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The little book with BIG resources!

The Art of Gift Giving; Teaching Kids To Help Others In Need

Gift giving can sometimes be a bit of a struggle!  With the number of toys that most households with small children usually have it’s hard to know what the perfect gift may be.  Max, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares with us a unique way that his family has found to give!  Take a look…

The Art of Gift Giving; Teaching Kids To Help Others In Need

There are so many little details that go into parenting that you’ve probably never thought of.  Some that actually wouldn’t think of until the situation you need them for comes up. One of those situations, for us, is gift giving.  Especially as our kids get older.  The dilemma is that our kids simply have enough toys. It is to the point that we are keeping some of them in the basement.  This way we can incorporate “new” toys into the selection for our children from time to time. There are several different resources available for how to cycle your toys, so we know that we’re not alone in this situation.

​​I have also witnessed the crazy number of toys that our friends’ children have to play with on visits over to their houses. Every time we go shopping for a birthday party (usually at Target) and walk the aisles looking at all of the shiny plastic toys, I just can’t help but think about all of the half-broken/half-played-with toys sitting around my own house. I actually feel kind of bad for my friends to be adding to their existing problem with my give. Plus, I have to wonder what the message and meaning behind all of these toy options at the store really is…

As you can see…

The dilemma is a pretty major one and the first solution I came up with was to get the kids books! My wife and I figured that the kinds can never have too many books and gifts like that fit our personalities since we both have a background in education. When you give a book, you’re giving a greater gift than just a toy since books have deeper meanings and messages for the readers. They’re not just an item. The one thing to be cautious about is making sure that, when you do give a book, you’re not buying duplicates of books that your children (or your friends’ children) already have. After all, nobody needs four copies of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”.

This ​​left ​​us ​​with ​​the​ ​new dilemma​​ of​ ​knowing ​​that ​​we ​​did ​​not ​​want ​​to ​​add​ ​to​ ​our ​​friends’ ​​collections ​​of ​​plastic​ ​toys.  Now we were also ​​feeling ​​that books​​ may ​​not ​​be ​​that ​​different​ ​from the ​​original ​​problem.

For ​​us, ​​the ​​solution ​​has ​​become ​​to ​​donate ​​to ​​a ​​charity ​​in ​​the ​​name ​​of ​​the ​​child. ​​

We ​​try​ ​and choose ​​a ​​charity ​​whose ​​mission​ ​is ​​a ​​concept ​​that ​​the ​​child ​​will ​​understand, ​​like ​​clean ​​water. ​​We also​​ realized ​​that ​​it ​​is ​​beyond ​​anti-climactic ​​for ​​a ​​child ​​to ​​receive​ ​a​​piece ​​of ​​paper ​​as ​​a ​​gift. ​​That is​ ​why ​​we ​​make ​​sure ​​that ​​we ​​also​​ include ​​a ​​book ​​about ​​the ​​topic ​​of ​​the ​​charity’s ​​mission. ​​So, ​​if we​ ​donate ​​to​ ​Charity ​​Water, ​​we ​​would ​​get ​​a ​​children’s ​​book ​​that ​​explains ​​the ​​fact​ ​that ​​there ​​is only ​​so ​​much ​​water ​​on​ ​the​ ​planet ​​and​ ​that ​​not ​​all ​​kids ​​have ​​access ​​to ​​safe, ​​clean​ ​water. ​​

We were ​​a ​​little​ ​hesitant​​ the​ ​first ​​time ​​we ​​gave ​​this ​​as ​​a ​​gift ​​because​ ​we​ ​did ​​not ​​want ​​to ​​seem pompous ​​or ​​offend​ ​anyone, ​​but ​​it ​​went ​​over​​ great. ​​The ​​child ​​was ​​excited ​​to ​​get ​​a ​​new ​​book ​​that had ​​a ​​science angle ​​and ​​the ​​parents ​​were ​​excited ​​because ​​it ​​gave ​​an ​​easy ​​opening ​​to ​​a discussion ​​about ​​the ​​broader ​​world. ​​I ​​like​ ​that ​​it ​​also ​​gives ​​us ​​an ​​opportunity ​​to ​​talk ​​to ​​our children​ ​about ​​charity ​​as ​​well ​​as, ​​the ​​concept ​​of ​​giving​ ​a ​​gift ​​with ​​meaning.

​​We​​ can​​ talk​ ​and​ ​ask our ​​kids ​​what ​​kind ​​of ​​charity​ ​they​ think​ ​their​​ friend ​​would ​​be ​​interested​ ​in​ ​helping. ​​It ​​is ​​never ​​too early​ ​to ​​start​ ​these ​​conversations ​​and​ ​start​ ​the ​​empathy ​​building.

From iFamily to Yours,


Fun Alternatives To Cupcakes For School Birthdays

Celebrating school birthdays can be a challenge with all the restrictions due to allergies and regulations regarding pre-packaged snacks and treats. So what is a mom to do when she can’t bake her usual homemade treats for school? Maybe you just want to err on the healthier side? Here are a few ideas from Ruth, with the iFamily Mom Squad, to make your child’s birthday a success without providing pre-packaged cupcakes or cupcakes at all-if your school allows them.

Fun Alternatives To Cupcakes For School Birthdays

DIY snacks.

If you are in the mood to be a bit creative you can bring in individual DIY treats. Maybe your child loves fruit or cheese crackers, you can work with that. Look up some fun food crafts online that kids can easily build themselves in a few minutes. Pinterest has some great ideas for food crafts such as these healthy snail and caterpillar snacks: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/128000814388908906/ If you base the snack off of foods and themes your child loves, then the activity is bound to be a winner!

Birthday make and take crafts.

If you want to steer away from sweet treats or food for any reason, you can supply a craft project instead. Talk with your teacher in advance to see if you can supply a special craft activity in place of edibles to celebrate your child’s birthday. You can base it off of favorite characters that your child likes or you can do something strictly birthday related. Local stores carry kid craft kits or you can explore ideas that you find online. Last year I printed off pictures of birthday cakes on to cardstock paper for kids to color and cut, added string so they could wear them as hats. While they were making crafts I read them Happy Birthday to you, pop up edition by Dr. Seuss.

Make a classroom donation

In honor of your child’s birthday you can donate fun things to the classroom. Be sure to involve your little one in the process. Have them choose some books to add to the class library or a new game. You could even pick out something from your teacher’s wish list!

Have the class personalize an item.

Have your child’s class personalize a hoody, apron, poster or other item for their birthday. Fabric markers, sharpies, stickers and so on work well for this. Peers can draw pictures, write messages or sign names as a fun way to commemorate the occasion.

For more ideas relating to birthday ideas you can search on the internet for non-food birthday celebrations at school or check out this PDF: http://www.cpschools.com/Schools/NHP/pdfs/nonfoodcelebrations.pdf

From iFamily to Yours,