The endless pursuit of cheap half term fun…

So, it is half term. For children at school, it’s a nice breather from the hectic Autumn term, and a chance to take it easy for a week. For teachers, I should imagine that it is necessary for sanity.  If you are a mum (or a stay at home Dad, for that matter,) half term is a sort of intensive childcare bootcamp, which is either a wonderful chance to spend some quality time with your offspring, or an assault course of exhausting activity and a chance to learn how to referee fights. Or perhaps a bit of both.  It is also very very easy to spend a LOT of money in a very short space of time.

Here’s a few things I will be doing to amuse my children/give them a break from wrestling each other.

Doing a tour of local parks. We like to score each one out of ten, just for our own amusement. Just take lots of layers/snacks/drinks. This morning we have been to the wonderful Kiosk at the Park in Russell Park for milk and biscuits at storytime, (check out their facebook page, they’ve got lots planned for half term) and this afternoon we might head out to Kempston and the brilliant Addison Park, just for a change of scenery.

Filling a re-bag with some lesser-played-with toys and taking it down to the Salvation Army Shop in Town. A ‘re-bag’ is a reusable bag that you can buy from a Salvation Army charity shop – it costs £1, and every time you bring it back full of decent toys/books/clothing, they give you a £2 voucher to spend in the shop. That’s £2 worth of pre-loved tat for them to amuse themselves with over the holiday. What is NOT to love?

Frequenting the Library.  And probably the DVD section as well as the book bit. And I will no doubt spend another humiliating half an hour reasoning with the smallest one whilst she barricades herself under the book-trays, refusing to come out until I agree to borrowing the irritating farmyard noises book for the millionth time. The irritating farmyard noise book that we own anyway.

Having a film afternoon. I love the cinema, but it’s not exactly cheap entertainment (and you can’t wander off halfway through the film and get some lego if you’re a bit bored.)  So get some friends, some popcorn, draw the curtains (for that crucial authentic cinema effect) and watch something new. A DVD from the library or charity shop perhaps? To eek out the entertainment of this, you can make your own popcorn. This never fails to amuse small (or less-small) children.

Making a photo album. We don’t do this enough. We have so many nice photos on the computer – a lot thanks to the wonderful Gemma Kirkham Photography but hardly ever get round to actually printing anything. So this half term, I’ve invested in some small, basic photo albums (from Boots, about £3 each) and got a load of photos printed with some extra copies. Children are fascinated by photos of themselves as babies  I’ve found, and trying to identify which baby is which. They can pick the photos that they want to include, and make their own little album. This idea is as yet untested, but in my mind at least, it is a wonderful plan…

The rule of 3.