February Half Term Activities

I love half term, the time with the family, recuperating from a hectic term and the mandated holiday from work. Looking after the kids during this time makes it essential you’re unplugged from the corporate beast. You care for and have fun with the very reasons you work in the first place.

However, as much fun as half term can be, we all dread those two or three words. I’m bored. “No!” I hear you cry, “After everything we’ve done. My wallet is empty – how can you be bored!”

Here are my ways to avoid over-spending during the holidays but keeping the kids entertained.

Indoor activities during the February half term

1. Teddy bears picnic – If you go down to the woods today……
Invite the kids’ friends, grandparents and others round and have an indoor picnic.

Creative ideas
• Hand out teddy masks or bear ears to each child as they arrive – or get children to make their own from paper plates, card, headbands and felt
• Dig out as many old teddy bears as you can find and scatter them around
• Borrow or buy some plastic tea sets and arrange them alongside the teddy bears
• Lay out different coloured blankets (search charity shops for extra supplies)
• Keep toys or anything needed for activities in picnic baskets
• Hang bunting (you can even make your own), balloons and streamers and hang around the house or fence posts or trees
• Use chalk to draw large paw prints on the path leading to your front door
• Bubbles – kids love chasing bubbles
• Colouring in: Check out pound shops for teddy bear or outdoor-themed colouring in books, or print off colouring sheets.
• Best-dressed bear competition: Give children some time to create costumes for their bears with scraps of fabric, newspaper or even plastic bags. Award prizes to the best creations.
• Teddy bear hunt: Each child has to find a bear with their name on, which has been hidden with a little prize or treat.

Teddy party games:

• What’s the Time Mr Bear?
• Hide and seek, where the teddy bears must hide with their owners
• Use the Teddy Bears’ Picnic music for pass the parcel or musical statues – and make the teddies join in too, of course
• Calm children down at the end of the day (or throughout, if necessary!) with a game of sleeping bears

2. Treasure hunt

Combine with a kids’ party, get the street involved or just the family

Choose a theme
Here are some treasure hunt themes we love.
Get kids involved and make a treasure chest
Persil have some great ideas for treasure hunts and great free clue samples.

3. Movie time – bring the BIG screen to your living room.

Perfect for those rainy days. Let your little one(s) choose the movie theme for the day e.g. Disney day, Harry Potter Day, Action Hero’s day and gorge out in a movie marathon.
Print Admission Tickets – templates
Make your snacks – recipes
Get comfy
Load the floor with sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows for some snuggling while watching the film. Or turn your living room into a drive in movie and make your own cars.

4. Arts and crafts

Get the kids create this half term and make lots of fun things at home

Helpful links
Creative ideas
Wilko.com
Baker Ross – 15% off Arts and Craft activities
Allyou.com
Parents.com
Happinesshomemade.net

5. Disco time

Move the furniture out of the way to make some space and get ready to boogie – why not include your favourite games like musical bumps or musical statues too?
Make your own microphones – instructions
Put up some fairy lights or make your own disco balls
Choose your music
Make your own drinks bar

6. Get cooking

It’s never to early to teach your kids to cook, healthy and nutritious meals. It’s a fantastic activity to do with your children; they can learn and practice a whole range of skills. There’s no escaping the fact that cooking and baking with kids is going to be messy, so get organised.

The BBC has some great tips on cooking with kids – read more.

7. Science Experiments at home

There are a lot of experiments that can be done using simple ingredients found around your house (always with adult supervision of course!). Bring science awesomeness into your home with DIY experiments right now, this list of 20 DIY science experiments from iflscience.com includes, making things seemingly disappear, freezing water instantly and making your own hydrogen rocket engine!

8. Make an indoor Teepee den

Teepees and homemade tents are a lot of fun indoors and out! Perfect for making a fort or den for the kids and grown ups to enjoy! There are hundreds of resources online on how to create your own on the next rainy day. We like these teepee instructions from Tesco Living blog.

