Summer is FINALLY here! And with it comes long, lazy days. I’m all for letting my kids have a break…but it doesn’t take long before I’m itching for them to do something with their brains and honestly I think they feel the same way.
Each summer I try to think of a way to keep them engaged and learning. This summer for my two oldest, I’m focusing on something a bit different than the usual workbooks.
As parents I feel like we have a very special responsibility to help our kids become the best people they can be.
I feel like one of the very best gifts I can give my children is a love of serving others.
I am trying to teach this to my kids by modeling it…I take meals to friends and neighbors, help tend children when I can, and (try to!) happily help my own kids. We also started a special holiday tradition several years ago called “The Day of Giving.” On that special day (usually over Christmas break from school) we go to hospitals and carol and hand out candies, leave money on vending machines, and pay for people behind us in fast food lines. My kids absolutely LOVE doing this, but I’ve always felt a little bad that the Day of Giving doesn’t require any WORK on their part. The older you get the more you realize that true service usually requires sacrifice…sacrifice of our time, effort, and yes, sometimes money.
I’ve been thinking and praying for a better way to teach my kids the joy of serving, especially my two oldest who are 12 and 9 years old. I finally came up with the $20 Summer Service Challenge and I am super excited about it!
The Summer Service Challenge
I started by showing them these three videos of people who saw a need and came up with a way to meet it.
Next I gave each child the $20 Summer Service Challenge Worksheet (which you can print for free by signing up below for my Gift Printables Resource Library) a crisp $20 dollar bill and explained how the challenge will work.
How it Works
One of my favorite sayings is:
This summer I want each of them to take that $20 and Be The Good in the world!
What I don’t want is for them to just buy something and give it away. I want them to think deeper and work harder to see how far that money can go.
My hope is this challenge will empower them to realize that no matter what amount of money they have…they can work hard and use ingenuity, creativity and collaboration to make a real actual difference in the lives of others.
First they will brainstorm about WHO they can help. Whether it is someone in our neighborhood, someone they’ve heard about in the news, someone near or someone far there is always someone who could use help. Next we will talk about WHAT that person or group of people need. This might require some research and/or calling people to find out what the actual need is. Then we will talk about HOW we can help them. Gather and take something to them? Make something for them? Make something and sell it to earn money for them? Do something for them? Last they will come up with a solid plan and steps for executing the plan. They will have all summer to get it done.
I chose $20 of “seed money” because I wanted them to be able to do a fairly big project. Depending on your budget you could make the challenge for less or more money, or you could even do it as a big family project! I made the worksheet with either $20 or blank so you can cater it to your family. I also made a worksheet that just says “Service Challenge” because this could really be done at any time of the year.
Who this gift is for:
I think the Summer Service Challenge would be a fun gift for parents to give their kids, or even grandparents or aunts or uncles to give to the kids in their family. I think it is best for older kids who can understand, think of ideas and execute them. Although if you gave it as a family gift, younger kids could be involved in the project!
Stay Tuned and Share!
I will blog about what my kids are up to at summer’s half-way point. Before school starts I will post about what they chose for their challenges and what they were able to accomplish. I am so excited to see what they come up with! I want this to be a new summer tradition, and hope that each year they will gain confidence and learn new skills that will help make this world a better place.
I would love it if this $20 Summer Service Challenge spread all over the world and many children became empowered to find a need and meet it through hard work and service. I also would LOVE to hear all about your experience if you decide to do it with your family! Please tag your photos with #summerservicechallenge and #thegiftygirl so I can cheer your kids/family on!
Please share this if you love it, let’s make the world a better place one thoughtful, helpful and powerful kid at a time.