Birthday parties don’t have to involve a depressing influx of cheap, unwanted (at least by parents!), commercial toys. If you can convince your children that family gifts suffice, you might be able to turn that excess of birthday party gift generosity into birthday giving generosity.
I really believe that children are charitable by nature. They just need to be taught about the needs of others and encouraged to engage in charitable work and giving. My hope is that this will help create more sensitive and socially conscious adults.
My 9 year-old daughter has enjoyed charity birthday parties for many years now. I already wrote about her first Humane Society birthday party (she has had several of these and one of her friends is doing it now too). After a few more years of charity parties, I now have more ideas to share with you.
Today’s idea is the Kids-in-Need Stuffed Animal Party.
One year my daughter had a birthday party where she asked the guests to each bring one, new (tags on) stuffed animal to take to our local hospital Emergency Room. They give them out to very sick or injured children who come in and need a little extra comfort.
I am such a proud mama when I say that she came up with this idea entirely on her own. My sister is a physician in our local Emergency Room and having visited her aunt there, my daughter knew that they handed out stuffed animals.
In keeping with the stuffed animal theme, our party craft was stuffing our own animals with easy and inexpensive kits that I bought on Amazon. The kids LOVED this! My intention was that they add their animals to the donate basket, but this proved to be very unpopular and every single child elected to keep their animal (including my children). That’s OK, at least they had fun and went home with a much-loved party favor.
- Make sure you check with your local Emergency Room first to see if they would even want stuffed animals, and if so, what kind. Ours wanted tags on and no buttons or other things that could be pulled off to become choking hazards.
- Police and Sheriffs also sometimes carry stuffed animals in their cars to comfort any children they meet in accidents or other bad situations. See if your local law enforcement departments might be interested, and what they would want.
- Based on experience, I recommend that the donated animals “disappear” after the party or younger family members might start falling in love with them!