Sunday, April 19, 2015

How Can Picture Books + Crafts Inspire Kindess and Service?

This month is dedicated the the Holy Spirit.  Undoubtedly, one of the ways the Spirit works in and through each of us is through acts of kindness.  So today, I thought I would share about the Creative Girls Service Club, a club my daughter began in January for the sisters of boys that are in her big brother's newly formed Duct Tape Battle Club, which has paired picture books with creative craft making to inspire service and kindness.

The Creative Girls Service Club meets monthly and includes anywhere from 7-20 girls, from tots to teens, at each meeting. Club meetings are rather informal and follow a simple format.  The girls gather to:

  • pray.
  • share a story.
  • enjoy a craft connected to charity, service or random acts of kindness.
  • free time to chat and play.

Crafting stone necklaces...

To kick the club off, my daughter planned activities for the first few meetings, and I helped her find corresponding picture books.  So far, meetings have unfolded with four successful crafts!

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Kindness Crowns

At the first meeting, we shared a special picture book that Nina received some years ago as a gift, I'd Be Your Princess: A Royal tale of Godly Character.  (I believe this sweet book is out-of-print now, but used copies can be found at Amazon for a penny right now!) 

Then, the girls brainstormed ways that they could show virtues, much like the girl in the storyThen, they selected homemade and pre-cut paper crowns to craft...

Once they'd selected which type of crown they wanted to make, per Nina's idea, they drew images or wrote phrases, on the inside points, which described kindnesses and services they wanted to extend to others.  Then, they decorated their crowns.

Nina's idea was that the girls could take their crowns home and as they completed each act of kindness or service, they could fold the points down or place gem stickers on them

Prayer Pockets

At the girl's second meeting, they picked between reading Katy No-Pocket...

...and A Pocket for Corduroy.

Then, they chatted about virtues and kindnesses displayed by the characters in the books before setting to work sewing their own pocket designs made from the arms and legs of upcycled kids' clothing, ribbons, yarn and bric a brac.

The idea was that they could:

  • fill the pocket with the names of people they wanted to pray for and pray for those people regularly.

  • fill the pocket with a note of thanks, prayer or love and give it to someone.

  • fill the pocket with tiny treats to give to someone.

The girls loved this project!

Handprint Lilies

For the girls' third meeting, Nina intended to share one of our favorite Easter season books, The Parable of the Lily, but we could not find our copy of it and the local library copy was already checked out.

So, instead, we brought a print out of a story we found online called The White Lily and our copy of  Small Acts of Kindness, which has nothing to do with lilies and which we typically read closer to the Christmas season, but also which we felt was apropos because our lily project was all about literally sharing small acts of kindness.

The project was to make handprint lilies.

Basically, the girls traced their hands to make the petals of lilies and then attached them to chenille strip stems or to pencils, much like my children and their friends had done previously when making paper plate lilies.

After this, the girls chose to make copywork sheets of a poem I had adapted from one I had found on DLTK or used laminated tags of the poem that another mom had brought for us.  They attached these to their lilies with ribbon and, later, gave the lilies away to elderly neighbors, loved ones or friends they visit in nursing homes.

Off to deliver lilies to elderly neighbors.

The poem read:

This isn't just a lily.
As you can plainly see,
I made it with my hands,
which God made a part of me.
It comes with prayers and love,
especially to say:
May light and love bloom for you
on this Easter day!

Smile-Inducing Stone Art

For our fourth meeting, we were considering reading You Are Special, and, then, chatting about how we are all beautiful and special in God's eyes, before making foam eye glass cases to donate to nursing homes and vision-based charities.  

However, the mom who was to bring the majority of the supplies ended up having sickness hit her home.  So, with inspiration from a picture a friend had taken on a recent hike, we made  a quick switch of our plans and decided to do stone art instead.

At the last minute, we had hoped to grab a copy of
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble from the library to share and chat about, perhaps focusing on how relationships and family are more important than material possessions, but we were unable to do so.  So, this meeting was story-free and my own children and I read the book afterward.

Since it was a beautiful day, the girls worked outside.

Using Sharpies, glue, googly eyes, yarn, etc., plus their own imaginations, they created rock art.

Our idea was that after club, the girls might do one of three things with their creations:

  • Write people's names on them and use the stone art to remind them to pray for these people.
  • Gift their art to someone they love but are often separated from, so the person could keep the stone close as a smile-inducing reminder of a loved one.  For example, a parent could use the rock as a paper weight on a desk at work or an elderly relative could put a cheerful rock on a bedside or windowpane. 
  • Leave the rock along a trail with a collection of others to bring a smile to a hiker.

My daughter, in particular, enjoyed this activity and has continued to add to her stone art collection, which she is using mostly for prayer.

Stories, Crafts and Service 
The girls in our club look forward to continuing to enjoy more time together sharing stories and crafts that can relate to service.  We already know what we are doing at our next meeting, but would love your ideas for future ones.  So, if you have one, please do share.

We hope some of the simple things we have done so far inspire you and yours to enjoy stories, crafts and service and welcome your suggestions!


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