Boredom Buster Monday: Volunteer with your kids

If you’ve been running yourself ragged with school activities/events for the last month and a half, welcome to the relief that isn’t — it’s summer break.

Don’t get me wrong — in a way summertime does mean that the living is easier.  Some of the craziness of trying to get people up, together and out the door before the bus leaves is over, and I won’t miss that (I never do).  The schedule eases somewhat and there is time to lounge around and build the world’s tallest Lego tower.  The pool is all new and shiny and wonderful for the first few weeks, and the kids’ hair constantly smells like chlorine.  They ride the bikes everywhere, turn the hose on each other in the backyard, play outside, run with the dog, read a bunch of good books, make up crazy games and art projects both inside and outside the house….

And then the boredom sets in.

This summer, I thought I’d keep a running list (for my future reference) of Boredom Busters and post one each Monday until Labor Day.  Every mom I know has her own list of these, tricks up her sleeve to stop the bickering, but you can’t ever have too many, in my opinion.

Boredom Buster #1:  Volunteer

This past weekend, a friend of mine had set up a time for a group of us to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, a group that packages meals to send to places around the globe.  You sign up for 2-hour blocks of time and you work as a team to get the food in the bags, the bags sealed and into boxes, and the boxes labelled and ready to ship.  Kids as young as 5 years old can help out.

E, with stylish hairnet, scooping up soy

It was a blast. There was great music, and once you get the hang of what task you’re supposed to do, it becomes a race to fill the boxes.  We also switched up stations to make sure that no one got too bored doing just one thing.  Our oldest, M, had done this sort of thing before and he knew how to get those bags open and how to weigh the contents just right.  He was a fantastic help.  E was all about dishing up coffee cups full of soy and rice into the funnel — she wouldn’t even trade positions because she liked it so much (Pro-tip: a kid who loves to dig in dirt or in a sandbox is going to love scooping up cupfuls of food and dumping them into a funnel).  C liked counting off the bags and boxing them up.  He was a particularly good cheerleader (“Five more and we’ve got a box!”) and overall tally-keeper (“We did 13 boxes!”).

At the end, everyone in our session had packed 102 boxes to be sent to the Phillipines.  I think all the kids mentioned how good they felt to be sending food to others who might not have anything to eat AND how fun it was.  That’s a pretty good lesson in my book and a great way to start off summer break.

I think I’m going to look for other opportunities for all of us to volunteer.  I know there’s clean-up days at the local forest preserves and I definitely want to do Feed My Starving Children again.  So. Much. Fun.

How about you?  Have you found a great place to volunteer with your kids?


And a special aside:  Congratulations to Heather for winning Da Bears Youth Football Summer Camps prize package.  Thanks to all who dropped by!



About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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7 Responses to Boredom Buster Monday: Volunteer with your kids

  1. Diane Hiller says:

    That’s a great charity to get your children involved in. We volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. Our kids were at college , but my husband and I were invited by a neighbor who was sponsoring a shipment to Haiti. We packed food and worked alongside families with children. They really got into it and were faster than I was! It’s also a great way to “show” not “tell” your kids how important it is to get involved and help non-profit organizations.

    • Wasn’t it a blast? It’s amazing how everyone really got into it — not even one sigh or “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I think the fun atmosphere helped — the music, the cheering each time you fill a box. I also liked that we worked as a team with folks we didn’t even know. Really great time.

  2. alenaslife says:

    Thank you for the great idea Joan. I’ll have to look into this since it’s hard for me to find opportunities for all three of my children. I will look forward to the rest of your Monday tips.

    • It’s a blast, Alena, and even the little guys get into it. Not surprisingly, the time slots for volunteers fill up quickly — especially if you’re looking to bring in a big group of family and friends to work at the same time. So much fun though, it’s definitely worth the wait.

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