Sunday, February 15, 2009

Free and Cheap things to do this half term

Wondering how to entertain the kids on the cheap next week?

Museums and Galleries
Don’t rule out that museum in town you've probably ignored for years – most hold activities that even young children find fascinating.
For example, there’s a free, daily, Science Spectacular during half term at the Wolverhampton Art gallery, where kids can learn to cast dinosaur teeth, trap silly specimens and create a planet!

Fleur de Lis Museum and gallery in Preston Street, Faversham, Kent
Monday 16th to Friday 20th February 2009
Kids go free during half term and adults are £2, OAP‘s £1.
Museum and gallery open from 10am to 4pm (last entry 3pm)
Further information is available from 01795 590726.

In London

National Gallery
Rated Britain’s best free attraction by users of the review website TripAdvisor, this London institution will run painting-inspired storytelling sessions and art workshops for children over half term, and on Sundays throughout the year. British Museum
Free half-term events and activities celebrate the treasures from Shanghai.

National Trust
A large number of National Trust properties have activities over half-term that range from a "Knights and Dragon day" at Corfe Castle, Dorset, “Learn to make your own kite” workshops in Worcestershire and "Marvellous Mini-beasts" at Chartwell in Kent.
The RHS garden Hyde Hall in Chelmsford is having a Chinese Arts and Crafts day on Thursday 19 February, making paper fans, cuttings, lanterns and other activities (it costs £2 per child on top of garden entry).

Story time
Check out your local library as most will hold at least one storytelling session during half-term which, of course, is free (note: you may need to book in advance). Let the kids choose some books whilst they’re there, use the free internet provided and hire a DVD or two and the morning or afternoon will fly by!
And don’t forget to check out your local bookshop as most are also geared up for half-term. Waterstones, for example, is holding daily themes and storytelling at a large number of their stores, ranging from - a “High School Musical” day at Waterstones, Crawley, to - “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” read at their store in Birmingham.

Free Sport for Kids
If you’ve a budding David Beckham in the house, why not see if you can sign him (or her!) up for some free football coaching with the Tesco Holiday Skills Sessions Asda is also holding free sport for kids sessions throughout the school holidays (you need to pick up a voucher in-store or print one off from the website, check out your local council’s website as many will be running reasonably priced half-term sports courses. For example when I checked out mine it led me to a site called which has cricket, street dance, hockey etc at £4 per day from 10am till 2.30pm.

If you fancy seeing the new Disney film “Bolt” at a Vue cinema and have some Nectar Points, you can redeem 1000 points for an adult ticket and 900 points for a child
Check the website of your local cinema to see if there are cheap tickets available for the half term.
Hold your own cinema afternoon – hire a DVD, get the kids to draw some tickets and posters, make your own popcorn and snacks and settle down to watch the film!

Take A Bus or Train
Most young children who get ferried everywhere by car, find that getting a bus or train is a very exciting experience (this certainly applied to me as a child) so perhaps you could use this method to take them to one of the free activities listed or just getting a bus into town for a special treat to McDonalds will easily take care of an otherwise boring afternoon. Dont forget if travelling anywhere by train, always ask if there are any special deals when you are buying your ticket, as family tickets may be cheaper and also more than 2 adult travellers often get a discount or one travels free.

Have a cooking afternoon, baking cakes etc as kids love cooking. If you live near a beach or a park, have an afternoon collecting shells, leaves etc - you can even take a picnic - make a collage when you get home or start a collection of the things you have found. If your child already has any lessons - dancing, horse riding etc - then check with the provider if they are offering any extra classes during half term.

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