Parent Educator and Author, Elaine Heffner once said, "The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children."
For our first big trip overseas with three young kids in tow, we stayed with family who manage a missionary hospital and orphanage in central India. The orphanage currently houses 60 girls from 6 years of age.
WHAT WE DID:
Before we embarked on this life changing journey, we decided to raise some funds for the orphanage. When my 7 and 4 year old sons brought some artwork home from school (and amazed me with their creativity), I curated a few and designed them into celebratory cards for birthdays, Christmas and the Chinese New Year with Vistaprint, online. We sold the cards at our local community group and celebrations, raising enough to pay the school fees for two of the girls for the coming year.
LET'S CREATE EXPERIENCES!
When the boys presented the cheque to the very excited girls at their annual Christmas function, I felt so proud of them and I could see they felt pretty special to have helped support the orphanage. The boys enjoyed the simple living so much that they didn't want to leave when it was time to say farewell. They were amazed at the incredibly poor conditions but still thriving people of the hospital and orphanage.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
Needless to say, this exceptionally enriching experience and many others in India gave the boys the opportunity to learn invaluable life lessons including empathy and tolerance and obtaining the virtues of kindness and humility. It was great to see their emotional intelligence kicking in when I heard the older one tell the younger one that they shouldn't eat the Cornettos that the orphanage gifted them with, in front of the girls, as the girls could not afford to eat them. They chomped down the melting ice-creams soon after we left the orphanage. Now that was some new found self-control for one of their favourite desserts right there!
We're thinking this creative project for our wider community might become an annual Christmas tradition - please email me if you would like to pursue a similar project! I would love to explore more creative ideas for community and encourage 'the art of living' to my kids. Hope to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.
Giving a gift that is wrapped in paper that the kids made themselves has always made them feel great.
There is also an additional sense of pride in creating something that is useful and meaningful.
Over the years, it has become a tradition leading up to Christmas to make our own Christmas wrapping paper but this activity is fun to do for Easter and birthday presents as well.
WHAT WE USE:
Pour a small amount of different coloured paint onto some trays and place the stamps, sponge shapes or cookie cutters on top of the paint. Stamp these shapes all over the white paper and repeat until the paper is covered with cheerful Christmas colours and shapes. After the paper has dried, it is ready for wrapping Christmas gifts with ribbon.
Optional - For some extra bling, squeeze some glitter glue or sprinkle glitter on some clag and onto the wrapping paper.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
My kids enjoy getting actively messy with the paints and stamps, whilst creating their personalised pieces of wrapping paper. This is also an opportune time for the kids to learn to share the stamps and paint trays amongst themselves. Mamas can enjoy hanging the kids' home-made wrapping paper up to dry and then help the kids wrap the pressies.
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