Mid-way through half-term and the strain is starting to tell ...
Instead of doing anything fun like carving pumpkins or making Halloween cakes, I've decided to try to interest the children in the stock market.
The idea is to pick three companies each and follow the progress of their share prices up (and down) in the run up to Christmas. The cut-off date is at the end of the working day on Friday 16 December.
The point of all this is, as in the real world, hard cash. However many percent the mini-portfolio has increased by that date attracts a prize of £1 per 1%. So a 5% rise would get one of those shiny new plastic fivers. Nice work if you can get it!
What did worry me slightly was that the children seemed hard-pressed to name any companies other than Apple and Amazon.
And I found it hard to think of any firms which might do well in the Brexit uncertainty. In the end, we all seemed to pick firms which we either use or tie in with our interests (wine, travel, shopping and technology). I refused to choose Morrisons even though I seem to spend most of my waking hours there.
Unilever is pretty much a proxy for a shopping list, though. I'm hoping it'll pick up after coming off the worst in the Marmite war with Tesco. Petrol prices are already on the rise which must help Shell while Glaxo should benefit from the fall in sterling as it sells abroad.
So here's the final selection:
Jane: Unilever (3487 pence or £34.87); GlaxoSmith Kline (1658 pence) and Shell (2074 pence).
Mr Minted: Majestic (293 pence); BP (493 pence) and Lloyds (55 pence).
Dear Daughter: ASOS (5299 pence); Amazon ($819.00) and Easyjet (919 pence).
Darling Son: Apple ($116.51); Tesla Motors ($2.00) and Centrica (261 pence).
May battle commence!
Prices courtesy of Hargreaves Lansdown as at close of market on Friday 21 October 2016. We are going to ignore currency differences because the children's eyes will glaze over.
This is just for fun but if you're thinking of investing yourself, check out our beginner's guide here.