Sending ‘Hand’made Hugs

Project Overview:  This project requires paint, paper and yarn or ribbon.  Depending on the ability of your child they may need help cutting out their hand print

If you have young children at home you are no stranger to painting I’m sure.  Recently I started letting them take their watercolors into the bathtub just so they could paint each others faces before getting clean (and I could avoid the unbelievable mess that seems to always accompany 3 little ones armed with paint brushes!)  Yesterday I was looking for a painting project that could double as a service project when I came across the idea of these “hand-print” hugs.  As you can see from the image above, the girls painted their hands and stamped them onto card stock.  We then cut the hands out, measured yarn to the girls’ wingspans and they taped the yarn to the dry hand-prints (tape – another toddler fav!)  Super simple.

But what to do with our hand-print hugs?  I needed look no further than Facebook for a little inspiration.  Sure I look at my friends kids, or follow some of my favorite TV shows, but Facebook can also be a great source to find those in need.  Recently a friend of mine participated in a polar bear plunge to raise funds for a little girl with cancer.  His post contained a link to her website which my girls and I went on.  Through pictures and journal entries, my girls and I started to feel a bond with this sick child and we all agreed that though she never met us, maybe getting a special package in the mail filled with ‘hugs’ would make her smile.   We decided to add some cards and a copy of my book and set off for the post office.

I think this experience highlights one of the keys to developing empathy in your child and having successful service project experiences.  It isn’t all about one major event, but a series a little ones where your children are personally involved.  From each small step in the process – making the hands, looking up the child online, making cards, packing them up, going to the post office – my girls understood a little more that there are other people out there that need help and we can try to do something about it.  In the end you hope that it made an impression on them.  When I heard my 6 year-old telling her friend after school about her “new friend that I sent a present to that has a football size tumor in her tummy” I was pretty sure I had.


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