featured, Service Projects for Families

Kids in Service Virtual Meetings

This year our local Kids in Service NH meetings will be held virtually in order to keep everyone safe.  Because of this we’d like to welcome ALL families near and far to join us and best of all it’s FREE.  When you sign up you will get a downloadable Welcome Packet, access to our Private KIS Virtual Club Page, a short Welcome Video and access to Private KIS Club Facebook Group (this is optional and not necessary).  We have some great lessons and activities planned for this year and we hope that you will join us!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS KIS VIRTUAL CLUB HOME PAGE!

KiS Junior is for kids ages 10 and under (although my almost 11 year old will be participating).  Our theme for the year will be Bravery and Persistence and there will be monthly videos from October-May.  Each video meeting will be under 15 minutes and are meant to be low stress for parents.  There will be a story, a quick lesson and two service project ideas.  You can have your children just listen to the story/lesson and/or participate in one or both of the projects if you have the time.  The projects can be done from the safety of your home and most can be done with materials around the house.

Each month we will have a raffle for those who participate during that month (you are always welcome to go back and watch the older videos at any time).  Share a photo of your child participating before the end of the month and they will be entered for the raffle.  There is a lot more information in our Welcome Packet, click the image above to SIGN up!

KIS Teen/Pre-Teen videos will be posted every other month (October, December, February, April). The meeting videos will be under 15 minutes and are meant to be watched when it is convenient for your child. Each video will contain a video clip or interview and two project ideas.  These projects can be done as a family, with friends or on their own.

Kids who participate will be entered to win a raffle for that meeting.  Share a photo of your child participating before the deadline (these will be announced) and they will be entered for the raffle.  There is a lot more information in our Welcome Packet, click the image above to SIGN up.

Check out the two KIS Junior meetings we created last spring!

 

May Meeting–I start off with the book One by Kathryn Otoshi, we make Birthday Boxes and make cards for the local nursing home (rainy day art project).

Earth Day Meeting–I start off reading the book Love the Earth by Julian Lennon, we make recycled art projects and clean up trash on our street.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

featured, Mindfulness

10 Ways to Incorporate Daily Mindfulness with Kids

For the past three years my children and I have been working to include more mindful practices into our days. Practicing mindfulness is a lot like going to the gym.  People go to the gym to exercise their muscles so that they will be strong and ready when they need them.  Just like exercising your muscles, it is important to exercise deep breathing and being mindful.  When you do this, you will better be able to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes your way.

Today I want to share with you a few of our favorite ways to practice mindfulness.  We do not do all of these things daily but try to pick one or two each day to help us to center and focus. Practicing mindfulness daily has made such a big difference in our lives and I hope that it will help you and your kids too!

1. Mindful Jars

image

Mindful Jars are not only fun to make but they are a wonderful tool for children (and adults) to use when they are agitated and upset. We have a few Mindful Jars around the house and they are great for those moments when you just need to calm down.  Give them a good shake and sit and watch the glitter settle to the bottom.  Click Here to learn how to make your own Mindful Jars.

2. Breathing Exercises

Over the past few years we have learned a lot of deep breathing techniques.  Many of our favorites were learned through the book by Kira Willey called, Breathe Like a Bear.   We put our favorites breaths on slips of paper and put them in our breathing jar.  At breakfast or dinner, we will take turns choosing one slip of paper and practice that days breath.  Lion’s Breath and Candle breath are two of our favorites.  Our daily breaths usually leave us in giggles but learning deep breathing techniques has greatly helped us in moments of stress.

3. Gratitude Journals

When my children were small we kept a Family Gratitude Journal.  Each day we would record the things we were grateful for in the family journal.  Now that they are older, we each have our own gratitude journals to mark the things we are blessed with.  Focusing on gratitude forces you to live in the moment, be more present and research shows that gratitude leads to greater feelings of happiness.

4.  Mindfulness Apps

mindful-play

There are so many mindfulness apps and programs that can help kids and parents to learn to breath deeply and self-regulate. Many of the apps offer guided meditations for both kids and adults.  Our favorite apps are Mindful Powers, the Mightier Program and Headspace.  Check out this post from Parenting Chaos for more apps that will help your children with practicing mindfulness.

5. Blowing Bubbles

When my kids were small, blowing bubbles was a regular activity.  When energy levels were high or moods were cranky, I’d grab our bottle of bubbles and we’d head outside (or to the garage if the weather was not favorable).  Watching bubbles is a fun way to practice being mindful.  Bubbles are mesmerizing and kids can’t help but be present as they follow and try to catch them.

