The Half Term holidays are on their way – how did they come around so soon?! The hols start next week in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex (13 to 17 February) and a week later in West Sussex (20 to 24 February) – so we thought it was high time we came up with some ideas to help you through… If you’ve got your own ideas, please let us know by emailing compass@amazebrighton.org.uk – and we’ll share your thoughts anonymously with other families.

First things first…

Compass Card in child's handYou don’t want to get to the end of the Half Term week out of pocket, so make sure you make the most of the Compass Card when you’re out and about with your Compass Card holder. The new Compass Card website means you can sit down with a home computer, a laptop or a tablet and check out the 130+ offers at 170+ locations to your heart’s content. Just head to the offers page – you can search, filter and map offers, just like you can on the Compass Card app.

When you’re out and about, make sure you’ve got the latest version of our free Compass Card app. If you haven’t got it yet, just search ‘compass card’ in the App Store or Google Play and download the Brighton and Hove or the West Sussex version.

Most of the time, Compass Card offers work without a hitch, but if a member of staff doesn’t know about an offer, show them their listing on the Compass Card app – and if that doesn’t work, let the Compass Team at Amaze know and we’ll do our level best to sort things out for you. Email compass@amazebrighton.org.uk, contact us via the feedback form on the website or call us on 0300 123 9186.

Down to basics

Get out to your local library to get in your supplies of books and films. If you have a Compass Card, borrowing films is free if you’re a library member. And if you’ve got a large pan with a lid, you could make your own popcorn to bring the feel of the cinema to your home sofa…

Three children listening to audiobookIf you’re going to be spending time travelling over the holidays, the right audiobook can go a long way – so take a look at your local library’s stock of audiobooks. They’re free with a Compass Card too. West Sussex library users can also borrow communication devices.

Crawley library is running a bedtime stories session on Friday 17 February from 6 to 6.30pm so you could head down with PJs and teddies! For more info on library events, check out the Brighton and Hove library website at http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/libraries and the West Sussex library website at https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries/

The big indoors

The chances of wall-to-wall sunshine over the holidays is slim, so it makes sense to plan for a couple of things that get you out and about, but keep you undercover once you’re there.

Curtain call. There are loads of Compass Card theatre offers available in West Sussex over the Half Term break. They include ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ at The Hawth in Crawley, ‘The First Hippo on the Moon’ at The Connaught in Worthing, ‘Treasure Island’ at The Ropetackle in Shoreham and ‘Pat-a-Cake Baby’ also at The Ropetackle. Have a trawl through your e-newsletters for the promo codes and see what appeals to you.

Catch a blockbuster. There are quite a few cinemas in Brighton and Hove and West Sussex with Close up of Lego Batman's faceCompass Card deals these days and some great kids’ films lined up for the hols like ‘Sing’ and ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ – so this could be a great way of keeping the kids entertained in the warm and dry. We’ve got offers in place at the Duke of York’s in Brighton, the Duke’s at Komedia, the Odeon in Brighton, The Connaught in Worthing, Scott Cinemas in East Grinstead, Windmill Cinema in Littlehampton and at Picturedrome in Bognor, one of latest Compass Card deals. Just search ‘cinema’ on the Compass Card app or on the offers page on our website to see what’s on offer.

Soft option. If you have younger children going stir crazy, soft play can get them out for some exercise without having to get wet or cold. There are offers in Ford, Haselmere, Horsham, Brighton, Hove, Henfield, East Grinstead, Hailsham, Lewes, Angmering, Burgess Hill and Waterlooville. If you search ‘soft play’ on the Compass Card app or on the offers page on our website, you can see exactly what’s out there.

Get in the swim. There are a lot of Compass Card swimming offers – including free swimming at Prince Regent, King Alfred and St. Luke’s pools in Brighton and Hove; free swimming at K2 Crawley, Littlehampton Leisure Centre and Arun Leisure Centre; and £1 for a Compass Card holder and a free carer ticket at the Triangle’s leisure pool in Burgess Hill. Sussex Wildlife Trust is also running ‘Undersea Explorers 2’ for 7 to 11s at Brighton Swimming Pool on Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5JJ – an opportunity to learn basic snorkel skills, find life-like, but artificial marine plants and animals like Close up of orange starfish. starfish, crabs and jellyfish in the pool and find out about local marine life through games and fun activities. The session costs £14 (or £12 for members of Sussex Wildlife Trust). Book and find out more here – https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/whats-on/2017-02-15-undersea-explorers-2-brighton-150217

Last chance on the ice. Worthing’s temporary undercover ice rink is open until 27 February and there’s a free carer’s ticket if you’re accompanying a Compass Card holder at public ice skating sessions. For more information, call 01903 641545 or visit http://worthingicerink.com – and you can check the Compass Card deal on the app or the Compass Card website.

