Visit the Library
You can visit your local library just to browse and borrow books, DVDs, and CDs, etc. If your child would like to read a particular book, half-term is a good time to borrow it from the library. You can also find lots of books with ideas and instructions for activities for children, such as craft projects.
In addition, most libraries organize a variety of activities for children at half-term. The majority of these are free with some having a small cost. At our local library, for example, there are five different activities, ranging from a drawing workshop to a local history day.
Start a Project
Think of a theme for a project that your children could do at home (and/or outdoors) during half-term. For example, the theme would be 'autumn' (fall). Ask your children what they'd like to do within this theme. Taking the autumn theme as an example, they could:
- Write a list of what they like and don't like about autumn.
- Collect as many objects as they can find around the home with autumn colours.
- Cut out autumn pictures from old magazines, advertising brochures, etc, and make a collage.
- Write a poem about autumn.
- Find autumn-themed books either at home or in the library and read them together.
- Collect natural objects, such as autumn leaves, pine cones and acorns, and make an autumn-themed display at home.
Go for an Autumn Walk
Put on warm clothes and wellies and go for an autumn walk. Rustle through piles of leaves. See how many colours of leaves you can spot. Collect leaves, branches, pine cones and other interesting natural objects that have fallen to the ground. Talk about how the natural environment changes during the autumn.
When you return home, warm up with a hot chocolate and, if you wish, make a wreath or collage with the leaves and other objects you've collected. Alternatively, put small branches with colourful leaves attached in vases of water. Make an autumn display of pine cones and acorns in a wooden or glass bowl.
Bake or Cook
Look for ingredients you already have in your cupboards and fridge and see what you can bake with your children. If you don't have all the ingredients you need, there's no need to rush to the shops. Be creative and substitute other ingredients and see what you come up with! For example, you can use milk instead of eggs when making biscuits.
My children love baking carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread men.
Your children could also help you to cook a simple meal such as pasta carbonara, sausage sandwiches or chicken fajitas.
Tidy and Re-Organize Bedrooms
Half-term is the ideal time for your children to give their bedrooms a good tidy and sort out things they no longer need or want, such as clothes they've grown out of or toys they're no longer interested in. Take these to a charity shop with your children, or if you wish, let your children help you to sell them on eBay or at a car boot sale.
Once the bedrooms have been de-cluttered, re-arrange the furniture to give your children's bedrooms a new look in time for the new school half-term.
Half-term doesn't have to be expensive. You can keep your children busy without spending any money at all!