Craftivism for Christmas: Give the Gift of Busy Hands to Anxious Hearts

Crafted Christmas OrnamentI’ve been very inspired this season by 30 three-, four-, and five-year-olds.

In my daughter’s Montessori classroom, the children are crafting shoebox busy boxes for the CASA children’s advocacy group. Each shoebox, which will also be decorated by the preschool children, will be filled with craft kits, books, and small toys. These shoeboxes will be given throughout the year to CASA advocates, who in turn will give the shoebox to the child for whom they are advocating, at their first meeting. The shoeboxes will serve as an icebreaker, provide cooperative activities to help adult and child bond, and relieve boredom for children who must sit through court trials and meetings on their behalf.

Think about how terrific is the gift that these preschoolers are giving, and think about how easily it could translate–children in need, whether homeless, or being shuttled through the court system, or living in emergency shelters after natural disasters, likely have their primary needs cared for first, and rightly so. Other charities concentrate on providing food, clothing, and shelter, but what about those active little bodies and those anxious little hearts?

It seems to me that a shoebox of sturdy toys for imaginative play and self-contained arts and crafts activities would be a fine thing for an anxious child to have–something to entertain them, to keep them quietly engaged, to focus them on a positive, creative, and productive activity that is removed from their current situation.

If you’d like to put together a shoebox, or twenty, to give to an organization to pass on to their children, I’ve brainstormed a short list of project ideas, some of which I already have tutorials for:

What else could you put in a box?

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