Celebrate science. Brighton’s wild and wacky Science Festival runs from Saturday 11 to Saturday 25 February – and there’s a Compass Card discount in place. This weekend’s Bright Sparks events on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th at Hove Park Upper School on Neville Road are free to Compass Card Picture of girl using static electricity ball.and Carers’ Card holders (Carers’ Card is available to Compass Card Brighton and Hove families only) – and there are concessionary rates for Compass Card holders and a free carer’s ticket for other Science Festival events. You’ll need to book ahead to be sure of a place – call 01273 777628 or email chris@brightonscience.com and you can arrange to pick up your tickets on the door. Please note, you can’t book online and get the Compass Card and Carers’ Card discounts. Visit www.brightonscience.com for event details.

The big outdoors

If it stays dry, a day in the big outdoors can really clear your head and give the kids an opportunity to get a good run around.

Get out the big guns. Big guns, ramparts, views over Seaford Bay and 10 acres to run around – what Close up of cannonmore could you wish for? If the rain holds off, Newhaven Fort, which re-opens on Monday 13 February, is a great way of getting out and stretching your legs and learning a bit about military history to boot. There isn’t a Compass Card offer here, but there are disabled discounts. Kids over seven might also enjoy the fort’s ‘All New Spy Camp’ 10.30am to 12.30pm 13 to 17 February (£4.95 per child). Back by popular demand, it’s an opportunity to learn some spy craft and use newly acquired skills on a top-secret mission! Visit www.newhavenfort.org.uk for more info and to find out more about the Spy Camp, call 01273 517622 or email fortinfo@waveleisure.co.uk

Back to the birds and the bees. Earnley Butterflies, Birds and Beasts near Chichester is open from Close up of butterfly.11am to 3pm at weekends and during Half Term week (20 to 24 February) until summer opening hours kick in March. During winter opening hours, there’s no access to the butterfly house, but visitors can enjoy birds, animals, themed gardens and Rejectamania and there’s lots undercover if the weather lets you down. There are reduced prices for all during February (adults £4, under 14s £3) and Compass Card holders go free with an adult paying full price. Visit www.earnleybutterfliesandgardens.co.uk for more info.

On track at Brooklands. One of our latest Compass Card offers is Brooklands Go Karts on the A259 Brighton Road between Lancing and Worthing. The 290 metre outdoor track is open all week during the holidays (call before you go to check) and there are Compass Card discounts on both ‘arrive and drive’ and ‘group bookings’. See the app or the Compass Card website for details. For general information, visit www.brooklandsgokarts.co.uk or call 07867 762106.

Monkey around at Go Ape. If you visit Go Ape in Tilgate, Crawley, there’s a special midweek Two adults and child on tree top activity course at Go Ape.February discount of 20% if you book online before Friday 10 February – visit www.goape.co.uk/february-early-bird Or if you want to book at other times, you can get a 15% Compass Card discount Tree Top Adventure and Tree Top Junior, so long as you don’t book a Saturday.

Go wild with Sussex Wildlife Trust. If you subscribe for the trust’s e-newsletter at www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk, you get a free 16 page Family Activity and Winter Wildlife Guide and you can check out the Half Term events here too – they’re across Sussex and most are free, although donations are always welcome.

Amble in Amberley. Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, which celebrates the industrial heritage of the area, is offering £6 entry for everyone during Half Term 15 to 24 February (it’s still worth showing the Compass Card for under 16s though because at £4.70, it works out cheaper). Mums of toddlers also get a free coffee and family activity day on Wednesday 22 February. Visit www.amberleymuseum.co.uk for more information.

Make a big splash. Arundel Wetland Centre is running the South East Puddle Jump Championships Plasticine duckfor kids from Saturday 18 to Sunday 26 February – so dig out the wellies and waterproofs and encourage them to use all their energy and creativity to produce the biggest and best splash ever! This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is included in the entrance price and takes place between 11.30am and 12 noon and 2.30 and 3pm. There isn’t a Compass Card offer at the centre, but ‘essential helpers assisting disabled visitors’ go free and there’s a 2 for 1 ticket offer if you can show you’ve travelled to the centre by bus or train see www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/arundel/plan-your-visit/prices for more info.