Skint Dad

Half term doesn’t have to break the bank

With half term fast approaching it would be easy to start reaching into your pockets for fun filled days out. Read Skint Dad's top tips on how not to break the bank this half term.

A time to relax?

A nice bit of R&R – doesn’t that sound good?! As a parent, when I imagine a half term holiday, and see how irritable the children get on the last few days up to the break, I can think of nothing better than chilling out, recharging the batteries, doing nothing and getting all my energy back.

My children however tend to disagree. Just one day into the holiday and they have their energy back to full steam and get cabin fever. We can’t even manage two days at home in a row without them scratching at the door wanting to get out!

If you’re off this half term, instead of worrying about entertaining kids and spending lots of money on days out, excursions or trips away, take a look at these fun and affordable ideas.

Keep it cheap and local

Without having to travel too far, if you have a look at your local area you’ll probably be surprised that there are loads of things going on around you for very little money and in some cases, completely free of charge!

Have you got a museum close by? As well as checking out the different displays it would be worth checking to see if they’re running any events or workshops over the half term. Don't forget your local library which can keep your little ones entertained for hours. During the holidays lots of them also host free events.

A great website to check for local events is Day Out With The Kids. Just head over and enter in your postcode or town to discover what’s going on for kids in your local area and across the UK.

Get some air

Whether it’s the back garden, a park near to where you live or a local nature reserve, getting some trainers on and taking a football or a frisbee can certainly blow away the cobwebs and burn off some energy.

There are loads of printables online to use as entertainment when you’re out. Whether you want to do a spot of birdwatching, you want to find seasonal flowers or do a bit of hunting for Minibeasts.

You could always look at the National Trust's 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾. Their lists gives you 50 free activities and ideas to get you (and your kids) active and outside.  Alternatively, sign up for an online account and then you can track activities. Your kids will get online rewards, certificates, access to games and secret challenges. If you wanted to stay off the computer, you can download the list instead for all the free activities.

Weather not so hot?

Even though you may want to spend the whole of the half term in the park, it’s not always possible. I’ve been watching the Met Office website for weeks to see what the weather plans to do from now until the end of summer and (at the moment) I think we’re going to have plenty of sunshine. However, that doesn’t stop the odd showers, or bad spell of weather, ruining any of your best outdoor plans. The best thing you can do is plan for a few indoor activities too.

If you were going to have a picnic outside, then just bring it inside. Set up your picnic blanket in the middle of the living room and eat your food on the floor - the kids will love it!

Make use of YouTube and crank up the latest top 20 songs. Turn the lights down and have a disco through the house. You could even get the kids to dress up in their best gear and turn it into a mini party.

Then you’ve always got baking and cooking. Do you remember Ready Steady Cook with Ainsley Harriott? Get some ingredients out and ask your kids to make you a main course and pudding. Chances are your kitchen will need a deep clean afterwards but at least you’ll get dinner cooked for you!

It’s all in the planning

While lots of you are planning to keep things local and not venture too far, there are many of you who are planning bigger day trips. This is where the costs can really add up.

These trips to theme parks or similar (although may seem costly when you first look at it) can be planned well for less.

Take a look at sites like Groupon who offer big discounts when you book through them, or collect 2 for 1 tickets from packs of crisps or other food boxes. You could even take a look on eBay where people sell on their discount vouchers for people after a good bargain. Also, look to see if you can buy tickets online as you normally get an extra discount.

If you plan to travel by train and are in the south of England, firstly, make sure you book your travel in advance as it’s far cheaper than booking on the day. You are able to use your train tickets to get 2 for 1 entry to around 150 attractions in the capital as well!

I know there are a million other things that you can do to keep the children entertained during the holidays - these are just a few ideas. What will you be doing that’s not listed here this holiday?