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September 5, 2011

Getting children excited about Service

I teach a class at my church once a month and this month the topic was on Service. As part of my lesson I came up with a couple ideas to share with the ladies to help incorporate service within their families, and how to get children excited about service.

The first idea I had I saw HERE. She made a Wheel of Fun for her son to spin when he gets bored. I put a twist on it and simply changed mine to the Wheel of Service.


Every week each person in the family gets a turn spinning the wheel to determine which act of service they will work on during the week. All of the options are laminated and put down with velcro so you can change them to new ideas when these ones get old.

The ideas on my wheel are: Do a chore for someone that they hate doing, Tell each person in your family what you admire about them, Pick up someone else's mess, Help pull weeds in the yard, Call a relative to tell them how much you love them, Make some one's bed for them every day this week, Cheer someone up when they are feeling down, and Teach someone how to do something you are really good at.

I made it more centered on service within the family, but you could make options that are centered on service outside the family like: Pick up trash in your neighborhood, visit the elderly at a nursing home, etc.

We've already had 2 turns spinning the wheel and my boys have really enjoyed it. The first week Andy got "Pick up someone else's mess" and he was actually excited to help Luke pick up his toys at bedtime. It definitely made for a better atmosphere at bedtime since there was no complaining happening. Luke landed on "Teach someone how to do something you are really good at." He taught me how to draw a new dinosaur picture every day. I really liked this option because it shows children that they should use their talents to serve others. Even though Luke's drawings are 4yr old drawings, it is something he feels like he is really good at, so it felt wonderful to sit with him and have him show me just how he makes each of his dinosaur's just right. I landed on "Tell each person in your family what you admire about them." The most amazing thing happened after I started telling the kids what I admired about them. They in turn started telling me what they admired about me, and about each other. It was pretty sweet, and I think it made everyone feel good about themselves.

I also think incorporating children's literature is a great idea.

"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
I know this book is a little controversial to some, but I think if it is taught the right way, it is a great book to use for service.

"The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister

"Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen" by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan 
We haven't actually read this one yet. It's in our library bag and we haven't gotten to it yet, but it looks like a really good story.

I decided after reading books on literature that we should make our own Giving Tree.


I trimmed down a sheet of poster board to the size I wanted to use  and painted a tree on it with brown paint. Then I printed out leaves on different colored fall paper and cut them all out. I chose to use the Maple leaf because I think it's pretty and it's my favorite, but you could use any kind of leaf you want. I also chose to use Fall colors since that is the season we are entering. I think I used 42 leaves.


There are two different ways you can use this service tree. You can start with no leaves on the tree and every time someone in the family completes an act of service, they get to glue or tape on one of the leaves. I opted to use tape so I could re-use the tree and the leaves.


The other option is to start with the tree full of leaves and every time someone completes an act of service they get to remove one of the leaves. The objective being to try to have all the leaves fallen off the tree before Winter starts.

The only reason my leaves look pretty good is because I did it myself to put it on display for my lesson. But realistically with children putting on leaves, it's not going to look perfect, but as I like to say "Imperfection is Perfection." I thought this was a great way for children to be able to see what great things can come about by simple means of service.

We also use a tree like this every November as a Thankful Tree. Every day in the month of November each child gets to write on a leaf something they are thankful for and put it up on the tree. At the end of the month it is a beautiful tree displaying what your children are most thankful for this year. You can read about the first year we did ours HERE.
 
That post didn't have a picture of our completed tree but here it is:
 
I got lucky that year to find several packets of leaves on clearance at Wal-Mart so I didn't have to cut them all out individually. I participated with my kids in this and also wrote on a leaf every day.

My kids were so young then and I get a kick out reading some of the things they were thankful for.

Some things Andy was thankful for:
- Getting food out of the fridge
- Playing in the sand with my tractors
- Aunts & Uncles
- Making projects
- Lights & Legos

Some things Luke was grateful for:
- Being a puppy in the grass
- Eating cereal
- Lining up my dinosaurs
- That I'm healthy
- Chicken nuggets
 
I can't wait to hear what they are thankful for this year.
 
Happy Crafting!!

11 comments:

Brooke @ Let Kids Create said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the wheel of service! I can see my girls getting excited about these things. I will give it a try soon.

Smallgood said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow! First, love it. Love. Seriously. My heart swelled to see crafts incorporating service, and then grew even more with the addition of books. Huge love. I wish I had children of my own to use this with, but I think I'll have to figure out a way to do it at work.

Big D and Me said... Best Blogger Tips

What a wonderful post! I love the part about helping others outside of the home or within and love your thankful tree- we did something similar with a turkey at Thanksgiving - I draw a large turkey (no feathers), cut out a bunch of feathers from construction paper and then each night after dinner we discuss and write down what we are thankful for -

http://www.bigdandme.com/2010/11/talkin-turkey/

I would love to try to incorporate your wheel into our family time.

Dianne said... Best Blogger Tips

What a sweet idea this is! I love the idea of helping them find and use their talents to serve others at such a young age.

Amy said... Best Blogger Tips

I love love love these ideas! We are trying to teach my son about the fruit of the Spirit right now, and we also want to get him interested in serving others. I'm going to pin your service wheel!
I'm your newest follower.

amy
oneartmama.blogspot.com

Erin said... Best Blogger Tips

Very nice. It's always great to see people encouraging service with their kids! It's definitely one think I'd like to do more with mine. Thanks for sharing!

Erin

chickenbabies.blogspot.com

JDaniel4's Mom said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

I love your wheel of service so much I am pinning it on Pinterest.

Ladybird Ln said... Best Blogger Tips

I just love all of the sweet ideas to get kids interested in service.. I featured you here.

http://www.ladybirdln.com/2011/09/weekend-show-off-features-912.html

Carlee

Mrs Minton makes... said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the designs esp the maple leaf tree..so pretty!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said... Best Blogger Tips

what a great way to get kids thinking about service. this is a wonderful activity


Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase & hope to see you again this week- http://momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.com/search/label/Sunday%20Showcase

Pennies of Time said... Best Blogger Tips

Service wheel, just awesome. I am totally using that for the daily acts of service I do with my two boys. Thanks for the inspiration!