It seems that as soon as kids start school or preschool in my case, another holiday crops up and I’m responsible for the entertainment. I’m not sure we can have another week sponsored by Cbeebies after doing nothing but watch the box and nurse colds over Christmas, so in spite of the weather I’m hoping to get the boys out and about!
Whether you’re going on holiday in the February half term or are staying at home, here are my tips to keeping the kids occupied:
1. Get some fresh air. We’re lucky that we have beautiful parks near us in Leeds from Golden Acre to Roundhay Park so whether it’s welly weather or the sun is out, we often head out for lakeside walks or forests rummages, usually returning with leaves and twigs to help us get crafty…which leads me to tip no. 2…
2. Sticking, painting & making. Move over Mister Maker, there’s a new creative in town (with slightly better dress sense). I used to paint. A lot (even exhibiting my work in London galleries) but somehow, since having kids, I’ve lost my artistic mojo.
I’m still creative in my filmmaking career, just getting my hands dirty in paint doesn’t happen often enough (maybe if I dressed more like Mister Maker, I wouldn’t mind the mess so much). This half term, though, I’m determined to get the paints out, create some collages (no doubt from leaves and twigs) and there might well be an exhibition of our own (curated with said pictures on the kitchen walls). Nice. Entrance is free.
3. Holiday time. We might well head to one of the many affordable family holiday parks, perhaps on one of the weekends so Daddy can join us too. Not sure I can cope going away from home, however close, solo with the boys. It’s possible of course but sanity might be lost in the ball pool or probably in the car journey there.
4. Soft play. I know. Those two words instill fear in me too. Screaming kids. Soggy sandwiches from the cafe. Weird venue names (why they always exchange the ‘S’ with a ‘Z’ is beyond me) Kidz Play for example? Why, I ask you, why? Yes, they can be crazy, but kids seem to love them plus they supply parents with free magazines so you can lose yourself in Heat magazine whiles your kids burn off their own heat, so tired, they’ll erm… sleep like babies when they get home.
5. Museums. One thing I miss about London are the vast amount of kid friendly museums from the Science Museum to the Natural History Museum, there’s always somewhere to take the toddler there. One of my favourite museums in Leeds is the city museum with 6 galleries along with temporary exhibitions which change seasonally, from African displays, to Life on Earth, and the kid is always captivated when we visit, as are we.
6. The cinema. Yes, half term often sees the latest animation or kids films released and we’re hoping to take the eldest to watch a flick or two (bonus is, you and your husband/partner can take it in turns to nod off and no one will ever know). Bliss.
7. Baking. I didn’t buy Oliver ‘1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and other tempting treats’ book for Christmas without good reason. This half term, we’ll be having a Great British bake off on our own (without Mel and Sue and anyone to compete with of course) but it will be fun (and fattening). Yum.
8. Visit family. We will be visiting the Big Fat Greek Family in Manchester this holiday. There, we will eat, laugh, play, then eat some more and best of all the boy and baby will get to hang out with their cousins (and eat, laugh, play and eat). Greeks are very good at these things. A perfect end to a perfect holiday.
What will you do?
Photograph© Peter Broadbent.