Ideas for the half-term holidays

The first half-term of the new academic year is here and kids are probably ready for a break to enjoy some time off school. But what will you do with them over the holidays? Here’s our guide to keeping them occupied over the break.


Uniform stock take

The first thing to check at the beginning of the holidays is how your kids’ school uniform has held up during the past six to seven weeks. Sometimes kids can play rough in the playground or snag clothes going through doors – are there any holes in jumpers or knees going through trousers? Have they had a growth spurt?

It’s worth doing a quick stock take to check that uniform is still in good condition, you have enough of everything and it all still fits. As the weather gets colder, think about the extras you might need like tights, vests and jumpers.

Once you’ve done your school uniform check-up, it’s time to plan some fun activities with the kids over the holidays!


Spooky fun

The autumn half-term coincides with Halloween, and there’s loads you can do to make to make it a spooktacular event.

The shops will be full of pumpkins and there’s so many to choose from nowadays – from the traditional big round orange pumpkins which are perfect for carving, to knobbly green ones that look like witches’ warts, or even white ones which are ideal for painting.

If you’re going to carve a pumpkin, safety first! You can buy special carving kits online or from your local discount shop which have special knives and scoops for getting all the seeds and pulp out. You could go for the traditional scary face but some kits also come with designs so you can get really creative. You don’t need to be artistic as the template does all the hard work for you! Once you’re happy with your carving, just finish it off with a tea light, or an LED light works just as well if you want to avoid a real flame.

For smaller kids why not try painting a pumpkin instead? You could paint witches, cats, skeletons or monsters, or even go for a colourful Day of the Dead sugar skull theme.


Fancy dress

Trick or treating is probably back on this year, so why not make it extra special by making your own fancy dress costumes? You can make loads of outfits from household objects, some face paints and a few extra accessories:

  • Ghost – probably the simplest but a really effective costume, all you need is an old bedsheet and to cut out some holes for eyes and a mouth
  • Mummy – Give your kids a base layer such like a long-sleeved top and leggings or tights, get some bandages and just start wrapping! Add some extra gore with some fake blood, or stain the bandages with some cold tea
  • Skeleton – Use a black leotard with tights, or long-sleeved top and leggings, and paint on skeleton bones with some white fabric paints. Then just finish it off with a face-painted skull!
  • Bat – like the skeleton, give your kids a base layer black costume, then cut up an old black umbrella to make bat wings and fasten with some safety pins


Go for a walk in the woods


Autumn can be a lovely time of year for nature. The leaves on the trees are starting to fall giving a lovely colour show, and acorns and conkers are falling from the trees. It’s also really beneficial for both kids and adults to get out in the fresh air, so why not go for a nature walk as a family?

Look out for different wildlife such as squirrels and robins, and get your kids to collect up some of the different leaves, conkers and fir cones to make a table decoration when you get home.

If you’re all crafted out, once you’re back indoors you could just cosy up together with a hot chocolate and a halloween-themed film. There’ll be lots of seasonal films available to watch such as The Witches, Monsters, Inc. or Hocus Pocus.

They can finish off the half-term break on Halloween, excited to go back to school to tell their friends all about it, with maybe a ghost story or two!