Oh, how I love service. We are in the process at the Hall house of trying to teach this concept to Coleman – that service is the same thing as helping people. We ask him each day, “Who did you help today?” and although his answer often focuses on his teacher at preschool, he’s getting the idea. We want him to not only understand the concept but to live it and make it a habit in his life. An attitude, really. There are those people who just seem to be aware of ways that they might help someone and it’s because they are actively looking for opportunities to serve, to help, to pitch in. That’s the kind of person we want Coleman to be.
For Activity Days, we are contributing to a Christmas Tree Auction to raise money for the special needs kids in a local school district. This year they are adding holiday wreaths to the auction so we tackled that project. The part of the wreath I wanted the girls to do was to decoupage paper-mache stars found at many craft stores. I got ours at Hobby Lobby for $1.17 each.
You might know by now that I am a believer in providing a lesson with whatever activity we are doing so we started off with the following:
SERVICE LESSON IDEA (about 20 minutes):
1. Discuss how Christmas and Thanksgiving is an amazing time to serve. Ask: What are some ways we serve during this time of year?
2. Divide girls into groups of 3-4 people (we like to count them off 1,2,3,4, to scramble them up…1s go together, etc.)
Give each of them the following questions to discuss together. Each girl can read one of the questions to the group then they all answer. Come back together as a whole group and have each girl share one thing that SOMEONE ELSE said in their discussion.
3. Show girls a finished paper-mache star. Discuss that the star represents the birth of the Savior at Christmas but it also represents light. Read 3 Nephi 12:16 found in the Book of Mormon. We all have the light of Christ that shines when we do good works – or service. The stars on our wreath will represent the light that we share through our good works.
4. Have each girl write their feelings about service. You can use any format you choose but here is the template I had the girls in our group follow to compose their thoughts. We then put their letters about service in an envelope and tucked it into the wreath as a little treasure for the auction winner to find.
STAR ORNAMENT CRAFT PROJECT:
paper-mache star or other shape
pages from a book (I used The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson)
mod podge (I use matte finish but it doesn’t matter if it’s glossy)
paper plates and some kind of covering for your workspace
glitter – optional (I used Diamond Dust clear crystals)
1. Tear the pages from your book and cut off the blank edges of each page. Cut the text pages into about 1/2″ strips then cut most of the strips into about 1 1/2″ lengths and the rest into 1/2″ lengths.
2. Paint Mod Podge onto the center point of the star and press a square paper firmly over the point’s ridges. Wrap a length of paper around each of the star tips and Mod Podge them down. Don’t be afraid to use the glue. Just smooth out any lumps or excess glue with your foam brush. Press down the paper as you go.
3. Cover entire star with paper strips, pressing down and overlapping until the entire star is covered. Paint a final thin coat of Mod Podge over the entire star and quickly sprinkle glitter while the glue is still wet. Place somewhere safe to dry.
For our wreath, I used a beautiful boxwood wreath and fun red and white ornaments. I had the custom word “give” cut from a local laser cutting company so that it fit the wreath perfectly. All of the products used for our wreath were donated by a local doctor’s office so we didn’t have to use our budget for the supplies. There are many local businesses who are willing to help with events like the Christmas Tree Auction but who do not want to make the tree or wreath themselves. Ask around and see if you can partner with a business for this project.
I handled putting the wreath together because it takes too long for the Mod Podge to dry. The girls were happy to do their part and didn’t seem to need to see the finished project that day. I love that about them!
Decoupage is a simple project for kids this age to do so while we worked, we talked about techniques and discussed other projects (like frames or clipboards or the cover of a journal) that could be Mod Podged. We also discussed all of the types of papers that could be used as well. We like to inspire them to try things on their own with the skills they’ve learned and Mod Podging is a great way for kids to be successful at crafting.
This activity can be translated to Cub Scouts or youth groups as well. When contributing something to an auction, think about how the kids can be involved but also raise the most money possible for your project. That is the point of charity auctions – to raise money. Kids can have a fabulous experience learning about service and contributing to the project without having to do every single part of the end product. And it’s great to teach them a crafting skill as well.
I truly hope you enjoy this holiday season of crafting and serving!