We love this post! We love it so much that we edited and updated the original version, published in November 2016.
As you know, I have spoken extensively here on the blog about the need to teach our kids to let go of toys and games that they have lost interest in or outgrown. Here at Organizers Northwest, we believe that the art of benevolence must be modeled and practiced in order to be truly learned. This not only benefits the recipients of donated toys and items, but also profits our own children as we teach them the skill of letting go and decluttering.
This knowledge is especially useful during the holidays when children receive so many new gifts. (You can read more about how to help kids let go of their old toys on our blog, Giving and Getting Decluttered).
So it was with glee that I came across this super fun gem of an activity: A Reverse Advent Calendar!
How it Works
During the month of December, collect one item per day to give away. This could be toys, clothing, or canned food. On the 1st of December, grab a cardboard box and explain the project. Inform your kids that these things are to give away to someone who needs them. Someone who will get immense joy and satisfaction out of something we have forgotten, collecting dust in the corner.
Invite your kids to decorate the box and make cards or letters for the recipients of the box. This will help them to get excited about the activity, and to visualize the box going to real people who will benefit from what they give away.
TIP: If you have young kids, keeping the box out of sight will help them to forget about what’s inside. What we are asking them to do is not easy! If you prefer, you can leave the box out of the equation and just have them select one thing to give away.
Each day, add a new item to the box. Help your kids to organize and review their toys and games, and choose things to give away that they no longer play with. Remind them that they will be receiving new toys soon, and that these toys are going to go to different boys and girls who perhaps don’t have any toys. Set an example by selecting an item of your own to let go of in addition to theirs.
On the 24th, take the box to a local charity. Explain to your kids where the box went, and how much the recipients will cherish their new gifts. If you are in Portland, you can refer to our Donation Resources page for ideas on where to send these items.
What a great way to celebrate the spirit of the season with your children, and help them to participate in the act of giving. This will make their own gifts that much sweeter, and help to teach them the art of organizing and letting go.