Featured Post: Fun and frugal May half term activities – how to entertain the kids for less

museumsWith half term on the horizon, if you are like me you’ll be looking for fresh ways to keep the children occupied. If you’re fed up with the constant hum of Minecraft YouTube videos and the cry of ‘i’m bored’ you might find some of these ideas helpful:

Make plans in advance

Think of various things to do in advance of any holiday. I have written about this before, i’ve found it incredibly useful to timetable activities so there is always something to do. It doesn’t matter if you change these plans, but at least you have something there! You might find it helpful to team up with other families and see what they have planned. A group treasure hunt in a local playing field or recreation ground is fun, and will only cost you the price of the actual treasure. If money is tight, then you could always apply for a loan from somewhere like Car Cash Point, for a more expensive day tchiltern open air museumrip or even a more luxurious weekend away. Some train companies offer deals on block booking and the price is often reduced if you book your seats in advance. You will have to bear in mind that exhibition entry and food and treats will increase the cost of your trip.

Re-discover museums

As a museum curator I would say this, but some of the best fun you can have with your children is in museums and galleries and best of all, its usually free. Most of the large London museums still have free admission and many of them will hold lots of special school holiday activities which you can make the most of, often for free!  Many major towns across the whole of the UK are home to a museum or collection of art. You’ll also find some great countryside museums like the Chiltern Open Air Museum near us.

Look out for local festivals

May is a great time to try to find a local festival. You might find scarecrow festivals, flower festivals or spring nature festivals.  For example, if you live in East Anglia, then you could always try the Norwich Festival. It’s the UK’s oldest festival and brings together music, art, film, circus acts and numerous other events over a two-week period coinciding with the May half term. Just check with the local press, or the internet for a festival near you. Facebook and Twitter are also good research resources.

Develop new hobbies with the family

A week long break is often a good opportunity to introduce your kids to a new hobby. I’ve introduced my little girl to the wonders of sewing and last holiday she actually made herself a dress. Meanwhile the boys have been teaching themselves Scratch Junior which has proved handy for computing at school. Why not get the kids writing their own blog, collecting different leaves to stick in a special book or learning how to spot birds.

With a little bit of planning its easy to find free or cheap activities to keep the children engaged and learning. If all fails a trip to the library will fill a bit of time and prove worthwhile. I have to say as a child my best days were spent reading books and playing marbles. Sometimes a bit of simplicity provides the ideal break and a rest for everyone!

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