6. Body Scans

This is one of our favorite ways to practice mindfulness.  Have your kids lie down and allow their bodies to sink heavy into the floor.  Have them take a few deep breaths and encourage them to make their body feel heavy.  Next have them squeeze all of their muscles tight.  Have them squeeze their hands, their feet, their face, their toes…and squeeze and squeeze.  Then after a few seconds have them release EVERYTHING and feel heavy.  Ask them to pay attention to their body, how do they feel?  Have them scan each body part and see how it feels.  You can repeat this a few times or have them isolate muscles to squeeze from head to toe.  It is such a great way to relax and help them learn to pay attention to the signals of their body.  There are many guided meditations that will take you through a detailed body scan if you want to do it along with them.

7. Gratitude Walk

21

Take a quiet walk as a family and as you walk encourage each person to think of things that they are grateful for.  Have them use their 5 senses to explore their surroundings as they walk and observe things in nature to be grateful for.  Spend a few minutes in quiet and then take a break (maybe with a snack) to share all of the gratitude that was felt and everything that they noticed.

8. Coloring or Painting

My kids love to listen to audio books or classical music and color in coloring books or paint.  There is something so relaxing about this process and it is a great way to encourage your children to be present.  Children who struggle to stop moving to listen to a story or music, may enjoy the act of coloring, drawing or painting to help them focus on the what they are listening to.  There is something about art that allows children to truly listen to the book or music that is being played for them.

9.  Finding Your Heart Beat

Teach your children how to find their pulse (either in their neck or on their wrist).  Have them count the beats in 10 seconds.  Put on music and have them dance around for a minute or two.  Have them check their pulse again.  How much faster is their heart beating?  Now take 5 deep breaths in and out and have them check their pulse again.  How long does it take to return to a calm heartbeat?  Explain how powerful breathing can be for our bodies.

10. Solo Sits

Have your children spread out around the house or yard and sit quietly for 30-60 seconds.  You can add time on to the solo-sit each time they practice this activity.  I love to do this on a hike in the woods and have the kids sit for 3-5 minutes.  While they are sitting quietly, have them pay attention to the noises around them.  Ask them these questions when they return.  What sounds did you hear?  Did you struggle to focus on listening for sounds?  What were some loud sounds?  What were some quiet sounds?  How did you feel as you sat there silently?  

 

Other Ways to Practice Mindfulness with Your Kids

4

Mindfulness isn't difficult. We just need to remember to do it.-5

Mindfulness isn't difficult. We just need to remember to do it.-3

Mindfulness isn't difficult. We just need to remember to do it.-4

featured, Kindness, Making a Difference, Pay it Forward Summer, Service Projects for Families

Art for Hospice

Make a Difference May

It is hard not to smile when you look at the children’s artwork on this page.  In January, our Kids in Service NH group painted cheerful paintings for the patients at a hospice house. Volunteers visit the residents and ask if they would like to choose one of our paintings to cheer up their room.  The painting of their choice gets hung on their bulletin board and it is our hope that everyone who visits their room is brought a little joy in a very difficult situation.

51070801_2509129122447855_8101478612944814080_o

This spring, we partnered with the hospice house again and painted small terra cotta pots.  I sealed each one with glaze and then we planted a flower in each pot.  The 20 pots were delivered to the patients staying at the hospice house and other hospice patients around the community.

Make a Difference May-11

Creating artwork to cheer up hospice patients is a WONDERFUL service project for all ages.  You could paint uplifting paintings, make blank greeting cards with the children’s drawings on the front or paint pots like we did.  I recommend that you reach out to the volunteer coordinator at your local hospice house and see if they would like children’s art donations.

Hospice is a very difficult and sad concept for young children.  I suggest that you tell your children that you are painting happy art for people who are sick in the hospital.  That is all they need to know to be invested in this project.  I am sure that their art donation will not only bring a little joy into the patient’s heart but the hearts of their family as well.

Book Corner, featured, Making a Difference

Books to Inspire Action and Service

The books below are meant to inspire your children to make a difference in their community.  These books are filled with characters (many of them real) who looked at problems in their own homes, communities and in the greater world and decided to take action and serve.  We hope that you will enjoy these stories and that they will lead you to your own service projects this month (this post contains affiliate links, see info below).

