Half Term Activities To Put A Spring In Your Step

The February half term is a funny one, isn’t it?  This year it starts on the 18th or 25th February depending on where in the UK you are.  Here in Wales, we start ours on the 25th and I am already planning some half term activities.

I say planning – that is no guarantee that we will actually do them.  We find ourselves getting progressively slower and slower whilst the kids hunker down with games and iPads whilst my Facebook timelines fill up with happy pics of mums on beaches, hanging of rock-faces, cooking banquets and still fitting in yoga, pilates and running a 10K.

So, if like me, you have more in common with Ice Age’s Sid Sloth than Scrat, here are a few things you might like to try to add a spring into half term proceedings.

Half term activities for a fun spring break

Eat Something Different

No, not a bushtucker trial but perhaps a different cuisine.  We’re taking the kids to Wagamas, Yo Sushi or our local Japanese restaurant to try some Japanese cuisine (primarily to see the expression on Ieuan’s face), but you could ring the changes with an authentic curry house or perhaps Chinese.  We love The Summer Palace Chinese Restaurant in Llandaff in the shadow of the magnificent cathedral.

Try the theatre

There is nothing like live theatre, particularly where musicals are concerned.  We’ve recently enjoyed Matilda at the Wales Millennium Centre and there are loads of shows and contemporary theatre productions happening this season at venues near you. Look out for interactive theatre workshops for acting, singing and dancing or even puppetry or mime.

Rally car in action - half term activities

Drive something different

I love my Skoda Roomster but it isn’t the fastest vehicle on the planet.  The Husband prefers a Beemer – although ours is now 11 years old.  As my dad would say “it’ll see us out”.  But how about whizzing around a race-track all day?

There are experience days for the family where 11-17-year-olds can get behind the wheel of a Mazda MX5.

Caitlin is already campaigning for this for her 12th birthday in November and since the venue is north of London, it’s easy to get to as well.

Get the kids involved with the DIY and gardening

Yes, I am serious.  Let’s face it, the chances of lots of us ending up in our nearest DIY superstore are high so if painting is on the agenda rather than exploring the countryside, why not let the kids help with the painting (you can always paint over it!).

There’s no reason why they can’t help in the garden either – perhaps planting some summer flowers, weeding, sweeping up fallen leaves or making a bird table or nesting box.

Caitlin and Ieuan like to use these opportunities to wangle a little more pocket money so you could add on cleaning the car to remove last August’s beach sand and the thousands of Werthers Original wrappers that never finally made it to the bin.

Get a babysitter

It’s funny how a lot of us plan to entertain everyone else but don’t give a thought to our own entertainment.  We soldier on selflessly whilst keeping a very close eye on the corkscrew and parking the diet until ‘next Monday’ (note – specifying which Monday is not required).

So why not get a babysitter?  (even better if you can bribe your other half or relatives) and leave them for a home cinema afternoon whilst you treat yourself in a spa or take your bestie for a posh afternoon tea whilst trying not to think about the probable domestic carnage you’ll be returning to.

Explore somewhere different

We are so lucky in the UK because almost every part of the country has amazing sights and places to visit.  We’re in the Vale of Glamorgan which combines beautiful countryside with country pubs and close proximity to wonderful beaches and castles.  And then, of course, we are only a few miles outside Cardiff with its 5-star shopping, restaurants, bars, entertainment and culture.

If the weather is as stormy as it has been and you are forced to stay indoors,  check out these posts from my fellow bloggers.

Steph at Expert Home Tips has 17 super fun ways to keep the kids busy at the weekend whilst Leyla suggests making an activity box or even your own jigsaw.

Have you made plans for the Spring half term yet?  Let me know what half term activities are on your list.

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40+ Things To Do In February Half Term Around Cardiff

If you are looking for things to do in February Half Term in Wales (25th Feb – 1st March), I have a great list of events and activities for you, many of which are free.  You can also find more suggestions for half term activities in this post.

All details are correct at the time of publishing and if you have any to add events to add, let me know as I will be updating this list throughout the week.

