Budget-friendly half term ideas

Written by

Robert Stebbings

Robert Stebbings is a Leeds-based public relations professional with experience in media relations, digital marketing and sponsorship activation. Robert is a proud dad and avid sports fanatic, with a passion for football, tennis and the great outdoors. Robert is well travelled and revels in exploring new places and cultures. He cites visits to Brazil and Japan as two of his most treasured far-flung adventures.

Thursday 16th February 2023

The half term holidays are a great way to spend more time together as a family – but keeping little kids (and big kids!) entertained throughout the week often comes at a price.

Meals out, admission fees and nights away all add up, with parents spending over £320 on average just on the half term break.

To help you make the most of the half term without going over budget, we’ve put together a whole host of pocket-friendly activities the whole family will enjoy.

Pack up a picnic

Whether you live near a lovely park, woodland or beach, your little ones will love a picnic in the great outdoors. If the weather’s nice you could even invite some friends along for a sports day, complete with an egg and spoon race, sack race and tug-of-war.

Don’t worry if the weather’s not on your side, you can get creative and enjoy an at-home picnic too. Build a pillow fort and, with a little imagination, you can transform your living room into a rainforest, medieval castle, or magical realm. Is there any better setting for a fabulous feast?

Have a wheel-y good bike ride

With lots of amazing bike trails around the UK, you’re guaranteed to find a suitable one right around the corner. Why not get on your bikes and head out for a ride? Pack up a backpack with some refreshments to keep you going and finish off with a nice pub lunch or a tasty treat from your local cafe.

Board game bonanza

Playing board games might feel a bit old school, but stats show the board game trend shows no sign of slowing down any time soon! Whether you’re into escape room style mysteries, a wonderful word game like Scrabble or you’re ready to ignite some family drama with Monopoly or Cluedo, a board game afternoon could be the perfect solution for a rainy day.

If you’re getting bored of the board games you have at home, why not ask family or friends if they’ll take part in a games swap? You’ll both get chance to try something new without needing to spend a penny.

DIY spa day

Fancy some relaxation this half term but without the price tag? Treat your family to an at-home spa break. Have some fun whipping up a homemade face mask (there are loads of online recipes to choose from!) and kick back with a book or your favourite film.

Scavenger hunt

Whether you’re out-and-about or heading for a long car drive, a scavenger hunt is a great way to keep the whole family entertained. Create a list of things to spot, from specific types of trees to different breeds of dog. Anything can be fun when you’re racing to tick off your list first, especially if there are prizes involved!

Head to a free museum

There are loads of fabulous museums across the country – and many are free to enter. You can enjoy a whole day of fun exploring a museum. Head back in time to discover what it was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth or check out the history of your favourite city. The choice is yours.

Learn a new craft

Adults and kids alike will love the chance to be creative. Is your mini-me a budding author, an artist or a keen fashion designer? Whatever they like creating, set aside a day to get crafty.

If you’re stuck for ideas, grab an old t-shirt and transform it into a brand-new garment adorned with sequins and colourful patterns. If you have very little ones, making a sock puppet theatre always goes down a treat too. Why not set aside a small budget and take a trip to a nearby craft supplies shop for inspiration?

Create a time capsule

Fill a box with treasure and memories to bury in your back garden. You can choose photographs, artwork, letters and so much more to add to your DIY time capsule. Spend all day picking out trinkets and creating unique things to add to your box, or simply use items you already have.

Our top 5 money-saving tips this half term

  • Check out Facebook to find events near you. You might just spot something happening in your local library or community centre. Often local events are much cheaper than heading out further afield to a big attraction, and you’ll have just as much fun!
  • Always search for 2 for 1 offers on attractions. Places like Thorpe Park Resort, SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort often run promotional deals, allowing you to enjoy a cheaper trip. If you’re a regular train traveller, check out National Rail’s Days Out Guide – you could get a voucher for top attractions and experiences when you travel by train.
  • Search for kids eat free deals. Loads of restaurants and cafes offer special meal deals and offers where your little ones eat free when you purchase an adult’s main meal. Have a quick Google to check out offers in your local area, or search your favourite restaurant’s social channels.
  • Make the everyday fun. It might be the half term, but you still have to sort the washing, clean the car, tend to the garden and cook the family dinner. Why not get your kids involved and turn little things into a fun activity? A competition to sort washing into colours the fastest, watering the plants or helping to peel or stir when you’re in the kitchen not only keeps the whole family occupied but teaches your kids to join in with the household chores too.
  • Get the best value for money on your subscriptions. It’s likely you’ll be spending a bit of time watching TV or having an at-home cinema night, so make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck on your streaming services. Review your bank statements to see which services you’re paying for, and which ones you really need. If you know a new film’s coming out on a different streaming service, you could cancel one of your other memberships and swap it for the one you really want. It’s easy to restart your membership again when you need to, but it’ll save you paying for loads of different subscriptions all at once.

For more tips on how to manage your budget, check out our handy hints and tips or follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.