CLICK HERE for our FREE Kids in Service Printable Booklist.  Happy Reading!

image

 

Grandpa’s Corner Store by Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan is a story about the struggle that small businesses have with larger box stores coming in to town.  The box stores have cheaper prices and more variety and this makes it hard for the smaller stores to compete. In this story, Lucy is determined to help her grandpa’s store to survive once the big new grocery store comes to town.  She rallies the neighborhood in this feel-good story.  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

 

 

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena is one of my favorite stories!  The little boy is not happy about having to make the long weekly journey on the bus with his grandmother and spends his time looking out the window thinking about all of the things that he doesn’t have.  Grandma helps him to see all that he does have during there ride.  In the end he is grateful that they made the long journey to to the soup kitchen to help others!  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

 

 

image.png

 

Can a Cookie Change the World? by Rhonda Boiling –This is a new book to me and I absolutely LOVED it.  What a great message for children that they CAN make a big difference in their community (and the world).  Tessa at age 7, wanted to help the local homeless population and decided to raise money at the local Christmas Bazaar by baking cookies.  This small idea turned into a cause that the community has rallied behind and Kids Cookie’s for a Cause has raised thousands of dollars for many different charities and causes. Tessa is an INCREDIBLE kid!  This book would be perfect or ages 5 and up and 70% of the proceeds of this book, go to charity!

 

image.png

Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood–This book of poems highlights 14 women of history who shook things up and helped to make a difference in this world.  Each page has a beautiful illustration, a different type of poem about a little blurb of history about the woman’s contribution to our world.  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

 

The reading of this book really begins at the 1 minute 51 second mark 🙂

 

Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner is the story of a real-life hero, Cornelius Washington.  Cornelius was a street sweeper in New Orleans and was always spreading joy wherever he worked with his fun tricks and large smile.  When Hurricane Katrina hit, Cornelius was determined to clean up his beautiful city.  He quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done.  That is when the neighborhood rallies together and volunteers come from around the globe to help him clean up New Orleans.  This book is a heartwarming story about a man who made the world a better place by not only keeping the streets clean but also with his loving heart and kind soul.  I would recommend this book to ages 4 and up.

 

 

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams is a great example that you can make a BIG difference right in your own home if you work hard and make sacrifices.  The main character does come home with her mother to a house fire.  This may be scary for some young children but is done in a gentle way and shows the love of the community and neighborhood and how they rallied around the family after they lost everything.  This book is about family, love, kindness and hard work.  I would recommend this book to ages 5 and up.

 

 

 

image.png

 

Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee–The world can be a scary place and the news is filled with sad and upsetting stories.  This simple book is about how one family chooses to put aside their fears, live their life and spread kindness along the way.  This book would be good for children ages 5 and up.

image.png

 

As I have said before, we are HUGE Brad Meltzer fans in our house.  We love the Ordinary People series and we have read almost all of them.  I am Jane Goodall is a kid friendly biography of scientist and environmental activist Jane Goodall.  Jane did not follow a straight and narrow path to becoming a scientist.  She followed her passion and love of animals and learned so much about the importance of patience and perseverance in her work with chimpanzees.  Jane has made a big difference in this world and she continues to inspire generations to take care of our planet and the creatures that share the earth with us.   I recommend this book to children ages 5+.

 

image.png

 

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind picture book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer is the true story of 14 year old William Kamkwamba and his effort to help his village during a terrible drought.  William spent all of his free time trying to figure out how to bring electricity to his village and using junk scraps, built a windmill.  This book would be great for ages 6 and up.

 

 

image.png

 

One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul  is the true story of a woman named Isatou Ceesay who took on the growing problem of trash in her village in Gambia.  The trash littering the streets was killing goats (who ate plastic bags), caused malaria outbreaks and created a terrible smell.  Isatou decided she could no longer ignore this problem and gathered a group of women to recycle the trash and turn it into treasure. I love the beautiful illustrations in this book and the powerful message is one that all people over age 3 should hear.  You can learn how to make your own plastic bag purse by clicking HERE.

 

image.png

 

 

Love by Matt De La Pena—This BEAUTIFUL book is on my list of FAVORITE  CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF ALL TIME.  This story illustrates the many versions of love found through out this world.  Love knows no boundaries and can be found all around us.  The beautiful text and illustrations in this book show just that.  This would be a great book for ages 3 and up.

