How to have the best October half term ever

Do you struggle for ways to keep the family entertained during half term? Enter our competition to win a bundle of games and gifts worth £200

Just Kids has all the latest toys and gadgets
Just Kids has all the latest toys and gadgets
Aqua Sana Boutique iis home to high-end brands including Elemis and Decleor
Aqua Sana Boutique iis home to high-end brands including Elemis and Decleor
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Just Kids has all the latest toys and gadgets
Just Kids has all the latest toys and gadgets
Aqua Sana Boutique iis home to high-end brands including Elemis and Decleor
Aqua Sana Boutique iis home to high-end brands including Elemis and Decleor

We all pretended summer was still hanging around over the weekend – resolutely sitting outside in short sleeves, stubbornly ignoring the goose bumps – but today has left us in no doubt that summer has upped sticks and made way for its blustery autumnal replacement to move in.

And for families with school-aged children, that can only mean one thing: half term is around the corner. Nine whole days of no school and distinctly unreliable weather…

If you don’t have an October half term break at Center Parcs booked, it can be a challenge to come up with new and interesting ways to keep the children entertained and spend quality family time together.

What you can win
So to help out, we’ve put together a bumper half term bundle, packed with toys and pastimes you can enjoy together – and even a little treat for mum and dad, because let’s face it, you’ve earned it. The bundle, worth £200, includes:

  • Minions jigsaw puzzle
  • Traditional diamond kite
  • Make-your-own owl sewing kit
  • Minecraft Lego set
  • Ludo board game
  • Make-your-own pirate ship
  • The Gruffalo book
  • Cath Kidston diary
  • Fold-and-fly paper planes
  • Elemis gift set for him
  • Elemis gift set for her
  • …and a cuddly toy!

Everything in the bundle comes from the wonderful shops on our Villages – The Store Room, our country kitchen-style gift shop, Just Kids, a magical toy emporium, and the Aqua Sana Boutique which is home to high-end brands including Elemis and Decleor.

How to enter
To win everything in the picture, simply tell us your best tips for a cracking October half term by commenting below, or emailing your.story@centerparcs.co.uk. Do you have the ultimate parenting hack that keeps your children happy all week? Do you go in for clubs, rotate play dates with other parents or set them up with an afternoon of crafts? Share your best ideas with us – and other Center Parcs parents – and we’ll pick a winner. Terms and conditions apply*

You have until midnight on Wednesday, 7th October to enter – good luck!

Liked that? Try these:

*Terms and conditions

  1. The Center Parcs ‘Best October half term ever’ competition (the Promotion) is open to UK residents only, aged 18 and over, except employees of Center Parcs (the Promoter), their families, agents or anyone professionally connected with the Promotion.
  2. To take part in the promotion, email your half term tips to story@centerparcs.co.uk or comment at the bottom of this blog post (blog.centerparcs.co.uk/best-october-half-term-ever).
  3. There is no entry fee and no purchase is necessary to enter the promotion.
  4. The promotion will run from 5pm (GMT) on Monday 28th September 2015 until midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 7th October 2015. This period will be known as the Promotion Period.  Any entries outside the Promotion Period will not be counted.
  5. The prize winner will be selected by the Promoter.
  6. There is one prize of £200 worth of games and gifts from The Store Room, Just Kids and Aqua Sana Boutique.
  7. The decision of the Promoter in relation to the promotion is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  8. No information regarding entries or judging will be disclosed to any third party not involved in the conduct of the Promotion.
  9. The prize is not transferable, re-saleable or exchangeable. There is no cash alternative.
  10. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute any of the prize products subject to availability.
  11. The winners will be contacted by Monday 12th October 2015 by email.
  12. The winner must respond to notification of their prize.
  13. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material.
  14. By entering, the participants consent to receive news, offers and promotions from Center Parcs via email, SMS, phone and mail.
  15. By entering, the participants are providing their information to Center Parcs and not to any other party. Any personal information provided will be used in conjunction with the Center Parcs Privacy Policy which you can see online at http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/information/privacy/index.jsp
  16. By entering, participants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by the Terms and Conditions. All entry instructions form part of these Terms and Conditions.
  17. No entries from agents, third parties, organised groups or applications automatically generated by computers will be accepted. No incomplete or corrupted entries will be accepted. Any entries not in accordance with the entry instructions will be rejected.
  18. In the event of unforeseen circumstances the Promoter reserves the right to offer alternative prizes of equal or greater value.
  19. The Promoter reserves the right to amend, alter or terminate this promotion at any time due to circumstances beyond its control.
  20. The Promoter’s decision is final and binding in all matters relating to the Promotion.
  21. The Promoter can accept no responsibility for, and reserves the right to refuse, entries which are corrupt, incomplete or fail to arrive by the closing date.
  22. No social media website (such as Facebook, twitter or any other such website) are sponsors of the Promotion and have no responsibility or liability regarding the conduct or administration of the Promotion.
  23. These rules are governed by English law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
  24. The Promoter of the Promotion is Center Parcs (Operating Company) Limited, registered in England, company number 04379585. The registered address is Head Office, One Edison Rise, New Ollerton, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG22 9DP.

