This week for Letter G, Esmeralda and I are reading the book called Giving by Shirley Hughes. This book is all about how someone and everyone can give something to someone, whether it be a material object like a present, an affectionate gesture like a kiss, or even by giving thanks for something that was given to you. This book captures the simplicity of conveying the concept to young children while maintaining your child’s focus on the book. Both my 3.5 year old and 17 month old held their attention the entire time I read the book to them and enjoyed the kinds of giving going on inside the book.
After reading the book, I had a conversation with my oldest about how we can give things to other people, like food, clothes, presents, hugs, kisses, and sharing with siblings and friends. Coincidentally, in my e-mail I received a letter from my local MOMS Club today about opportunities to participate in local service projects. All of this gave me the inspiration to come up with several different ways to involve our kids, even the young ones, in the act of giving. Perfect timing for the upcoming holiday season!
- Collect foods to donate to a local non-profit organization for children and their families for Thanksgiving
- Donate outgrown or other used coats to non-profit organizations for families who may not be able to afford a winter coat. Other great winter items to donate are scarves, winter hats, and mittens/gloves.
- Know someone in real life struggling? Consider inviting them to your holiday dinners or make a dish or two to take over to their house.
- Give thanks to those who give something to you. Have your kids help write thank you notes for presents received at Christmas or any other time.
- Volunteer at organizations that help give food to those who are less fortunate, such as food banks. See if your children can come along so that they can volunteer too.
- ^^ If your kids are not old enough to help volunteer, consider having them help pack a water bottle, granola bars, a fresh fruit or two, or maybe even a sandwich inside brown paper lunch bags. Hand these out to the people you see on the corner of streets who are asking for food or for help when you are driving around town.
- Send care packages to military members overseas. If you have not heard of it before, check into the Halloween Candy Buy Back program. You take your candy to a participating local dentist and give them your candy. Many of these dentists will “buy back” your candy by giving out toothbrushes or other prizes. These dentists will then send all of the candy to Operation Gratitude and other military support groups. They also encourage you to bring in toothbrushes to be sent as well.
- If you are in church, consider joining or creating any kind of community service projects.
- Help clean up the park when you go to the park to play if you see garbage or other things lying around.
- Finally, check around any local groups that help others and find ways to help contribute with your kids.
Remember, the act of giving is great to do year-round and does not only have to be done around the holidays!
How do you like to your family involved in the act of giving? Do you already give in these ways?