Arriving at a time of year when the weather is often still cold and miserable, February half-term can be the toughest in which to keep the kids entertained. Unlike the Christmas holiday that’s gone before, there are no festivities to indulge in, just nine long days to fill before school starts again.
Yet with a little thought and planning, this break can be one which both you and the kids enjoy - and you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to have fun.
Here are our top five affordable ways to make the most of the break.
Tidy up time
With the garden likely to be out of bounds, make the most of time indoors by having an early spring clean.
Get the kids involved by tackling their bedrooms first. Encourage them to think about giving away toys they no longer play with to a charity or good cause and investigate whether broken or missing items can be fixed, replaced or recycled. You’ll be amazed how much they embrace a seemingly mundane task as long as you give them a little responsibility and your full attention.
Why not take the opportunity to invest in some new kids storage to keep their freshly cleaned space tidy? A mix of open shelves, cupboards and hidden away spaces will help them to enjoy their playtime by giving you the chance to rotate old favourites and new items around.
A day at the museum
Many museums offer free entry all year round and often put on special events during school holidays which are also without charge.
Do some research and then ask your children to help you plan a visit.
Get around the table together and have a look online to see what’s on – this will give younger kids the chance to boost their reading skills while older ones could write out a timetable for the trip.
Why not print off a map of your chosen museum and work out what you don’t want to miss, then tick off the sights as you go around?
Packed lunches and school dinners may be off the menu when out of term time, but you and your brood still need to eat. The good news is you can turn this basic requirement into a brilliant activity for everyone to get involved in.
You can make this as skilled or as simple as you like to suit your family, budget and the time available.
Use what’s in the cupboards or take a trip to the shops together where youngsters can look for items, count money and learn about the world around them.
From adding their own toppings to pizza bases to baking fairy cakes, show your offspring how rewarding it is when you cook with ingredients. Just remember to keep safety at the forefront of your mind when using things like hot ovens and sharp knives.
The school holidays are often packed with new releases at the cinema, but you don’t have to have a costly day out to indulge in some movie magic.
Draw the curtains, light the fire (or put the heating on) and get ready for a movie night at home in the living room. You could even get the kids to make tickets then dim the lights and give them torches to help everyone find their seats.
To avoid arguments about what to watch, ask everyone to write down their preferences then pick a winner out of a hat. Don’t forget to include some vintage films from your own childhood, you might be surprised how much your kids will love them too.
Finally, make a giant bowl of popcorn, turn off the phone and snuggle up on the sofa for a relaxing treat.
A trip down memory lane
Today’s children are possibly the most photographed ever, thanks to digital film, camera phones and social media.
Sharing our snaps has become instant yet we can often neglect to actually print any to keep or display around our homes.
Half-term is therefore a great time to go back through cherished images as a family to make a photobook or fill up your frames.
Ask grandparents and other relatives to get involved to they can share the experience and show the younger generation photographs from years gone by.
You could even make copies of vintage ones and mix them with newer wall art and ask the kids to make a collage of your family history.
Not only is this a lovely way to spend time together, it is also a reminder that no matter how you choose to spend half-term, taking lots of pictures is a must!