 

 

 

If You’re Going to a March by Martha Freeman is a sweet and simple book to introduce young children to the idea of being part of a march/protest.  This book will not only explain what it means to protest peacefully but will answer any questions they may have about the process (where do we park? where do we go to the bathroom etc.).  Best of all this book will put aside any worries or fears that they may have about being part of the event. I would recommend this book to budding activists age 5 and up 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured, Growth Mindset, Mindfulness

Yoga with Kids

Yoga can be a fun and healthy activity for the entire family to practice mindfulness.  The key to yoga with children is presenting the practice in a light and visual way.  Yoga is a great way to help children calm their bodies, quiet their minds and also gain strength and flexibility.

When we started yoga with our own children, we made it more exciting by allowing them to pick out their own mats (mats are not necessary, you can always use a towel).  We keep our individual mats in a basket in the family room and it always makes me smile when they go and get their mat to stretch out on their own.  We have found that if yoga practice is fun and more like play, my kids don’t mind doing it at all.

You do not need to be a yogi yourself or spend any money at all to start an at home yoga practice. I will be sharing some of our favorite FREE yoga videos, books and games in this post.  I urge you to try out the free videos. If you come at yoga with an open mind and playful spirit, your kids will be eager to join in on the fun.  Yoga is a magical way to calm the body and mind.

FREE Videos

 

Cosmic Kids is a website and YouTube channel filled with FREE yoga for kids!!  Jaime, your yoga guide, combines yoga with fun animation to engage kids of all ages.  The website is so easy to navigate and you can find practices by length, energy level or category.  One of her latest videos is Pokemon yoga, where she is trying to capture the different Pokemon!  She also has Star Wars, Frozen, Minecraft, dump trucks, animals, Harry Potter, pirates and so many more!! Cosmic Kids also has meditation videos.  This website  is a wonderful resource for all ages (and I love her accent).

 

 

Yoga with Adriene is a website and YouTube channel with FREE yoga for adults.  Adriene has been my online yoga teacher for the past 3 years and I absolutely LOVE her.  Adriene has a 30 minute video just for kids (CLICK VIDEO above).  This video is filmed in the park and shows that yoga can be done ANYWHERE!  I would recommend this video to ages 9+ Adriene also has a 10 minute video for the CLASSROOM that you could do at home.

image.png

Storyland Yoga is on Amazon PRIME and this was our go to yoga video when my kids were little.  They love the story approach and all of the kids featured in the yoga video.  There are two stories in this 52 minute practice (we use to do one at a time) and it combines video footage of the kids with animation.  It is a lot of fun and I would recommend it for children ages 3-8.

Books 

image.png

This is a favorite book in our house.  The story is about a class of children sharing what their parents do for a living.  Each child shares a different profession and the book takes you through 9 different yoga poses that relate to those professions.  It is a fun and active book to share with children ages 3-8.

image.png

This is another fun and active book to share with children.  It works through the entire alphabet and there is a yoga pose for each letter.  This is a great way for children to learn 26 different poses through rhymes and colorful illustrations.  This is a great book for ages 3 and up.

image.png

Yoga is a very relaxing way to help children get ready for bed.  This story helps your children to slow down and prepare for sleep.  The story takes you through 11 gentle poses that focus on stretching, breathing and relaxing.  The illustrations are beautiful and this book would make the perfect bedtime story for children ages 3 and up.  The author also has a Good Morning Yoga story (see it below)!

This is a beautiful picture book helps children learn the yoga poses of the Sun Salutation flow. This is a wonderful book to teach children this energizing series of poses that can help them start their day. This author also has the book Hello, Moon! A Yoga Moon Salutation for Bedtime (see it below).

This is one of five books in the I Am..series by Susan Verde.  This book encourages young children to explore the world of yoga through fun and simple poses.  We have all 5 books and they are well loved in our house. Peter H. Reynolds does the illustrations for this wonderful book series and he is one of our FAVORITE illustrators.

Games

This fun family game requires no YOGA or PIRATE experience.  Plays work to balance parrots on their body in order to earn doubloons!  Yogarr! is perfect for families, parties and can be played with children ages 4 and up.

The Yoga Garden game is for children ages 4 and up.  In this cooperative game, players are working together to plant a flower by nightfall.  Along the way, children will learn different yoga poses and get a chance to create their own.

