Keep the kids busy this half term with fun ways to help animals in need

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Do you want to keep your kids busy this half term and help animals?

The RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch has some great -and free - ideas to entertain everyone and help the animals in their care.

The branch urgently needs donations for its Charity Shop in Thurlow Street, Bedford.

Any clothing, bric-a-brac, DVDs, CDs, toys, jewellery or small pieces of furniture will be gratefully received and the money raised from their sale will go directly to help local animals that are abandoned, neglected and in need of a new home.

The branch has come up with some creative ways to get your kids to help out as you spruce up your home this week.

Here’s what they say:

Getting kids to participate is a breeze when you inject some fun into sorting out your unwanted items. Just make sure to assign age-appropriate tasks that can be achieved in short increments (ten to fifteen minute spurts for younger children), and things will be spic and span in no time! Keep things fun and they’ll enjoy pitching in – it gives them a great sense of accomplishment, collaboration, independence and responsibility – and they can learn about the importance of charity at the same time.

Here are some ways to take the tedium out of – and put the teamwork into – recycling.

Pick your pet – Look on the website (, or choose from the animals featured here. Each person chooses a different animal and finds five items they would like to donate to help ‘their pet’. They can even write a letter to their chosen animal and our shop staff will pass it on.

Pump up the music! – Nothing makes the time pass more quickly and puts people in a cheerier mood than some upbeat tunes. Your kids will dance and sing their way to a tidier place. With younger children, you can play ‘wax museum,’ where kids must freeze in place like a wax statue every time the music stops.

This simple test of balance, coordination and reflexes can turn any task, whether it’s sorting out toys or trying on clothes for size, into a giggle-filled game.

Play label detective – Have your older child sleuth out old, unwanted items in your wardrobes by showing him how to understand clothing labels. Have him make a pile of all of the discarded items and bring them into the shop. This idea can also be adapted for books and DVDs. Has he ‘grown out of’ any that you’re keeping?

Put on a family fashion show – This silly activity is good for a few laughs and doubles as a way for everyone to purge outdated or ill-fitting clothes from the depths of their wardrobe. No matter how you look, make sure to flaunt each outfit with attitude befitting of the catwalk. Ahead of time, agree that the majority vote determines whether the outfit (or certain parts of it) stays or goes.

When you’re all done, bring the discarded clothing to our charity shop.

Play a sorting game – Organize toys, books and electronic games. When kids’ belongings have clearly designated storage spaces, children are more likely to put them away when they’re done playing. Transparent, covered storage bins are great because they keep the dust out, they’re stackable (and save space), they’re portable and they allow your kids to see what’s inside without having to read labels. Ask your child to sort like toys with like toys – cars and trucks in one, dolls or action figures in another, etc. Once sorted, agree to donate a number of items to our charity shop.

Tell stories – Ask your child to go through her personal library and select five books that she is willing to get rid of. But first, let your child play the role of a storyteller and have her read one or two of her favorite books to you. Set one or two more aside for bedtime reading that night. Once she is reminded of how many great stories she has, she should be amenable to letting go of some ones she may have outgrown or become tired of. DVDs, CDs, and computer games can be tackled next.

The RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch is a small local charity entirely responsible for raising its own funds and supporting itself, and the animals it cares for.

Call 01234 266965 or go to