Holiday, Making a Difference, Quick Service Projects, Seasonal

Halloween Candy Switch

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For the past 10 years, my children have traded their Halloween Candy for a $10-$12 toy of their choice.  I know what you are thinking, “You take ALL of their candy, you are so cruel!”  To be clear I don’t TAKE anything, it is a TRADE that they agree to make.  I also allow them to eat some candy on Halloween and save 5 pieces for consumption the week after Halloween.  This has worked well for us and their dentist approves!

The candy the kids trade in is sent to work with my husband.  His employees LOVE the variety and it is usually all gone in 1-2 days!

Last year, while packing Thanksgiving food baskets at our local food bank, I was surprised to see that Halloween candy was one of the items included.  “We like to put in a little fun for the kids,” the organizer told me.  I knew right then that next years Halloween candy would go to the food bank for the Thanksgiving baskets.

There are many great places to donate Halloween Candy, a quick internet search will bring up many options in your area.  I am asking you to consider your local food bank, call them and see if they would like a donation for their Thanksgiving baskets.  Happy Halloween!!

 

Kindness, Quick Service Projects, Seasonal, Service Projects for Families

Celebrate May Day

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May Day, celebrated on May 1st, is an ancient holiday that welcomes the change of seasons.  In the Northern Hemisphere it marks the return of spring (it takes awhile for spring to get to the Northern United States) and often involves dances around a maypole, the crowning of a May Queen and the creating of May Baskets.  This holiday is still celebrated around the world but it is mostly forgotten in the US.  It is my hope that this will change.

May Baskets are my favorite part of May Day.  For the past few years, the children and I have left May Day Baskets anonymously on the doorsteps of friends and family.  These simple baskets are made out of construction paper and contain spring treasures that we collect (flowers, rocks, pinecones, shells etc.), homemade cards that say, “Happy May Day” and treats that we bake.   The kids love ringing the doorbell and running away before being seen.

May Day is a fun and simple holiday that is all about KINDNESS and celebrating the beauty of spring.  Check out this post from Skip to My Lou for 10 May Day Basket ideas.  If you want to learn more about the history of May Day Baskets, check out this NPR post.

Do you celebrate May Day?  We’d love to see photos of your celebration.

 

Animal Service Projects, Animals, Book Corner, Kindness, Seasonal

The Iditarod with Kids

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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 March 2nd for the Ceremonial Start from Anchorage.  This part of the race is broadcast for FREE on the Iditarod website.  The official start happens on March 3rd.  My children and I will be glued to the GPS tracker on the Iditarod website, as we follow our favorite Mushers through the race.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.)  

 

 

Book Corner, Holiday, Holiday Books, Kindness, Seasonal

Chinese New Year

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Happy New Year: 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

This year Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) begins on February 5th.  Chinese New Year is the beginning of the Chinese calendar and is also known as the Spring Festival.   2019 is the Year of the Pig and pigs symbolize wealth and fortune in China.

This 15 day festival can be a great time for your family to learn about the Chinese culture, the traditions associated with this festival and have a little bit of fun.  Here are some fun things you and your family can do to learn about and celebrate Chinese New Year.

  1.  CLICK Here to find out what your Chinese Zodiac symbol is (we are snakes, a dog and ox over here)
  2. CLICK HERE for ideas for a craft projects for Chinese New Year.  You can make some fun decorations together and plan a Chinese New Year Feast.  Red is the color of Chinese New Year and it is thought to bring luck.
  3. Make Chinese food together or order take-out from your favorite restaurant.  Dumplings are eaten every day during the festival.
  4. Find a local Chinese New Year celebration.  People from all over the world celebrate this festival and there are many events here in the USA.  Check out your local art museum or go to your closest China Town.  We went to a dragon dance a few years ago at our local art museum and it was beautiful.

Books for Chinese New Year

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From the publisher: “When her Chinese grandmother comes to visit, a young Chinese-American girl learns of and participates in the customs and beliefs celebrating an authentic Chinese New Year.”

 

 

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From the publisher: “In this picture book celebrating Chinese New Year, animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother.Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.”

 

unknown-2From the publisher: “When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they’ll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family’s house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man’s home with a feast in tow! With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.”

 

(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.)  

 

Holiday, Holiday Books, Kindness, Seasonal

Candlemas

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Candlemas, February 2nd, is known by many names: Groundhog Day, Imblog and St. Bridgids Day.  Candlemas is a beautiful and long forgotten winter holiday that marks the half way point until spring.  Throughout history people would gather and celebrate light, hope and renewal.

Candlemas-Day Verse

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

Today on February 2nd most people focus on a small furry mammal named Phil, in the little town of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania.  The world holds its breath as the poor little groundhog is removed from his cozy slumber to look for his shadow (if he doesn’t find it that means an early spring).  I admit I am one of those people who LOVE that silly tradition and I watch it live on the internet.  My kids and I also watch Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day movie every February 2nd, we LOVE that ridiculous movie.

I invite you and your family to take some time to pause on February 2nd and reflect upon your own hopes and dreams for the year.  Maybe you light some candles to mark the fact that we are half way to the spring equinox or try one of the other ideas below.

Happy Candlemas!