And yes, you will probably still be up at dawn, because kids rarely sleep in, do they?

  • Learn about the Victorian era and find out what life was like for children in the 19th century at St. Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff – 10:00 am to 17:00 pm.   
  • Family fun activities at Big Pit National Coal Museum 12:00 – 16:00.
  • Visit the year 1645 and find out about life in Llancaiach Fawr Manor, near Nelson in the 17th century.
  • Have a Welsh mining experience at Rhondda Heritage Park on the underground black gold tour and visit Danters Family Funfair.  Free car parking, toilets and security on site.
  • Visit the First World War In Memoriam Exhibition at Pontypridd Museum.
  • See the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci at National Museum of Wales Cardiff.  £5 adults, under 16s, go free.  Buy your tickets in the museum.
  • See how coins and Olympic medals are made and even strike your own coin at The Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant.
  • Get your swimming cossies on as kids under 4 go free at Cardiff International Pool – flumes, space bowl, lazy river and water features to enjoy.
  • Or try ice-skating at the Viola Ice Rink, home to the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team.
  • Get wooed at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol and find the animal print hearts on the love trail.
  • Explorer fun at NT Tredegar House, Newport – 11:00 am to 16:00 pm. Learn all about the hidden lives of birds.  You can also make a bird box on specific dates.  Extra fee applies. Check details before you go.
  • Meet the villagers at Cosmeston Medieval Village.  Meet Henry Hogg the swineherd Elsbeth of Oxford, village priest Father Edwin and Walter the village Reeve on this guided tour.  Tickets and times from reception.
  • Explore Porthkerry Park, Barry with its 220 acres of woods and meadowland in a sheltered valley leading to a pebble beach and spectacular cliffs.  There’s a cafe, a picnic site, a play area and toilets.
  • Leave the kids whilst you shop at IKEA’s Smaland crèche/ supervised play area at Ferry Road, Cardiff. Places no longer pre-bookable but available on a first-come first-served basis. Mon-Sat 10:00 – 17:45, Sun 11:00 am – 16:30 pm.  Kids from 3-10 can spend up to 45 minutes per session.
  • Get the kids rock climbing at Boulders Indoor Climbing Centre, Cardiff. £15 for an 80-minute taster session.
  • Feb 23 – 2 Mar | Try your hand at 3 cool St. David’s Day crafts at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.
  • Feb 22 – 28 | Watch How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World (PG) at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
  • Feb 23 – 3 Mar | Get gardening activities at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire. You can also meet and hold a giant stick insect and other creepy-crawlies in the Great Glasshouse! There are lots of fun and games, a daffodil hunt plus arts and crafts action to suit all ages, too. Free potato growing courses on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Feb 25 – 1 Mar | Get them playing rugby at the Cardiff Blues Rugby Camp 9:00 – 16:00 at Cardiff Arms Park.  Book online at www.cardiffbluescamps.com/

  • Feb 23 | Be a space hunter at Techniquest, Cardiff Bay.  Planetarium shows all day suitable for the under 7s. Go with the children on a treasure hunt in space to meet an astronaut, ride on a comet’s tail, look for an exploding star and much more!
  • Feb 23| Free screening of family film Zog 1 pm and 3 pm at National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
  • Feb 23 | Fitness class at Caerphilly Castle, the biggest castle in Wales. Sessions run every Saturday from 8:30 – 9:15 am until the end of March 2019 priced at just £5 per person. ION Strength and Conditioning will lead you on an invigorating hour of energetic movement suitable for all fitness levels incorporating the latest fitness methods.

