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Home-spun Holidays

The first half of term is over and your kids need entertaining, which can be a mixture of blessings, especially if you're not prepared. Whether you'll be hiding in the city or tearing through the wild, arm yourself with the right bits and pieces – and an inexhaustible amount of ideas – in order to make the most of your time with your children.

Rainy Days

Holidays should be all about the outdoors and spending time together as a family. But after the coldest winter for thirty years it makes sense to prepare for the worst and ready yourself with some emergency indoor activities.

It needn't mean turning your home into a jungle. Quiet 'n' creative activities can be rewarding for you and the kids. You get to teach your children new skills, and end up with lots of lovely home-spun pictures and keepsakes that you'll treasure as your little ones grow up. Draw some pictures for them to colour in, make them some playdough or buy some modelling clay and get them to sculpt their favourite character. And there are hundreds of colourful and satisfying art and craft kits to get their creative hooks into.

Even a packet of humble pipe cleaners can keep a bored child busy. Alternatively, provide them with cards or board games – these firm favourites will keep them quiet and encourage their social intellect.

Older kids are more of a challenge – if they don't fancy the wet outdoors, we've got a great selection of affordable tech to keep them out of mischief. As you might have seen in hundreds of TV ads, computer games have changed significantly in the last few years. They're no longer 'single player' bedroom toys - a lot of fun but basically unsocial. New consoles like the Nintendo Wii offer fun and physically active multi-player games that are great fun as family or party games. If you've never tried a Wii and aren't sure, why don't you borrow one from friends? You'd have to have a heart of stone not to love the world of colourful, good-natured fun that they create.

Other indoor fun: making indoor camps, learning magic tricks, baking and cooking and dressing up. You can even get them exploring the world of science with this brilliant computer-compatible microscope.

Days Out

Come rain or sunshine, there's no reason not to get out there and have fun - we're British after all! Not sure where to go? We're sure you'll have a favourite family walk that you could spice up with any of these binonculars:

But if you fancy trying something new there's some great websites to help you. You can enter your postcode into this BBC website to find out local walks and nature attractions, or you can go here to find out your local national heritage sites.

There are thousands of kid-friendly places throughout the UK and you'll find details advertised locally or in your local Tourist Information centre.

And with a little imagination you can turn any dull moment into an adventure. When was the last time you launched a message in a bottle? Have your kids prepare a message and a return address and stamped envelope, seal in a plastic bottle with candle wax, and then launch your bottle or hang it from a tree (be careful to observe litter laws, however). Who knows? One day somebody might find it and return your message.

In The Garden

We sell a range of garden products that will keep everyone occupied under your watchful gaze. There’s also lots of fun ideas that cost nothing and are easy to set up. Organise a game of hide and seek, or a treasure hunt – where you hide toys and sweets around the garden and house with a rhyming clue to where the next ‘find’ is. Flying kites or making magic lanterns are great fun and very beautiful to watch as they sail into the heavens in early evening.

Time capsules are another lovely idea – with the aim being to record what life was like for your future selves. Any biscuit tin will do. Get your kids to fill it with memorabilia from 2010 – stickers, receipts, postcards, old magazines, a lock of hair and a letter to themselves in the future. Keep a map of where you bury it, and in a few years time – when flying cars are normal and Katie Price is prime minister - you can dig it up and marvel at the way we used to live.

But there’s more than one way to occupy your kids. Harden them up with some light garden work! Get them to pull out weeds ahead of spring, trim your edges or mow the lawn (only if they're old enough, mind, and supervision is a must here). It'll give them a little back-bone and that all important work ethic for later in life.

Get Active

Most importantly, get active: it's a fun way to exercise, spend time together, build family memories, and tire your kids into an early bedtime! Asda is famous for its bikes which we sold last year at zero profit in a bid to encourage a greener and fitter Britain. We're really proud of them - they come at a truly incredible price, and we know that you and your youngsters will love them.

Other no cost ideas are: football or rounders in the park, flying a kite, a swimming trip or a cold-weather picnic.


We love new ideas at ASDA Direct. Geocaching (pronounced Geo-cashing) is a fun way to use your SatNav or iPhone’s GPS (Global Positioning System - the technology that allows you to enter your postcode and see where you are on an electronic map) to search for treasure hidden by other members of the Geocaching community. It’s basically a technological version of a treasure hunt involving a good amount of walking and exploring, and a good way to get the most out of your SatNav.

Take a look at the official Geocaching website

Back to Nature

Children are naturally curious, and it's always fun to inspire them when we get the chance. There's plenty of ways to do this without it feeling like more school – that's the last thing anyone wants. The beach is a good place to start – think of all the rock pools, pebbles, fossils and shells to pick over. And there's a lot of other wildlife – puffins, sea birds and seals if you're lucky. It's going to be cold and windy, so pick somewhere relatively close by and don't go to far from the car or bus stop. And if they're not keen bribe them with either an ice cream or (more likely in February) fish and chips at the pier.

Meanwhile, nothing is more inspiring than the planets and stars. We have a new range of telescopes and tripods to get you looking at the planets. Your best bet is to look on a clear night (obviously) and away from light pollution (it makes stars and planets hard to see). Have a look at this fascinating site to get you started. And if you spot any alien forces in the solar system, please contact the police.

Enjoy half term and time with your kids - they're only young once!

External Links:

Breathing Places
A BBC website where you can enter your postcode to find your nearest greenland for a day out

English Heritage
Details of your nearest English Heritage sites - perfect for an afternoon trip

Kids Go Free
Handy site of free and discounted days out

Everything you need and need to know about this exciting SatNav-based activity

As many games, puzzles and creative ideas as you'll ever need over half term.
Stunningly beautiful selection of nursery-level computer games to amuse your youngsters.