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  • Vicky Louise Cosgrove

    Lots of boardgames for rainy weather and visiting centre par s

  • Emily

    Going on trips to the library, taking out books and collecting reading stickers!

  • nicola jackson

    Forest walks and collecting leaves while there for crafts. Checking whats on in local parks and libraries

  • sally johnston

    Campfire in the garden to roast marshmallows & do some star gazing x

  • Warren Jacobs

    A week away in center parcs should keep them happy but failing that, walks in the woods, daytrips to the zoo and sleepovers.

  • Izzy Plusnin

    Children’s activities at our local community garden. We do bug hunting, den building, kite making, drumming workshops, circus skills, gardening willow weaving and loads more and its free as its all run by volunteers.

  • Pamela Mucci

    I take my autistic sons to the adventure playground, on conker hunts, leaf collections, treasure hunts, play hide and seek in the park and travel around by bus playing I spy a number bus/mini cars and visit the transport museum to take 101 photos of buses and trains. Most of it is free!!
    Pamela Mucci

  • Paula Blair

    This October half term, all being well, we will spend the school break exploring the forest at our local national trust site. We will kick leaves and feed the squirrels and hunt for conkers too! If the weather is rubbish we will spend some time at home making dens out of blankets and tables and make up stories of brave princes and beautiful princesses on thei magical journeys whilst wearing our pyjamas and having carpet picnics! Perfect. The only thing that could make it better would be to win this amazing priE x

  • Lucy Chester

    We love exploring in the woods, hiding in the leaves and looking for conkers. My son wants to make a tree house in the garden with his friends by themselves and they have been collecting planks of wood, brought string and found some left over paint in the shed so that should keep them occupied for a while. There is also an exhibition at the science museum I would like to take my son if I can drag him away from the tree house! On the Wednesday I have brought two tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a surprise.

  • Elise

    We will be going to the park, playing with friends and doing lots of puzzles and book reading :)

  • Emma Keating

    Hopefully if the weather continues lots of outdoor fun exploring the beaches, woodlands & outdoor sports as I have 2 boys who absolutely love the outdoor life and are sports mad! Followed by chilly family evenings in playing board games, reading books & enjoying quality family time!

  • Louise Newman

    Center Parcs is my daughter’s favourite place the whole wide world. She’s already made her list of things to do for our visit this half term. It was one of the first family holidays we had and a place where she learnt to ride her bike. To me, Center Parcs means family time. We use the chalkboard to write down everything we plan to do everytime we go and work through it. Lots of walks, bike rides and picnics are what we have planned this time.

  • Rachel Hollins

    My top tip is to timetable the week to avoid getting to the end of the week and realise you haven’t done anything and it also helps my daughter know what’s happening to avoid being bored. This normally includes a couple of stay at home mornings or afternoons For us both to have down time aswell as having fun doing painting, the park, bike rides, play dates, baking, reading etc. Enjoy everyone. Xx

  • Samantha Smith

    My daughter is too young at the moment (she is one) so school hols don’t really effect us. However October half term when I was growing up always meant making animal hide out ready for winter so we make bird food garden decorations to feed the winter birds, we prepared the bird feeder and created areas in the garden for hibernating hedge hogs. I hope to carry on this tradition with my daughter this year to keep her occupied in doors as the weather turn colder/wetter

  • Sara Swift-Stafford

    We try to come to Centerparcs around the weekend before half term. This always gets us in the mood for fun. We are coming on 9/10 this year. We then take Autumn walks and look for conkers and leaves, Halloween party at home and take in a firework display. Wonderful time of year.

