Tag Archives: family activity

Holiday Giving: Welcome Baskets for Refugee Children

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to share an idea with you all in case you’re looking for a way to give back this Christmas. Imagine arriving in a new country with a few suitcases and a whole family looking for a new start. Organizations that assist with refugee resettlement are always looking for donations of household items for the families they help. Reach out to one in your area. Many accept “baskets” that you can create with a number of items to help a refugee family get settled in their new home; such as a Kitchen Basket (with cutlery, coffee pot, etc), Cleaning Basket (with cleaning supplies), Hygiene Basket (with personal care items), or Linens Basket (with towels and blankets).

However, if you know of a specific family, either through the resettlement organization or your church, why not create Welcome Baskets for all the kids? This is an awesome alternative to Operation Christmas Child (a popular way to give back during the holidays that’s also, in my opinion, a little sketch and misguided). Shopping for children is a lot of fun, and shopping for children who recently arrived in our country with little can make a BIG difference.

Here’s an example of a Welcome Basket I recently put together —

First, consider the ages of the kids you’re shopping for. Next, make a list of a few items to hunt for. You’ll want a mix of practical items and fun stuff you think would make them feel more welcome in their new home/country. Finally, hit up stores like the Dollar Tree, CVS, and Target for affordable finds.

This basket is for a little girl who is 3. I found this perfect purple basket at Dollar Tree and filled it with…

  • a bar of soap
  • a pack of colorful band-aids
  • play-doh
  • cotton swabs
  • sippy cup
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • a pack of construction paper
  • barrettes
  • stickers
  • tooth brushes
  • a pack of socks
  • a plate
  • tissues
  • a night light
  • and a magic towel

If you’re making several baskets you can stop here (all of these items were under 20 bucks), but since I’m only putting together a couple, I’ll probably also include a doll/stuffed animal, a coloring book, and a pillow with a set of pillow cases. For older children you could fill a backpack and include more school supplies!

Anyways, I hope you’ll consider gifting some items to a local refugee resettlement organization this holiday season! These baskets are a lot of fun to make and if they can help welcome a child, then I believe, they are certainly in the spirit of Christmas. 🙂

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A Fun Afternoon Adventure: Pokemon Hunting!

pokemonbeth

A few days ago, Chet and I drove over to Florida International University to catch some Pokemon. The campus is HUGE, and lucky for us, full to bursting with little poke-critters just looking to be nabbed. Although everyone and their mother has hopped on the Pokemon GO trend, I thought I’d offer my two cents. This app acts as a remarkable catalyst for adventure (urban OR natural), conversation,  and healthy habits.

It struck me, as we walked around FIU for hours in the mid-day sun, how encouraging it was to see so many families with young children out looking for Pokemon amidst the engineering buildings and law libraries. Maybe, like us, these families had some connection to the university. But maybe not. Maybe they live nearby and noticed the plethora of poke-dex filling creatures up for grabs. Maybe their kids have never stepped foot on a university campus before. Perhaps, their surroundings will ignite something in their trajectory and years later they’ll return as a student. Who knows!

pokemonchet

The same can be said for all the parks and businesses and churches and organizations that are no doubt being newly discovered. You can’t come back to a place you never knew existed. (Case in point – There’s a sushi place near us with a Pokemon gym and HI< HELLO they have the best bento box lunch specials so yep, see ya soon.)

Anyways…If a free app can incite curiosity and new experiences then of course I’m all for it. If a feature on your phone motivates  you to have real life conversations then what a change of pace. If playing a video game gets you to go outside and explore your environment then play on!

This is all to say, if you’re looking for a super budget-friendly afternoon date or family outing, I highly recommend heading out on a hunt.

Have you been playing Pokemon GO? Discovered any new-to-you places along the way? Let me know!

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