Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shoebox Time!

 It's mid-November, which means gorgeous fall scenery, football, holiday planning and dropping temperatures. It also signals the time for one of my favorite end-of-the-year traditions.....Operation Christmas Child time!

I can never say enough about how much I love this super-easy and meaningful activity. It's one of the best ways I have found to teach preschoolers about giving.

Here's what you do:
1) Obtain an ordinary shoebox and choose it to be for either a boy or girl. Pick an age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.
2) Stuff the box with things your chosen child would supplies, candy, toys, coloring books, hygiene items, art supplies, a personal letter & family photo, small articles of clothing, etc.
3) Tape a downloaded label ( to the box. On that website, you'll pay $7 for shipping. Trust me, these puppies go to the ends of the earth and get delivered in all sorts of crazy ways (even by elephant & camel!), so that's a smokin' deal.

Thanks to the barcode system, you can know to which country your box goes! Such an easy way to teach Jack geography. How cool is that?
4) Put a rubber band around your labeled box and drop it off at your local distribution center (find it at sometime THIS WEEK, November 14-21. Wait a few weeks/months and see where your box has gone! Voila! You have blessed a child's life beyond measure who most likely would never have gotten a Christmas present.

Every year, I watch videos of Samaritan's Purse staff handing out these boxes to children in over 100 countries, and I never get tired of seeing the joy on their little faces. Some kids rip into the shoebox right away, yelling, screaming and showing off their gifts. Others just clutch the unopened boxes to their chests, savoring every moment and hoping it's not a dream. It's my dream to one day accompany my box and hand it to a little someone in person.

It might just be a shoebox, but here's what we managed to stuff into just one of our boxes (we did 2; one for a 2- to 4-year-old boy and one for a 5- to 9-year-old boy).

  • Toothpaste, toothbrush & floss
  • Modeling clay
  • 1 tub of Playdough
  • 24-pack of crayons
  • 12-pack of pencils & pencil sharpener
  • 2 pens
  • 12 chalk sticks
  • Memo book
  • Glue stick
  • Flashlight with 4 batteries
  • Ruler
  • Marbles set
  • 1 pack of gum & 12 pieces of candy
  • Scissors
  • Squishie ball
  • Washcloth
  • Toy dinosaur
  • Hot Wheels car
  • 1 bar of soap
  • Fork & spoon
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • 2 pouches of powered milk
  • Travel box of Kleenex
  • Personal letter from Jack
Jack loved picking out every single item for his little boy this year. Of course, we've been doing this all year long to save money (thank you, cereal box toys and free stuff from our dentist!). I shop after-holiday sales and bargain racks religiously, setting aside a shoe box in my closet from January on.

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