Since I was a young girl, my family and I have put together Operation Christmas Child boxes. It was always a fun way to give to others during the holidays and I was so excited to do this with Makenzie this year. I really wanted her to understand, to the best of her ability, what we were doing and why we were doing it. So how do you get a toddler to understand giving back? Here's what I did to explain what we were doing and to keep her involved.
I started by making a Powerpoint using pictures from Operation Christmas Child's Facebook page. I first showed Makenzie pictures from Christmas last year, asking her questions about where we live, what we eat, and ways that we celebrate Christmas. I then showed her some pictures of kids who live in dirt huts or use rocks as their shelter. I showed her some very hungry children and explained that they don't get to eat very often. We talked for awhile about it and then I showed her the pictures of the children receiving their Operation Christmas Child boxes. I asked her how she thought they were feeling and of course she said happy, the giant smiles on their faces were a dead giveaway. So I explained to her that we are going to go to Target to buy stuff to fill our very own box and send it to a little girl who doesn't get to have all of the things that we are blessed to have. I still wondered if it was over her head but once Dirk came home she told him all about what we were going to do and she explained it perfectly.
Before we left I made her a visual shopping list with some items we would be getting.
I copied images off of the internet and pasted them in a Word Doc. I gave her a highlighter and as we found the items on her list she would circle them. She had a blast walking around the store and picking out items, and touching EVERYTHING! She also loved circling the things we put in our basket and made sure to let us know the things we still needed.
The next day we laid out all of the stuff we bought and started filling up our box. (I got those Old Navy shirts for $2.49 each! Score!)
Makenzie neatly put about half of the stuff in the box and then started tossing everything else in. Needless to say, I finished the rest. (Don't mind Rapunzel in her very unlady-like pose, heh).
Finally, on Sunday we paid the $7 to ship our box and then dropped it off at our church.
This week, November 12th - 19th, is the official collection week so you still have time to get one in! Here's a list of sites across the United States where you can drop off a box. Make sure to check out the site for how to pack a box and more info. This was such a fun experience and the best part is that if you pay the shipping fee online you get to find out what country your box was taken to. Such a fun way to start the holiday season.