Here are some ideas to celebrate Candlemas:

  1. Make candles as a family (this kit is a favorite of ours)
  2. Have a candlelit dinner and talk about everyone’s hopes and dreams
  3. Call someone who may be lonely and provide a little light in their lives
  4. Plant a seed or bulb and watch it grow as the days get closer to spring
  5. Make Valentine’s Day cards to send out to the older folks in your life.  They will love a little handwritten note from you.

Here are some of our favorite books to read on February 2nd.

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A fun book about a groundhog who has trouble hibernating.  He wakes up for all of the fall/winter holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) and sees what he has been missing all these years.  This is such a cute book and is great for ages 3 and up.

 

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This book is not only funny but filled with lots of facts about weather, the history of Groundhog Day and other groundhogs around the world.  My kids and I read this book every year and it still makes us laugh.   This book is great for kids 5 and up.

 

 

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This is an ancient Irish story that celebrates St. Brigid.  In this beautiful story you hear about how Brigid’s got her famous blue cloak and the first of the miracles that it performed.  St. Brigid is a patron saint of Ireland and a wonderful role model for kindness.  She set up convents all over Ireland that catered to the poor and hungry.  This book would be great for children ages 5 and up.

 

(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.)  

Kindness, Seasonal

7 Days of Kindness


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Kids in Service will be leading a 7 days of Kindness challenge on social media (Instagram and Facebook) from February 8th-February 14th.  We are asking everyone in our community to try to do a kind deed every day for one week.  Share the kind deed that you or someone you love did on either our Facebook page or Instagram Page each day.  Each kind deed that you share will be an entry into our prize drawing.  If you post a kind deed EVERY DAY for 7 days, you will get an extra 5 entries into the drawing.

You must “LIKE” our Kids in Service Facebook page and/or FOLLOW us on Instagram to be entered in the drawing.  

If you are not on social media, you can still enter the contest by emailing us and telling us about your kind deed.  Please email communityserviceforkids@gmail.com.  If you email all 5 days, you will receive an extra 5 entries.

We have 3 prizes to choose from (lunch box notes and two books) and we will have 3 winners!!  The first person drawn will get to choose their prize of the three prizes available, the second person drawn will then get to choose their prize out of the two prizes left and the 3rd person drawn will be given the remaining prize.

We hope you will join us for this week of Kindness!  See you over on social media.

Here are the prizes:

One Box of Lunch Box Notes by Bloom Daily Planners

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Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Paperback edition)

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The Berenstain Bears Lend a Helping Hand by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Paperback)

This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.  If you click on one of the pictures of the books and choose to purchase a book through this site, 20% of all proceeds will be donated to the Kids in Service charity of the season.  This season the charity is Love Does.  You can learn more about Love Does HERE.

Hygge, hygge for families, Kindness, Seasonal

Hygge All Year Long

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I live in the northern hemisphere and slowly but surely the days are getting longer and on February 2nd, we will be half way to spring.  Hygge is often thought of as a winter concept but the truth is the Danish people take the coziness and togetherness of hygge and make it last all year long.  Here are some fun family ideas to plan for when the weather gets warmer.

Hygge Ideas for the Warmer Weather

  1. Pizza on the beach at sunset
  2. Outdoor concert
  3. Ice cream cones on a hot day
  4. Reading in a Hammock
  5. Catching Fireflies in a Jar
  6. Outdoor BBQ with Friends
  7. Cloud watching

All Year Long Hygge Activities

  1. Stargazing
  2. Campfire
  3. Family game night
  4. Family read aloud time
  5. Potluck Dinner
  6. Family Hike

This is the last hygge post for this season.  We hope you have enjoyed this month of focusing on family self-care and hygge.  We at Kids in Service believe that you must take care of yourself if you plan to serve others.

If you missed our other posts you can click on the images below to check them out.

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Hygge, hygge for families, Kindness, Seasonal

Service Projects for Hygge Time

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

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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.

If you missed our other hygge posts you can click on the images below to check them out.

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Kindness, Seasonal

Kindness Jar

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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.  The Jar is filled with slips of paper that contain ideas for kind deeds.

When we go to the jar for ideas for kind deeds we pull out three slips of paper.  We then decide which deed is the best one for us to do right now.  Some of the kind deeds are more time consuming or may need a trip to the store and if we have a lot going on we may have to save them for another day.

You can easily make your own Kindness Jar with materials you have in the house.

  1. First find an empty, clean jar and have the kids decorate it with paint (we used paint pens), stickers, sharpies….anything!
  2. Next CLICK HERE for a FREE PRINTABLE with slips with many kind deed ideas and blank slips for you to come up with your own ideas.  Print these out and go through each one and decide as a family if you will add them to your jar or not.  Then work together to brainstorm some other kind deeds that you could do and place those in the jar.
  3. Cut these slips of paper and put them in your jar.
  4. When you are ready to do a kind deed, pick a few slips of paper and decided as a family which deed you will do that day (some of the deeds take more prep time than others).
  5. If you would like, you can keep track of your kind deeds by replacing the slips of paper with a cotton ball or marble and watch the jar fill up or keep a KINDNESS CHAIN like we did.

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