A Giving Experiment For Children

A Giving Experiment for Children - Parenting Like Hannah
Photo by heystarcade

I have a confession to make. I rarely ever make a recipe as written. Coming from a long line of “dump” cooks (who don’t measure at all), I am brave enough to experiment and come up with my own version of printed recipes. It’s no wonder, I tend to do the same with great ideas for teaching children.

I don’t really remember where I saw the original ideas (although Pinterest is always suspect!), but this combination of several might become a holiday tradition for your family. Call it the “Joy Challenge”.

Give each member a roll of quarters (or any amount you choose) at the beginning of the competition. Give everyone a set amount of time (a week perhaps) when they can use that money to make more money (or they can use it as given). On a previously specified date, the entire family goes to a place like a mall where a lot of people are gathered. (If you have a long layover at an airport, you could even play there. Just make sure you don’t miss your flight!) Young children can pair up with a parent or teens might be allowed to strike out on their own. (Establish your own safety rules.)

At “go” each team heads off with the original money they were given, plus any additional money they added to it during the preparation period. The object of the joy challenge is to see how much joy they can bring to as many people as possible within the time limit. The joy can be things done for free or using the money. If your family has very young children a 30 minute limit may be enough. As the children perfect the challenge over the years, they may want as much as two hours to do everything they have planned.

At the end of time, the teams reconvene for hot chocolate and to compare stories. Extra “points” can be given for acts pulled off in secret or acts that ended with inviting the person to worship with you at your church that week. Prizes aren’t really needed, as hopefully the joy of serving others will provide its own reward. Or, a special “trophy” can be created (reindeer nose?) that can be passed on year-to-year to the new winners.

Try the “Joy Challenge” and let me know some of the things your family did by commenting below. I would love to see how much service we can do for others either for free or by spending very little money. Perhaps we can create an awareness of the needs of others that will last all year.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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