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Monday, November 23, 2009

Oreos and Charity – Teaching Kids To Be Philanthropists

What could be more daunting than trying to teach the concept of philanthropy to a bunch of 5 year olds? Having to go after the parents that work at Kraft and who had the kids make their own Oreo cookies! This was the conundrum I was up against a few weeks back when my child’s kindergarten teacher extended an invitation for all the parents to come in and talk about our careers. Considering what I was up against, it went great.

First, taking a cue from some lesson plans I found online, I introduced the word philanthropy. We talked about how it means to share your time, talent and treasures for the common good. All the kids got a chance to answer the question “I’m going to be a philanthropist because I’m going to …” They did a great job and had some thoughtful answers.

Next, I read them the book Strega Nona’s Harvest. One of the characters builds a secret garden and anonymously donates the vegetables he grows to Strega Nona. She doesn’t know what to do with all the extra food. When she finds out that everyone else in town had a poor crop yield, she decides to have a feast and feed all her neighbors. The kids like the story.

After that, we made harvest goodie bags. We filled them with candy, stickers, notepads, crayons and small toys. I told the kids that the bags were for kids in our community that didn’t have enough food, like the people in the story. And that when these kids and their families go to the local food bank this Thanksgiving, that they’d get our goodie bags as an extra treat. We decided that we’d donate our creations to the 4-star charity, Homeless Solutions.
Before I left, I gave the teacher some handouts to stick in each kid’s backpack. I found the activity pages on a site called, Learning to Give. I especially like the “share, save, spend” inspired piggy bank that the kids can make themselves. If I get invited back, then this would be a fun project to do with the kids.

But enough about my experience, how about you? How have you taught young people about giving back?

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Gabe O'Neill said...

Hi Sandra,

I just came across this post. Might I also humbly suggest having the kids go to KidsAreHeroes.com, a web site created by my then 9-year-old daughter. We showcase kids who are involved with philanthropy so others can see how easy and 'cool' it is. We even have three 5-year-olds. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

I teach my kids about giving at home with the spend-save-give envelopes in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Junior.

I also do a lot of presentations at schools and churches for children who have raised money for the Non-profit I volunteer for. I love the idea of teaching kids to notice the needs of others.

I got here looking for ways to praise children for their giving efforts!