For the past few years we have been doing the Reverse Advent Calendar from Passionate Penny Pincher. This project is a WONDERFUL way to help your kids focus on others during the busy holiday season. My kids like to decorate cardboard boxes for their items and it is fun to watch the boxes fill up during the month of December. My best advice is to buy the food ahead of time. Store the food some place where it will not be consumed and each day have your children “go shopping” to retrieve the item for that day.
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This year I was inspired to create two new giving calendar’s to encourage EVERYONE to participate in Season’s Giving. I created a Solstice Givingcalendar and an 8 Days of Givingcalendar that you can download and print out.
Last year in November, I gave my children the Reverse Advent Calendar list and a grocery budget. They logged on to our local grocery store’s website and worked together to purchase the groceries online. Many grocery store chains and Walmart offer curbside pick up or delivery, so that your kids can do this activity from the safety of home. Not only did they learn about giving, they also learned about budgeting and the cost of food.
So many are in need during this holiday season. If your family is able to give back, I hope you will consider participating in Season’s Giving. This is a wonderful lesson for your children and it will benefit so many people.
From April 2020-May 2021 all of our Kids in Service NH meetings were done virtually in order to keep everyone safe. We now have a bunch of videos that you can view with your kids in the comfort of your own home. These videos include multiple service project ideas, a read aloud story for the Junior videos and a video for the teens and a lesson. When you sign up you will get a downloadable Welcome Packet and access to all of our FREE videos.
KiS Junior is for kids ages 10 and under. Our theme for the year was Bravery and Persistence and there were monthly videos from October-May. Each video meeting was around 15 minutes and is meant to be low stress for parents and caregivers. Each video starts with a story, a quick lesson and two-three 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.
All raffles mentioned in the videos are now closed!
KIS Teen/Pre-Teen videos were posted every other month (October, December, February, April). The meeting videos are just over 15 minutes and are meant to be watched when it is convenient for your child. Each video contains a video clip or interview and two-three project ideas. These projects can be done as a family, with friends or on their own.
All raffles mentioned in the videos are now closed!
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.
We are living in uncertain times right now and one of the best ways to combat feelings of anxiety and worry is to think of others. We may be social distancing but it is important to reach out and help people when we can. Below you will find ideas for 10+ service projects that you can do as a family at home. Many require very little materials and most are items you already have at home. It is our hope to help ease your anxiety (at least for a little bit) while you work together to help those in need.
We’d love to see pictures of you and your family serving others while social distancing. You can email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or share them on social media using the hashtag #kidsinservice. Thank you and stay safe!
Hearts for Healthcare Workers--Make hearts to hang on your door to support Healthcare Workers and First Responders. Let them know that you appreciate their hard work and sacrifice. This beautiful movement was started by the Russell Family, one of our Kids in Service NH families.
Send cards to the local nursing home–Local nursing homes are not allowing visitors and the residents would love some artwork and cheer from the outside. Contact your local nursing home to see if they are open to cards to cheer up their residents. If you are sick or have anyone in your home who may be sick, please avoid this activity. We would hate to spread germs through the mail.
Virtual Talent Show–Many seniors live alone or are in quarantine in their nursing home and assisted living facilities. Let’s bring a little joy to their lives while keeping our kids busy. Post an act of your child performing a talent that they may have (comedy, dance, magic, musical performances…the sky is the limit). Please keep your video under 2 minutes long and let’s help spread some joy to the seniors who are sheltering in place right now.
Do a Trash Pick Up of your street–Our streets are littered with trash, especially those of us who just had the snow melt. Grab some gloves and trash bags and head out to pick up trash with your kids. Please use common sense and do not bring your children out onto busy roads.
Record an Uplifting Message for Make a Wish–Many kids are the most vulnerable during this time and many of their wishes have been postponed. Consider recording an uplifting message for these kids as a family. Click HERE to learn more.
Sew Masks for Hospital Workers–Are you or your kids handy and have a sewing machine? There is a much needed demand for masks for healthcare workers and the public is being asked to lend a hand. Click HERE for more information on how you can help by making masks.