  • Sarah Phillips

    I’ve got two boys aged five and two and they are so active so will go on lots of walks through the woods and round the lakes near us. The boys get to pick one activity each for the week and the other days we just do free stuff. We can’t wait to come to centre parcs later this year.

  • Colette Forrest

    As a family we always try to spend time together at half term. There are 8 of us coming to center parcs again and nanny has to bring the activities. From paints and paper to games for the evening when the children are in bed. Although we are going on 23rd October Halloween is on the list. So nanny will be armed with card to lift the spiders webs from the woods and pipe cleaners for the spiders. Not forgetting the string to hang in the doorway for the task of eating the apple from the dangling string. Finally finishing off with a ghost walk looking for bats! Can’t wait!

  • Kayleigh ross-greaves

    We do lots of outdoor activities, we embrace the cold and rain, get out wellies and go for as many walks as we can!! We always come home to a nice big hot chocolate and films to watch, there’s nothing better than tiring the little ones out and then relaxing together :) xx

  • cheri stringer

    I have 5 children ranging from 2 to 12 so its hard to find activities to entertain them all at the same time. I always find outdoor play in the woods keeps them busy for hours. Climbing trees, building dens and hunting minibeasts!

  • susie

    Weve been to centre parcs a couple of times with our two girls age 5 and 2,we all love spending time as a family here its so relaxing and super child friendly.
    we are coming for October holidays with other family and small children and we are looking forward to having lovely walks,enjoying the fresh air,doing some activites and enjoying some amazing food,my five year old never wants to come home at the end of our holidays there:,(

  • Claire

    We find den building, wall climbing, tree trekking and a whole host of centre parcs adventures keep the kids busy ajnd the whole family happy at the wonderful Sherwood Forest…and of course a cheeky wee two hours to myself at Aqua Sana helps too 😊

  • Paula Ashwood

    Last weekend we went blackberry picking and went home to make a pie. Then had the family over for dinner and had the pie for dessert yummy. Nothing better than family and pie.

  • michellelintern

    Mountain biking on exmoor, followed by DVD and popcorn

  • Nicole williamson

    Nothing better at this time of year than getting everyone all wrapped up and heading out to see the leaves change colour and and look for nature then do some crafts inspired my they day including paintings using leaves we found

  • Victoria Bell

    Wendover woods following the superworm trail, seeing the gruffalo followed by hot chocolate and marshmallows.

  • Karen Ridgway

    Being organised, checking out things to do in the local papers. Country parks are free, my idea of ‘find a……’ keeps them busy, i.e. find a squirrel, find a sheep, find a red leaf. Museums are free too, we have 2 nearby and The motor museum, which is fantastic. BlackBerry picking and making a crumble keep them busy too.

  • Tessa Russell

    Preparation! We spend our free time at national trust places as we are members. Parks and beaches are fun whatever the time of year too! I would love to say book to go to centre parcs, but we can’t do October and winter wonderland! Maybe next year!

  • laura spillings

    This is the first half term with her being at nursery, we had planned a holiday to center parcs but due to finances are unable. Instead famiky time, dog walks in the woods jumping in puddles. Wrapped up with the heating on watching dvds and comfort food x

  • Emma Lazenby

    We like to take walks through the woods! Make leaf piles (if dry enough!) and jump in them! Also like to bake Halloween themed cakes and treats together aswell as making Halloween decorations and trick or treat bags!
    And my eldest likes to watch monster house DVD in the evenings.
    Though this year we are visiting family in Great Yarmouth so will be walking by the sea instead of the woods! X

    We’ll make up for our woodland walks on our centre parcs trip in December! Woop woop! X

    • Amy Dickson

      Thanks for your suggestions, Emma. Sounds like you’ve got some great activities planned for half term already! If you’re looking for some Halloween-themed inspiration check out our quick and simple spooky treats here: http://blog.centerparcs.co.uk/quick-halloween-treats/

  • Sarah Clay

    Autumn is our favourite season. We have a day or so allocated to each upcoming event. So for Halloween we make decorations and get our outfits perfected for ghoulish scares. We have a day for bonfire night where we collect leaves and make bonfire collages with them, the different coloured leaves are amazing to contrast for the flames.
    And then we have our Xmas activity day, this is my favourite. We collect pine cones and glitter them to make decorations, we go out in our Xmas jumpers and stage our pic for our family Xmas card, we also make Xmas gifts for people, so will make lavender pouches or make candles with Autumn and winter scents.

