5 Autumn Activities [That Won't Break the Bank]

5 Autumn Activities [That Won't Break the Bank]

Looking for October half-term ideas and autumn activities to keep the children entertained? We’ve got you covered with five budget-friendly suggestions.

Crimson leaves crunching underfoot on the stroll to school. Darker evenings creeping in. Carved pumpkins sitting on doorsteps. These indicate one thing – autumn has arrived!

And while many find the change in season refreshing (who doesn’t love that autumn chill?), parents, you might already be suffering with the ‘school holiday sweats’. Which present as a mild panic at the prospect of conjuring up school holiday ideas to keep kids entertained. Again.

So, as half-term kicks off, it’s time to get creative with some family-friendly October half-term activities that won’t break the bank.

Child baking in the kitchen with a parent

Pocket-Friendly Autumn Activities

With the daylight dwindling come 4.30pm and the weather starting to take a turn, you may already be reminiscing about those early evening summer walks and easy picnics in the park. We understand. It’s often easier (and cheaper) to entertain the kids on warmer days.

But we’re here to remind you that autumn is, in fact, the perfect time of year for spending time with the family. Think cosy, comfy and warming. And with the rising cost of living impacting us all, it’s more important than ever to get creative during gloomy half-terms.

To help you out, we’ve got five suggestions that are friendly on the pocket and will (hopefully) keep the boredom and bickering at bay.

1. DIY Den Building

An oldie, but a guaranteed goodie.

Every parent knows the frustration of having to pick up cushions from the living room floor 13 times before 10:30am. Or the defeat of having made the bed only to see it strewn across the bedroom floor.

So, our question is… why bother?

Beds are for getting restful sleep, true. But they’re also perfect den-building material. There’s just something exhilarating about den building, isn’t there? Nostalgic, if you will. So let imaginations and creativity run wild in a mass mayhem of pillows, blankets, and duvets.

And why stop there?

Pull out dining chairs, push sofas together, grab blankets, throws, duvets, and pillows, and fix with pegs or pin corners down under furniture – essentially, it’s a kids version of Grand Designs, so the sky’s the limit!

As the weather gets chillier, we crave the cosy. And this is an autumn activity that boasts plenty of that – and will keep kids busy. For a few hours, at least!

Children in a den made under a table with blankets and pillows

2. Woodland Walks and Seasonal Scavenger Hunts

No matter how old your children are, spending too much time indoors can lead to them climbing the walls. And we know that under-stimulated kids struggle to sleep, starting a cycle of its own.

Fortunately, the great outdoors is a) free and b) guaranteed to tire everyone out, supporting the night time drift to dreamland. And the best bit? Half-term activities don’t get any simpler. So, grab the coats and wellies, get out and enjoy the colourful autumn nature.

Depending on how old your kids are, you may find it tricky to pry them away from TV or games consoles, so deploy a bit of tactical parenting if necessary (chocolate bribery tends to do the trick).

There are plenty of free printable nature scavenger hunts available to download online. You could even go really wild and make one up – with a prize for whoever finds everything on the list.

Family on an autumn walk

3. Cosy Cooking or Baking

You see it in the movies – crisp amber leaves, roaring log fires, and someone merrily baking away in the kitchen. Idyllic, right?

Okay, so it might not be quite as picture-perfect for you (especially the cleaning up part) but cooking or baking with your little ones is fantastic low-cost half-term activity, with the added benefit of digging into the delicious outcome after!

And what’s more, research has shown that baking (along with other so-called ‘harmonious’ activities) can vastly improve your sleep by lowering stress. Stress reduction and icing sugar? Sign us up!

You could even get your spook on and combine the two by adding baking to a list of Halloween sleepover activities. Let the kids get messy, scooping and designing their ghoulish jack-o-lantern, then use the edible innards to delight your taste buds with pumpkin soup, pie, or muffins!

Rolled-out dough with pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters

4. Movie Marathon

Let’s imagine for a moment you’re in a dark room, filled with cosy pillows and duvets, fashioned into a den earlier that afternoon. You’ve got steaming cups of hot chocolate and snacks galore. And the best bit? The children are silent.

No need to snigger, it’s totally possible! Make your half-term dreams come true with (whisper it) a quiet afternoon.

Hosting a movie marathon has all the required ingredients for the perfect autumn activity that won’t cost you a penny. Plus, it’s the ideal alternative to facing the outside world with rowdy little ones in tow!

So, grab your snacks (or cakes, if the baking went well), a steaming mug of something sumptuous, and your delightful duvet before settling down for what could be the easiest of all half-term activities known to parents.

Who says half-term activities need to be energetic? This October half-term we're opting for snuggly.

Children and parent excitedly watching TV on a sofa

5. Calm Down Campout

They've made the decadent den, exhausted themselves in nature, baked and devoured mouth-watering treats, and relaxed with a movie or two – now it’s time to get your spirited sprogs wound down for a good night’s sleep – ready to do it all again the next day (you can do it!).

First, gather all the duvets, blankets, and pillows you can find in either the lounge or one of the bedrooms. Then, make some delicious warm hot chocolate or milk to set them up for a superbly serene slumber.

And relax! We hope we’ve given you some good inspiration for school holiday ideas and exciting Autumn activities that are simple to execute and won’t break the bank.

Remember to share your October half-term triumphs with us on our socials!

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