Half term usually strikes dread deep within myself (and probably other parents too), but this time around I’m grateful for it. School has been exhausting Sprog, and her hectic schedule has been kicking my butt. Of course, half term doesn’t actually represent a break for parents; in fact it’s a time we are supposed to fill with fun (usually expensive) activities to keep our little ones happy.
Generally I save up for a month before half term, and manage to take us to the cinema or something similar once during the week off. This month? Nope. I have £40 to my name. Am I going to let that ruin half term? Absolutely not! Sprog needs some fun to get her over the past two months, and I intend to provide it. So today we kick started half term with what will most likely be our only venture out: a country park.
Imagine eating your lunch in front of that view! Idyllic right? That’s exactly what we did. Sandwiches seem to taste better in the fresh air whilst looking at this. We walked, climbed hills and spotted wildlife – including getting almost uncomfortably close to some large, horned cows. I’m sure we burnt more calories than we took in, but it didn’t feel like exercise.
National Trust parks are a great option for getting the kids outside to do something a bit different in the half term. They charge a small entry fee (unless you are an NT member and then entry is free) and other than that there is no cost. A picnic style lunch is cheap enough, and means that you can be sure you’re eating something healthy too – if that’s something you are keeping an eye on! There are no screens, no wifi and sometimes even no mobile signal, so this is a great way to remind the kids how to play with that good old thing we like to call “outside”.
Along with the exercise, gorgeous views and wildlife, there is fresh air to be enjoyed in all National Trust parks. Let me tell you how good it felt to be breathing fresh, crisp Autumn air whilst climbing a hill today: it was so refreshing. We don’t seem to notice the difference until we go out somewhere like that, but it’s better quality air than in the city, and it guarantees a good night’s sleep for little ones. There are often playgrounds, facilities and places to grab a bite to eat or warm up with a coffee too, so providing you wrap up warm you can really spend a whole day in a place like this.
Considering our monetary drought I doubt that I will be taking Sprog for another day out this half term. I know, I hear you, we’ll be stir crazy by Wednesday; but there’s plenty we can do here at home to make sure that half term is the enjoyable break it’s meant to be. We will be employing some activities from my Autumn Activities list (here), as well as visiting family, baking Halloween cakes and taking long, hot evening baths. I hope I can spend a little time with Sprog practicing her reading, and maybe by the time she has to go back to school she will feel a little less overwhelmed.
What does half term mean for your family? Have you been to a National Trust Park recently? Let us know in the comments!