  • Feb 25 | Half term tropical adventures at Cardiff Castle. Come and meet a range of amazing animals from the tropical rain forest of the Amazon to the African Kalahari desert for a chance to learn about their behaviour and habitats. Please note these sessions are extremely popular and may sell out in advance. Tickets £4.00
  • Feb 25 – 1 Mar | Kids Eat, Drink & Bowl at Hollywood Bowl at The Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff.  Kids can enjoy a child’s main course, squash and drink and a game of bowling for just £7.04. Available Monday – Friday until 6 pm. To speak to one of the team and book over the phone, call 0844 826 1456 or book online at www.hollywoodbowl.co.uk
  • Feb 25| Make It Mondays – kids crafting session in the morning room in the house at NT Dyffryn Gardens – 12:00 pm to 15:00 pm
  • Feb 25 | Slime Factory returns to Margam. Learn how to make slime and why it works with the ingredients. Children will have lots of fun getting creative and messy. £6.00 per person ticket only event, contact the park on 01639 881635 to book a space – limited spaces only. Sessions start time 10:30, 12.00, 1:30 and 3:00
  • Feb 26 | Make funky foam flowers at Margam Park Sessions start at 11.00, 12.15, 1.45 and 3.00 (approx 1 hour). £3 per session per child, only 25 spaces per session, buy your ticket at the entrance cabin on the way in and Meet in the Castle (Adult supervision required).
  • Feb 26 | Make home-made recycled bird feeders and paint them at Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre. 2 sessions available 10:30 – 11:15 am and 11:45 – 12:30 Suitable for ages 4+  £2.50 per child. Booking essential.
  • Feb 27 | Nest building workshop at Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre (link above).  10:30 – 11:15 am and 11:45 – 12:30 pm.  Suitable for ages 4+ £4 per child. Try your hand at building a birds nest using clay and natural materials.  Messy hands guaranteed.
  • Feb 27 | Warrior School at Cardiff Castle.  £10 for 1 child and 1 adult.  Learn how to sword fight with Sir Jay and Sir Lewis from the Warwick Warriors and become a fully-fledged knight. Held indoors in the atmospheric 15th-century Undercroft and ending in a knighting ceremony. Suitable for ages 5-16 years. For safety reasons, children under 5 may not participate but may accompany adults who have purchased a ticket.
  • Feb 22 – 28 | How To Train Your Dragon 3:  The Hidden World at the Memo Arts Centre, Barry 
  • Feb 27 | Get back to nature and cook on a campfire at National Trust Dyffryn Gardens. Booking not needed.  Admission applies.
  • Feb 27 | Screening of the film The Iron Giant at Cardiff Story Museum 1 pm. xxx
  • Mar 1 | The Giant Jam Sandwich at The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff (12 pm, 3 pm). Ages 3-7.  Tickets £10. One hot summer’s day, four million wasps invade the quiet village of Itching Down. The picnickers panic and the farmer stops haymaking. The wasps are noisy, nasty and worst of all, they don’t mind who they sting! That is until the baker has an ingenious idea…
  • Mar 1 | Free family crafts for St. David’s Day at St. Fagans Museum of Country Life, Cardiff
  • Mar 1 | Dragons & Daffodils crafts and face painting at Big Pit Museum National Coal Museum.
  • Mar 1 | St David’s Day Amble at Cwmcarn Forest Visitors Centre (link above).  11:30 – 12:30 pm.  Suitable for ages 6+ £3.50 per adult / £1.50 per child.  Booking essential.  Take a gentle stroll around the valley to spot the daffodils, followed by a cuppa and a welshcake. Little strollers will also get the chance to make their own daffodil using craft bits!

Eating out?  Check out our local restaurant reviews.  Worried about the weather?  Find a full three-day forecast wherever you are at www.worldweatheronline.com.

There’s something for everyone in this list of things to do in February half term.  I hope you have a great time and that the weather stays fine!

Half Term Fun: Free & Easy Activities For Kids

In this guest post from Hayley Brown at Verymummy.com, you’ll find lots of free things to do with your little ones to help overcome the inevitable cries of “we’re bored” and “what can we do now”?  Half term fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

You can’t always afford to go out every day and, frankly, sometimes you just haven’t got the energy.  I know I haven’t!

Over to Hayley….

I don’t know about you, but the half term is here. Its gone so fast.

Any parent will tell you that a week off with the kids can be exhausting and mentally draining if you haven’t got any days out planned.

