An important aspect of raising world citizens is empowering kids to see themselves as world changers. Helping children recognize and nurture their own nascent abilities to effect change is a powerful way of setting them on the road to transform their communities and their world. Here are some of my favorite gifts that empower kids and help them have fun in the process.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books and kits below; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.
Gifts that Empower Kids
I have to admit that I am at times a bit earnest when it comes to teaching my kids about values. As a result, my son has developed a keen sense for when I am trying to teach him something “meaningful” and so tends to run the other direction. That’s why I love books like Mason’s Greatest Gems, which teach values in a really engaging way that kids can relate to. This story is based on the analogy of gems as qualities (like kindness and generosity) that we have inside us that we can discover and polish. Kids will be attracted to the beautiful gems and the idea of digging up and discovering those gems. (My son, who is a big fan of Minecraft, loved this idea!) Wonderful visual way to teach kids about the benefits of developing positive character traits. The book even comes with links to free printable pages and group activities.
What’s really fun about I Am and I Can is that it incorporates so many elements dear to my heart – diversity, education, and empowering children – yet it does so in such a seamless way that it doesn’t feel forced at all. It is a poetry activity book, illustrated with images of children from around the globe, where readers practices parts of speech as a way to interactively write uplifting poems. For example, in one section they practice recognizing verbs that have to do with art and sports. In the following section they come up with their own verbs, which they then use to fill in the blanks in a poem that celebrates their ability to uplift those around them. My kids had so much fun with this book, and I loved the upbeat, positive message!
What better way to teach kids about their ability to change the world than by giving them real life examples of kids who are doing just that? Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon is a wonderful book about a real girl that the author met by chance when she and her family were vacationing in the Amazon. Doyli and her uncle live deep in the Amazon rainforest, where they rescue and care for baby monkeys orphaned by hunters or poachers. The narrative does a great job of showing what it is like to live in the jungle, where you have to travel in two canoes to get to school, and your front yard is flooded most of the year. But what really comes through is the passion Doyli has for saving the baby monkeys and what a difference her efforts make. This book, as well as the second in the series, Tortuga Squad: Kids Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Rica, will inspire kids to do their part to save the planet.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing Happy Heart Kid activity kits before, so I was thrilled to receive a Perseverance (Grit) Activity Kit to explore with my kids. Every time we open one of these kits, it’s like Christmas! The kids are so excited to see what activities have been included this time. It is always something fun! Happy Heart Kid activity kits are colorful and engaging, and I love that the activities are all so well thought out. They take into account different learning styles and skills and so include a range of activities – crafts, games, discussion, role playing, and so on. The kits are also easy for parents and educators to use: Everything you need is included in the kit, and there are clear instructions and notes. I also really appreciate that the kits break down abstract ideas into concrete, fun activities that children can really relate to. So, for example, the “Grit” kit, which focuses on perseverance, includes a game where the players work together to come up with creative solutions to challenges like how to help a nervous monkey swing from tree to tree. These kits are great gifts to empower kids through the development of positive qualities like perseverance!
Little Loving Hands transforms the idea of activity kits by making the activity itself only part of the equation. Kids still have fun doing a great craft, but when they finish they get to donate the item they make to a worthy organization, using a pre-paid envelope. For example, the kit we received was to make a Seek and Search Activity Bag to donate to kids being treated at the National Institutes of Health. Children will love being able to make such a personal gift for someone else. I love that the craft is so beautifully tailored for those that will receive it. The activity bag we made is a fun, quiet game that kids can play while adults are resting and that can be easily taken from room to room. Little Loving Hands kits are not only fun but teach kids about giving back and inspire them to see that they can make a difference.