Yogi Dice is a game that not only teachers children yoga poses but also encourages them to use their imaginations to dream up new poses.  This game is perfect for children ages 5 and up.

image.png

This game is a great way to introduce children to yoga.  This game contains 54 yoga poses and each pose has both a picture and written instructions for how to form the pose.  The game comes in a portable container, so you can keep it in your bag and play it on the go.  It is recommended for ages five and up but I have modified the game to play with 3 year olds.

image.png

This is not a game but can easily be turned into one.  This beautiful and sturdy deck of cards will illustrate and teach 50 different yoga poses.  We place all the cards in the middle and when it’s your turn you draw a card.  If you can complete that pose, you get to keep the card.  If you are unable to complete the pose, you have to put the card back in the deck.  The person with the most cards after 15 minutes, wins!  We have also used this deck for yoga scavenger hunts, a yoga pose of the day and I’ve kept them in my bag for downtime when we are on the go. This deck is great for ages 3 and up.

image.png

In this game, each player starts with a mission card with 7 poses that they must complete.  The first person to complete their mission, WINS!  There are 48 poses taught in this game and this is another super portable game to take with you.  This game is a lot of fun to play in the grass at the park or on the beach!  This game is for ages 6 and up.

namaste

Animal Service Projects, featured

The Iditarod with Kids

Thank You!!-2

March is one of my family’s favorite months of the year.  This is because we LOVE to follow the Iditarod.  What is the Iditarod you ask? The Iditarod is a 938 mile, Alaskan sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome.  Mushers take teams of 16 dogs on an 8-15 day race through the Alaskan wilderness.  This race commemorates Balto and the great Serum Race that happened in 1925.  The Great Serum Race involved many mushers and dog teams in a relay to deliver medicine to Nome to battle a diphtheria outbreak.

The Iditarod started in 1973 to keep the sport of sled dog racing alive.  Dogs and mushers  all test their strength and ability during the race and try to be the first to cross through the arch in Nome. Animal safety is of the utmost importance during the Iditarod and all animals are checked carefully at each checkpoint by veterinarians.  Mushers develop such tight bonds with their teams of dogs and most of them treat their dogs like family.

This year over 50 teams will leave on the first Saturday in March for the Ceremonial Start from Anchorage. This part of the race is broadcast for FREE on the Iditarod website.  The official start happens the next day and my children and I will be glued to the GPS tracker on the Iditarod website, as we follow our favorite Mushers through the race.

www.kidsinservice.net-4

In honor of the Iditarod, we wanted to share some of our favorite Animal Service Projects (click on the picture above) and our family’s favorite Iditarod books.  Click on the book pictures below to learn more.

Iditarod Books

image.png

This is my FAVORITE Iditarod book of all time.  I have read this book so many times and still cry at the end.  This book is about a teamwork, determination and the love and trust between animals and humans.  This story is sure to have you cheering on Akiak and would be perfect for children ages 3 and up.

image.png

This book was written by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.  This book is the true, historic story of that race and includes photographs and beautiful illustrations.  Storm Run is an inspirational story of a determined woman and her beloved dog team, who fought their way to victory.  I would recommend this book for anyone ages 4 and up.

image.png

This is another great Iditarod story that puts you on the trail with the dogs and musher.  This book was written by Shelly Gill, who was the fifth woman to ever complete the Iditarod.  This book is based off of her experience and is filled with the action that these teams face on the trail.  This book would be great for children ages 3 and up.


image.png

The Iditarod race commemorates the Great Serum Race from 1925 where mushers and dog teams set up a relay to get medicine to Nome for a diphtheria outbreak.  The hero of the Great Race is Balto.  You can learn more about his brave story and of the Great Serum Race is in this book.  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

image.png

Jack and Annie fans will love this tale of Balto, the famous sled dog.  We are BIG Magic Treehouse fans in this house and this book was exciting from start to end.  Magic Treehouse books are fun and engaging ways for children to learn about historic times.  This book and the rest of the series would be great for children ages 5 and up.

image.png

This great book will bring you behind the scenes of the life of an Iditarod sled dog.  You will learn about their training, their care, their determined spirits and the love and trust they share with their human mushers.  These dogs are some of the most athletic animals in the world and this book is filled with dog facts and beautiful photographs.  This book would be great for ages 3 and up.  Younger listeners will enjoy the pictures and a brief summary of the text.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

 

featured, Gratitude, Kindness, Quick Service Projects

10 Quick Projects You Can Start TODAY!

10 Quick Family Service Projects You can Start TODAY

All of us want to find time in our busy lives for service projects.  We know how important it is to teach our children the valuable lessons that go along with serving others (empathy, kindness, gratitude, courage, selflessness etc.) but unfortunately those well meaning service projects are the first thing cut off the to-do list when life gets too hectic.

