Half Term Doesn't Have To Be Half Hearted
Need ideas to fill your half term? Start here...
Is anyone else feeling like these dark mornings are lasting longer than last year? Driving to work in the dim dawn and home in the dusky evenings has to be almost over, I’ve seen daffodils struggling through the grass verges so we have to be nearly there.
Thankfully we’re on our way back in the right direction. February half term is on the way and so is Pancake Tuesday on 9th February. After that, we’re Easter-bound.
It’s a funny time of year, we’re still getting back on track financially after Christmas but trying to start saving for a holiday or break in the Summer. The New Year resolutions might have dropped off a bit but then who can blame you for wanting a few treats in this miserable weather? Did you realise though that there are no Bank Holidays at all between New Year’s Day and Good Friday? I mean, that’s quite a stretch. Probably best not to think about it and prepare for the Half Term break.
We are getting closer to the start of Spring at least. We can hopefully say goodbye to the blustery cold and hello to Spring showers instead. With the British weather the way it is, preparing for school holidays can be a little unpredictable so it’s good to have some indoor and outdoor activities planned.
Don't Mind The Weather
Don’t underestimate children’s ability to withstand a bit of cold and wet weather. Remember yourself as a child, refusing to zip up, take mittens or wear a hat? They’re made of sterner stuff and they move more than we adults so wrap them up and get them out for a good walk. Yes, they’ll moan at the idea as it sounds ‘boring’ but after fifteen minutes of fresh air, good honest exercise and a few muddy puddles (I still can’t walk past one in wellies myself) they’ll be into it.
Join a troop of ramblers or a local Meet Up group and find people nearby who are also looking for something to do to get through the weathered weekends or school holidays. There’s always something to do and it doesn’t have to cost you your life savings to do it. The beauty of the Meet Up site is that if you can’t find one that suits you… You simply start your own.
Did you know that most of the Cinemas offer £1.50 screenings for kids on weekends? The films are usually a few months old and the screenings are usually around 10 am so if you’re up – pass a few hours for a few quid! In the school holidays, often they extend this to weekday mornings.
Start Planning Ahead
It’s also a pretty good time of year to start brainstorming about what’s coming up in the Summer. Many holiday companies are offering low cost / low deposit breaks if you book early and if you follow this up with a clear-out and car boot sale or internet auction month, you could make a start on saving for holiday spending. Did you know a ‘Smarties’ tube holds £10 in 20p pieces? My kids raid my purse weekly for 20p and stack them in tubes ready for our Spring and Summer camping trips. Last year, they had over £60 between them as they roped in Grandma too. We didn’t miss the odd 20p here and there and it made a whopping difference to the trips. It’s also very visual as the kids know when they have finished one tube, it is worth £10 and it’s time to start the next one. You might not believe this but, when you try it, you’ll be surprised at how fast the little columns stack up. Once they’re full, sticky tape the top so you aren’t tempted to dip into it. You can also refer to it when at the shops being begged for extra treats; ‘Well you know that’s the same as five 20p pieces, are you sure?’ It works a lot better than saying no or ‘saving up in Mum’s purse’ as they can see it building up.
For older kids and teenagers, consider a prepaid card for pocket money. The parent controls the account and the kids can learn to budget without having to carry cash.
Whatever you do to get through the half term, remember at the end of it, the days will be longer and the weather should be picking up. It’s only a week so make it count.