7 Kids Gifts that Give Back

 

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Clockwise from top left:

  1. One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, by Katie Smith Milway A great book that introduces children to other cultures and the power of giving. Best of all, this book can be found at your local bookstore (great to support local small businesses!) and can be given along with a microloan from Kiva.org or give some chickens to a family through World Vision.
  2. Tegu Made with sustainable materials, these magnetic wood blocks are rooted in giving. Tegu created an independent toy factory in Hondoras in order to provide employment and fair wages for the community. In addition, they partnered with a local school that educates many of the children of the families that work at the city trash dump.
  3. Uncharted Play The SOCCKET Original is a portable, power generating soccer ball designed to promote physical activity and spread awareness about the global energy problem.
  4. Wudy Werks, a veteran-owned, Made in America small business, handcrafts these enormous 3D Double X T-Rex puzzles.
  5. Laugh Brand With every purchase, Laugh gives back 30% of profits to fight human trafficking and exploitation.
  6. Plan Toys Fully transparent with their sustainable materials (such as wood from rubber trees & formadelyhyde-free glues) and sustainable manufacturing, Plan Toys gives back with their reforestation program and programs for children in the community.
  7. Yoobi – For every item bought, Yoobi donates an item to their Yoobi Classroom Pack, which is then distributed to classrooms, as determined by Kids in Need Foundation.

 

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Daily Advent Gift: Day 8

Today, one of my boys’ went to a birthday party where they requested we didn’t bring any gifts for the child. Instead, they requested we bring an unwrapped gift for a child through Toys for Tots. What a great way to teach kids to give. Love that!

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The Toys for Tots Mission is…

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

Consider buying a toy for a child and dropping it in a Toys for Tots bin. Find locations here.

Oof. The year I totally forgot about Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child shoebox

Oof. Operation Christmas Child boxes are due this week. THIS. WEEK. (What is Operation Christmas Child? Not only does it help children, but it’s a great giving activity with kids. The boys and I put together shoeboxes last year – see it here!) See, I have this blog about giving. And I’ve been consumed with my little startup. And what happens? I let everything slide. Like what?

Giving. This blog. Making giving a priority.

See, I get it. We get busy. Consumed with other things.

But it’s okay. The sweet, wonderful people at Samaritan’s Purse understand. They must really love me. Because let’s be honest, my heart sank when the boys realized it was Operation Christmas Child week. They said “Ooohhh! I can’t wait to do that again this year!” And I realized, but you’re in school all day, and I missed out on shopping with you this weekend, and this week is already looking crazy….

Guys. Samaritan’s Purse made an ‘Build a Shoebox Online‘! They made an interactive process where you can go through, pick out what you want to include in your shoebox, pay a fee and you’re done. They do the rest.

And yes, creating a shoebox online takes away from all those moments when you can walk through the store with your kids, pick out items, pack them up and pray for the child that will receive them.

But I’d so much rather a child receive something than nothing. To know they are loved and cared for. Despite my inability to prioritize our time right now.

For those you who are able to pack a shoebox for a child in need, they must be delivered this week: November 18-25. Find a dropoff location here. Wondering how to pack a shoebox?

Operation Christmas Child Processing

Who knows, maybe I’ll get my act in gear this week. But I’m thankful that even if I don’t, I can build a shoebox online. I encourage you to do the same.

Kids Helping Kids

I recently brought the boys to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons‘ Giving Factory, with a local moms group. I have been waiting for this moment. When they would be old enough to know when it’s time to serve & work and not play. Six seems to be the magical number for my boys.

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Right as we arrived,  I quickly learned I would have to leave to move my car. And when I returned, I could see my boys already hard at work.  The stress caused by getting lost multiple times, being late, and not being able to find parking, was quickly washed away. There they were, all set up in the Toy section: gloves on, spray bottles in hand, toothbrushes for scrubbing. They were working. They were serving. They were loving other children.

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I can’t say enough about how great an experience it was. At the debrief, they told us our group helped 72 children. 72! The boys were so proud of this number. They quickly asked when they could come back and do it again. Scrubbing toys is such a fun and easy job for young kids. Older kids and adults can volunteer in one of the many different areas: sorting clothing, equipment, books.

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On the long walk back to the car, we talked about why it is important to serve others. We talked about how there are so many children who don’t have toys. We talked about gratitude. We talked about how God wants us to show His love to others. And for the first time in all my attempts to teach them about giving, I think they started to get it. They felt complete joy by being able to help other kids!

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Ways you can help?

>> Please consider volunteering at Cradles to Crayons in either their Boston or Philly locations.

>> Donate new or gently used toys, clothes, books, baby equipment.

>> Winter is coming! Heavy coats, mittens, boots, hats are needed. Even if you don’t have a Cradles to Crayons near you, donate to Salvation Army. They’ll even send a truck to you to pick up your goods.

