The following is the second post from one of our newest regular contributors, Jennifer Elia from Soundfoundationshomeschool.com. Check out her previous post about Mary’s Meals here. Thank you, Jennifer!
Simple Service: Using Our Arts and Crafts to Help Others
We are a crafty family. It is a tradition that began when I was a child. My mother and I would spend hours in the local craft store dreaming up projects and gathering supplies. We would then go home and make beautiful decorations for our home, family, and friends.
I have carried this on with my own children as a way of passing down my mother’s wisdom to future generations. Over the years, we have realized that crafts do not just exercise our creativity, bind together our family, and generate pocket money; they are powerful tools for serving others.
Here are three child-friendly crafting service ideas that will not only delight others but edify the crafters:
Children love to create. From a very young age, they will shower you with scribbles on paper, finger painted masterpieces, and interesting uses of stickers. This creativity is something that should be cultivated and valued.
However, the industrious nature of young artists yields piles of creations that leave mom and dad in a bind. They do not want to dispose of these special treasures, but how many fingerpainted boats can one family really keep?
There are many people out there who have not had the delight of a child’s personal creation in many year, possibly decades. Our pile of paper that is overflowing on our counter and causing frustration is really a treasure trove of service.
Finding a nursing home, hospital, or senior center that will distribute these masterpieces to elderly and infirm patients in need of a little sunshine will give you an outlet for your budding artist to serve through his creative heart.
Small children are all heart, but we often discount the power they possess. Your child’s lopsided flower with mile high glitter glue center is the medicine a forgot and lonely senior citizen needs. Keep those beautiful creations out of the landfill and fill large envelopes instead. I bet your child will feel overjoyed that she is making a difference while making a beautiful mess!
Crafting for a Cause
Handmade goods are still preferred to even the most exquisite factory produced goods. The time, attention, and love that goes into their production is something that no machine could ever replicate. Once children are old enough to learn a handy craft that can be reproduced consistently, they can create a charity sale of their goods.
Recently, my daughter’s scout troop hosted a “Hodge Podge Market” for two charities that helped desperate children on the other side of the world. Each girl picked a project that she loves making. We had great variety from quilled ornaments to hand embroidered pillowcases. Some girls make candy, others soap, and then there were the delectable baked goods!
Each girl made as many of her project as she could in one month’s time. After a one day sale at member’s church, they raised $467. The girls were excited about their accomplishment and the charities were so thankful to be helped by young philanthropists.
Make and Take the Joy out into the World
Make and Takes are popular activities for children and moms alike. However, what if you could make something that is not only enjoyable to create but blesses something in turn?
We have done several versions of this but all fall under the same premise, creating something to give away. The joy is not in the possession but in the sharing. This is a great project for acknowledging those who serve others.
Here are some items that we have made and taken to others:
MIcrowavable heating pads
How could you create some joy for others with your family?
About the Author
Jennifer Elia is a homeschool consultant, curriculum creator, and author at Soundfoundationshomeschool.com. She and her husband are raising their four children, three of whom are Mary's Meals Ambassadors, in their North Jersey childhood hometown. She has a passion for education, research, and helping those who are suffering, especially children. Thank you, Jennifer!