Here are 10 QUICK service projects that you can do with your kids TODAY, with items you have around the house.  All of them can be completed in under an hour.  I hope that this list inspires to you start a service project TODAY and learn as a family the valuable lesson of serving others.

14

  1. Project Dollar Store--This is a family favorite and a project we do at least once a year. A dollar may not seem like much but this simple project can make a big difference in someone’s life.  Click HERE to learn more about this SECRET MISSION OF LOVE!

72.  Project Appreciation--For this SWEET project you need to gather everyone in the kitchen and think of a community group that you would like to thank.  Click HERE for more details about this MISSION OF APPREICATION.

1

3.  Make Placemats for Meals on Wheels–This is a project for all ages (well anyone who can hold a crayon or paint brush).  First, click on the Meals on Wheels website and contact your local Meals on Wheels. Ask them if you and your family could make placemats for their clients.  We have done this and it is an easy and fun service project.  Gather some thicker paper (we used card stock) and some art supplies.  My Kids Community Service club has done this a few times and all of the children (ages 2 and up) colored happy pictures to make the seniors smile while they ate their lunch.  I mailed in our placemats but Meals on Wheels is always looking for volunteers to help deliver the lunches (and kids are welcome to participate).  If you homeschool, have younger kids or are looking for a summer project, contact your local Meals on Wheels about donating your time.

cheers-2

4. Make a Kindness Jar--This is the Kindness Jar that sits near our dining table.  My children made it with our kids community service group last winter and it is always out as a constant reminder to think of others and BE KIND.  Click HERE to learn how you and your family can make your own Kindness Jar.  The post includes a FREE Printable of Kind Deeds to fill your jar with.

2

5.  Collection for the Homeless–People who are homeless are always in need of gently used clothing (especially warm clothing in the cold winter months), new toiletries or toys that are in good shape.  Give everyone in your family a bag or a box and challenge them to fill it with as many quality items as they can.  Once you fill your bags or boxes drop them off at the local homeless shelter.  This service project is not only helping people in need but it is also challenging the family to declutter.  This is a win-win in my book!

4

6.  Clean Up Your Neighborhood–Grab a few trash bags, some work gloves and head out in your neighborhood or to your local park.  It always SHOCKS me how careless people are with their trash.  My husband does a mini clean up of our street with the kids once a month because of all the trash that the passing cars leave behind.  This is an easy and important service project for your community.

1

7.  Make a Christmas Jar–This project can be done at ANY TIME of year.  We started our third Christmas jar right after Christmas but our first jar was started only a month before the big day.  Click HERE to learn about this WONDERFUL family project.

amillionthanks_logo

8.  Write Letters to Soldiers-This project is so easy to do and younger kids can team up with older kids or parents to make this a family project.  If you know someone in the military, consider making writing letters to them a regular activity.  If you do not know someone in the military, consider writing letters and sending them through A Million Thanks.  This site has drop off locations across the USA for letters and cards.  Here is what one solider had to say about this wonderful organization:

“I want to say thank you for what you are doing for all of us, and especially for the men and women overseas that take comfort in knowing people like you are thinking about them.”

3

9.  Project Sticky Note–This is such a fun and simple project. All you need are some sticky notes and writing tools.  Write a lot of different uplifting messages on the sticky notes (“You are Special”, “You are Loved”, “You are Beautiful”, etc.).  Now comes the fun part, put the sticky notes in places where you think people may need an uplifting message.  We have hid them in library books, hung them on mirrors in public restrooms and put them on car windows on a dry day.  You can have the kids hang them on school lockers or even hand them out to people who look like they may need a pick me up. My husband often leaves us sticky notes if he is going away on business.  It always makes us smile to find the notes of love and encouragement.  The key to this project is to make sure that you do not litter and that you are always respectful.

