Granting Wishes

pay it forward summer-9

This summer my local Kids in Service group started a project with our older kids (10 and up) called Granting Wishes.  We like to think of it as a Make a Wish program for seniors.

This project was inspired by Ruby, a 5th grade girl in Arkansas, who visited area nursing homes daily while her mother worked as a nurse. Ruby tried to keep busy and eventually started talking with the residents.  Through her conversations she would ask the residents about their wishes.  She was surprised to learn that many of their wishes were simple (new shoes, an electric razor, Vienna sausages) and this led to a service project where she helped to make their wishes come true. Ruby is an INCREDIBLE Kid and such an inspiration.

This past spring we contacted the local nursing home that our KIS group has been working with for the past 4 years.  We asked if we could partner with them for a similar project and the Activities director, who had heard about Ruby’s story, was excited to provide a similar experience for her residents.  Many of the residents at the local Assisted Living/Nursing home are nuns and many do not have family near by.  It was my hope that this summer’s Granting Wishes Project would foster some connections between the kids and residents that would lead to an Adopt a Grandparent program in the fall.

Twenty children signed up for this project and the group has visited three times now and each time has been magical.  The kids break into small groups and have a list of residents they are to visit.  Each week I stress that their main goal is not to gather the wishes (that is the secondary goal) but to make a connection with the senior and get to know them.  It has been so much fun to watch the interactions between the seniors and the students.  The kids have asked about what life was like when they were children, their interests, about their families and their wishes and dreams.

“They were just like us!” one girl said during our reflection time.  “I am so surprised at how easy they are to talk with.” another boy said.  “I was so nervous when I came but I feel so good after the visits.”

Many of the wishes that the kids collected are very simple to grant (Oreo cookies, crossword puzzle books, DVDs) and others are harder to grant (their spouse back, a time-machine and World Peace).  We have tried to find at least one wish for each resident that we can grant and now the kids are working to make them come true.


This week we will meet to grant the wishes and I can’t wait!  We have already granted two wishes and the recipients were overjoyed.  One was a golfer, who golfs all over her small room.  We brought her bright golf balls (so that she can easily spot them) and a putting machine so that the ball will return to her once she reaches the hole.  “This is all for me?” she said, and she embraced the girls in a group hug.  “Please come back and see me again!” she said to the girls.   It was a beautiful moment and this project has been one of the highlights of my summer!



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Book Corner, Holiday, Kindness, Uncategorized

Black History Month

“Even though we may have the different skin color, we’re still the same type of people, no matter what.” -Simsola 6th Grade–Global Citizen Video

February is a month of KINDNESS here at Kids in Service and also a time to celebrate our differences.  As part of this celebration we wanted to take a moment and recognize Black History Month.  So many people have dedicated their lives to making sure that all people in our country have a voice.  They have fought (and continue to fight) for a world where everyone is respected and treated with kindness no matter their beliefs, the color of their skin, their gender, or their place in society.

As part of Black History MonthKids in Service would like to celebrate the people who have fought for civil rights in this country.  We have a lot of resources below that you can share with your children.  These books and movies are meant to be a springboard to have a conversation with your children about acceptance, bravery, respect, celebrating our differences and KINDNESS.

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CLICK HERE for a FREE Printable Book list for the library or local bookstore.

Click on the picture of each book to learn more.


image.pngThe 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 and Jackie Robinson for Black History Month.  Ages 5 and up


image.pngI use to read this book every February in my 2nd and 3rd grade class.  It is a wonderful story of Rosa Parks life and how her one courageous act started a civil rights movement.  This book would be great to share with children ages 6 and up.  There is a lot of information in this book and it is a great springboard to a rich conversation about segregation and prejudice.  I am a strong believer that a good picture book can be used for children in ANY grade (even high school) and I believe that this is one of them.


image.pngThis beautiful book tells the tale of Peg Leg Joe, an old white sailor, and the song he use to teach slaves about the Underground Railroad.  This book tells the tale of one family as they follow the words to Peg Leg Joe’s song and escape their life of slavery.    The Drinking Gourd is a gentle book about this difficult subject and would be great  for children ages 6 and up.



This is another wonderful biography that I use to read to my 2nd and 3rd grade class every year.  Martin’s Big Words is the biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was written for children ages 5 and up.  This beautiful biography is easy for children to understand,  has beautiful illustrations and weaves Dr. King’s famous words throughout it.





