Half Term Part 2: Days out on a Budget

For many parents half term is something to dread. Not because they have their children screaming, arguing, whinging 24 – 7 but because school holidays seem to require one important thing…money. Unfortunately this is something I’ve never really had too much. Therefore I have always been quite creative in the school holidays, ensuring my children have the most fun whilst we spend as little as possible and still manage to pay the electric at the end of the week! Here are some ideas for half term on a budget!

1. Movies for Juniors

Many cinemas seem to run these schemes. Usually a much earlier showing (around 10am) films are shown for children at a reduced price of between £2 – £3. The films vary and are not usually the newest out but still great value and a good way of getting children used to the cinema experience! Just remember to take a big handbag or baggy jumper to hide your smuggled Aldi sweets and drinks.

2. Den building

I loved this as a child and now my children do too. All you need is furniture and some blankets and create your tent/dens. My mum would tape or stick sheets to the bannister and my cousins and brother and I would sit under the stairs and play. My children love having picnics in them, playing house or just watching a film. Hours of fun!

3. Walking

I understand that a lot of children hate walking these days. However if there is a purpose to the walk it definitely helps. Scavenger hunts are always a great idea! Simply make a list of all the things you want your child to find and let them go exploring. Also, especially at this time of year, you can collect beautiful leaves and other autumnal bits for craft activities at home. I have seen some amazing ideas on other blogs which look great and easy enough for someone with no artistic skills like myself to recreate!

4. Halloween Activities

There are so many great spooky activities out there that cost little to nothing. Alice, Louie and I took my phone and went finding cobwebs and took some scary photos a couple of days ago. It was great fun and they loved sharing their images and hunting for the scariest cobwebs! Also there are some great ideas out there for Halloween crafts and activities.

5. Libraries/churches

I know what you are thinking…. Your child would find nothing as boring as the church or library. However it’s always worth checking your local ones out. Accidentally last year I dragged my children into our local library as it was pouring with rain and was amazed to find a children’s science workshop in place. The children loved it and we spent a good 2 hours there. I asked the librarian if they do this type of workshop often and she gave me a leaflet with a whole list of dates and activities all completely free! Similarly the local church ran craft activities and story telling twice a week through the 6 week holidays which the children also loved.

Whether you are filthy rich or living on the bread line I hope you have a great half term break with your children. I used to feel so much pressure to make my half terms as amazing as all the Instagram posts I was seeing. The reality, I have now come to realise, is as long as I am with my children, even just for a cuddle and a story or a film/pyjama day it is all that really matters – spending real quality time with your children not the staged smiling family selfies we see so much of.

If you have any other hints and tips for half term on a budget please leave a comment and share them! I look forward to reading them. Have an amazing week!


  1. Really good tips, the one about the library really rang true! We’re yet to even visit our local library and I think I might use this half term as the perfect time to get both kids kitted out with library cards and check out which activities they have going!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some great ideas here! My niece’s usually love to do some arts and crafts so we often find little bits lying around the house that we can use to craft (card, coloured paper, paint, pens etc) and as it’s almost Halloween it’s a nice idea to make some decorations or happy Halloween cards! I know when I was younger I loved making my own dens!
    Chloe x

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  3. We’ve been out to the garden centre this morning to buy some bulbs and seeds and will be out in the garden planting them this afternoon. It’s a cheap activity as long as you can stay strong through all the “can we buy this?” chanting!! X

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  4. Nice post, we have danced around the kitchen, I have been shouted at as “I’m hungry” tempting to say get it yourself, but they are only 5 and 7. we have had cuddles and made up. They are now playing on the computer with daddy. I think we might try some den making – they both walk around in their duvets so that could be fun.

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    1. Definitely a great activity my elder two are 5 and 6 and take their torches in and make themselves a little cosy area to sit and play or watch a film ❤️ hope you have a lovely half term xx thanks for reading and commenting xx

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  5. Some great ideas here, always important to remember that Instagram does not represent reality – as long as you’re all having fun that’s what counts!

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  6. What we did when I was little was go on walks to places like Jesmond Dene (rivers, mini zoo, trees, green spaces) and play pooh sticks, collect interesting leaves or stones and have a picnic. Really cheap and fun.

    I also loved building dens!

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  7. I know it’s probably over now…..it is for us as it was last week. But having friends over for a play date was popular, and also reciprocated ! As was art and crafts with whatever was in the house. The local council also has a website with ‘things on’ – we have Xmas lights on in our town centre in the middle of November………a live band, fireworks etc etc all free. You might have something similar near you ?

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