Every spring the Center for a Commercial Free Childhood sponsors a Screen-Free Week to encourage families and children to turn of the screens (TVs, computers, games consoles, etc.) for one week. This spring’s event was April 30th through May 6th and I was the parent organizer for my children’s school.
I knew that in today’s hyper connected world that in order to encourage families to step away from the screens I was going to have to do more than just ask them to and give them ideas, I was going to need to give them actual events and activities to do. The theme I came up with was “Fill Your Time Creatively” and every day we were going to do something creative that would engage our minds in different ways other than turning on the TV.
Since my children go to a Christian school they have a focus on service to others. I am a lifelong volunteer that has worked with many organizations over the years, but finding service projects that can accommodate or work for the youngest of our students (3-5 year olds) is difficult. I knew I wanted to do something creative, a craft or project that would allow the kids to have fun while they were serving others.
I was only vaguely familiar with Creatively Caring. I had meet them at a NSCBN event at Nibbles Play Cafe (Wheeling) and saw their events frequently on the Nibbles calendar. I knew they often did “Make Two” events where the kids make two crafts, one to keep and one to give to charity. Creatively Caring was the perfect fit for what we wanted to do at the school, I just wasn’t sure if they did this kind of event, especially on short notice.
Creatively Caring came through and did even better than we expected on the event. We planned on doing a “Make Two” event after school both for any of the children who wanted to stay and all of the children in the schools after care program. Anne from Creatively Caring quickly set the whole project up for us including finding a charity that happened to be local to the town our school is in. The only cost to our school to have them come with a donation to cover the cost of supplies which we collected from students and parents at pick up.
The charity we were working with was Lake County Humane Society, an animal education and rescue facility. The kids were going to be making cat and dog toys for the foster animals. As a special treat for the kids Anne managed to get a representative from the charity and one of their dogs to come visit with the kids. The kids loved seeing the dog and it really helped the younger ones understand who and why they were making the toys. All of the kids had a great time and they made 70 toys (35 dog and 35 cat) for the shelter.
In addition to the shelter toys the kids made their own craft to take home. Anne and Creatively Caring came up with a craft that would tie into the lesson we were trying to teach them with screen free week, that they can be creative. The kids made ribbons celebrating what they are good at.
Myself and the other parents and teachers at our school were so thrilled with our experience with Creatively Caring. As a parent I am so thrilled that there is finally an organization in our community that can work with and teach kids about giving back in a way that they can understand and that is truly hands on.
Melissa is mom to 3 kids (1-7yrs) and 2 angels. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She writes about all the sticky bits of motherhood at PeanutButterinmyHair, and hides from her children on Twitter (@PBinmyHair). She is also the creator and editor of LittleLakeCounty, where parents go to be in the know of what to do and where to go in Lake County, IL.