This book celebrates the lives of 40 African American women.  These brave and inspirational women have made a difference in our world. Each woman has a page long biography and a full page sweet illustration of them.  This is part of the Little Leaders and Dreamers series by Vashti Harrison.  This is a wonderful resource and would be great for ages 8 and up.





Here’s a book for the little ones.  This board book is a younger version of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.  This shorter and simpler book celebrates the lives of 18 African American woman.  The sweet illustrations and language in this book make it a wonderful story to share with young children.  It is never to early to encourage children to be brave and follow their dreams.




  1. Garretts Gift-This 17 minute movie can be found FREE on Netflix.  The movie tells the story of African American inventor Garrett Morgan’s life.  Garrett Morgan is responsible for inventing the traffic signal, the gas mask, chemical hair straightening solution and many other things. This movie teaches that we all have gifts to share with this world.  All we need is a little support, encouragement and the right tools.  The story is told by Queen Latifah and the animation is simple but fun and would be great for ages 4 and up.
  2. Dancing in the Light the story of Janet Collins–This 17 minute movie can be found on NETFLIX.  It is the story of Janet Collins an African American ballerina in the 1930s.  She was the first African American to dance at the Metropolitan Opera house but dealt with a lot of racism in her career (the Ballet Rouse asked her to paint her face white in order to perform).  This uplifting story is narrated by Chris Rock and is great for ages 4 and up.
  3. Follow the Drinking Gourd–My kids and I rented this 26 minute movie on Amazon.  Morgan Freeman narrates the story of the Drinking Gourd by Bernardine Connelly while the beautiful illustrations from Yvonne Buchanan are shown on the screen.  We really enjoyed this historical fiction tale and learned a lot about Peg Leg Joe, the Drinking Gourd and the Underground Railroad. This movie is listed for ages 6 and up but I would think it would be better for 7 and up.
  4. Ruby Bridges–This Disney move is not rated and unfortunately not reviewed on Common Sense Media.  It is on our list of movies to watch this month as we continue our study of the Civil Rights Movement.  From what I have read, people recommend it to children ages 7 and up.
  5. Remember the Titans–I LOVE sports films and this is one of my favorites.  This movie is the based on a true story of two high schools integrating after segregation has ended. The story follows the integration of the football team and is a powerful story of racism, acceptance, respect and teamwork.   This movie is rated PG and recommended for ages 10 and up.
  6. Hidden Figures–This was one case where I loved the movie as much as the book (that rarely happens).  This is the true story of the unsung heroes behind the mathematics of the space program.  The story follows the lives of three strong and brilliant African American women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) and their struggle to find acceptance and respect at NASA while they work to put John Glenn into orbit.  This movie is rated PG and recommended for ages 10 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.)  


Book Corner, Uncategorized

Kids in Service FREE Printable Book List

Kids in Service Printable Booklist

We have compiled all of our book recommendations from the Kids in Service site into one handy, printable list.  This way you can grab it when you are headed to the library or download it to your phone so that you always have it.  It is organized by category and has age recommendations for each book. The best part is, it’s FREE!

This list is updated each month when we add new book recommendations to the site. We hope that this list will inspire you to share some good stories with the little guys in your life today!

Click on any of the icons to download our list.  






Valentine’s Day


February is a great time to focus on KINDNESS.  When my children were small, my husband and I decided against presents for Valentine’s Day.  This has meant that the holiday has always been centered around LOVE and KINDNESS.

We spend the two weeks before Valentine’s Day focusing on kind deeds for one another and the people we care about.  Here are some of the things that we do to help keep the focus on kindness and love.


1. Kindness Jar–We made our Kindness Jar about a year ago and it stays out in our dining room as a constant reminder to think of others and to be kind.  We plan to pull out a new kind deed from the jar each day for the Kids in Service 7 days of Kindness Challenge.  Click HERE for directions on how to make your own Kindness Jar and a FREE printable of kind deeds.


Click HERE to learn about our 7 days of Kindness Challenge.


2. Valentine’s Day Count Down--I started this tradition when the kids were little.  We have 14 envelopes to mark the days from February 1st-14th.  Each envelope contains a slip of paper with a fun activity or project for us to do on that day.  The envelopes include: Make your Valentine’s Today, Movie Night, Outdoor Adventure, Make a treat for the Birds, Good Deed Day, Call Someone You Love, Bake Cookies, Family Game Night etc.


