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October Half Term – Afternoon Activity Fixes

Half terms are a welcome break for both children and adults. An opportunity to dispense with routine and turn off the alarm clock. But, what can you do in the cold, winter afternoons after a lazy morning lounging in your pyjamas?

Below are a few of our ideas tried and tested on both parents and kids of all ages to help you through that winter after lunch lull and carry you through to the golden hour of bedtime.


1/ Wheels afternoon

After a morning indoors, an afternoon stroll is a great way to entertain your brood and maintain their mood. If you experience resistance from non-enthusiastic walkers, why not suggest a wheelie alternative.

Grab a scooter, bike, heelies or skates and take to the streets. A quick scoot to the park or skate around the block is sure to increase appetite and diminish sibling bickering.


2/ Make a bird cake

Families who create together, are happier together. Children learn through play and imitation. Therefore, we can think of no better way to spend an afternoon than making food for our feathered friends. Teach your children about nature and their local environment while providing a vital food source for birds over the upcoming colder months.

Ingredients for a bird cake:

  • Birdseed
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Suet or lard
  • Yoghurt pot halved soft drinks bottle or disposable cup
  • String
  • Mixing bowl
  • Scissors

How to make a bird cake:

1. Take your container and make a small hole in the bottom. Thread the string through the hole and tie a knot on the inside, leaving enough string for the pot/container to be tied to a tree or bird table.

2. Cut your room temperature lard into small pieces and put it into your mixing bowl.

3. Gradually add the other ingredients to the bowl and mix with your fingers.

4. Fill your pots/containers with the bird cake mixture and put them in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

5. Once set, hang your bird cakes from trees or a bird table.

If hanging in your garden, why not have a bird watching afternoon? Look out for greenfinches, tits and possibly even great spotted woodpeckers.

Above is courtesy of RSPB.


3/ Alternative Guy Fawkes Scarecrow

Once synonymous with October Half term, Guy Fawkes Night involved children parading the streets with their own home-made Guy Fawkes effigy and accosting passer-by’s asking for a “penny for the guy”.

Today, the tradition of children collecting money for fireworks and burning “Guy” on a bonfire is less of a custom, but the tradition of bonfire night lives on.

Why not, explore the origins of this tradition and history of Guy Fawkes while making an alternative kid's Guy Fawkes scarecrow?

You will need:

  • Old kid’s clothes
  • Two poles / Bamboo Canes
  • Old Pillowcase/Paper Bag
  • Straw
  • String

Making your scarecrow:

  • Lay out the clothes and stuff them with straw.
  • Draw a face on the paper bag/pillow case and then fill it with straw. Put it over the end of one of
  • the garden canes and tie around the neck with string to secure.
  • Push the cane through the body of the scarecrow (make a hole in the trousers if necessary). Push
  • the other cane through the arms.
  • Stand your scarecrow up by pushing the cane into the ground.

Or, why not make a Halloween themed scarecrow? Add a Witches hat and scary face.


4/ Board Games afternoon

Games have made a welcome return in recent years with Board Game Cafes and are a great free source of entertainment.

Additionally, for children, they help towards;

  • Grouping, and counting numbers and shapes
  • Letter recognition and reading
  • Colour recognition

If you are looking for a new game, charity shops can offer a great source of board games at a low cost. Just make sure all the pieces are present!


5/ Den building

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstien

Whatever the weather, den building is a great afternoon activity. Built indoors or outside the very essence of creation will awaken both yours and your children’s imagination.

What you will need for an Indoors Den:

  • A sheet
  • Cushions
  • Pegs
  • String
  • Imagination

Top tips when building your indoors den:

  • It is all about the location. All homes are different. Plan your site; you do not want to be demolishing your den directly after building it.
  • Look for somewhere you can tie your string to for suspending your sheet.
  • Make the most of the space. A den can be dual purpose. It can provide the activity of making and the enjoyment of using it, e.g. indoor picnic, sleepover spot or quiet corner.

Outdoor dens are a great way of extending an afternoon walk. Great local spots for den building are;

  • Roves Farm
  • Badbury Clump
  • Coate Water


Remember, remember

The half-term needs ever be tedious or not full of fun

Use our top five list to turn boredom into bliss

And help you and your children stay young!

Happy Half Term! 


By Emma Smith

If you enjoyed Emma's article, you can read more on her site here!

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