Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

09th February 2022

Bumper half-term special! Hundreds of fantastically fun things to do indoors and out! Plus raise awareness and learn during LGBTQ+ History month, planet-friendly Valentine cards and crafts, and the six words that will improve your family dynamic!

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

09th February 2022

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

09th February 2022

Many schools across England and Scotland have broken or will break for half-term this week, so there are hundreds of events taking place across the country. We’ve picked out some of the most fun – indoors, outdoors, online – some ticketed, but many free!

The Dark Skies Festival takes place in National Parks across the country, including the South Downs, Cumbria, Northumberland, North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales, with a galaxy of events that include stargazing parties, rocket making, cycling, walking, rockpooling, zip wiring or caving at night, and nocturnal animal trails.

If you’re more keen on daytime fun, the National Trust’s half-term events include crafting your own bird box, den building, and, at Trenwainton Garden in Cornwall, following the Wakey-Wakey trail to spot early signs of spring. Find an event near you here.

The WWT preserves the wetland’s natural habitat in the heart of London. This half-term, there’s also a series of family adventures to enjoy, including cooking up a messy storm in the mud kitchen, joining an adventure workshop and taking the orienteering challenge. Find out more here.

Or fire up your family’s imagination with English Heritage as their sites come alive this week. Get fit for history and join an outdoor explorer quest inspired by knights, soldiers, medieval monks or ancient Olympians. Find an event near you here.

Have fun, get out and about and get your grey matter throbbing with a Treasure Trail. Choose to explore your local area or a new town or city with a self-guided adventure. Each trail lasts about two hours and features clues, challenges and twists with spy, detective and explorer themes. Choose from over 1200 across the UK.

The Wildlife Trust look after over 2,300 nature reserves across the UK – take the opportunity to explore some near you. Many have events over half-term – join conservation days, make feeders for local wildlife, go on after-dark walks, make lanterns and build your own bird box.

Why not take the opportunity of the break to start a journey into birdwatching? The RSPB’s reserves – many of them free – dot the country. Find an event to inspire you – try nest box building, go on welly walks, or even visit Dungeness’ awe-inspiring sound mirrors this Sunday.


Unmissable for Londoners and beyond, the annual Imagine Children’s Festival returns in 2022 for 12 days of fun over half-term. Held in the warm and cosy Royal Festival Hall, at least half of the programme is free of charge; watch theatre shows, enjoy comedians, meet your favourite authors and dance, dance, dance. This year, ticketed shows include Shape the World with OKIDO, Peppa Pig: My First Concert and Two Terrible Vikings.

The Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands are excellent places to go this half-term; warm, dry and relatively uncrowded. This holiday, join evening tours with stories of dark happenins, try five different kinds of ancient tea in a tea ceremony, join a Great Fire of London or Roman family walk across London and celebrate LGBTQ+ history month with talks, walks and an exhibition that explores the cultural heritage of London’s modern Queer community.

Catch the final month of Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules, Somerset House’s joyful, anarchic tribute to the well-loved comic. Gnasher fans can not miss this! Ticketed.
Meanwhile Cats and Dogs, The Horniman Museum’s interactive exhibition that celebrates our favourite furry friends is just opening. Time your visit to coincide with one of the free family friendly events at the venue; creative music workshops, sweet-making sessions and clay play! Museum free, exhibition ticketed.

Leicester’s Spark Festival is a celebration of children’s arts that includes shows, community projects, and a schools programme. Head to the city to try origami clubs, Le Gateau Chocolat’s stunning reimagining of The Ugly Duckling, jazz-inspired gigs and takeovers by young writers.

Manchester’s Science + Industry Museum’s Cancer Revolution exhibition explores the past, present and future of how the disease is prevented, detected and treated. Enjoy interactive exhibits and inspiring personal stories. Events this half-term include making your own model of a cell, a chance to meet scientists and experts, science shows, a mini movers session that explores how our bodies work like machines and the beautiful moving sculpture, A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo ValleyFree

Do you remember 4-year-old Lily Wilder? Last year she discovered a huge, pristine dinosaur footprint fossil that’s over 220 million years old. And now you can see her find at the National Museum in Cardiff! Free

Liverpool’s museums and galleries are buzzing with things to do this holiday Join stargazing events, get up close with ancient Egypt, celebrate LGBT+ and Christian lives, join a wasp workshop and celebrate Lunar New Year


Create collages of interiors using papers, magazines and newspapers that are inspired by shapes found in the paintings of Henry John Lorimer in Edinburgh’s City Arts exhibition Reflections: The light and life of John Henry Lorimer. Saturday February 19, 10am. Free

Derby Museum’s online Have a Go pages are inspiring, colourful and suit all ages. Try drawing insects, making a pinhole camera or miniature garden or exploring turbines, windmills and engines. Free

Celebrate Valentine’s in silly fashion by writing a funny message for some of the romantic Victorian couples featured in the Guildhall Art Gallery’s collection. Saturday 12, 2pm, free.


Even the smallest of flats has space for an outside birdhouse. National Nest Box Week starts on Sunday February 14 and aims to encourage everyone to put up nest boxes to promote and enhance biodiversity as well as conserve our breeding birds. Putting up a nest box and, if you’re lucky, seeing a bird raise chicks in it, is incredibly satisfying and inspirational for children. Why not hold your own nest-box making session this weekend? There are simple instructions for a traditional box here, or find how to make a cute one from a kettle here and from a carton here . There’s more quirky inspiration here (we love the house number homes) and here.


Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. The usual rose-in-plastic Valentine’s Day gifts make our hearts feel heavier rather than soar, but we adore this very simple woven grass take on the tradition courtesy of Mother Natured. Find lots more nature-inspired ideas for Valentine crafts here (we love the Richard Shilling-inspired land art heart). Meanwhile, this brown paper heart is stylish and easy to make, while this glorious flower creation is more ostentatious, but a lot of kitschy fun. A thumbprint platter that features all the family’s fingermarks is something you or a relative will treasure forever, while these homemade bath bombs are great for teenagers to concoct, and are brilliant gifts. Even tiny kids can make beautiful tissue paper hearts and there are more ideas for small children here (we love the celery stalk rose stamps and string heart)


It’s LGBT+ History Month, a time to learn (find resources and lesson plans here), raise awareness or make your voice heard! Find out more about the month here, including some excellent teaching resources, or join a real-world event. Find a calendar here. We’re excited about the National Maritime Museum’s Rainbow Week half-term workshops that include making a disability pride flag or signal flags, making protest posters, and creating a badge that tells your story!

WHAT WE’RE READING 6 Words You Should Say Today: “Very rarely does one sentence have immediate impact on me. Very rarely does one sentence change the way I interact with my family. But this one did. It was not from Henry Thoreau or some renowned child psychologist. It was invaluable feedback from children themselves. And if I’ve learned anything on my journey, it is that children are the true experts when it comes to grasping what really matters in life.” Read more here

Teaching kids to be kind is a wonderful and powerful way to protect their mental health and emotional well-being and one of the greatest gifts a parent could give. In this TedX talk, author Becky Goddard-Hill shows you a variety of ways to teach your children about the power of self-kindness. She also demonstrates how being kind to others and towards the wider world leads to stronger connections and increased happiness. Watch here