Half term family fun

Half TermThe first half term of the school year is the one where your children will typically be the most tired. They have had to get back into the swing of things after the long summer break or, if starting school for the first time, get used to an entirely new daily routine. This year has been even more tiring than usual – after all the disruption to the normal school routine that COVID-19 caused, followed by having to learn all of the new rules and procedures that our schools have put in place to keep us all safe.

So this half term, the order of the day is to plan activities near home (so there’s every opportunity to pop home for a rest if you need one) but having so much fun, no one feels like they’re missing out. Not only that, but all of our ideas are either free or really good value, meaning that those extra pennies can get saved for a time when we are free to move around without restriction again. Those times will return.

Embrace their adventurous spirit
Restrictions. It’s the word on everyone’s lips and is likely to be for some time to come. So why not take the kids somewhere where they can still have freedom to roam, explore and discover? We’re thinking of the local wood or park.

You’re probably nearer to a wood than you think. The Woodland Trust cares for over 1,000 woods, keeping them open for us all to explore and enjoy. You can use their handy wood locator to find the one nearest to you: Their website even has a host of activities you can try this autumn: Just remember to dress warmly – there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing choices.

Embrace their creative side
Children are naturally creative, so this half term, why not give them the freedom, materials and space to let their creativity run free? Before you buy any materials, take an audit of what you already have. Pile of recycling ready to be sorted? There’s a piece of artwork in there just waiting to escape! Leaves in the garden? Why not try leaf printing? Old clothes at the back of the cupboard? Time for dress up! You might even want to dig out things that you have at the back of your food cupboards – with just oil, salt, flour, water and food colouring you child can make their own modelling clay.

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration to get you started, you can find a wealth of activities to try for children of all ages on Fatema’s art show on YouTube: There are so many things to try, you may even find that you want to have a go yourself!

Embrace their green fingers
There’s plenty still to be done in the garden, for children of all ages. Whether it’s collecting fallen leaves, giving the lawn a mow, digging out the last of the vegetables or a general tidy up – it’s a great opportunity to spend a few hours outdoors before it gets too cold. It is also a good time to get planting - you can plant bulbs now to flower next spring. All you need is a trowel, bare patch of soil and bulbs and you will be rewarded with bright and cheerful flowers. Get the kids to make markers so you can remember where you planted them and won’t disturb them before next year.

If you don’t have a garden, you can still prepare some pots to flower in the winter and cheer up those dark days. Daffodils and hyacinth are good choices as they are so colourful and fragrant.

Embrace their compassionate nature
Compassion is one of the most important human emotions and is at the core of Islam; indeed, every recitation of the holy Quran begins with an invocation to Allah, the Compassionate (Al Rahman) and Merciful (Al Rahim), and the verse is repeated no less than 114 times. Support your child’s compassionate nature by encouraging them to do something for others this half term, and in doing so, realise how lucky they are.
It could be as simple as creating a beautiful card to send to relatives to tell them how much they love them, or a call to a friend or relative to see how they are, especially if they are in lockdown or unable to take part in life as fully as they did before restrictions were imposed. If your child is very good at a certain school subject, perhaps they can help their siblings or friends to understand it too.

You could also encourage them to get involved in tasks that help the community. Perhaps by donating food to a local foodbank or sorting through clothes and items to donate to children who are less fortunate than themselves. They could be handed in at a local charity shop or shelter. They might even be able to use their garden tidying skills to help out the old and frail in the neighbourhood – there are so many opportunities to help others around us, and in doing so to help ourselves too, by experiencing the huge sense of satisfaction, the ‘warm glow’ that comes with being compassionate.

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