For this kindness challenge, my girls and I wrote letters to our troops. This activity can be done by the youngest of babies or the most craft-averse teenager! Wouldn't anyone love to receive a finger painted card from a little baby? Or a thoughtfully written note from an older child?
My husband is a teacher and leads his school's service club, called Interact. On the same day that I signed up to participate in this challenge, my husband came home from school having just written letters to troops with his club! I knew instantly that adapting that activity would be a great choice for us for this challenge.
I did a quick Google search to find an organization through which to work. We chose A Million Thanks. This organization makes the process of sending letters to troops incredibly easy. After you make your cards or letters, you just bundle them without individual envelopes into a larger clasp envelope, and mail them off. They then screen the cards and letters and make sure they get where they need to go. You are also encouraged to send a small financial donation to help cover the cost of postage, but that part is optional.
Gather your materials. All you need is cardstock and drawing or coloring materials, and stickers (optional). I cut our cardstock into quarters, to make a shape like a postcard. You could also, of course, use blank folded cards. Explain the task to your children, and, if necessary, help them brainstorm some ideas of what they could draw or write. I encouraged my older daughter to draw flags or soldiers. My youngest drew some rainbows (since that's about the only thing she draws right now!).
Then we wrote messages on the back. Your children can dictate a message to you, they can write it themselves, or you could write the message. We kept ours short and sweet so that they would be more genuinely from the kids.
My older daughter receives an allowance, which she divides into "save", "give", and "spend" categories. I asked her if she wanted to use her "give" money for this project, and she happily trotted off to get her little envelope. The girls helped me fill our envelope, watched me address it, and helped carry it out to the mailbox.
Obviously this organization, A Million Thanks, only sends letters to American troops. If those of you in other countries know of organizations with a similar mission within your own country, will you please share that information in the comments below?
Head over to Coffee Cups and Crayons or Toddler Approved for more Acts of Kindness inspiration! They've also created a Pinterest board with tons of kindness ideas.