Hands On Learning- Giving To Charity

Teaching children about charity is in my opinion one big must do for parents.  It’s invaluable for children to learn how to give , serve and contribute to their community in positive ways.  I think of it similarly to introducing new foods, lead by example , be creative and don’t expect the lesson to stick right away.

Every year our neighborhood has a large community garage sale and this year we set up a small bake sale to go along with it.  When I asked my son who we should give the earnings to he suggested “The Poor.” We talked about what being poor meant and decided our local food bank was a great place to donate our earnings to.

Together we went to the food bank to check it out. My son got to see people going in for groceries, volunteers stocking shelves and we talked to one of the managers to see if there were any special requirements we needed to meet in order to hold a bake sale. This step was so important for a 4 year old, it took an abstract concept of giving money to “The Poor” to giving to a real concrete place and people.

Then we got to work . We went to the store got a poster paper and decided on the wording.

I did the writing. He decorated it.

Got some cookies – no we didn’t bake them ourselves. I worry about allergies, especially since we were selling them to strangers. Since it was store bought I had the ingredients label in my pocket if anyone had a question. We bake periodically for friends and church for other kid friendly service projects.

Set up, in the garage because of rain, but it didn’t seem to matter.

We had 30 cookies to sell and they all sold out in about 2 very rainy hours. He was a great salesman , greeting customers, being polite when people said they were not interested and handling the money as well.Our total came to just over $32 !

Then this morning we wrote a note to the food bank . I tried to be as hands off as I could so I wrote but he dictated it. Then we dropped it off, I had him walk it up to the counter and explain what it was. He was so proud to hand the money to them. In the way out he saw some ladies walking in and asked me if he helped them.  I think the lesson is sinking in.

Whether you give the money to charity or choose to use a sale like this to teach about earning and saving it’s a great way to spend time working together .

Our set up was very basic but check out these lemonade stands and bake sale set ups from around the web!

Love this computer desk turned into a lemonade stand at Just Sew Sassy

If this smile from Frugal Family Fun Blog doesn’t make you want lemonade I don’t know what will!

How have you tried to teach your children about giving to charity?

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  1. says

    We trick or treat for UNICEF each year. Also, we bring our usable clothing and toys to a local soup kitchen so people can have them without the middleman of an agency. We have 30 kids on our block, so next year I hope to have a booth at the fair for hunger. These are valuable lessons for sure!!

  2. admin says

    We trick or treated for unicef when my son was 1 and no one around here even knew what it was except my neighbor who like me was Canadian. So we gave up 🙁 Are you in the states ? Maybe it’s getting more popular here , we should try again this year.

  3. says

    We had a lot of looking teaching my oldest about charity with toys for tots. We explained it in a way that was easy for her to understand and then took her shopping. She graciously spent her own money and bought a toy she would love to have. We then took her to a drop off box and let her put the toy in there. She proudly told everyone how she bought a toy for a kid she did not know. I was so happy to see how well this worked! We’ll definitely do it again this year!

  4. anonymous says

    Excellent post! And, I wanted to thank you for considering and mentioning food allergies. My 4 year old is allergic to all nuts and we appreciate so much whenever activities/outings etc. are safe for him to participate in. I believe considering that in your planning was another way you showed your son to be considerate of others!!

  5. Jen says

    Last Christmas instead of exchanging with my husband’s side of the family, we shopped for a family in need (I’m a teacher so I got a name of a needy family at school; the other family took names from a tree…each representing one of our family members). The grownups typically exchange gift cards, so those were still purchased and given to the family in need instead. Lastly, our traditional gift exchange/family get together still happened, but instead the moms and kids met that morning to shop together for the families and that evening we got together for our usual dinner and celebration. However, instead of unwrapping gifts, we wrapped gifts for the families. Each person brought gift wrap and it was a lot of fun…the kids helped wrap too and we talked a lot about why we were doing this. Even the 4 year olds really seemed to get it and it made such a difference that we plan to do it again this year. Thanks for sharing your idea — it’s another easy and wonderful thing we can do!

  6. says

    This is a great example of concrete charity work. So far we’ve been doing “giving tree” by shopping for school supplies of needy kids and donating used toys and clothes to the goodwill. I think we should do more, but my daughter is not interested in allowance and money handling much yet (she is the same age as your son).

  7. Trisha says

    Thanks for psoting about this! We try to pick up food for the food bank a few times a month, and at Christmas we buy a gift for a local child about the same age as R. We also gave some relatives gifts from the “gifts for life” catalog from Episcopal Relief and Development. A couple times I read “Because of You”, a book about giving, to R but he isn’t that crazy about it.

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