As Thanksgiving approaches, the holiday spirit begins. Maybe your child is excited about spending time with family, eating delicious food, and taking a break from school – and that’s right! But it’s important to help your child get involved in giving as well. A few years ago, we published a blog post how you can teach your child about this concept, full of ideas from Ileen Henderson, National Director of Bright Spaces®. Today, we show you the activities you can do to get started. Take a look at these seven child-friendly ideas.
7 Methods of Recovery
1. Find a “Giving Tree”
Throughout the holiday season, there may be “gift trees” or “wish trees” in your town building or at the local mall, and they will be filled with tags that show the names of the children and their holiday wish list. Search these areas or contact your local Salvation Army to find out where you can find one of these trees, and then go with your child. Pick her a name from the tree and go shopping together for the baby’s wish list.
2. Going through Toys and Clothes
Why not do yours spring cleaning a little early this year? It can be difficult for children to share the toys and clothes they use and wear for a while… so be sure to set up the activity and discuss it in advance. Talk to your child about less fortunate children – some may not have toys… and some may not have warm clothes for the winter. Get some toys your child hasn’t played with and clothes that may no longer fit. Together, choose a few things to give to the children who can use and benefit from them. Afterwards, pack everything up, find a clothing drop-off site, and let your child donate!
3. Make Cards
Does your child like to draw, decorate, or color pictures? Take a few hours to create holiday cards for hospital children, overseas troops, people in assisted living communities or foster homes, and anyone else who may use overdose of pleasure at this time of year. Afterwards, help your child send them or drop them.
4. Donate Food
If you and your child are thinking about the holidays, you are probably thinking about your favorite food to go with it. Talk to your child about the importance of participating in a food drive for the less fortunate so they can also experience the flavors of the season. Travel to the store to buy food to donate… and make it fun! If they have shopping carts that are the size of a child, encourage your child to use lace. Ask your child to choose a favorite holiday food to donate so others can eat as well, and work together to find it at the store-if it’s packed, get a few boxes of that; if it’s pumpkin pie, get a can of filling. Once you make a purchase, have your child throw everything in the trash.
5. Delivering Goodies to Local Organizations
If you and your child love to cook holiday snacks or whip up endless counts in the snack mix, do more. Decorate the bags with your child, fill them full of treats, and go around and pass them on to police employees and fire stations, hospitals, and other local organizations serving the community.
6. Working with Animal Shelters
Animals also deserve the most. Talk to a shelter to see what they need – dog food, cat litter, bowls, etc. – and go to the pet store with your child to get everything. Or, call ahead to ask if you can walk and pass animal foods. Either way, if you go to the shelter, lie around the kennels with your child and give the dogs and cats love.
7. Make a Wooden Tree
Throughout the season (and even throughout the year!), Write down everything you and your child have done to help others make a very wood. Make a tree trunk out of cardboard or paper and cut the leaves out of colored construction paper. Hang the tree trunk on the kitchen wall or on your child’s bedroom door and, on each leaf, write a good deed or activity your child has done to help others. This is a good time to reflect on giving and talk about how your child is feeling. Have your child hang on each leaf… and watch the tree grow.
Do you have any additional activity ideas or annual family traditions for giving? We’d love for you to share it with us!
I am a pre-kindergarten teacher at Bright Horizons living my passion for writing and kids in the BH home office. I love all things piercing and I am a self-proclaimed good cook, always looking for a new recipe to try. On any given weekend, you’ll find me and my husband trying out a new place for brunch or hiking with our furry son, Jordy, a Mini Australian Shepherd.