  • Jennifer Hargreaves

    I entertain my 6 and 8 year olds with a different activity each day, with a focus on low cost activities, after all xmas is nearly here!! This october half term will include baking, crafts, a woodland walk with a twist – a list of items to find or spot eg acorn, pine cone, oak tree, squirrel etc, then a prize for the winner. There will also be pizza making, a trip to the local aquarium (pay once and return for free for the rest of the year), a local museums tour (all free) and if we’re really lucky with the weather, a trip to the coast for a welly splash in the sea and a picnic. Im looking forward to it already :-)

  • Georgia Holmes

    Hello.

    So for our October half term we (me and my two kids 4 & 5) embrace in centre parcs activities. So we will go adventure mini golf, we will go swimming, we will go to an amusement park, play soft tennis, do roller skating, go to soft play at a fun house, get our faces painted if we can find one, go for country side bike rides through the fields.

    My mum and dad brought me up having centre parcs holidays once a year with my two other siblings. Now I like to keep in with the same tradition and even I still love coming to this day.

    My kids love it therefore every half term is a centre parcs holiday for them.

    And we will be seeing you in November.

    😀

  • Janet Davies

    Fun for free in our great outdoors walking in the woods collecting leaves for printing and collage , down the beach checking out rock pools and collecting driftwood and shells . For in town collecting information and making maths fun counting different coloured cars and making a graph writing down number plates and sorting them into years . Take fun photos from different perspective from under the slide or on top looking down under the climbing frame . Make memories play in the rain have fun your never too old to be young . Memories are for life not just a season .

  • Tracy Lamont

    The half term Autumn holiday is a truly wonderful time. We normally take time to appreciate the most amazing woodland walks as the leaves change in colour, produce conkers and fir cones. Collecting Autumnal items from the parks, woods, beach, anywhere really is a must. Keeping a holiday book to put everyday memories in is an amazing way of completing ‘show and tell’ when the kiddies return to school. This book could include photos, writing stories, items from the woods such as leaves etc.. If the weather is terrible and too much for the waterproofs too, then Christmas planning begins!!! Creating Christmas lists from catalogues, writing and drawings. Making the Christmas cake together and practice runs for the mince pie cookies is always a must in our house!!! As the evenings are darker lots of snuggling up and reading together as well as a movie night with popcorn!!! This is truly a fantastic time for enjoying the outdoors and in too. Happy holidays to everyone !! xx

  • Beverley vickers

    Walks in the woods to blow off the cob webs, hoping to be the first to spot a robin red breast! Autum half term is always time to write our Santa letters too! 🎄🎅🎄

  • Melody Jean Wakelin

    We love pumpkin carving, making toffee apples and walks through the woods where we bring paper and crayons to do leaf and tree bark rubbings 🍂🍁🎃🍏

  • julie tattersfield

    we have a new puppy and he will be allowed out in time for half term, so its going to be a huge adventure, conker collecting, trips to the woods, leaf rubbings, then coming home, hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows and grated chocolate, with a dvd night. Then halloween preperations to look forward to for the end of the week, going to be a fun week :-)

    • Amy Dickson

      Sounds like a great plan, Julie! We’re certainly looking forward to Halloween. If you’re looking for some handy hints on pumpkin carving, check out our post here: http://blog.centerparcs.co.uk/pumpkin-making/ – it even includes free templates to download so your pumpkin will really stand out from the crowd

  • Andrea Butler

    We like to go looking for conkers, my boys love being in the trees.

  • Sarah Keeble

    Lovely walks in woods in the daytime all wrapped up warm & in our wellies, followed by lovely hot chocolate & a family movie.

