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Cheap ways to entertain the kids this half term

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan

We bring you some of the best free activities and top deals to keep your kids occupied during the holidays.

Entertaining your children over the half-term break can be an expensive job.

According to new research from, parents can expect to rack up a bill of almost £25 a day in a bid to keep their children occupied – an average of £121 per child.

But with a little planning, the holidays don’t have to break the bank.

We bring you some half term ideas that won’t leave you broke:

Learn a new skill

The BBC has partnered up with businesses and organisations across the country to bring your kids great half-term activities – from learning to play indoor cricket to acrobatics and survival skills – there’s something for every child.

Check out what’s happening in your part of the country here

Get exploring

If the weather is good, try The National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you are 11 and ¾’.

It’s a great way of getting the kids out of the house and exploring the Great Outdoors. Find out more here.

Stay local

Check out your local library or council’s activities page to see what they are offering as entertainment for the kids over half term. Many will hold story times, free music lessons, face painting and even week-long drama workshops.

Visit a museum

Most museums run kids activities throughout the week-long break – and many of them are free.

In London, The Science Museum and Natural History Museum are very kid-friendly, but don’t forget smaller museums in cities across the UK.

For example, The National Museum of Scotland’s ‘Mammoth of the Ice Age’ runs until 20 April 2014.

See a show

Theatres across the country are throwing their doors open for matinee shows for kids.

Try Red Riding Hood at the West Yorkshire Playhouse or the week of family friendly live fun at The Royal Exchange in Manchester.

For families planning a day trip to London and who want to see a West-End show, get in touch with Leicester Square Box Office to see if there are shows you can go and review for them. The company will throw in a few free tickets as long as you leave them a review afterwards.

Go to the cinema

Cineworld is running movies for juniors all throughout half term and will be showing Freebirds, Monsters University and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 from just £1

If you don’t have a Cineworld near you, fortunately Vue is running a very similar deal for £1.75

Use a voucher

There are a whole host of online voucher sites that will give you substantial savings on attractions, lunches out and trips to musicals and cinema. Make use of them, they will save you a packet. Check out, and for ideas.

And don’t forget to use your reward cards

Here are some of the latest offers available for reward and loyalty cardholders:

Days Out

• Nectar points are worth double the value when used to purchase tickets to Merlin attractions such as Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures

• Nectar Swim allows Nectar cardholders to exchange their points for discount swims at 400 local pools across the country. Prices start from £1.50, or 300 points, for a child’s swim and £2.50, or 500 points, for an adult. Family swims are on offer from as little as £7.50, or 1,500 point with an average saving of 40%.

• Take your Nectar card with you to any Vue cinema and hand it over when you pay. Redeem as many Nectar points as you like in increments of 500. Each 500 points gives you a £2.50 discount off the total transaction value.


• Collect 750 bonus points with eBooks by Sainsbury’s.

• If you are doing any half term shopping, make sure to use Nectar eShops, an online shopping portal which enables Nectar cardholders to collect Nectar points with more than 500 brands online, including The Apple Store, Topshop, ASOS and Debenhams.