Creative ideas to make February half-term a fun experience

Baking is a fun activity for kids of all ages.

Baking is a fun activity for kids of all ages. - Credit: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

With February half term just around the corner some family treats and distractions and are going to be needed to get over the last six weeks of home schooling.

The weather forecast for half term is predicting continued cold weather and with lockdown showing no sign of ending soon there will be little chance of any outdoor excursions – particularly as you still can’t drive to the beach or tourist attractions. 

Some outdoor sites or forest areas are open for socially distanced walks but can only be accessed by locals. All indoor facilities are closed.
But, here are some creative ideas to keep minds and bodies busy during this chilly school break.

Christchurch Park was covered in a blanket of white after snow fell overnight. Picture: Sarah Lucy

Christchurch Park covered in a blanket of white after snow fell. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Museum at Home: Ipswich Museum and Colchester Castle

Looking for practical things to do and make, then Ipswich Museum and Colchester Castle have a host of great ideas to inspire families to get cutting, sticking and painting. 

Among the activities on offer are:


Make A Dancing Woolly Mammoth:

History of Ipswich Interactive Map:

Romans Activity Sheet:

Make A Roman Shield:

Make A Roman Helmet:

Make a bird feeder:

Create Cheat's Stained Glass:

Read a collection of true-life ghost stories:

Write Secret Messages:

Cook pancake animals:

Baking is a fun activity for kids of all ages.

Baking is a fun activity for kids of all ages. - Credit: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

National Trust Sites
The National Trust are also offering some hands-on activities you can try at home. All sites are currently closed to general visitors and will only accept locals who book in advance for walks.

However, if you want to keep youngsters entertained they have some practical suggestions you can try. 

Annabel and Daisy. The Peter Rabbit Trail at Ickworth House. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Annabel and Daisy at Ickworth House. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

You can play Sounds of Nature Bingo:

There are '50 things' to do in your garden:

Create a secret garden with its very own nature reserve and secret haven for bees:

If the weather continues to be cold and snowy, then the National Trust also have some indoor activities designed to keep the whole family happy. 

They have a selection of top family-friendly bakes to try including Jam Roly-Poly, Victoria Sponge Chocolate Brownies, Lemon Drizzle Cake and Treacle Tart among many others. With ingredients and methods supplied, it’s the first step to becoming a contestant on The Great British Bake Off. 

While your cakes are baking in the oven, what better time is there to discover some great new books to curl up with. The National Trust Book Shop offers plenty of activity books as well as traditional stories and books about the countryside. 

Sparrows feeding in a garden ready to be counted in the Big Garden Birdwatch. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Sparrows feeding in a garden. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

Ipswich Sports Centres Online:
IpswichFit will deliver online classes for the children to take part during the February half term via Facebook Live. These are:
Monday 9am - Kids Hiit
Tuesday 11am - Dance Fit
Wednesday 12pm - Family Body Conditioning
Thursday 11am - Dance Aerobics
Friday 4pm - Family Body Conditioning
Saturday 9am - Kid Fit

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The Family Body Conditioning sessions will be a combination of high and low impact exercise with toning work, with or without the use of weights/dumbbells. Both sessions will be family-friendly and fun. 

Dance Fit and Dance Aerobics will use dance moves to make a fun and energetic class even for those children who don’t normally like to join in.
Lastly, join in with their Saturday Kid Fit class which runs every week and is often themed to add to the fun.
You can access the sessions here:

Suffolk Libraries:
Suffolk libraries are offering a range of free activities which can be accessed online:

Tot Rock - singing and rhymes for toddlers live every Tuesday from Haverhill Library at 10am. Join via the Haverhill Library Facebook Page  

Mindful Movement: Learn how we notice our body - how it moves and feels. Learn how to use your breath and become aware of your body as we take a journey through waking up our body and or senses.
An instructor will be in attendance to guide the session on Tuesday February 16 2021 , 6:30 – 7:15pm. You can gain access via zoom