  • lemonly84

    We get our wellies and wrap up warm and head for a walk with a list for kids to find natural autumn/winter items such as leaves, twigs, fir cones, conkers , pebbles from beach as we live on coast. They love bark rubbings too in oranges and browns. Kids love to take a bucket and check off lists. Then we make crafts with items collages with leaves and glitter. Use other leaves to print in paint make patterns. paint our pebbles into ghosts, monsters and pumpkins ready for Halloween! We soak and cook conkers and have competition who will win prize. Hot chocolates all round to warm up.

  • Sophie

    Baking, Baking and more Baking! Our favourites are Cookies, but nothing beats my Grandma’s secret recipe Apple Crumble using our very own apples. A perfect, warm accompaniment as its getting colder outside!

    We’re lucky enough to live near a country park so on go the wellies for long walks amongst the autumn leaves. (And to walk off our baking treats). Plus, we have our extra apples to feed to deers.

    Autumn also brings conker season! Instead of conker wars, we like to paint and decorate our conkers.

    • Amy Dickson

      Thanks for your comment, Sophie. Sounds like the perfect half term break to me! If you’re looking for baking or craft inspiration, check out our recent posts here: http://blog.centerparcs.co.uk/category/tutorials/ I highly recommend the frangipane fruit tarts!

  • Rachel King

    We wrap up warm and head outside! Anywhere from the woods to the beach, the kids love being outside and getting messy

  • Kirsty

    October half term for our little family is falling in love all over again with the newest addition to our family “Buddy”

    With 12 months in the planning and weekly visits since he was born, needless to say we are more than excited!

    Who said Chocolate had to be unhealthy! Buddy the chocolate lab will be one of the healthiest choices we have made. From spending time together has a family to being out and active. Not to mention the two CP visits in the new year for us all to adventure.

    Shame we have to wait another 4 weeks! 😫

  • Jaime

    We love wrapping up warm and walking in the woods with our little dog. So this year we are wrapping up warm to walk in the woods at center parcs at elveden. There is no place we would rather spend our time!!

  • gill

    Undoubtedly, the best way to spend the October half term is by giving the children a ‘Screen ban’, TV’s computers, phones, tablets are all banned! The children are pointed in the direction of coats and wellies …. then pointed outside to make the most of weather before Winter sets in. I think Autumn is the best season for colours, the children can collect leaves and conkers, they can play in piles of leaves, they can jump in puddles, climb trees as the fruits and leaves will have fallen off most. After the first half an hour of asking ‘What can we do?’, there’s no looking back. This year we are heading to Whinfell for October half term and have a whole host of activities planned – so with the activities and the ‘screen ban’ the children will be shattered and hopefully sleep well!

    • Amy Dickson

      Hi Gill, great ideas here. I especially like your idea of a ‘screen ban’ over half term. Check out our recent quiz on technology use to see how you measure up with other families! http://blog.centerparcs.co.uk/technology-survey/

      • gill

        The quiz made me laugh! Its been written by someone with teenage children :-) The children have a ‘screen ban’, but I don’t – I appear to be ‘trapped in technology’ Oops!

  • Paula Griffiths

    We love to scrunch through the leaves and find big sticks to throw up to get conkers! Delamere Forest is a favourite, then a visit to the visitors centre for hot drinks all round.

  • Rachel Porter

    Half term is a time to enjoy the changing of the leaves making Autumn pictures with a lovely walk to collect leaves, followed by a nice hot chocolate, baking yummy cakes to taste especially Xmas cake and dressing up for Halloween for those children’s parties.

  • Ladyclaire

    We pick a walk from a local walking book that we have never done before & head out with wellies & waterproofs. We always take a book of trees & birds with us to learn about what we have seen. We will take snacks & drinks to encourage tired legs to keep going. The children will collect what they find, leaves, pine cones etc & will take some home to paint or make a collage with. When we get home it will be homemade pizzas with every one choosing their topping making their own tea. Simple pleasures. A cheap but a very cheerful day!!

