Make a staycation a playcation

half term activity ideas

Keeping children entertained in the school holidays without spending lots of money is a lot easier with a little forward planning. Mixing things up a little, giving the wow factor to what you already have and creating tempting invitations to play can bring lots of fun to your holiday without costing a fortune.

Try these ten ideas for fabulous frugal fun to get your holiday off to a playful start.

Make things look tempting: taking five minutes the night before to arrange some materials is time well spent and can set the tone for the whole day. Try using muffin tins or dip trays to gather small, interesting items.

how to make a peg doll

Double up for maximum fun: making crafts that transform into toys gives you lots of extra play factor. Try peg dolls, lollypop puppets or junk model animals.

teddy bear play ideas

Enlist help: adding a favourite teddy to a play set-up can be all you need to get children to dive in and start playing with something they’ve not used for a while. Try sitting teddy on one of their trains, set up a teddy bears picnic or pop ted on the sofa reading some books.

role play camping

Turn a staycation into a playcation: by setting up a camping role play, with sleeping bags and torches. You could even toast some marshmallows on your campfire.

water play ideas

Keep it simple: often children are happiest with the simplest of things to play with. A bucket of water is always a big hit in our house.

scrapbook ideas for children

Start as you mean to go on: lay something out on the breakfast table for the children to discover as soon as they wake. How about a holiday scrapbook or garden journal.


Go natural: toys don’t have to  be battery powered. Put out some un-toys:  bowls of shells, pebbles, fir cones or sticks and let the children see where their imagination takes them.

marble painting

Mix it up: put different materials together and give them a new lease of life. Try marble painting or see our free playdough ebook for a huge list of things to try with dough.

kitchen role play ideas

Add a wow factor: Spark the kids interest by adding some real-world wow to the things they already have: put real food in the play kitchen, some of your own jewellery in the dressing up box or a few real coins in the toy shop.

make a junk model town

Upcycle: put your recycling box to good use by transforming it into a dinosaur land , ride on train or horse riding stables.

Our archive is packed full of more ideas for things to do in the school holidays – take a look and grab a play idea to share with your children.

happily shared with works for me Wednesday and tot school and  share your Sunday best and  link and learn and the magic onion and  for the kids Friday and  it’s playtime


    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Phyllis – thanks for sharing the link through to your post. I know from all your other posts that your homeschool is a fun place. Better to invite and do than just tell :)

  1. says

    I just love your ideas. I agree – presentation is often half the fun. I feel bad sometimes that I often don’t have time to present an activity well enough to generate daughter’s enthusiasm for it.

    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Natalie, I hope you don’t feel to bad :) – even with every great intention sometimes kids just aren’t interested in an idea (although I do find that putting it away and bringing it out again a while later sometimes gives the idea a second chance)

  2. says

    Awesome post! I love all of your ideas. Thanks for sharing this at For the Kids at Sun Scholars. I’m off to share this with my Facebook friends. :)

  3. says

    Wow! All great ideas! My little one is still a little young for a lot of these activities, but she sure does love to splash in water! And right now, she’s obsessed with stickers!!! Loves to stick them on the side of her crib at naptime!

    Thanks so much for all of the great tips! I’ll have to keep them in mind for when the time comes!!!

    Stopping by from (last week’s) Share Your Sunday Best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *