Entertaining the kids on a budget this February half term!
February half term is almost upon us and with the rising cost of living, we’re here to help you with some ideas of cheap and free ways to keep the kids entertained!
1. Head to the zoo!
ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have a Community Access Scheme and until the end of March 2023 you can now buy reduced price tickets at the gate from as little as £3 per person if you are receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance. The £3 tickets are available for the whole family (under 3’s go free), from 11am every day of the week, and the current offer runs until the end of March 2023.
You’ll need to take your proof of benefit letter with you to the zoo when you buy your tickets(s) at the admissions gate (this can be an electronic copy if you prefer). Find out more here.
2. Visit the library!
Our local libraries are not only a good place to spend a couple of hours encouraging our children to discover new books but they also have some brilliant events on for half term!
Merstham and Horley libraries
Creative writing session with author Sarah Hagger-Holt for 9-13yr olds. Booking necessary £4 per child.
- Farm craft: Saturday 11th February, 10.30-11.30am. Suitable for children 3+. Cost £1 per child.
- Valentine’s Day Craft: Tuesday 14th February, 10.30-11.30am. Suitable for children 3+. Cost £1 per child.
- Farm craft: Wednesday 15th February, 10.30-11.30am. Suitable for children 3+. Cost £1 per child.
- Board games and jigsaws: Wednesday 15th February, 2-4pm. Suitable for children 4+. Free event.
- LEGO club: Thursday 16th February, 2.30-3.30pm. Suitable for children 6+. Cost £1 per child.
- Farm craft: Friday 17th February, 10.30-11.30am. Suitable for children 3+. Cost £1 per child.
- Grow you own peas and beans: Friday 17th February, 2.30-3.30pm. Suitable for children 3+. Cost £1 per child.
No booking necessary for the half term events above. Find out more here.
Caterham Valley library
- Children’s craft: Tuesday 14th February, 12-1pm. Cost £2 per child
- Children’s board games: Friday 17th February, 11am-12pm. Free
Booking is required, find out more here.
3. Get out for a walk in the countryside
We’re so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside with lots of adventure trails and places to discover with the kids. Banstead Woods is home the fantastic Narnia trail, where you can see characters from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” classic story. The trail takes around half an hour.
Surrey County Council also has recently improved the natural play area at Newlands Corner and have more ideas for family days out in the countryside here.
4. Get crafty at home
Sometimes a chilled day at home is needed and you want to try and avoid too much screen time! The Stripey Stork kids’ corner has loads of great ideas for easy crafts and activities you can do at home – here.
The Cbeebies website also has some great free resources – here.
5. Head to your local community space
Play & games
These sessions are ideal for children aged 4-7yrs. The hour long session will include a mix of fun games like parachute games. If you are in receipt of benefits or have a looked after child you may be eligible for a 50% discount, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of benefit entitlement i.e. latest benefit award notices, latest universal credit award, child benefit letter etc along with proof of residency to show evidence of address via utility bill or bank statement.
Woodhatch Community Centre, Tuesday 14th February, 10:30-11:30am – £5 per child book in advance here
Regent House Community Centre in Horley, Thursday 16th February, 11-12am – £5 per child, book in advance here
Sensory play at The Red Oak Centre in Merstham – on Tuesday 14th February from 10:30am – 12pm there’s a great sensory session taking place for families supporting children aged 0-11 with additional needs. Call to book on 01737 645908
6. Visit a nearby playground
A fun, free and easy few hours out at a playground can burn off some energy for the kids and why not suggest meeting a friend so you can have a chat and catch up too?
Did you know that there’s a new and inclusive sensory play zone at Priory Park play area in Reigate?
7. Take little LEGO fans to Denbies
Head to Denbies in Dorking on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th February for fun sessions run by The Brick People for February half term. Your children will be able to get involved with brick building, LEGO and DUPLO play areas, chill and build a LEGO mosaic. Under 5s go free, children aged 6+ £3.75 and adults £3.75. Booking in advance is strongly recommended here.
8. Dance classes at Gatton Park, Reigate
Gatton Park has two brilliant dance classes on for walking toddlers through to year twos this February half term. The classes are taught by dance and drama teacher Tanya Greenwood and cost £6.75 per child
- Tuesday 14th February – Street Dance (Walkers to pre-school: 9:30-10am / Reception to year 2: 10:15-10:45am) Book here
- Thursday 16th February – Ballet (Walkers to pre-school: 9:30-10am / Reception to year 2: 10:15-10:45am) Book here
9. Visit a museum
There are some free and cheap museums in Surrey to spark imagination with the kids and encourage them to learn new things, including:
Gatwick Aviation Museum
On Thursday 16th and Friday 17th February from 10am-4pm there’s plenty to keep little plane fans busy! There is plane making at 11am and plenty of planes and helicopters to look at. For aspiring pilots there’s a helicopter cockpit they can climb inside and you can see what travelling in style is like by going onboard a Upper Class Virgin Atlantic cabin! Adult tickets are £10, children aged 6-12yrs are £3.75 and under 5s go free – Visit | Gatwick Aviation Museum (gamc.org.uk)
Honeywood Museum – Carshalton
This half term (16th, 17th and 18th February: 10am – 5pm), join Mille’s Lavender and Flowers trail – a special sensory trail and crafts at Honeywood Museum with lots to discover, touch and smell. £2 per child, pre-booking required – Lavender and Herb Week Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite
Children aged 5+ can enjoy learning how to use paint and linocuts to make a scented print inspired by the local lavender and herb growing industry on 16th and 17th February at 11am and 2pm. £3 per child, pre-booking required – Lavender and Herb Lino Printing Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite
Little dinosaur lovers will be in their element at Crawley Museum’s ‘Stegosaurus Uncovered’ exhibition! They’ve got a 5-metre stegosaurus skeleton case on display. There’s plenty more to see learning about the history of the town. The museum is open Thursday – Saturday 10:30am-4pm. Entrance is free Children & Families – Crawley Museum (crawleymuseums.org)
We’d love to hear any other ideas you have for cheap or free things happening for children in the local area this half term, please share them on our Facebook page.