Blog, Pay it Forward Summer

Arcade Kindness

I recently took my children to a large arcade complex to celebrate the end of their school year.  They love this particular arcade but I prefer to take them during school hours when it is quieter and less chaotic (a perk of homeschooling).  As we pulled into the empty parking lot, they planned out the way they would spend their tokens and dreamed of the tickets they would collect.  I smiled at their chatter and decided to channel my inner child while we were in the building. I was planning for a fun day and never would have guessed that a trip to the arcade would be a powerful lesson in kindness and paying it forward.

“Mom, there are tickets all over the place!  Somebody is forgetting to get their tickets!!”  Caroline could not believe that someone would leave tickets behind.  At first I thought it was a forgetful person, then I realized that a mystery person was leaving the tickets for small children to find.  Caroline grabbed a fist full of tickets (about 40) from four nearby games and looked over and saw a small girl.  “Mom, can I give these tickets to that little girl?”  My heart melted as I nodded my head yes.  The little girl was so excited to be handed this handful of ticket treasure.

Later on, the kids and I were playing a game and we spotted a bag of tokens that had been left behind.  We searched the entire arcade looking for the mom and child who had just been there.  We found them in the bathroom and the mom was so grateful that we had found her tokens and brought them back to her.

Zach had his moment to shine when Caroline needed 200 more tickets to get a giant stuffed unicorn.  Without hesitation he gave them to her and she beamed at him as she snuggled her new stuffed friend.  A few weeks prior, at the same arcade, my 4 year old niece and nephew were given 3,000 tickets by a generous gamer.  They were ecstatic with all of the loot they were able to turn it in for!

There may be a lot that is wrong with our world but there is also a lot that is right.  The kindness at the arcade took me by surprise but it was a great way for the kids and I to kick off our Pay it Forward summer.  We are now plotting ways to pay forward the kindness that has been shown to us over the years.  I plan to share our progress with you as the summer goes on.  How will you and your family Pay it Forward this summer??

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.


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.

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

Project Dollar Store

This is such a fun project and can be easily prepared while sitting in front of a cozy fire. Both of my kids loved being “ninjas” as they secretly spread out the baggies of love all over our local dollar store.  Will you and your family accept this mission of LOVE?

Your Mission:  Put together baggies with $1 dollar bills and messages of love.  Spread them all over the dollar store with out being detected.  Drive away with love in your hearts.

Supplies:  ziplock baggies, $1 bills, sticky notes or paper and tape, writing/coloring tools

Procedure:  Have your children write some positive messages on the sticky notes or paper (they can also draw simple pictures or color over your notes in crayon if they are not writing yet).  Add a note that tells the person to use this dollar to buy something for themselves.  Attach one note to each $1 bill and place the bill in the baggie.  Zip up the baggie and then get ready for some SECRET FUN!  Drive to the local dollar store and hide these baggies all over the store. On the way home you can imagine together how people will react when they find your kind gesture of love.

Did you complete this mission?  

Take pictures of the process and email them to us at  

We’d love to include your children in our Incredible Kids of the month!