  • Becky McManus

    One of our favourite things to do is fairy house and troll den hunting in our local forest. My 7year old loves it! My 3month old gets plenty of fresh air and snuggles with mummy in the sling and our dog gets so excited running around! We also build little bridges out of twigs over puddles for the fairies. We also like to write to the Fairy Queen and Troll Master and tell them all about what we have seen. Its so exciting waiting for a reply! We also like to collect strange looking twigs and stones and make features out of them at home in our garden.
    Rebecca McManus

  • Amy Turner

    We go for walks and collect autumn items such as conkers, pretty leaves, pine cones etc. We then use them as decorations. Make great centre pieces for the table :) I have a 4,3 and 1 year old that love this :)

  • Laura

    We love getting our wellies on to see who can find the biggest conker. Then going to the park to make the most of the dry weather and then trick or treating at the end of the hols. Cheap and cheerful :-)

  • Louise Bishop

    Getting on our bikes and heading to our local Country Park to collect conkers, skimming stones in the sea and climbing our ‘secret’ tree!

  • Amanda Burrows

    I buy loads of fab Halloween goodies in the sale the year prior so when October Half Term comes we can have a monster time at half the price, dressing up and silly games fit in well with the spooky bits and bobs.

  • Jeremy Rance

    For my Sons its lego all the way. They enjoy building all sort of things and it just gets them away from tablets and screens, gets them creative, and they get me involved as well and feeling like a big kid again

  • Sarah

    We fill up the time with lots of activities, our favourites at this time of year are, carving spooky pumpkins for Halloween, Collecting conkers, pretty leaves and other lovely autumn items that have fallen from the trees and we also like to take trips to the local library, there is so much to do as well as stock up some wonderful books!

  • Lucy wood

    My son loves Stick Man by Julia Donaldson at the moment so we get the coats, hats and wellies on and try to find the best stick man and his family in the woods. We then bring them home and use them to reenact parts of the book.

  • Kirsty Flerin

    Make a wish list of activities with the kids at the beginning of the week; include indoor and outdoor, arts/crafts, baking, parks, walks, museums, autumn collages, cinema, board games, bike ride etc – things that you’d like to do and they’d like to do. Also include some self directed activities they don’t need you for. Then pick from the list each day depending on the weather.

  • Liz Hardie

    Take them to the park to run around and play football. It’s free and burns a lot of their energy!

  • Tanya Camilleri

    Get your wellies on and go visit some local woods. splash in puddles, climb trees, look at the changing nature, read stories (the gruffalo) and collect sticks/leaves etc for some crafting when you get home. Enjoy a nice warm bath and then all snuggle up on the sofa in your pjs with a hot chocolate :) that is our plan for at least 2 of the holidays x

  • Rachel Raybould

    We have lots planned for half term this year. Firstly I will be taking my son conker hunting, to see who will find the ultimate champion conker this year. Whilst we are doing his we will be collecting lots of different coloured leaves to make some lovely Autumn pictures. Finally we will end the half term by making decorations and frightening food for Halloween . mwah, mwah mwah

  • Nuala Christina Rees

    Find out what is going around you, there is normally lots of free events put on at museums and what films are showing at the pictures. If you plan in advance you can visit parks and swimming on the days there is nothing to suit. Just plan ahead

  • Emma cropper

    I have brought my little boy up to give cards and gifts to others at Christmas. So now he is at school, that’s a lot of cards to make! we get lots of hot chocolate and he chooses a new music cd, then we have lots of crafty fun during the October half term making personalised cards for all his friends and teachers. This years theme is snowmen so I think cotton wool will be in high demand!

  • Ali Louise Clifford

    Unfortunately I have to work in the half term so can’t plan day long activities so have to find short afternoon activities. We will definitely have a duvet afternoon on the sofa watching a film with popcorn. If the weather allows we will walk along the canal, feed the ducks and crunch through piles of leaves!

  • sarah

    Wrapping up warm and collecting anything that catches our eye like cones and leaves and bright shiny conkers. Then taking it home and sorting it into groups, counting it, naming the colours and then having a nice frothy hot chocolate as a reward for a job well done

Maddy Potts

Post Author:
Maddy Potts

As Marketing Executive at Center Parcs, I’m lucky enough to hear all the amazing stories that come from our guests, our Villages and the wider travel industry. I’ll blog about the best ones, bring you some fantastic competitions and update you on all the exciting new activities and goings on at Center Parcs.