The biggest challenge of my no spend February was always going to be the half term holiday.
As a teacher and a mum, this is an opportunity to get some much needed R&R and although we don’t ever do big days out (a day at a local zoo would cost us nearly £100 which is out of the question in a usual month, so we save these sorts of things to do instead of birthday presents for the kids, which I have written about before) we would definitely grab a milkshake at a cafe, or pay for a workshop at a local country park….
This was going to take planning.
My first step was to ask the kids.
One night after school when they were in unusually good moods, I challenged them to write down as many things as they could think of that they’d like to do in half term which didn’t cost money.
This really highlighted their understanding of spending – they suggested the cinema, a local castle (though we do have English Heritage membership through the fella’s work, and I may use it…) and the roller disco… so I had to explain that all of those things cost money.
We are lucky with the English Heritage membership. We also have free parking at all Kent Country Parks and our local park Betteshanger – through some work I have done with them in the past.
If you have any memberships, make the most of them and use them. Even in poor weather, slip on the wellies, grab a flask and go – you won’t regret it if you embrace it!
Here are my other ideas for free half term activities:
- Check out your local library. Go and choose some books to bring home, investigate holiday workshops that they sometimes put on, see how many books you can all read in a week (pick one up for you as well 😉 ) The children can then create artwork around the books that capture their imagination, act them out with props…. the possibilities are endless. Local museums are also sometimes free and run activities in the holidays.
- Look up local country parks. I thought about this one as it would technically involve a parking fee… but I think the trade off of a day outside, with a flask of hot chocolate or soup, den building, puddle jumping and generally running around is worth it. Some run free nature trails too.
- A walk with a purpose…. I’m a bit useless at just walking. There has to be an end purpose for me (preferably a warm country pub and a pint) so download a sheet like this one and take it with you and spot the signs of Spring. You could also make flapjack (see below) and take some with you….
- Baking. Always a winner. Technically you need to have the ingredients in…. But this flapjack recipe is cheap and works really well. You could also make pizzas, biscuits…. Or something healthy like smoothies!
- Crafting. Again, you have to have the resources, so it depends how well prepared you are for crafts in day to day life, but this daffodil bunting that we made last year was easy, fun, looked amazing and only needs a cereal box or two, some yellow paint or pens, string and egg boxes. Winner.
- Have an indoor picnic. Lay out a blanket, or better still make a den. Pack up a picnic and enjoy it in the warmth of your own home…. Maybe with a film. Someone on Instagram even suggested an indoor beach day – paddling pool, beach towels, and home made ice lollies!!
- Geocaching. I haven’t tried this except at my local country park which I had to pay for. But apparently you can download an app and go for a wander in your local countryside and are likely to find some caches. Like a modern day treasure hunt. We are going to give this a go! More info here.
So there we go. Last I checked, half term is only a week long (more is the pity) and 5 days if you take out the weekends, so hopefully these ideas will keep you going, without spending a penny, whatever the weather! Obviously fair weather opens up more options in terms of local parks and so on, but that’s far too easy!
Let me know if you try any of the activities, keep using the hashtag #thriftybiscuitschallenge on Instagram and have a brilliant half term break.