February half term is a toughie. Unless you’ve got yourselves a nice chalet in the Alps and the kids booked into ski school, the week can seem like it’s sponsored by Lemsip. But we’ve come up with some activity ideas to help keep the kids entertained on a post-Christmas budget.
Get outdoors with The Wildlife Trust
If the weather offers bright blue skies and crisp air, then wrap up warm and get out there. The Wildlife Trust has amazing nature reserves all over the country. There are loads of activities to entertain the family including downloadable stories and trail guides so that you can really immerse yourself in nature. Their website helpfully has a directory of the best locations for families and some are free of charge! Check for events that require booking and there may be a small charge to cover costs, although some are free to members. If you home school, then it’s worth noting that some Trusts also run activities specifically for home schooling groups.
Sock puppets/Put on a play
If, like mine, your washing machine has a strong appetite for odd socks, why not turn their abandoned partners into puppets. Whilst gluing buttons on for eyes and wool for hair looks great, you can create just as amusing creatures with felt pens. If you don’t want to commit the sock to a permanent new life, then sticky tape its features for easy removal.
If your little actors want more than just their arm on the stage, invite friends over and get the them to write scripts, dress up, rehearse and perform a play for the adults. Hours of entertainment with educational benefits.
Indoors or outdoors, treasure hunts are brilliant for engaging all age groups. They can also be a good way to keep your children’s brains and bodies active, or used as a revision tool for older children – you just need to incorporate what they’re learning into the clues. Once the treasure has been found, get them to create the clues for you or their siblings. For younger children, you could have them create a treasure map. If you need a reminder for tea-staining scrunched paper, the Cbeebies website can help you out.
Garden obstacle course
If your children need to burn off energy but you can’t face another trip to the park, the garden assault course may be your solution. Position various obstacles around the garden, set a route, and then time how long it takes them to complete it. You’ll be amazed at how resourceful you can be when it comes to finding things for them to zig zag, jump over or crawl under (a picnic blanket, for example). For the pony-lovers, call it a gymkhana and get them to showjump their imaginary horses.
Write a story with the BBC’s 500 Words 2020 and Young Writer’s Award competitions
We’ve mentioned the 500 words competition before and with the deadline at the just after half term (Thursday 27th February) it could not be better timed. Entrants must be aged between 5-13 and write an original short story of no more than 500 words about anything they like, which they can submit online. The stories are judged without regard to spelling, punctuation or grammar so your children can throw down their grammar activity books and set those imaginations free. We have some beautifully bound story writing notebooks, should a little practice be required - or just because they look great and are really helpful – we’re biased! And, even if your child decides not to enter the competition, at least they’ll have a bound copy of their story to keep.
For those aged 13-18 there’s the Young Writers Award 2020. Five finalists have their 1000 words stories published in an anthology and the winner receives a personalised mentoring session with an author!
We can’t think of a better way to spend the time!