Make a No Sew Fleece Blanket for Project Linus–Order a blanket kit (or two) from JoAnn Fabric or another online retailer. Once it arrives, transform it into a warm and cozy blanket that can be donated to a child in crisis. If you can tie a knot, you can make a blanket!
Check in on your elderly neighbors and relatives-We may be quarantined but we can still use this time to connect with neighbors and loved ones. Call them on the phone, FaceTime if they are able or send cards to let them know you are thinking about them.
Start making Christmas cards for the Military Holiday Card Challenge–The deadline to send in your cards is the end of October but there is no reason why you can’t get started on them now. Put on some holiday music, get out the paper and markers and spread some holiday cheer to our military with a holiday card that thanks them for all of their hard work and sacrifice.
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.
Cut out Shoes for Sole Hope--Do you have old jeans laying around your house? Order a shoe party kit from Sole Hope and turn those jeans into future shoes for children in Uganda.
Kid Knits–Are you looking for a craft to keep your kids busy that supports others? Kid Knits was started by 9 year old Ellie who wanted to find a way to help support women in Rwanda by purchasing their yarn to knit hats with. Five years later she has a non-profit that supports women in Rwanda, Mexico, Chile and Kenya with her yarn and knitting kits. Click HERE to learn more about Kid Knits.
Start a Gratitude Project-It is important for all of us to focus on Gratitude during these uncertain times. Click HERE to find some ideas of ways that you and your family and focus on gratitude.
Some of these activities may not be safe due to COVID-19. Please use your best judgement.
1. “Jingle” People
Once again we will be working on some good deeds for friends and family members and leaving THIS NOTE that they’ve been “Jingled”. My kids love leaving some treats on the doorstep of the people we care about without them knowing. It is hard to be stealth and last year all but one of the recipients ended up finding out it was us. This year the kids are working on ways to be sneakier!
2. Kindness Calendar
This FREE Kindness Calendar from Action for Happiness gives you a daily suggestion for how to spread Kindness in December. My kids and I have used this for the last two years as inspiration for good deeds to do throughout the holiday season. We do NOT do every task, December is too busy for that. We merely read the prompt for the day and if it something that we can easily accomplish in the next few days, we will do so. This calendar is meant to be fun and not cause extra stress!
3. Donate Food and Hygiene Items
Food banks and shelters depend on people’s generosity at this time of year and hope for lots of donations to fill their shelves. Make sure all of the food that you donate is non-perishable and has not expired. They are always in need of hygiene items too (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, feminine products, diapers, toothpaste etc.) . This Reverse Advent Calendar from Passionate Penny Pincher is a hands-on way for kids to be mindful about donating food this holiday season. Kids in Service has created a Solstice Giving and an 8 Days of Giving calendar to encourage EVERYONE to participate in this important project. Check them out HERE.
4. Feast for the Animals
One of our favorite traditions this time of year is to decorate an outdoor tree with edible treats for the birds, squirrels, deer and chipmunks that live in and around our backyard. We usually do this on Winter Solstice and read the book Night Tree by Eve Bunting before we head out to decorate. Some years we have taken a lot of time with this project and made our own suet and bird seed ornaments. Other years we buy suet, sunflower seeds and hang an extra bird feeder. This is also a great opportunity to clean out your vegetable drawer. Bring out old carrots, celery and other greens for the animals to enjoy.
5.Make Holiday Cards for those in Need
Grab the paper, markers and other art supplies for this family project. Work together as a family to make holiday cards that you can pass on to people who need a little bit of cheer and encouragement this season. Do you know someone who lost a loved one or someone who is battling an illness? I am sure they would appreciate a homemade card from your family. Send the cards to the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to be passed out to their guests. Cheer up seniors at the nursing home or a send the cards to Meals on Wheels.
