Climbing is a fantastic activity for children and adults alike, and with the recent rise of indoor climbing walls, is now an enjoyable year round pursuit.
It’s not just physically challenging but mentally stimulating too - forcing real-time problem solving when having to tackle a tricky climb by changing your approach; climbing is a fantastic confidence builder.
It’s important to challenge children to step outside their comfort zone, and by climbing within a safe environment you’ll certainly be doing that. Let’s face it, life is full of challenges, and the sooner we learn to tackle them the better.
For kids taster sessions in Brecon and Milton Keynes see http://www.bigrockclimbing.co.uk/section.php/145/1/kids-taster-session
UK Climbing has a full listing of climbing sites and courses.
Outdoor Adventure and Travel show
If you’re in London for half term and it’s raining, then look no further than the Outdoor Show - which this year is joined by the Bike Show, Triathlon and Dive shows all under the same roof. You’ll not only be inspired by a multitude of ideas for trips, but there’s enough to keep the kids happy all day.
There are climbing walls, zip-lines and bike races, as well as bush craft displays and inspirational speakers.
The best bit is that entry for kids under 16 is free.
Orienteering is a challenging outdoor adventure sport that gets both the grey matter and lungs working.
The aim is to navigate between control points using an orienteering map as fast as you can. You decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time, thus teaching the kids to map read, while burning of lots of that half-term energy.
There are many orienteering events this half term, but our family favorite is the chance to get lost in the woods of Home Farm in Bovey Tracey, Devon, a National Trust property.
Don’t worry if you’re nowhere near Devon, as nationwide events are posted on the British Orienteering site.
Skate and BMX Centres
Maybe one to leave to the kids, as falling off really does hurt! But hours of fun can be had watching your children learning to fly though the air, or slide along the rails and ramps in the UK’s many BMX and skate parks.
Minehead Eye is our recommendation, as it’s a fantastic half term destination for both kids and adults alike. Not only is there a top selection of indoor rails and ramps for skateboarders, BMX, rollerblades and scooters, but during school holidays there are also free workshops including animation, film making, beatbox and street dance.
A new edition to the centre is an indoor bouldering facility.
Find your nearest skate park here
Cycling is possibly the best way to get the whole family active, as the kids love it as you all cruise along together.
With the cycle shops full of bike seats, tow bars and super comfy (and waterproof) trailers there are no excuses not to get everyone on a bike.
There is an abundance of traffic free cycle trails in the UK, and even more routes that utilise only quiet back roads.
One of our favourites is the Taff Trail, a 55mile route from Brecon to Cardiff which is largely traffic-free. The Taff Trail passes through a variety of landscapes and sites of interest; there are also plenty of shops (for essential supplies, such as chocolate bars to keep the kids going!) and pubs to stop at too.
Sustrans, a charity set up to encourage cycling, has an authoritative list of cycle routes, from short traffic free family rides to multiday tours, and is a great source of information when looking for routes.
A bracing dip in the UK’s coastal waters is maybe beyond most little ones in the Febuary half term, but by the Easter or Summer holidays , this should be fine!
You can hire a surfboard on many UK beaches, but it’s best to take a lesson or join a surf camp first.
There are many surf schools around our coast and a good place to find your local surf school is by simply looking on Google. We like Beach Retreats and the O’Neill Surf Academy - both in Cornwall - and the Lahinch surf school in County Clare, Ireland.
If you really want to surf in February, then Taghazout in Morocco is a good place to head - unless you have the cash and time to head for Hawaii!
Ice skating/Ice Hockey
If the kids love Strictly Come Dancing and are inspired by the Winter Olympics, then why not combine the two and take them ice-skating!
Older kids should head for the spangles and sparkles that will be on show at the Stockeld Park ‘Disco on Ice’. It’ll be so much fun that you may well want to join in with the kids, showing off a few moves from your youth.
The outdoor rink at Stockeld Park is open all February half term, with the disco on Friday between 6-8pm
If that’s a little too tame, then you could try an introduction to Ice Hockey. Teams all over the UK are looking for the next generation of players and many offer children’s introduction courses, such as the ones run by the GMB Nottingham Panthers.
For a full UK list of rinks.
If it just gets too wet outside, then lets the kids get wet inside. Swimming up and down a pool will have your children bored stiff in moments, so thank goodness for water slides, lazy rivers and diving boards.
I’m sure you know your local pool, but if you’re anywhere near Blackpool then head to the Sandcastle waterpark, where the kids can throw themselves down the Montazooma slide or off the Aztec Falls.
If the kids are doing your nut in, don’t pull your hair out, as you can always get them back by scaring them witless on a high ropes course!
Or maybe your kids won’t be scared at all, and simply love being up in the forest canopy, as it’s a great challenge of mind over matter, and a good work out too.
There are now many high ropes course in the UK, with both Go Ape and Aerial Extreme pretty much covering the whole country with challenging high ropes courses.
Many locations have a smaller low level course, for children 4 and up, such as Go Ape at Leeds Castle.
Aerialextreme.co.uk Sheffield, Liverpool, North Yorkshire, Milton Keynes, Manchester
Go Ape has 29 locations across the UK
Ski and Snowboard
Not hitting the slopes of Europe this winter? Well no need to worry, as most of Team GB at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, started on the UK dry or indoor slopes.
Skiing and snowboarding are both fantastic sports for the whole family to enjoy together. It’s wonderful to see your kids zooming down a slope, and they just love seeing you fall over too!
There are 6 main indoor snow centres - Milton Keynes, Castleford, Braehead, Tamworth, Hemel Hempstead and Manchester - all of which use artificially made snow. There are also three indoor revolving slopes, where you stay still and the slope moves under your feet. All three are run by Skiplex, and are located in Reading, Basingstoke and Chiswick.
For a full review of Scotland's slopes.
A list of the UK dry slopes