My kids have a lot of stuff.
It’s kind of ridiculous.
Despite the fact that my clutter-hating husband regularly makes the kiddos clear out their rooms, donate, and trash what they don’t use, it still seems to pile up.
So a couple of years ago, we decided to put the kibosh on receiving gifts when we celebrated my eldest daughter’s birthday. In lieu of gifts that year, we asked Avery to come up with a plan that would help others instead. She decided to ask that people bring new or gently used children’s shoes that we could donate to those in need.
This year, we’re planning to take it one step further. The entire party will be focused around giving back to others. And instead of gifts, we’ll be asking that kids bring sandwich-making supplies.
Yep – my daughter chose the organization 363 Sandwich Project. Started by a man who wanted to do something to help the many hungry people he saw in need, this organization hands out sandwiches donated by others. Watch this inspiring video about it here.
It’s the best of both worlds – the girls get a to do a ‘craft’ project (putting together the sandwiches) and get to make a difference in the world at the same time.
Another fun idea? Host your party at Feed My Starving Children. A friend of mine did this for her 8-year old, and it was so much fun! Not only is packing meals a great time, but the company does a good job of singling out the birthday child and making them feel special, too.
Sole Hope, a non-profit dedicated to providing shoes for children in need, allows you to party while giving back. In fact, we just hosted our own shoe making party through them. For a small fee, you can order a shoe-making kit, then collect gently used denim and milk jugs to create the shoes. The girls in our group had so much fun creating them together – and it was awesome knowing that they were doing their part to be world changers.
There are tons of other opportunities to host a charitable birthday party. For just $25, you can order a doll-making kit from Happy Doll – each child creates a doll that is donated to a child in need. Many Humane Societies offer birthday party options where children can play and help care for animals in residence. Kids Caring 4 Kids was started by an 11-year old girl, who wanted to help children in Africa orphaned by AIDS. For $25, you get a kit which includes party ideas, a CD with sample activities, and information on how your donations make a difference. The list goes on and on.
Birthday parties should be fun, but that doesn’t mean they have to be traditional. I love having a reason to be able to teach my kids about loving others. Have you ever done an out of the box, giving back type of party for your kiddos?