Keep the kids busy this half term

The summer holidays seemed like only yesterday, yet the half term break is nearly here. But fear not... the half term holiday doesn't have to be a headache if you plan ahead.

children playing in autumn leaves
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If you don't want to fall into the trap of switching on the Nintendo Wii and waiting for the arguments to start, then it's time to think of some pursuits that will wear them out as well as keep them occupied.

At this time of year, the weather can be a problem but that doesn't mean the children can't stay active. Many sports centres will organise holiday and half term sessions where youngsters can benefit from learning new sports and getting expert tuition.

Similarly if your child is the creative type, look out for drama or music clubs that may run week-long or three or four-day courses. Either can prove particularly useful if you're a working mum and can't take the time off.

Should the weather hold, the autumn provides useful (and free) fun for kids - you may find younger children are fascinated with collecting the fallen autumn leaves and nature offers plenty of materials for a collage when you get home.

If your children are older, why not introduce them to the lost art of playing conkers. Many schools have banned this traditional pastime thanks to health and safety but properly supervised it'll keep them occupied for hours.

And even the weather provides opportunities - make the most of the wind with a day of kite-flying.

As always, there's a possibility that a deluge will prevent you from venturing outside with the family but, since half term for most begins on October 25, Halloween means there's plenty to do inside.

Bake creepy cakes and biscuits, let them loose with tissue paper and face paints (preferably away from newly decorated walls or expensive upholstery) so that they can make their own scary costumes, or a make a paper-mâché pumpkin - there is plenty of Halloween-inspired fun to be had.