Half term is here, it’s autumn, nearly Halloween. The weather is totally hit and miss (to be honest, just like the rest of the year!). We need to entertain the kids for a week, without sitting in an expensive, over crowded, soft play area every day. Here are a few ideas to get out, keep the cost to a minimum and keep your sanity.
Grab a pumpkin, both Asda and Aldi have them for as little as 50p each. Most supermarkets are also selling kids carving kits, which are simple and safe to use. Or paint them, here mine have used chalk based paints, Annie Sloan and Rustoleum are great choices. They tend to last outside too without sealing them. This is such an effective look and a simple and fun look to achieve.
Build a den, out of wood, sticks, branches,old boxes, pallets, kitchen table, blankets or a clothes horse, just be creative. This generates hours of fun, allowing them to have meals in there, read stories and camp out.
Visit a National Trust house or gardens, with so many around the country, these places are a great family day out. We tend to ask for a family subscription each year for Christmas, I highly recommend.
Go to a park, kids love the park. My eldest is almost 11 and although he’s no longer a fan of swings and slides, he always takes a football for a kick around. I usually say we will only stay for half an hour, but it’s always much longer. Better still it’s usually worn them out slightly.
Visit a museum, most museums are free these days, you can spend a huge part of your day there. Take a picnic to keep costs down and let the kids explore and learn.
Visit a pumpkin patch. There are now so many around the country, its such a lovely idea for the kids to see them being harvested. Many offer a small admission price, which includes a pumpkin, tour around and activities. Google places local to you that offer this, ask friends with kids to join you and make a day of it.
Go for a picnic, just because it’s October, as long as it’s dry, grab some blankets and your coats and pack up a picnic. Make it an adventure and if you are somewhere more rural, why not toast marshmallows on a fire, or warm up some hot chocolate.
Visit your local library, it’s free, it’s warm and they have comfy chairs. Hide out there for a bit, let the kids sit and have some quiet time, relax yourself. Lots of libraries have toys, Lego and colouring in to do. Just spend some time sitting and all reading together. Also check out your local library for story time.
Stick a movie on and make hot chocolate. Sometimes, especially towards the end of the week, when the parents are particularly shattered, a film and hot chocolate afternoon is exactly what’s needed. With my 3 it’s sometimes hard for them to all agree on a film, so we usually go for a new release, or a Christmas film is always a winner here. Get all the blankets and pillows down, make a little den and hibernate.
Bake cupcakes, biscuits, crumble, pumpkin pie? So many supermarkets offer a free magazine every month and they are full of fun things to make with the kids. Asda in particular have a huge range of fun and gruesome Halloween treats to try. Better still you get to eat your end result.
Go for a bike ride, it’s free, fantastic exercise and something you can all do together. hours of fun and lot’s of energy is released, great for us parents!
Go on a nature hunt, take a bucket, collect sticks, leaves and mud and then build a bug/hedgehog/tiny animal hotel. This time of year as the weather turns, it’s a simple and sweet way of showing kids how to look after nature, which is important.
Last but not least, go for a walk…. you may be lucky enough to live in the country, near a beach or a large park. Wherever you are, there are always fun places to explore. Stick your coat on and get out there.
At the end of the day kids just love simply ‘playing’ outdoors, no matter what the weather!