Thursday, November 17, 2016

10 Fun Items to Donate to a Children's Hospital

I've been feeling lately that I really want to focus on the important things of Christmas and the holidays this year.  I don't want to look back on these years and have my holiday memories be mostly about the hubbub of the season.  I want our holidays to be about caring.  I want them to be about love. So we as a family decided that we would donate to our local children's hospital.  Last year my son did a scout project to help them out by making craft kits.  This year I wanted each child to be in charge of something and find a way to help the hospital on their own.  We put together a simple project to do as a family that I want to share with you, including a list of fun items to donate to your local children's hospital or children in need.  Hopefully, this will get your wheels turning for a way you can help your own community.

* Oriental Trading Company sent me some of their products to try.  I chose items that I thought would be good to donate to our service project.  All opinions are my own.

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with the "Black Friday-ness" of it all.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good holiday deal and the gifts too, but I want my family to focus on more than that.  I want to step outside myself a little and help someone else.  I've been inspired by the holiday campaign called Light The World (#LIGHTtheWORLD).  It's all about finding little things to help others.  It doesn't have to be big and crazy.  It's just finding little ways to share your love (or light) with someone else.  There is an awesome free calendar of service ideas with little ways to get involved on AND there's a WORLDWIDE DAY OF SERVICE on December 1, 2016.  If you can find a small way to help another that day it would be awesome to have the whole world being filled with service and love that day!

So we chose to help our local children's hospital called Primary Children's Medical Center.  It's a hospital that deals with all kinds of pediatric issues.  My husband is a physician and has seen suffering in children, and so it's near to our hearts.  I still remember the day he came home from a long day during residency and told me how his heart was aching for a small 4 year old who was dying in the hospital.  My children also feel very sympathetic towards children in the hospital.  I think it's a need and a hurt that most children can understand.  They know that many kids are stuck in there for months undergoing hard treatments such as cancer.  They know that those kids would rather be at home having fun.  They want to cheer them up and bring some hope.

I put each child in charge of coming up with a way to help.  We looked at the hospital's website to get an idea of things they need.

Here's a list of fun items to donate:

handmade blankets or quilts
stress balls
coloring books (including adult coloring for teens)
window clings
popsicle stick craft kits and pipecleaner craft kits
foam sticker craft kits
sticker scenes
craft supplies like glue, crayons, markers, Play-dough, duct tape

Handmade Fleece Blankets.

I let each child choose what they wanted to do based on that list.  They could help make items from the list like blankets, quilts, sleep sacks, hats, monster toys, and dolls.  If they chose this, they needed to head up the project.  Help get material.  Learn how to do it and find people to help.  My youngest daughter chose this as her project and got her neighborhood friends to help her  {you can read about it here}.

They also had a huge list of items that needed to be donated.  My rule with that was they needed to earn the money themselves to purchase an item or they could find a way to get donations.  My son has chosen to do this.  He is doing extra chores to buy a Lego set for the hospital (those are in high demand).  Also, when the Oriental Trading Company contacted me to try some of their items, I decided to choose fun items that we could donate to the hospital.

Check with your local hospital first before donating any items and see what they specifically request.

Relaxable Balls (Stress Balls) and Christmas Finger Puppets from Oriental Trading Co.

I thought these were so cute and a perfect thing for bored little hands to play with in the hospital.  I love that everything at Oriental Trading Company comes in multi-packs (for a great price!) so there will be a lot to go around for all the kids.

Color Me Note Cards from Oriental Trading Company.

The hospital needs adult coloring for the teens that stay there.  These note cards serve two purposes.  They can color them and stay busy and then send a note to someone they miss.

Holiday Stickers from Dollar Tree.

These stickers are so cute and fun for kids. Dollar Tree often has packs of stickers like these.

Window Clings from Dollar Tree.  

Window clings are a fun way to decorate a sick child's room.

Popsicle Stick Airplane Craft Kits from supplies at local craft store.

There is also a need for craft kits so that the kids have something to do while they wait for treatments.  These craft stick airplane kits are what my son put together last year {read how to do it here}.

This year I decided to get supplies for more craft kits from Oriental Trading Company.  They have craft kit items ready to go.  Most of them were already divided up or just needed to be quickly separated.   They have made this project much less time-consuming and fun.  My oldest daughter is going to head this up and make a bunch of craft kits.

Beaded Snowflake Christmas Ornament Craft Kit from Oriental Trading Co.  

I was sent all the pieces for these beautiful snowflake ornaments.  There is enough to make 24.  We had to divide up the pieces in this one as it all came in one bag and put in zip top bags but this is the perfect craft for kids of all ages--easy, entertaining, and beautiful.

Silly Gingerbread Magnet Craft Kit from Oriental Trading Company

Foam sticker kits are a another great idea for hospitals and care centers.  It's a project that is durable and easy for little hands.  These ones are wonderful because they came separated and prepackaged for easy distribution.

Sticker Scenes Kits from Oriental Trading Company.

Oriental Trading Co. has tons of sticker scenes to choose from.  This is an easy craft for kids to do in their hospital beds or in a waiting room.  They come in multi-packs.

Decorative Duct Tape and other raft supplies for art projects from any store.

Our hospital was in need of craft supplies for many different art projects.  They need glue, tape, markers, crayons, and even decorative duct tape.  They use duct tape to make many crafts (like those cute duct tape wallets!)  I found these at Dollar Tree too.

I hope this gives you some ideas for what to donate to your local hospital.  I really found some quality items at Oriental Trading Company, Dollar Tree, and our local craft store.  But no matter what you do, I hope we can all find simple ways to help and serve in our community and find a way to #LIGHTtheWORLD!

Merry Christmas!

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