6. Spread Seeds of Kindness–Holiday Edition
This has to be our family’s FAVORITE way to spread kindness during the holidays (and all year long) and it is soooo EASY. We go out and buy a bunch of $1 scratch tickets or $5 gift cards (for coffee shops or fast food restaurants) and hand then out throughout the holiday season. Was the cashier extra friendly at checkout? Hand them a gift card and say “Happy Holidays and thanks for being YOU!” You can spread seeds of kindness to the person working at the tollbooth (we still have people who work the tolls in New England), the person who works at your transfer station, your dry cleaner, the mom who looks stressed in the store, a homeless person…anybody is game for a little kindness this holiday. A nice touch is wrapping the gift card or scratch tickets in a drawing from your children. Click HERE for more information about Seeds of Kindness.
7. Donate Toys and Gifts
There are lots of worthy charities that will accept brand new toy and gift donations at this time of year. Our library has a giving tree where you can take a mitten off the tree and buy a present for a boy or girl in need. Contact your local school nurse or guidance counselor to see if there is a family who needs help during the holidays. Contact the local Foster Child Agency and see if they are in need of toys for the children they serve.
8. Volunteer Time
Do you have some free time this month to volunteer? Our family likes to spend one Saturday morning in December volunteering in the Food Bank. We dress in festive clothing, sing carols on our way and go out to breakfast when we are all finished. It is a nice tradition that we look forward to each year. If you have time to volunteer, contact your local food bank, pet shelter, hospice house, soup kitchen, nursing home or homeless shelter to see if they are looking for volunteers this season. The Salvation Army is always in need of volunteers for their Red Kettle drive during November and December. Many places will accept the help of younger children (ages 5 and up) if there is an adult present.
9. Go Caroling at a Nursing Home
Make some simple song books (most holiday lyrics can be found on the internet), gather together some family and friends and schedule a time to visit your local nursing home. Dress in festive clothing and wander the halls singing carols for all to hear. Perhaps you might bring along some holiday cards or homemade ornaments to pass out to the seniors as you wander. This activity will be one that you will always remember.
Don’t know what to do with all of your children’s beautiful art work? Do the grandkids keep sending you masterpieces and you are running out of fridge space? Please consider sending it to be repurposed in our new Kids in Service Recycled Art Program. We will be taking the art and transforming it into cards for the homeless, cards for the military, Meals on Wheels placemats, cards for hospice patients and so much more.
Please collect their masterpieces and pass them on to Kids in Service for our members to repurpose. You can mail your recycled art to us at:
The Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge is a non-profit from NH that collects and sends holiday greetings to our deployed military. They have collected and sent out almost 500,000 cards since the project began!
This is a wonderful project for you and your family to work on together. 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 Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge, PO Box 103 Hollis, NH 03049.
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.
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.
Kids in Service NH partnered with Shepherd’s Food Pantry and St. Matthew’s Church for a once a month service project called, the Brown Bag Delivery Project. Once a month, it is our job to help deliver the food that is collected on Brown Bag Sunday at St. Matthew’s and deliver it to Shepherd’s Food Pantry. This project is PERFECT for ALL AGES and it is one that helps so many people in the community.
Here is what Kids in Service Mom Kristen had to say about their experience:
Justin and I went to St. Mathew’s church on Sunday evening. He thought it was pretty cool because he got to wear pajamas (since it was so close to bed time). While we waited for the church service to end, we sat in the car and talked about what we were going to do. Justin was excited to bring the food to people who need some extra help. When people started to leave the church, we went to work! Justin liked using his “strong muscles” to bring the bags to the car. Justin and I made 4 trips back and forth to the car before 2 women noticed what we were doing and asked if they could help. The two of them were able to pick up the big bin of food and make it to the car in one trip. Justin was very impressed and happy that they helped us out. We thanked them and took the food back to our house (leaving it in the car overnight).
In the morning we drove the food to Shepherd’s Pantry in the POURING rain. I have to admit I was not looking forward to unloading all of the food and getting soaked. But it turns out I didn’t need to even think about getting soaked. As soon as I drove up, three volunteers came to my car with shopping carriages and unloaded all of the food in just a couple of minutes! The volunteers were so grateful and kind to both of my children in the car. On the ride home Justin asked a few questions about why people needed extra help with food. It ended up being a great discussion and I believe it was a great learning experience for both of us!
