Already the next half term is looming. In four weeks’ time you will once again have a house full of kids needing to be entertained. It might seem too early to start thinking about the autumn break now, but if you’re watching your spending then starting to prepare now will help you make the most of the week without having to constantly worry about the financial cost.
The main advantage of starting to plan now is that you will be able to absorb the costs into your monthly budget. There are few households today that can afford to go month-to-month without budgeting their costs, so it makes sense to ensure that you have sufficient funds available to enjoy a few trips out during that week, even if it means cutting back a little in the weeks beforehand.
If you’re thinking about heading into London for a day look at buying your train tickets now. Travelling by train rather than by car provides a stress-free journey for you, while children will love the novelty of travelling this way. As well as this, it means you don’t have to worry about parking and most train routes will take you right into the centre of the city, meaning that you can spend more time sightseeing rather than navigating tube trains.
Alternatively, look at events and attractions that are closer to home and with a bit of online research you’ll be amazed at what is on offer. Local attractions are not only normally more budget-friendly but they also provide your children with a great opportunity to appreciate their local area and the community in which they are apart. Also local parks and beaches are free and fantastic places to spend days when the sun is shining but the weather is chilly.
Now is also the perfect time to start planning what you’re going to do on rainy days, after all we all know that the end of October weather is guaranteed to provide at least a couple of days of rain! If there is a local indoor play area, make sure you plan the cost of this into your monthly budget now. Also think about free ways of keeping your children entertained at home. Perhaps look at buying a few DVDs over the next few weeks or borrowing some books from the library. Kids of all ages love baking, so ensure that you have the ingredients ready for an emergency baking session.
It is never too early to learn about nature and appreciate the changing seasons and a fun way of introducing this to children is through getting them to be creative. On a crisp, dry day head to the local park where you and your children can collect fallen leaves that are range of autumnal colours. Back at home let your children use what you’ve collected to create collages, which can be as simple or as elaborate as their imaginations, and abilities, allow.
The autumn half-term coincides with Halloween, an even most children love. Celebrate all things spooky by letting your children dress up as ghosts, pumpkin and witches, even consider throwing a small Halloween party for your children and their closest friends. You can hold fancy dress competitions and put a spooky spin on classic children’s party games. If you live in a safe and friendly area take your kids out trick-or-treating, I know of many childless homeowners who enjoy the range of zombies, monsters and werewolves that turn up on their doorsteps almost as much as the children enjoy their haul of sweets and chocolates!
Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger