It might be hard to believe given that the Christmas holidays only feel like such a short time ago, but another half-term holiday is almost upon us. Schools everywhere are preparing to break up for five days over the coming weeks, potentially leaving parents wondering what they can do to keep their kids entertained.
February half-term can be a tricky one - the weather isn't really fit to sit out in the garden like you would in summer - indeed, ice is making it hard to get around in many UK locations - and the still-dark evenings mean outdoor adventures tend to be somewhat curtailed.
There's also the fact that many families may be wanting to avoid giving their bank balances too much of a workout following the spend-fest that was December.
If you're struggling to come up with ideas on what to do with your brood during the break, here are a few that you can take inspiration from. Just grab a whiteboard and draw up a basic timetable, then slot some in.
Don't feel you have to jam-pack each day with activities and remember to include a mixture of physical, indoor and restful things to do.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
We know it's not exactly innovative, but there's no denying that children love cutting, sticking and anything else craft-related, so put together a bag of coloured paper, colouring materials and other accessories and watch them go.
Perhaps you could get them scrapbooking their Christmas photos or making a collage of snow day snaps? Alternatively, a mobile or poster will liven up a bedroom wall as well as keeping them occupied for a while.
Creating a diary of your half-term can make a nice set of memories to look back on in years to come, so ask kids to sit down each day and write a little bit about what they've done, including mementoes like receipts and ticket stubs. It'll also get them practising their handwriting, but don't tell them that!
DANCE, DANCE, DANCE
It's important to stay active in winter, plus moving around will keep you warm. If the footpaths outside are like a skating rink, put a TV music channel on (not one featuring scantily-clad popstars though) or get a party CD out and have a dance session. See who can come up with the best choreography and offer prizes for the winner.
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS
If you do get a sunny day or feel you want to brave the great outdoors anyway, wrap up warm and have a run round the park to burn off some energy. Alternatively, head to National Trust properties and see if they've got any winter trails going on, as these are great fun to do and could result in everyone learning something.
LOOK FOR SPECIAL DEALS
Enjoying one treat day is nice at half-term, but you can end up paying through the nose for family tickets. Instead, look for special deals such as reduced ticket prices at the cinema and vouchers in your local paper. Deal websites like Groupon and Wowcher.co.uk can also offer excellent discounts on days out.
BE A LOCAL TOURIST
We all take the place where we live for granted and often don't make the most of all it has to offer. Avoid this by thinking of activities you might suggest tourists should do - and then do them! You might go to a nearby museum or check out a stately home, but it's sure to open your eyes to your locality and have you appreciating things in a whole new way.
GET THE BOARD GAMES OUT
When you just can't face leaving the warmth of the house, dig out all your old favourite board games and have a marathon session with the family. Studies have clearly demonstrated the cognitive and social benefits of doing this, plus they're more fun than you probably remember - and they don't involve screen time.
GO ON A BUS RIDE
We all think of public transport as a means to an end, but kids love riding on the bus. You don't have to go far - just pick a round route and then buy a cheap family return that most travel companies offer. You can then enjoy games like I Spy and Traffic Bingo without having to worry about driving.
GET HELP WITH HOUSEWORK
This might be a long shot, but you could always try using a quiet day to get some help with chores. Put your Mary Poppins demeanour on and get little ones balling up socks, wielding a feather duster or whizzing the steam cleaner around the floor. Your jobs will be done before you know it and everyone will have done their physical activity quota for the day.
With all these things to do, you'll wonder what you were worried about - and you should avoid the dreaded chorus of 'I'm bored'.