This project is flexible and you do not need a mini-van or a large SUV to participate. With a little creativity, I know we could fit all of the food in my husband’s Toyota Corolla. Most of the food is in shopping bags, which makes it perfect for little hands to help carry food to the car. This project is a great opportunity to discuss all of the blessings that you have in your life and how important it is to share those blessings with others. This is a very simple, family service experience that is FREE, does not take a lot of time and best of all it helps serve the community!!
We were away Mother’s Day weekend, so I made arrangements with St. Matthew’s to come and get the food on Monday morning and we brought it straight to Shepherd’s Food pantry (this is an EASY option). We left our house at 8:09am and were back by 8:40am!! We have done this project two times now and it is always so much fun working together on a common goal.
If you and your family live in Southern, NH and you would like to participate in the Kids in Service Brown Bag Delivery Project, please email us at email@example.com.
Food pick up can be done at St. Matthew’s on either Sunday at 7pm after the last mass or between 7:30-10:00am on Monday (you need to make arrangements if it is before 9am). Food drop off at Shepherd’s Pantry is on Monday between 6:30-10:30am.
“You’re never too young to change a life on the other side of the world”–www.kidknits.org
My daughter discovered Kid Knits a few years ago and we have purchased many of their hat making kits and yarn since. Kid Knits was started by Ellie when she was just nine years old. She wanted to help people on the other side of the world by using the yarn that they made to knit hats. With family support, Ellie started a non-profit organization. Kid Knits now supports woman in Chile, Rwanda and Kenya by giving them a channel to sell their yarn.
In our home we have made adult hats, child hats and doll hats (lots of doll hats). The kits come with a round loom, directions and beautiful wool yarn in a variety of colors. Making hats is super easy to do with the loom and the perfect thing to do while watching TV or listening to an audio book. The kits range in price from $14-$24 or you can buy the yarn separately. All kits come in beautiful handmade bag from Chile and they make wonderful gifts.
From my 9 year old daughter: “The kit helps to make knitting hats easier. The yarn is soft and bright. It is cool that a 9 year old started Kid Knits.”
Ellie is another example that you are never too young to make a difference in this world. From her home in Illinois, she is helping women on the other side of the world to have an income source. Check out this video about Kid Knits below, Ellie is an INCREDIBLE Kid!!
A few years ago, our Kids in Service NH group organized a Food Drive. Our goal was to collect 1,000 items for the local food bank and the kids worked so hard and surpassed that goal!
The food drive was organized in the spring and many went to door to door collecting food from neighbors. The children emailed friends and family and asked for donations, many sent money. My children sent a box with their dad to work and sent out a company wide email. This experience was hands-on and I was so proud of the kids and all that they accomplished!
You do not need to set such a high goal but organizing a food drive with friends and family is a great way to give back to your local community. This is a GREAT time of year to organize a food drive. Food banks get the bulk of their donations in November and December and thus the spring and summer months can be pretty sparse.
Food Banks are looking for items that are non-perishable and that are within expiration date. The best items to donate to food banks are:
Peanut Butter (or Nut FREE versions)
Pasta and Sauce
Canned Meat (chicken, tuna, salmon, SPAM, ham)
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Canned Vegetables and Fruit
Soap and Shampoo
toothpaste and toothbrushes
Diapers and Wipes
Meet Joshua, when he was 4 1/2 he started organizing food drives with the help of his parents in Miami where he is from. This led to the start of his youth-led foundation, Joshua’s Heart. Since starting his foundation, he has raised over 1 million dollars, distributed 2.2 million pounds of food, distributed 100 thousand toys, clothes and toiletries and has over 25 thousand youth volunteers. The video above was filmed 4 years ago when he was just 11, it is both inspiring and heart warming. Joshua is truly an INCREDIBLE kid!