9. Board Games, Jigsaws and card games

Card games – Netmums has some ideas on the games to play with kids. Their list includes:
Snap
Clock patience
Beggar my neighbour
Predictions
Go fish
Top trumps
Old maid
Pig (spoons)

10. Reading time

Sharing a book with a child is one of the most fun activities on this list. It’s the perfect time to get snuggled up, get close, laugh and talk together. A shared love of reading will help them in their education and you will be amazed at what it can do for their confidence. In our house, David Walliams is one of our favourite authors but here are some other great reads to try. The Book Trust’s 100 best books. 

Outdoor activities

If you’re more of an outdoors family here’s a quick list of activities you could do if you’re happy to brave the wintery weather this half term!

1. Go to the park
2. Back garden activities
Gardening
Paint your own plant pots
Make your own bird feeders
3. Go to the beach
4. Go to a museum – locations near me
5. Bike ride or a walk as a family – pack a picnic
6. Cinema – Mini mornings at Vue Cinemas have tickets from only £2.49
7. South Lakes Safari Zoo – Free entry from 1st Jan – 28th Feb 2017 Adults and Children
8. Holiday Football Coaching – locations near me
9. Tennis for free – locations near me

Have I missed something off my list? I’m sure I will have there are hundreds more ideas out there, but please comment and tell me about your favourites! You can join moneyextra.com on Facebook and Twitter too.

10 charming and cheap Valentine’s Day gifts

We all love to love on Valentine’s Day but for those who like to live frugally or are living on a budget it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to spend money. Before you buy gifts check out our vouchers and shopping pages for some fantastic Valentine’s offers. However if you would prefer to spend less we’ve come up with this list of alternative gifts.

If you’d rather treat your partner but on a budget but avoid a Chandler style panic. We think your other half will love these as much as any expensive gift.

  1. Go to the park

    Wrap up warm, pull together a picnic and find a picturesque spot in the park to settle and enjoy a lunch. Bring blankets and hot water bottles to snuggle up closer with. Prepare for rain with an umbrella or choose a location under cover – you can never be too prepared for the British weather.

  2. Make a scrapbook with photos, poems and quotes of your lives together

    A gift of memories is fun to look over with each other for years to come. You could even work on the book together, each of you bringing your own side to the stories that fill it.

  3. Feed each other grapes, chocolate, ice cream and other yummy foods

    If you’re worried this could end up more Hot Shots than Top Gun don’t – it’s all about the setting. Make sure everyone’s in the mood to eat, light candles and make sure you have the heating on, there’s nothing sexy about woolly socks and extra layers.

  4. Walk along the beach together

    Play in the sand, run with the dog, paddle or even collect pebbles and sea glass. The beach is a fun place to be whatever your age.

  5. Declare you love publicly

    Do you both enjoy going to the football? Perhaps you could get a message on the jumbo screen? Can you play guitar? Perhaps you could serenade your partner outside their window. Or head to their workplace and announce your love to a canteen filled with people. Films are a great source of inspiration for public declarations.

  6. Make a homemade meal together

    Skip the hustle for dinner reservations and spend the night in cooking a delicious meal together. There are plenty of recipes for the can’t cooks and won’t cooks out there. Why not treat your loved one to an intimate meal with candles, wine and your perfect playlist.

  7. Rein-act your partner’s favorite romantic movie scene

    This isn’t for the faint hearted but perfect for role play aficionados. If this isn’t your thing you could always hand over control of the remote and put on their favourite movie. Just don’t forget the snacks!

  8. Re-visit your first date

    Try to do everything you did the first time you went out, sharing old memories is always romantic. Talk about how you felt about each other, what your expectations were and any funny or special things that happened. Each first date is unique and finding things that are the same or similar will bring back that first spark.

  9. Give a massage

    Giving your partner a romantic massage is a great way to show how much they mean to you and how much you care. To give a romantic massage you need to set the scene, with a little preparation you can turn your bedroom into a relaxing paradise.

  10. Write a love letter

    Don’t worry that love letters are a thing of the past – they’re not. If you write it effectively you can make them laugh, cry tears of joy and deepen the connection between you to. And if you hate your hand writing, make a video or a photo album with captions.

As you can see there are many ways you can save money and still have a fantastic time this Valentine’s Day. Tell us about your plans or most enchanting but frugal Valentine’s Day dates on our Facebook.

 

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