By Vicky Anscombe on 10 February 2015

If you haven’t got kids, there’s a good chance you won’t understand the relevance of February 15 - 19, but for many parents, it’s a week they've been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading. That’s right, it’s half term. Enemy of the commute, ally of the sweet shop, zoo and cinema.

  • If you’re trying to keep within a budget this half term and a daily trip to the swimming pool followed by pizza and Laser Quest isn’t a possibility, we’ve come up with some fun/imaginative ways to keep your offspring entertained if they’re confined to the house. Please note - not all of these are intended to be taken seriously.

  • Let’s start with an easy one - homework! Have your children done all of theirs? If it’s a rainy day and they’re getting under your feet, subtly suggest that they start to tackle it. Saying ‘I’d like you to do your homework’ is a good way to start.

  • If you’re at your wits’ end, consider investing in a Netflix and/or Blinkbox account. There’s lots for younger kids and older kids can catch up with Breaking Bad et al. At least they’ll have something to talk about when they get back to school.

  • This won’t work so well on kids aged ten and above, but younger children can often be cajoled into a spot of baking to pass the time. Jam tarts, fairy cakes, flapjacks and brownies all work well. Just be prepared to clean up a lot of mess afterwards.

  • Scrapbooks are still popular, despite this modern age of online photo albums and digital photography. Get a collection of old magazines together, arm your kids with some scissors (the safety kind, of course) and a tube of glue, and away you go. Like with the baking, be aware there will be some kind of mess left behind that you will have to deal with.

  • It may sounds like you’re creating more trouble for yourself, but allowing kids to have friends round is a good way of keeping them entertained. Yes, there may be a little extra noise, but it’s likely to be confined to their bedroom and all you have to do is make lunch for two. Just be prepared for sighs of indignation when you come upstairs to check how they’re getting on.

  • This is normally a less popular option, but there’s always, er, housework. Of course, your kids should be helping out anyway, but this is a good time to show them how to use the washing machine, how to clean the hob, and that most thrilling of tasks, stripping the beds without getting lost in swathes of fabric. Be warned - most children don’t take well to hoovering.

  • If the kids are getting under your feet and need to let off some steam, you have two options. Encourage them to walk the dog around the block a few times or stick on an exercise DVD in the lounge. You probably won’t hear from them until late afternoon, when they’ll stagger into the kitchen looking sweaty and dishevelled, wanting to know when dinner is ready.


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