3. Valentine Mailboxes--When my son was four and daughter was one, we made family Valentine Mailboxes (you know like the ones you make at school).  Our first mailboxes are pictured above.  A few years later I found cute little metal mailboxes in the Target dollar bins.  These mailboxes come out of the attic on February 1st and we spend the next two weeks writing each other notes.  I love the Target Mailboxes because there is a flag to put up to let the person know that they have mail.  Once and a while, I will drop a sweet treat in the mailboxes, that is always a fun mail day.


4. Heart Attack–I saw this idea a few years back on the Skip to my Lou site and had to give it a try.  It was so easy to do and made the three people in my house smile every morning when they saw the new heart on their door.  I always make enough hearts to add a new one every day for 14 days.  You could condense it to 5 or 7 days to make life easier.


5. Make Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards–My kids and I make our own homemade Valentine’s each year.  I have them draw out four designs on one sheet of card stock and then color photocopy the design so that we have enough to send out.  I love our original designs and I copy enough so that we can send them to all of our favorite people near and far.  We also bring a few homemade cards to cheer up the residents of our local nursing home.  The residents always love the homemade cards and gush over the kind gesture.  It is such a sweet site to witness.


6. Project Dollar Store–Valentine’s Day is a great time to go on a Project Dollar Store Mission.  You can read all about that SECRET MISSION HERE.


7. Winter Sun Catchers–This activity is so fun and easy to do and can be a nice Valentine’s Day treat for the birds and animals in your yard. We used paper for our hearts and did need to go outdoors to collect the paper when the ice melted.  This year we are going to try for natural hearts and adding more birdseed.  They are so pretty.  You can learn how to make there on the Twig and Toadstool site.


Click HERE for a list of Books for Valentine’s Day


Click HERE to learn more.


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.






Christmas Card Recycling Project

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Here is an easy and fun project you and your kids can do together after Christmas.  St. Judes Children’s Ranch collects the fronts of Christmas cards so that the teens in their program can turn them into new cards to sell.  This is part of their “effort to provide the teens with life and work skills.” (St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch website)

Step 1. Have your children collect all of the non-photo cards you have received for Christmas.

Step 2.  Have them sort out the cards that can not be sent (Hallmark, American Greetings and Disney can not be used by St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch).

Step 3.  If age appropriate, have the kids cut the fronts off of the cards.

Step 4.  Put all of the card fronts into a mailing envelop and send it to: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude’s St., Boulder City, NV 89005

This is an easy service project that helps to recycle your holiday cards while helping the teens at St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch.


Homemade Christmas


          Every year, during the 12 days of Christmas, we have a Homemade Christmas.  We have always made each other something during the holidays but the meaning of the gifts would get lost in the shuffle as we opened all of the other gifts on Christmas morning.  Having a special day devoted to our homemade gifts brings so much more meaning to the gifts and love behind them.
         On Homemade Christmas we have a special dinner, light up the tree and gather all of our homemade gifts.  We put on Christmas music and open our homemade gifts one at a time.  It is so much fun to watch the faces of both the creators of the gifts and the recipients.  This is one of my favorite traditions.
         A few years ago we started celebrating the 12 days of Christmas.  Sparkle Stories put out a wonderful collection of stories that inspired us to start our own traditions during the 12 days.  During these 12 days we light a new candle each night, listen to the Sparkle Story of the day, have a “Forgotten gift day” (usually a new family game that is wrapped and left under the tree until a few days after Christmas), have a Hibernation Day (where we stay in jammies, read books and play games all day), enjoy a Twelfth Night dinner and our favorite evening is Homemade Christmas.  Taking 12 days to celebrate Christmas has been such a great way to spread out the festivities and prevent the Christmas let down that often comes on the 26th of December.
Do you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas?  What do you and your family do??

Project Kindness

“When given the choice of being right or being kind, choose KIND.”

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Here are a few projects that you can do to spread kindness around your community! Click on an image below to learn more about that project.

10 Quick Family Service Projects You can Start TODAY








A Clip from one of our FAVORITE movies WONDER (Lionsgate Film November 2017).

The two books Wonder and Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio were so great!!


Click HERE to find more books with a theme of Kindness.