It’s good for them to get out and about, burn off energy, feel the wind in their hair, learn new things, visit new places and make memories as a family.

On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable to have days at home and we as a family have a few of them.  Sometimes the kids need to chill and have time to play with their toys and relax and watch films.

Strong families are built on a foundation of love and, having two daughters I know very well how hard it is to find the time sometimes. Most days I feel like I need to be cloned just so I can be with both my kids!

Having a few days indoors and out together as a family will help strengthen family bonds and create positive family memories.

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So what can we do as a family at home for some half term fun?

Plant spring flower tubs, plant some seeds and bulbs and watch them grow over the coming months.

You can start to sow Antirrhinums (Snapdragons) now to ensure early flowering. Along with sweetpeas. Dahlia tubers are good to sow now also. You could try your hand at growing Chrysanthemums and geraniums.

Fancy growing fruit and veg?? Asparagus pea seeds, aubergines, herbs, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, cucumber, tomatoes, leeks, and onions are all good to start sowing now. Give it a go. There’s nothing better than growing your own produce.

Half term fun could be getting out into the garden and growing some vegetables from seed

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Bake a cake

With thousands of recipes online to choose from, or take a recipe and tweak it yourself.

Make Bread

Baking bread can be a great science lesson too – for example predicting by how much the bread will rise.

Half term fun could be something simple like baking home-made bread

Photo by Nadya Spetnitskaya on Unsplash

Make Slime

Slime is all the rage these days. Just be careful with using borax recipes.

Chalking on your driveway.

Chalking is fun, and the rain will simply wash it away. My girls love chalking on the driveway.

Half term fun could be something simple like chalking on your driveway

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Make a den in front of the TV and have popcorn and watch a film.

Buy a birdhouse and decorate it, using paint, sequins, and whatever else you can find. Don’t forget to seal it with a sealer.

Junk modelling – time to go through your recycling. Kids can make the most wonderful creations from almost anything.

Loom bands.

Get the boxes out and make a house, rocket, train

Tape up a doorway and throw cotton wool, tissue paper, feathers at it, see what your web can catch.  This is one of my personal favourites, but just make sure that you don’t need to go through the door – for example, the kitchen door!

Sensory activities

We have experimented with cloud dough, play dough, gloop, shaving foam, and jelly play before and it is great fun.

Close the curtains, grab a disco bulb turn the music up and have a boogie.

half term fun - have your own disco at home

Photo by Regina Valetova on Unsplash

Board games –  grab a cuppa and play a good old-fashioned board game. We play Beat the Parents and Monopoly quite a lot in our house. Sometimes I dabble in a game of Twister too – Keeps me flexible!

half term fun - get the Monopoly out!

Make sock puppets

Play with clay. My daughter enjoys using her Pottery Cool. Messy but fun.

half term fun - play with clay

Indoor bowling. You can use loo rolls and bottles for the skittles. Fill the bottles up for extra weight. All you need is a ball. Great fun to be had, and can be very competitive.

Indoor/garden treasure hunt. Write down some clues (maths problems, riddles, whatever you choose) and hide them. The children then have to solve them in order to find the location of the prize.

Marshmallows and straws constructions. Simple idea but very clever. We do this a lot in our preschool, see what creations they can construct.

Hama beads. Another personal favourite of ours.

Make a bracelet, using beads, or dried pasta. You can paint the pasta too.

Whatever you decide to do, do it as a family, use a camera, and enjoy each others company and make memories to look back on. Life is too short, and it goes so fast once the kiddies are at school. Make the most of the holidays and have some half term fun.

About Hayley Brown

Hayley is the creator and proud owner of VeryMummy. Hayley is a wife and mother to two beautiful daughters.  She is a 1:1 teaching assistant and is also on the editorial team for  TheDadNetwork. She loves to blog to raise awareness. Knowledge is power. You can find Hayley on all major social media platforms using @VeryMummy.

Don’t forget you can find more suggestions for half term activities both at home and out and about around Cardiff in the two posts below.

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