Groom generosity in your child with this fun challenge. (You’ll find more creative ways to help your child live out his or her faith in my book Faith-Filled Moments!)
The Power of a Dollar
Turn ten common dollars into ten priceless gifts of love.
Supplies: ten $1 bills
Zero in on a local ministry to needy children that accepts toy donations, such as a medical clinic for low income families, a children’s hospital, a homeless shelter, or a domestic violence shelter. Then visit a nearby “dollar store” with your child (a store in which all items are $1.00) and go on a toy shopping spree. But the gifts won’t be for your child, they’ll be for a child in need.
Prepare your child for this experience ahead of time so he knows he won’t be shopping for himself. Talk together about the organization you’ll be donating the toys to, then encourage your child to try to pick out ten different items that will be special for needy kids to receive. For example, your might want to look for…
—School supplies (crayons, pencils, erasers)
—Picture books or coloring books
Don’t be picky about what your child selects! The point here is to let him experience the joy of giving, not necessarily for him to select the “perfect” items.
When your child has picked out ten toys, let him pay for them himself at the cash register. Then, if you’re able, bring your child along with you when you donate the toys to the organization you’ve selected.
If you’re like me, you avoid the toy aisle like the plague when you go to the store with your kids. But this toy-shopping experience will have an entirely different focus than the typical me!, me!, me!. Instead of wanting more and more, your child will have the responsibility of spending a limited amount of money: ten dollars. And instead of thinking only of his own wants and needs, your child will turn those wants into caring for the needs of others—and you can help! For example, if your child sees a toy car he really likes (and may want), turn that desire in a different direction by saying something like, “You’re right, that car is so cool! And it would be so special to a little boy who’s a lot like you, especially if he doesn’t have many other toys. Great job picking out something so neat.”
You may want to ask your child questions like…
- What was cool about buying toys for someone else? What was hard about it?
- What do you think life is like for a child living in a shelter? (Describe the situation of the children you’re targeting.)
- Imagine a child receiving one of the toys you just bought. How do you think he’ll feel? What will he like about that toy?
- Why do you think God wants us to show his love to others?