Yoga for Beginners: Take part in a friendly, relaxed yoga session for beginners to help reduce anxiety and build up your mental and physical strength. If you’re looking to try yoga for the first time, or for a way to relax and improve your mood, this is for you.
An instructor will be in attendance to guide the session every Tuesday from 6-7pm. To register for the weekly class on zoom and to access login online here:

Beautiful young woman and charming little girl are smiling while doing yoga together in fitness hall

Take part in a friendly, relaxed yoga session for beginners to help reduce anxiety and build up your mental and physical strength. - Credit: vadimguzhva/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pilates class for all abilities: Take part in a series of exercises that enhance muscular strength and endurance movements. Sessions are inclusive of all abilities and body shapes.
An instructor will be in attendance to guide the session every Saturday from 10‐11am. To register for the weekly class on zoom and to access login online here:

Creative suggestions:
Here’s a list of fun activities to keep kids entertained and help them learn new skills throughout February half term and onto spring in lockdown.
This list of activities is perfect for chilly winter weekends and offers suggestions for both indoor and outdoor activities. 

Go on a nature hunt: Wrap up warm and set off on an exciting adventure in your local surroundings - even if it's to your own back garden. Search for pine cones, squirrels and even listen out for robins. Those with an explorer’s spirit will love doing the Woodland Trust's winter scavenger hunt - prepare for creepy crawly overload. This activity will keep them busy and will provide an opportunity to learn about the wildlife in their own back gardens. Woodland Trust's winter scavenger hunt is available here:

There are loads of activities to do outside this half term.

Wrap up warm and set off on an exciting adventure in your local surroundings - even if it's to your own back garden. - Credit: Stanislav Hubkin/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Turn your living room into a campsite.  Perfect for those chilly winter nights, turning your living room into a campsite brings all the fun of camping indoors. Pitch up a tent and whack on some soothing nature-inspired music. When it comes to a midnight snack, smores are much more delicious than toasted marshmallows and can be made quickly in the microwave - no burning of young hands. 
Check out this child-friendly recipe:

Make some pebble art: Painting pebbles has become a commemorative mark of lockdown, along with rainbows hung in windows and gates of all shapes and sizes. Pebble art is a great gift to give to a friend - simply create your designs and dot them around walking trails or parks for people to find - you’ll brighten up their day.

Build a blanket fort: This one is easily constructed indoors during colder weather. Choose your location preferably near a wall or fence so you can pin blankets. Get some supplies - whether that’s a mini-fridge or midnight snacks, make sure you’re fully stocked! The best pillow forts come equipped with twinkly lights and snug blankets. Here’s a guide to making a secure fortress:

Kentwell Hall: Wellie Walk & Nature Trail. Are you ready for an adventure?  Bring the family for a breath of fresh air on an exciting expedition around Kentwell’s moated gardens and woodland trails.
Explore the outdoors and see the signs of spring on the Nature Trail Wellie Walk, and discover some of Kentwell’s fun surprises along the way.  An active, outdoor day out for explorers of all ages - a breath of fresh air for everyone.  The Nature Trail Wellie Walk will take your family on a fun adventure to explore the shrubbery, the woods and the gardens, and for older adventurers, they have the Wild Nature I-Spy Trail and Quiz.
Advance booking is essential as numbers will be strictly limited on site.

Jessica Gore-Gauci playing in the snowdrops at Kentwell Hall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jessica Gore-Gauci playing in the snowdrops at Kentwell Hall. - Credit: Gregg Brown

DanceEast: CAT Taster sessions:
DanceEast will be holding their annual ‘taster’ workshops for those looking to audition for the next intake of the Centre of Advanced Training programme. At a Taster Workshop you will have the opportunity to take part in a Contemporary and Creative Dance Workshop led by the CAT teaching team, whilst parents/carers will have the opportunity to speak directly with the CAT team and find out more about the programme.
This year’s workshops are taking place online via Zoom, and are available to book now  The schedule is as follows:
Boys Only Taster Day: Monday February 15, 10am – 1pm
General Taster Days: Tuesday and Wednesday February 16-17, 10am – 1pm 
Parent and Carer Information Talk: Thursday February 17, 7-8pm

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