5

10.  Write a Thank You Note--Have you thanked your parent or care giver lately?  Have you thanked your teacher, your coach, bus driver or librarian for all they do for you? Did you recently receive a gift?  EVERYONE loves mail!  Bless one or more people in your life with a card or note thanking them for all they do to help and support you.  This is a project for all ages, as the littles can draw and adults can scribe the note of thanks and gratitude. Make writing thank you notes a regular practice in your home.  This simple activity will teach an important lesson in gratitude, respect and connection (not to mention it will help them practice their writing).

 

featured, Hygge, hygge for families, Service Projects for Families

Service Projects for Hygge Time

COVID-19 may impact some of these projects.

Winter is now one of my favorite seasons.  I use to dread the cold and long winter months but now that I have found the concept of hygge, I come to crave this time each year.  I love this chance to slow down, get cozy and spend time with family and friends.

If you are looking for some cozy service projects this winter, we have a few suggestions for you and your family.  These are projects that you can do from the comfort of your home.

1. Project Linus-Click HERE to learn all about this cozy and important service project.  No sewing skills required!!

5

2.  Thank You Notes–Have you thanked your loved ones for the thoughtful gifts they gave you over the holidays? Have you thanked your parent or care giver lately?  Have you thanked your teacher, your coach, bus driver or librarian for all they do for you? EVERYONE loves mail!  Bless one or more people in your life with a card or note thanking them for all they do to help and support you.  This is a project for all ages, as the littles can draw and adults can scribe the note of thanks and gratitude. Make writing thank you notes a regular practice in your home.  This simple activity will teach an important lesson in gratitude, respect and connection (not to mention it will help them practice their drawing and/or writing).

3.  Project Appreciation–For this SWEET project you need to gather everyone in the kitchen and think of a community group that you would like to thank.  Click HERE for more details about Mission of Appreciation.

4.  Project Dollar Store–This is such a fun project and can be easily prepared while sitting in front of a cozy fire.  Click HERE to learn more about this SECRET MISSION OF LOVE!

unknown

5.  Project Feeder Watch–This is a project of love for the birds in your backyard (and maybe the squirrels too).  Place a feeder in your yard in a place that you can easily see from a window in your home.  Keep the feeder up from early November-the beginning of April and enjoy the birds that come to your yard each day.  Watching birds from the window is a very relaxing activity and a great learning experience for the whole family.  Grab a few bird books from you library to learn the names of the birds in your yard.  If you sign up for Project Feeder Watch through Cornell, you will be sent a poster of the birds in your area.  Project Feeder Watch asks its members to count the birds for a period of time over two days a week (10 min is all you need) and submit the data online to their website.  This data is used for their scientific study about the birds in different areas and the migration patterns.  We LOVE this project and love to take care of the birds in our yard all winter long.

6. Cards for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are working harder than ever during this COVID-19 pandemic.  Why not show them some appreciation by making cards for your local hospital.

7.  Art for Nursing Homes

Nursing Home residents are unable to accept visitors at this time.  Have your children paint some bright and cheery artwork to cheer them up during these dark times.

featured, Hygge

What is Hygge?

This winter on the Kids and Service site, we will be exploring the concept of hygge.  What is hygge you ask and how do you pronounce this funny word?  Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is a Danish word and concept.  It is hard to explain but it may be the reason that the people of Denmark are among the happiest in the world.  To my family, hygge is a feeling of coziness which invites you to be mindful and use your five senses. It is about gathering, slowing down and spending quality time together.

Why am I bringing the concept of hygge to Kids in Service?  Well you can thank my friend Claire for that.  She knows how passionate I am about this topic and suggested I share it with all of you.  One of the most important lessons I have learned from Claire and her teachings, is the concept of putting on your own oxygen mask first. The truth is that you can not serve others in your life if you are feeling run down or depleted. I am hoping that hygge will be a way for you and your family to give yourselves a little self-care so that you will be ready to go out into the world and help others.

There will be a many posts over the next few weeks exploring the concept of hygge.  We will explore how you can create a hygge feeling in your home through the five senses, share some great books to read together as a family, talk about dedicating time to hygge as a family each week, share some cozy service projects that you can do together at home and share ways that you can incorporate hygge into your lives all year long.

It will cost you NO money to put the concept of hygge into action in your home.  Hygge is all about togetherness, being mindful, creating a cozy environment, having a positive perspective and being grateful for what you already have.  Denmark has some of the longest, coldest and darkest winters, yet its people are so happy.   I believe this is because of hygge.  Hygge is a powerful concept and I invite you to explore it more with your family this winter.

Peace-