The Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge is a non-profit from NH that collects and sends holiday greetings to our deployed military. Last year they collected over 50,000 cards from all 50 states. Kids in Service participated last year and donated 35 cards, this year we are hoping to collect 500!!
In order to meet our BIG goal, we need YOUR help. Write out a holiday card (or make your own) and thank a warrior for their service to our country and wish them a happy holiday. Send your completed holiday cards to Kids in Service, PO Box 4095 Windham, NH 03087. All cards need to mailed in or delivered by October 25th so we can get them in for the Halloween deadline. Locally we will be collecting cards at our Kids in Service Table at Windham’s Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 19th.
This service project does not take a lot of time, is perfect for ALL AGES (everyone who can hold a crayon) and will make such a big impact on the person who receives your card.
Thank you for helping to brighten up the holiday of our wonderful military!
September is a month of big changes for many children. Kids are going back to school, meeting new teachers, starting new sports teams or clubs, learning new homework routines and trying to stay awake as their bodies adjust to the new pace that is September. Given all of these changes that our kids are facing, we at Kids in Service decided to spend time this month talking about bravery and courage. Here is a list of 10 ways to help your children work on becoming more brave and courageous this fall.
1. Volunteer–Volunteering takes a lot of bravery and courage. Each time I set out with my kids to serve our community, my heart is pounding. I often share this fact with my children and they are always surprised to hear that I am just as nervous as they are. Volunteer at your local nursing home and bring a little joy to the residents there. Bring some board games to play with them or ask about what life was like when they were younger. Find a local trash pick up at a park or beach. Volunteer for your local food bank, church or animal shelter. The opportunities are out there if you look for them. Check out some other ideas here and here.
2. Read Stories with Brave Characters–Reading aloud stories is a wonderful and safe way for children of ALL AGES to get to “experience” difficult situations from a safe distance through the characters in the story. Check out our KIS list of books with BRAVE characters. I hope that these books will spark rich conversations with your children about the topic of bravery, fear and courage.
3. Share Your Own Stories of Bravery and Failure–A great way for children to learn about bravery is to hear about the moments in your life that you were brave and courageous. Our children need to know that we are human and that we feel the same emotions they do. Share those moments where you overcame fear, share the moments where you failed at something but you were brave and tried again. My kids love to hear the story about when I fell off of a horse while horseback riding. I did NOT want to get back on that horse but after a lot of encouragement from my family, I was brave and got back on. Share your own stories with your kids and allow them to learn about bravery from the people they love most.
4. Trying New Things as a Family–Sit down as a family and brainstorm a list of new things that you could try together. Perhaps you want to try new foods or a new activity. Maybe you want to learn how to play a new sport, or learn a new language. Try one new thing together and then come together to discuss how it went. How did you feel before the activity? Were you nervous, scared or excited? How did you feel after you completed it? Three winters ago, we learned to cross country ski. We took lessons as a family and cheered each other on as we took turns falling and taking on the harder hills. It was a wonderful family experience that took a lot of courage and patience. Perhaps you could set a goal as a family to try new things every season.
5. Make a Courage Board–We have a chalkboard in our downstairs hall that says, “Love Lives Here”. This board was inspired by Sweet Maria Goff and her beautiful book Love Lives Here. In her book Maria shares about the chalkboard that has hung in her home for decades. Her family chalkboard has been a place for positive messages of encouragement and love for the members of their family and guests in their home. On our chalkboard we welcome people into our home, share messages of encouragement to one another and share uplifting quotes of bravery and courage. This board is one of my favorite parts of my home and I love to see the sweet messages that my husband and children write on the board.
6. Watch Movies with Brave Characters–Quality movies, just like books, are not only a great way to spend time as a family but can provoke great discussions about important topics. Here is a list of movies from common sense media that inspire courage. This list has movies for ages 2 and up.
7. Visit a New Place–One of our favorite things to do as a family is to explore a new place. It is so important for EVERYONE to step out of their comfort zone and experience new things. Visiting a new place (whether it is within driving distance or further away) allows you to work as a family to navigate, find information, discover what that place has to offer and share a common experience. If you live near a big city, try visiting one of the neighborhoods that you have never visited before. You may experience new foods, a new language and see some amazing sites along the way. Share with one another the feelings you experience as you set off on this new adventure and then compare them to the the feelings that you have as make the journey back home.
8. Invite New Friends Over-Making new friends can be scary for many kids (and adults). You can model how to overcome this fear by inviting new people over to your home for coffee or a meal. Showing our kids the importance of community, kindness and making new friends is a powerful way for them to learn how to show compassion and make friends in their own lives.
9. Research a Person from History who was Brave–We are BIG history buffs in our family and one of our favorite things to learn about is the brave people who have come before us. We all LOVE Brad Meltzer’s books in his Ordinary People Change the World series. They are fun and filled with information about the courage that people like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller and many more had to change the world. There are so many good biographies, memoirs and documentaries out there. Encourage each member of your family to learn about a brave person from history. Host a special family dinner where you each share about the person’s life and how they showed bravery and courage.