Make & Give Away: Headbands

LLBS-Tutorial

You can put a smile on the face of a terminally ill child! Remember Sarah’s guest post about her Little Ladybug Shoppe? She is sharing how she makes the headbands and clip-on accessories that she hands out at local Children’s Hospitals. So now you can make them too and distribute to children at your local hospital! (Please be sure to contact your local organization’s volunteer coordinator before donating.)

These headbands and accessories are easy enough that school-age children can make them, with a little help from an adult. What a great way to teach kids about giving to others! Email me if you are able to participate – we would love to hear about your experience!

From Sarah:

Little Ladybug Shoppe has the unique opportunity to provide handmade hair accessories to young girls diagnosed with terminal illnesses.  It is my hope that this small act of kindness will be a true blessing to them.

I wanted to add my reasoning behind these nylon headbands.  Since the girls who will be receiving these bands have terminal illnesses, I wanted to be considerate of the fact that they might have no hair due to chemo, bruise easily due to medication or treatments, or very sensitive skin due to their specific condition.  I thought the soft nylon bands would be the most comfortable option, and allowing the removable accessories would add some fun and variety.
Thank you so much for your interest in joining Little Ladybug Shoppe‘s mission to bless terminally ill children.  I hope we can be a ray of sunshine to them all.
Below is the tutorial for just the headband.
Supplies needed:
Colored nylons
1″ wide ribbon (color to match the nylons)
Fat quarters
Needle
Thread
Plain metal alligator clips
Hot glue gun
The band
1. Cut one leg of the pair of nylons and then cut down at the toe so you basically have a “sleeve”.
2. Measure 18″ and trim off any excess fabric.
3. Bring the two ends together and tuck one end inside the other.  Make sure it measures 8.5″ to make a standard child’s size headband.
4. Thread a running stitch to join the two ends together.
5. Pull the thread tightly so the fabric bunches up where you placed your stitch.
6. Wind the thread around the bunch several times and then finish with a couple of finishing knots in the back.
7. Cut a three inch piece of ribbon and use a hot glue gun to secure it around the fabric bunch.  Make sure it is tight, but just loose enough to slip an alligator clip underneath.
Please visit the Little Ladybug Shoppe for the rest of the tutorials. Learn how to make the clip-on accessories: bows, flowers and rosettes!

Kids Can Give: Project Night Night

KidscangiveThe boys and I recently had the opportunity to fill bags for Project Night Night, through our local parent group. We purchased items, then filled three bags, for boys age 4-4 1/2, which will be delivered to a local homeless shelter. I struggle with how to teach them about giving because a 5 year old can only do so much in terms of service. But this was the perfect giving activity for kids. While we stuffed the bags, we talked how they would be given to children in a homeless shelter, and what that meant. By the end of it, they were asking to give away their toys to the children, toys that were much bigger than the bags could handle. These are the moments you want to put in your pocket and carry with you.

Project Night Night

What is Project Night Night?

Every child who receives one of our Night Night Packages leaves the shelter owning a book which encourages reading and family bonding, a security blanket which can be cuddled, and a stuffed animal which can become a cherished friend.  We have one objective – to deliver our Night Night Packages to every homeless child in the country who needs one.

Project Night Night

In addition to the new book, blanket and stuffed animals, we included: washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, colored pencils, and spiderman activity books.

Project Night Night

(Apparently my boys inherited my need to make a silly faces in photos…)

And then we prayed for each child that would receive a bag. We prayed that God would bless, protect them and keep them healthy. We prayed that the little boys would come to know and love Jesus and know how much they are loved.

Project Night Night

You can help!

Want to fill a bag for Project Night Night? Order tote bags here.

The giving hearts of 5 year olds

My 5 year olds are really sweet. Wild, but loving and thoughtful boys.

We’ve done a few giving activities together (like this, this and this). So I was touched when one came to me with a leftover cardboard box, saying he wanted a bow to put on top so he could give it to his 8 year old cousin for Christmas. I asked him what was inside. A large silver ribbon bow that he been cut off of a Christmas gift the day prior. And an empty Tic Tac container.

He said the bow would look pretty in her hair.

And he liked that the container still smelled like the strawberry candies that had been inside.

God bless my sweet niece for smiling and thanking him when she opened this gift. A gift that others might think was trash.

Today, the same sweet boy came to me with another leftover cardboard box. He had stuffed it with an old toy cheerleading pom pom, telling me he was going to give it to his great-grandma this weekend at her surprise 90th birthday party. He wanted to make sure he had a gift for her, one that she would like. He even went into the basement, picked out the prettiest wrapping paper, wrapped it up and put a bow on it. Melts my heart.

A gift from a 5 year old

Amazed by his giving heart!