21 cheap and local ways to entertain the children this half term

Find out if there’s a local farm that offers this activity and let your children

Find out if there’s a local farm that offers this activity and let your children loose with a basket. For added seasonal fun, go and pick your pumpkin from a pumpkin patch instead of picking it up in the supermarket this year.

13. Build a den in the woods

If you have any woodland near you, help your children use sticks and branches to create their own hideout. 

14. Board games

A time-honoured way to while away a rainy autumn afternoon. Just be ready to step in with a distraction when the fighting inevitably begins.

15. Build a Lego city

Construct houses, roads, shops, an airport, a zoo… Don’t stop until you run out of bricks (and carpet space). 

16. Make a Marauder’s Map

If you have any Harry Potter fans in your household, they might like to make their own Marauder’s Map. It could be a map of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, or it could be a map of your own house, garden or neighbourhood. Help your children make it look old by soaking the paper in tea once they’ve drawn on it, then crisping it up in the oven. Hey presto: ancient parchment! 

17. Have a sleepover

Not at someone else’s house; that is pretty much against the law now. But you could build a den together in the living room and let your children spend the night in there. Add a midnight feast for extra fun.

18. Build a bonfire and toast marshmallows

This is, after all, the whole point of autumn. But, um, don’t leave young children unattended by an open fire. We hear now is not a great time to be sitting in hospital.

19. Decorate a pumpkin

An alternative to carving that involves fewer sharp knives and more colours. See if your area is participating in the Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail and if they’re not, get on the street WhatsApp and do something about it. Then you can place your decorated or carved pumpkin in your window and, on Halloween, enjoy a walk around your neighbourhood admiring the efforts of others.

20. Body tracing

Get a roll of paper, get your child to lie down on it and trace around their body. Then they can decorate themselves, with wool for hair, old fabric for trousers, buttons for eyes and so on. 

21. Put on a puppet show

Build your own puppet theatre out of an empty cereal box, make some simple puppets using cardboard, wooden skewers and any other materials you have lying around, and get your children to put on their own show. They could even create their own flyer or poster to advertise the event.

Do you have any tips for alleviating boredom during half term? Let us know in the comments below…

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