What better family activity than to earn money for some good cause, for some charity that is trying to help others in the community?
It’s a good lesson for the family to work together to achieve one goal while doing something good for the community at large.
It will bring your family closer together, teach your children the importance of helping others, and your kids will learn to be selfless. It will also teach them that there are other people out there who have it worse. It passes on to your kids the importance of being loving and caring and reaching out beyond themselves in life.
When I was in high school, I became aware of an organization called “Camp Good Days” that existed in our community. This camp provides help for kids and adults who are struck with cancer or other life changing illnesses. They are funded in part by our local rotary club.
My best friend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and although I stood by her and gave her all the support I could, I wanted to do more. I wanted to do something more than lip service so I decided to take some sort of action.
I came up with the idea of having a back yard carnival for the kids around the neighborhood to help earn money to donate to this camp. My parents supported me and our whole family got involved. This is something any family can do and it does not necessarily have to be a carnival.
After I came up with the idea of a carnival I ran it by my family at dinner one night and we decided on a date where all of us were free. Once we decided on a date we had to decide what we would have at the carnival.
We also needed to decide what prizes we would be able to give out. In order to have prizes that we did not have to spend a lot of money on, we cleaned the house from top to bottom and got together items that none of us played with or used any more.
We had board games that were in good condition, tons of stuffed animals that we no longer played with, and other various toys and items we could use as prizes. My mom even donated a bunch of dishes which she no longer used. My brothers donated some cars and trucks that they no longer used either.
Now that we had prizes we sat down and came up with some games to have at the carnival. Since we had a bunch of dishes we decided we would have a coin toss for dishes where you set out the dishes in an area and people stand behind a rope and toss coins. In our case we used pennies and if the penny stayed on the dish the person wins the dish.
One of my brothers fixed a big piece of plywood with balloons on it. We leaned the plywood up against the clothes pole outside and use our darts from our dart game for people to throw at the balloons. We sold three darts for 25 cents.
If a balloon was popped they got a prize and the more balloons popped the better the prize. My other brother took some old wood and put pegs in it.
I made up some rings and we then had a ring toss game. Other games that we included were bean bags in bushel basket throw, knock down the milk bottle and a few other ones we all came up with.
My dad and brothers did most of the carpentry and my mom and I did the decorative stuff. We rented helium and sold helium balloons and my mom cooked up hot dogs that day that we sold along with drinks and a bunch of homemade desserts we made.
Homemade brownies, cookies, cakes and candies for anyone who wanted to spend a small amount. I sit here laughing when I think back to the taffy we made and how big a hit that was.
The best part of the carnival was the rides we came up with. In back of our house there was a field with a horse in it. I had a close friend at school who owned a canoe.
She let us borrow the canoe and we decorated it with various flowers and other things along the sides of it. The farmer who owned the horse let us give horse rides and we had a small tractor that pulled the canoe through a course we made with all sorts of homemade animals along the route.
The horse and canoe rides were a big hit. I can’t tell you how much fun our family had doing this. How close this brought all of us and how fun it was to see how each of our imaginations wandered with some pretty wild ideas. When we started creating our games and rides we all wanted to help each other make their creation work out.
We made $200 dollars that day to donate to Camp Good Days and had more fun than we ever imagined. Although we had so much fun creating our carnival, the best part was knowing that the money we earned was going to make some sick child’s dream come true.
You don’t necessarily have to have a carnival to help out a charity. There are plenty of ways for your family to get involved.
Get your family to take part in a walk or “runathon” that many charities have, get them to collect food from the neighborhood to donate to the local food bank, or take the family down to your local mission to help out some holiday. Or create your own dream like our family did. Whatever you do just get the family involved.
Don’t miss this opportunity to instill in your kids the importance of giving. It is a great feeling that you don’t want to deprive your children of.