Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

A Box Full of Love …

on November 19, 2012

How much love can you fit in a shoe box? That’s the question we asked ourselves this week as we filled boxes for Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a ministry that seeks to share joy, hope, and the love of Jesus with children living in the poorest of conditions.

We tried to strike a balance between essential items and just-for-fun stuff … a daunting task when you’re working with limited space, a limited budget, and two little girls who want to share the things they love (including giant sticker pads and fully-inflated balloons). We packed two boxes, one for a girl between the ages of 2-4 and one for a girl between the ages of 5-9. In the end, these are the items that made the final cut:

For a 2- to 4-year-old girl …

For a 5- to 9-year-old girl …

Both boxes included a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, a washcloth, a comb, lip balm, bracelets, a small magnetic drawing board, underwear, a couple of punch balls, stickers, and a small bag of candy.

The younger girl’s box also included a pair of pajamas, fuzzy slipper socks, a small doll, a duck-shaped car, a light-up ball, sidewalk chalk, and jumbo crayons.

The older girl’s included a t-shirt, slippers, pony tail holders, pencils, a pencil sharpener, a small notebook, crayons, scissors, a stuffed monkey, Silly Putty, and an I Spy wand.

Last but not least, both boxes included a letter to their recipients. Little Bear is not yet up to the challenge of writing (or even narrating) a letter all by herself; so I helped her organize her thoughts. I typed our letter, inserted a picture of the girls to put a “face” with the gifts, and Little Bear painstakingly signed both in her best handwriting.

Signing our Operation Christmas Child Letters …

Over the course of the week, we found that our boxes provided several opportunities for learning. We read Houses and Homes (Around the World Series), browsed A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World, and looked at pictures in Material World: A Global Family Portrait, observing vastly different standards of living in different parts of the world. We wrote out shopping lists, compared prices at different stores, and discussed the concept of quality over quantity. (Mommy is still perturbed that we couldn’t find jumbo Crayola crayons anywhere in town and had to settle for an off-brand!) We experimented with volume as we tried to cram every cubic inch of our shoe boxes. We talked at length about gifts and giving. Finally, we prayed that God would use these simple gifts not only to brighten the day of the children who receive them, but ultimately to draw the hearts of these children and their families to the Greatest Gift of All.

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