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School Half Term already?

By Rhiane Kirkby

Remember back in September when we packed off our kids in their pristine and slightly oversized uniforms and breathed a huge sigh of relief as the pressure of keeping them entertained 24/7 slowly lifted? The teachers amongst us may think differently, but for most parents the past few weeks have passed in the blink of an eye and here we are again wondering how to fill the October half term.

Thankfully, unlike the long summer holiday when family, friends and childcare providers seemed to disappear in their droves to holiday homes in the south of France and other exotic locations, this half term is different. Most people stay at home to enjoy the crisp autumnal weather and what is, after all, the most child-friendly time of year. With Halloween, Bonfire Night and even Christmas on the horizon – what could possibly go wrong?!

Unfortunately, quite a lot!

Some of you may be lucky enough to have a pile of invitations to parties, play dates and days out to wade through – but even those present their own challenges. How exactly do you get Harry to his pirate party in Putney at the same time as taking Olivia to her sleepover in South Ken? What do you do when one child desperately wants to do something that’s completely unsuitable for the other? And let’s not mention the other small issue we have to attend to – work!

There are two options here – a Mayday call to grandparents, aunts, uncles, kind-hearted friends, neighbours and anyone else you can realistically trust to look after your beloved offspring. And if that yields nothing – planning and preparation! Yes, the old Girl Guide motto, ‘Be Prepared’ certainly comes into its own when the holidays come around! And here’s where KIDSORTED can help. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably aware that all you need to do is pop your postcode into our fantastic search engine and a whole host of events will be presented to you. You can even break these down into age appropriate activities, to ensure the whole family is catered for. And to lighten your load we’ve hand-picked some options for you.

KIDSORTED curated Half Term Camps and Days Out for the entire family

If holiday camps are what you’re looking for, then one person taking the half-term Halloween theme and running with it is Heather Lyons, founder of blue{shift} coding. She’s running six coding and robotics camps in Notting Hill, suitable for 5 to 13 year olds. Enrol your kids on one of her courses and they could be making Halloween Minecraft mods, spawning fields of pumpkins, making fleets of flying witches and creating spooky costumes for their robots.

Catarina Pires is creating spellbinding science in her KidsWithBrains workshops which will run at venues across London from 23 to 28 October. She promises spooky and disgusting experiments, potions, concoctions, slimy creatures and magic wands. There’ll also be Harry Potter-themed events in celebration of 20 years of the world’s most famous wizard!

Fairy Girl flower kids drawingTalking of Fame, if your children are slightly more theatrical and you live near Putney then you may want to consider Petite Performers. Professional dancer Emily is running a three day, Halloween-themed camp from 23-25 October for children aged three to six. They’ll learn ghost and ghoul-inspired dance routines, songs and poems, as well as spending time doing arts and crafts. And whilst your little ones are carving out their pumpkins you can take along your laptop and hollow out a hole in your To Do list by working in their upstairs cafe, with a whole host of other mums and dads.

If energy-zapping activities are what’s needed then there’s some frightening goings on at FlipOut Brent Cross from 23 to 31 October. The trampoline park is suitable for all ages, but those under five need adult supervision. Your little witches and wizards can work on their aerial acrobatics at Flying Fantastic, the aerial fitness school. They’re running two day courses at Bankside and in Wimbledon from 23 to 27 October.

And Active Day Camps are running multi-activity courses from 16 to 27 October in Hampsted. There’ll be Halloween-themed activities, but, “the great thing about these camps,” says founder, Rebby Wallis, “is that kids can choose what they want to do and when. Tennis, hockey, clay modelling, t-shirt design, arts, crafts... the list goes on. There’s structure, but then there’s flexibility – and we find that works!”

If outdoor, more family-centred activities are what you’re looking for and let’s face it you may as well make the most of the autumnal weather before winter kicks in, then join professional coach, Tony Beaton at South Park in Fulham. He’s running a coaching camp for children aged five and up every morning during half term. You can book for the week or just drop in daily. There are child-friendly activities at National Trust properties across London – many with a Halloween theme. Explore a long history of spooky goings-on at ‘haunted’ Ham House and Garden, seek out four-legged phantoms at Sutton House and perfect your pumpkin carving skills at Morden Hall Park, Osterley Park and Rainham Hall.

Halloween costume vampire skeleton boy Ham House LondonOf course, you may want to go it alone and host your own Halloween party. If you’ve been inspired by Instagram, but find yourself falling short of party perfection, then fear not, there are plenty of professionals you can call on. Party planners, face painters and cake and canapés makers – you’ll find them all KIDSORTED Party Central. And if you do manage to create a picture perfect half term – you know the one where your welly-clad, chilled out children run through fields of crunchy and colourful leaves in the hazy autumnal sunshine, laughing and playing happily together – we’ve got plenty of photographers who would be more than willing to capture that memorable moment for you! After all, it’s probably only going to happen once in a lifetime - or at least – once in a half-term!

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