15 ways to entertain children for free this half term

Looking after the grandchildren this half-term? Here are some great ways to have fun - for free!

1. Check out local art galleries and museums

Even if you've been there before there's always new activities and sessions happening for children at galleries and museums over half-term. From painting sessions to history lessons, there's a lot to get involved with.

2. Having friends round to play

It's a simple but easy way to keep children entertained. Inviting friends over will ensure a variety of old games feel new and you and the other parents or grandparents can have a natter over a cup of tea.

3. Have a film day

Have a movie day filled with popcorn and pyjamas. Plus, make it extra special by asking other parents or grandparents to swap some used DVDs. That way you're getting to watch new films without spending a penny.

4. Local history sites

Take a tour around the area to see what history sites might be nearby. There could be lots of interesting, free locations you could explore but have never noticed before. Why not challenge your children to find as many historical landmarks as they can?

5. Create your own beach

Don’t worry, there's no need to fill your garden with sand and water for this activity. Instead, why not play boules in the kitchen, fill an old washing up bowl with sand for sandcastles and have an indoor BBQ.

6. Camping in the lounge

Have a family sleepover with a twist by camping in the lounge. Encourage the children to create a makeshift tent with old rugs and pieces of fabric. Stick a bunch of cushions on the floor, turn the lights down and you have the perfect campsite.

7. Pizza party

Tortilla wraps, tomato puree and cheese is all that's needed to make your own pizza. Turn it into an Italian-themed afternoon by playing music and even drawing moustaches on. Making real pizza dough is easy to if you want to make it more realistic. Give our chicken tostadas recipe a go here!

8. Take a trip to the library

The local library is a real-life haven over half-term as not only is it filled with books to entertain your kids but they often put on book clubs, special readings and other events for families to attend for absolutely free. Use our top tips to encourage your grandchildren to read here.

9. Grow an apple tree

Get children into gardening by using seeds from an apple core to plant your very own apple tree. They’ll have fun digging up the soil and then it's up to them to look after and nurture it.

10. Hit the beach

Just because it's a little chilly, don't dismiss a day at the seaside. Wrap up warm, pack some yummy soup and grab a football. You'’ll have the beach almost to yourself – what could be better?! Find more information about how you can get involved in beach cleans this summer here.

11. Write a play

Encourage the children to write and perform their very own play. It can be as simple as taking a favourite fairy tale and changing the ending or taking turns to write a line, but it'll create a fun afternoon and keep them well occupied.

12.  Mini Olympics

With the 2016 Olympics coming up now is a great time to get in the garden if the weather's dry and play some games. It can be real sports or it can be fun things such as sack races and three-legged races, either way it'll keep them active.

13. Make a family tree

Get a large piece of paper and let the children draw a tree. Then use copies of family photos to create your very own family tree whilst telling them stories about their wider family. Find more information about how to make your family tree here.

14. Head to the farm

If the weather is kind, a day at the farm is a cheap and fun-filled day. Many are free to visit and let you pet some of the animals. You can even buy food for the different animals and see some of the larger ones up close.

15. Go on a bike ride

The old favourites are always the best – dust down the bikes, put on your helmet, wrap up warm and see where the day takes you. Don't forget to pack a picnic and lots of snacks for a fun-filled, free day. Why not make our summer lentil salad recipe here.