to use the TV to help manage the time a little easier. I try to encourage my eldest to engage in indoor activities such as board games, puzzles, and reading, but honestly, if I have a client call and need 30 minutes of peace, the TV is going on!

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Virtual Playdates

Set up virtual playdates with their friends via video chat, which will keep them connected and entertained. My son will happily play or game with a friend or his cousin, and it feels less like he is stuck on his own.

Nature Walks

When trying to work and look after my kids, a lunchtime walk is a must. Going for a walk in the local park or nature reserve is a great way to get all of us outside and active.

Baking and Cooking

If you're feeling more on the ball, then cooking and baking together can be a fun and educational experience for kids, and it can also help develop their skills in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be anything near Michelin star quality, the time spent together is what matters.

For example, If I have a quiet working day, then I usually get my eldest to come and help make an omelette for lunch. 

Online Classes and Tutorials

There are many online classes and tutorials available that can teach kids new skills and interests, such as coding, music, and cooking. A lot of them are free too. It's worth a search online for what's available to match their interests.

These are just a few ideas to keep you going over the holidays. What will you get up to this half term?

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