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Participating in creative activities can bring so much joy and relaxation into our children’s lives. Whether it be music, writing, photography, dance, cooking, or crafting, we have a tremendous opportunity to engage our children in their creative side. What is even more spectacular, is that we can harness this creativity to make the world a better place.
Benefits Of Crafting For Charity
When we give back to our community, we benefit and the recipient benefits. Our brain chemistry actually changes when we do something nice for another person. Studies show that practicing kindness stimulates the vagus nerve, which is linked to the production of oxytocin in our brain. Oxytocin is a hormone that soothes us, making us feel calmer and happier. Kindness also triggers the production of dopamine, the hormone responsible for positive emotions and that natural high feeling we get.
In addition, when we give, we experience positive health changes including increased life expectancy, feeling less lonely, a stronger immune system, fewer aches and pains, decrease in stress and anxiety, and less depression.
Creativity is one outlet to use in your charitable work. No matter how artistically-challenged you think you are, you have something to offer to others in need. You may even discover hidden talents you never knew you or our children had!
Donate Your Crafts
I am so thrilled to share a truly amazing event taking place right now that marries creativity with giving. Create to Donate is a special campaign by Goods Giving Back, a philanthropic marketplace for makers who want to craft things they love to benefit nonprofits, and for nonprofits to tap into their crafty donor community as another fundraising channel.
Goods Giving Back offers artists the opportunity to be philanthropic with their crafts and keep their “for profit” work separate from their charitable efforts. In addition, unlike other marketplaces, when an item sells in the Goods Giving Back shop everyone is paid at the time of sale when the item is purchased. View the lovely pieces of jewelry, clothing, and other products on their marketplace.
Dana Lardner, Founder of Goods Giving Back, explains: “I am launching Create to Donate in the hopes of inspiring and engaging people to create handmade things and donate them to their favorite nonprofits in need.” She hopes to build a community of crafters from all walks of life and connect them with deserving nonprofits in need. “My goal is to help you rediscover great nonprofits in your area, as well as introduce you to additional worthwhile charities that are sure to become new favorites.”
The campaign is here to encourage everyone—no matter what your creative flare may be—to develop something that you can give to a charity of your choice. It is a fabulous way to do volunteer work with children. To participate in this campaign, join the Create To Donate crew to receive awesome giveaways, fun tutorials, inspiring stories of other crafters, and profiles about nationwide nonprofits that can’t wait to receive your creations.
What Should You Make?
Dana Lardner believes that “everyone is capable of making something that another person will appreciate and enjoy”. There are countless ideas out there to inspire your family to create something special for this cause. Pinterest anyone?
My family has been active in volunteer activities for kids over the past several years, and many of those projects involved making something with our own hands. To give you some ideas, we decorated cards for veterans and the elderly, weaved rainbow loom bracelets for at-risk children, and assembled colorful collection boxes for Family Promise. We completed a community service project using a WeeWork For Good kit that entailed decorating a dog bowl and doghouse-shaped plaque to serve as a leash holder that we donated to a local animal shelter. Most recently we baked cookies for community helpers in our town and had the privilege of meeting the Fire Chief when we delivered the box of cookies earlier this week to acknowledge Patriot’s Day and remember 9/11.
The Create to Donate website also suggests the following craft ideas:
- Blankets (quilts, no sew fleece, knitted, or crocheted)
- Inspirational flannel hearts for preemies
- Handmade cards of all sizes
- Small pieces of handmade art
- Hats for people of all ages (knitted, sewn, or no-sew)
- Scarves (knitted, sewn, or no-sew)
- Animal toys made from fabric scraps
Resources To Start Crafting
There truly are so many resources out there to help you get started on your craft. I just stumbled upon an amazing site called Picture This that take art that children make and turns it into clothing. How spectacular is that?!
Here are some other super clever crafts that you can do with your kids:
- How To Make A Smile Box: Make that special someone really light up when they open a personalized Smile Box.
- Easy Handmade Journals For Kids: Have some family bonding while crafting, and making journals that can also record precious memories!
- DYI Air Dry Ornaments: Try making these in any shape for a variety of occasions.
- Creative Galaxy: Kim from Two Kids And A Coupon writes about an amazing show called Creative Galaxy from Out of the Blue Enterprises (Super Why!, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) that is a “make-along, create-along” animated art adventure series that celebrates creative thinking through crafts, story, music, and dance. Check it out for so many craft ideas.
- DYI Stamped Thank You Cards: This is a very simple way to make adorable cards. You can create any type of card since it’s all about the word on the stamp you use.
- Homemade Paint For Kids: Your children can have fun making this paint from items you have in your kitchen. Then they can use it to create paintings to donate to others.
- I Love You Frame: Your kids can spread their love to others by putting their heart into this adorable craft.
- Nature Weaving: Brighten up someone’s day with this resourceful nature weaving project.
- Cheerios Self Portraits: Your kids will love this clever activity using one of their favorite breakfast and snack foods.
- DIY Color Me Bright Felt Pencil Case: This would be such a wonderful craft to give to children at schools in a struggling community.
Choosing Your Charity
It can sometimes be overwhelming to figure out where to donate your goods. Create To Donate has developed a streamlined process that involves featuring specific, smaller nonprofits nationwide along with their exact needs and tutorials detailing how to make things that can be donated. These ideas will be posted regularly throughout the course of the campaign.
I encourage all of you to research charities in your area that need support. Here are some helpful databases to guide you to family volunteer opportunities that are the right fit for you and your children:
- Charity Navigator: By guiding intelligent giving, we aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation’s and the world’s most persistent challenges.
- GiveWell: Dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities through in-depth analysis. Thousands of hours of research have gone into finding our top rated charities. They are evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, and underfunded.
- GreatNonProfits: Helps people differentiate between nonprofits, find ones that they trust, and to encourage the community to be more confident in giving.
- Idealist: Connects idealists–people who want to do good–with opportunities for action and collaboration. Works to close the gap between intention and action by connecting people, organizations, ideas, and resources.
- JustGive: Its mission is to grow the world of giving by connecting people to the causes they care about.
- VolunteerMatch: Brings good people and good causes together.
Take The Challenge And Do This Volunteer Work With Your Children
I challenge each and every one of you to participate in this heartwarming cause. My daughter and I have committed to make hair bows for young girls in underserved communities in our area by donating to One Love One Community.
If you have been creatively inspired, please let us know what your family will contribute through the Create to Donate campaign. Please leave your project in the comments below and I will update this website with a list of everyone’s ideas.