10. Solve a Problem as a Family–A great way to show how to overcome fear and obstacles is to work as a family to solve a problem. Scavenger Hunts are a fun way to work as a team to solve problems. You can create a scavenger hunt for your family around your home or you can purchase an online scavenger hunt. Let’s Roam has scavenger hunts for most major cities (this is not an advertisement) and it is a fun way to explore a new city or a city you already know very well. Finding a challenge to solve as a family can also be a lot of fun. Destination Imagination has something called Instant challenges and they have 4 free challenges listed at this link. Cooperative Games are another fun way to work as a family. My family loves Gamewright games and the Forbidden series of games are cooperative and challenging. For Harry Potter fans, Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Game is very challenging and requires lots teamwork. My kids and I LOVE this game and are still working to beat game 5 out of 7.
When You are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller is the story of a young girl who is moving away from the home that she knows and loves. The illustrations in this book are beautiful and the colors reflect the feelings and emotions that the young girl feels as she is on the journey to her new home. This book encourages readers to remember those times when they showed courage and call on those memories when facing new and scary situations. I LOVED this book (a new favorite) and would recommend it for ages 4 and up.
After the Fall-How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Sanat is the tale fo Humpty Dumpty after he fell from the wall. It is a story of perseverance, bravery and taking one step at a time to overcome your fears. This book is a family favorite and great for ages 6 and up. Please Note–At first many people think that this book ends badly for Humpty Dumpty…pay close attention.
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismandy is about a girl named Lucy who is being made fun of for being different. In the story she finds courage inside and uses advice from her grandfather to help her overcome this challenging situation. This book would be great for ages 5 and up.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall is the story of a young boy who sets a goal of jumping off the diving board at the community pool. He starts off the story very brave and excited to take on this goal but as his time to jump comes closer, he becomes more and more unsure and scared. Will Jabari find the courage to jump off the diving board? This book is wonderful for ages 3 and up.
Brave Enough for Two by Jonathan D. Voss is the story about Olive and her very best stuffed friend, Hoot. Hoot loves brave adventures and Olive prefers a quiet time and reading about adventures in books. Throughout the story, Hoot encourages Olive to be brave and step out of her comfort zone and onto some wild adventures. In the end Olive ends up being brave enough for both friends. This fantasy story would be great for ages 3 and up.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel is the true story of Clara Lemlich who is a young immigrant in America at the turn of the century. When her father can’t find work, she finds a job at a factory making shirts. Working in the factory is hard work and unsafe due to the poor working conditions. Brave Clara becomes a young activist and inspiration as she organizes others to fight for better rights at the factory. This story is the true story of a BRAVE and COURAGEOUS girl who did not stop fighting for what she believed was right. This book would be great for ages 6 and up.
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger is the perfect book for autumn. This story illustrates that sometimes all you need to be brave, is someone by your side. I LOVE the illustrations in this story and think it would be a great read aloud for ages 3 and up.
Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully is the story of a young girl who’s mother runs a boarding house. A famous wire-walker comes to stay at the boarding house and Mirette’s life changes forever. This beautiful story is about perseverance, facing fears and finding our own courage from within. My daughter LOVES this book and we’d recommend it for ages 5 and up.
The Ordinary People Change the World books by Brad Meltzer are well LOVED in our house. I think my daughter has almost every one of them (she may be missing 2 or 3) and reads them daily. I love them because they show that famous people who have changed the world are still people after all. Most have have had to overcome a lot of adversity and challenges to make change happen. Brad makes the world of biographies so much fun and the illustrations by Christoper Eliopoulos are wonderful. They always hide the next famous person they are planning to write a biography for at the end of the book and it so much fun to hunt for them. The Harriet Tubman book is my daughters favorite in the series. She loved learning about how brave Harriet was and how many people she helped to escape slavery. This series also has books about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller and so many more. Ages 5 and up
Books that Will Inspire Bravery in Older Children
Green Ember Series (ages 9 and up)-This series is jam-packed with adventure! It can be a bit dark at times but my sensitive 9-year-old is just fine with it. She even named her pet bunny after one of the lead characters.
The Land of Stories Series (ages 8 and up)-This series of stories was an ABSOLUTE family favorite. We devoured these stories and loved the way the fairytale world and our world collided. These creative stories are read by the author and so much fun to listen to aloud.
The Tuesdays at the Castle Series (ages 8 and up)-This fantasy series is about a royal family who lives in a magical castle and the many challenges they face. This book is filled with adventure, magic and friendship and each book will leave you running to the next to see what happens. We truly loved this series and hope that there will be a few more in the series.
The How to Train Your Dragon Series (ages 8 and up)-This series is very different from the movie (we like the books better) and read by the amazing David Tennant. My son and I devoured this series but it was too much for my daughter who was 7 and 8 at the time.
The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Series (ages 6 and up)-This book series is so much fun! The main character is the young daughter of the admiral and her dream is to sail the seas as a PIRATE. Her companion is a magical gargoyle and their adventures will keep you laughing and saying, “ARGH”. This is such a fun series.
The Peter Nimble Series by Jonathan Auxier(ages 9 and up)–The Peter Nimble books will keep you guessing until the end. Jonathan Auxier is a gifted story-teller and his characters are like no others. These stories are filled with humor, adventure and will leave you on the edge of your couch.