Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ten Fun things to Send your Sponsored Child

Spring brings so much pleasure to me. I love the longer days, the warming sun, and the color of new leaves and bright blooms after a cold, gray, dark winter. There is something about spring that wakes us up and makes us want to do more, to work harder, to shake off the doldrums and get to living again.

Spring also makes us a lot busier. I know for me, personally, this spring is shaping up to be one of the busiest I've had in years. I have several work-related trips planned, I'm dancing quite a bit, there are birthday parties to attend, Mother's Day jewelry orders to fill, garden beds to be planted and tended, and yardwork galore. I'm also planning a yard sale with a fellow sponsor to benefit Compassion, so I need to start pulling all my stuff together that I plan to sell--and I have no idea where to begin!

In the busy new outdoor life of spring, it may be harder to remember to sit down and write our Compassion kids. The official Compassion International blog recently posted a series of pictures of sponsored children holding their most prized possessions...the letters from their sponsors.

It seems that the overarching agreement among sponsored children who have graduated the program is that sponsor letters were extraordinarily influential in their lives. In fact, children who recieve letters from their sponsors are more likely to remain in and graduate from the program than children who do not.

That's the amazing difference that Compassion sponsors make.

There are so many amazing posts out there with topic suggestions if you run out of things to discuss with your sponsored child. Blogging from the Boonies has some awesome suggestions. had some great suggestions, as well. Here, I thought I would chip in my 2 cents with some ideas for "extras" (besides stickers) that you can send along to your sponsored children to add to their excitement when they get your next letter.

1. Paper Dolls ~ Paper dolls are so fun, and so easy to find. Dollar General carries books of paper dolls for about $2 each, and Dover Publishing has amazing paper dolls (and they offer frequent discounts). If you have a pinterest account, search "Paper dolls" and you'll find many free paper dolls--print on cardstock and cut out for a great treat!  Another fun paper doll idea--make paper dolls of YOUR FAMILY for your sponsored child! Simply have your family members stand against a plain background and photograph, then print out on cardstock and cut out. You can use decorative scrapbook paper to make clothing for your paper doll selves. For extra fun, print your sponsored child's picture as well, and make him or her into a paper doll! Here's an adorable printable paper doll to get you started:
2. Paper airplanes ~ For young children you can pre-make the paper airplanes and tuck them into a small envelope so that they are ready to fly when the child receives them. For older children, print out instructions from the internet (or photocopy instructions from a book) and send along with sheets of decorative paper. Here's a blog with many printable instructions:
3. Recordable Cards ~ There are a great many musical cards out there--some that include flashing lights and pop up! Most of them are birthday or holiday-specific, but Hobby Lobby carries a lot of Christian themed musical cards that are generic in nature. Some feature contemporary Christian songs and some feature classic secular music. People from the Compassion mailroom indicate that not only do the children love to recieve these cards, the staff in the mailrooms love them as well! If you are ambitious you can find cards that also include a record button, and you can record a personal message from your family--what a gift to your sponsored child to be able to hear your voice!

4. Friendship Bracelets ~ We are unable to send real jewelry or string through the mail, but there are some really adorable paper bracelet (or necklace!) tutorials out there that feature strips of paper folded across each other. Here's one fantastic tutorial:
You could coat the paper with a layer of mod podge or spray acrylic for durability. For older kids, send a completed bracelet along with instructions and materials for your child to make his or her own! And don't think these are just for girls--in other cultures some men wear jewelry as well, so your little boy may well enjoy wearing a cuff-style bracelet in "manly" colors or a superhero theme. To close the bracelet, many sponsors have reported that small (tiny) velcro circles that stick-on have made it through. You might also try including some glue dots or punch a hole in each end and perhaps the child can find a small piece of string or grass with which to tie it closed.

5. Photo album ~ I plan to do this for my children this spring. The most beloved and requested items from sponsored children are photographs of their sponsor family. You can make a simple photo album using commercial software (or even MS Word) or online tools and print your album at home or your local copy store. Staple with a cute decorative cover and you have a treasured gift for your child. This is super easy to do for multiple children because it's as easy to print 4 copies as it is to print 1 copy. Include a photo of your sponsored child in the album so they know they are part of your family, too!

6. Thin books or book chapters ~ I recently discovered that it is okay to send thin books as long as the cover is removed and the book meets the 1/4 inch thickness rule. In fact, for older teens you can send big books (think C.S. Lewis) chapter-by-chapter. Yes, it hurts to tear a book apart, but visit a used bookstore, yard sale, or Goodwill for a copy of a beloved used book and start ripping! Be cognizant of language differences, however--if your child speaks a different language the translators will not translate an entire book. You may be able to find used foreign-language books through Amazon or Ebay (or even at your local used bookstore--particularly in Spanish).

7. 3D bookmarks ~ I love the 3D and "moving" bookmarks that craft stores and bookstores sell. Even young children love these.

8. Magazines ~ You can remove the cover and send thin magazines. For little kids, National Geographic has great animal-themed magazines. Zootles is a good one for little kdis, as well. Highlights is wonderful for English speaking children. Target ocassionally carries some Highlights activity pads and posters in the $1 section that are wonderful.

9. Lapbooks ~ Lapbooks are among my favorite things to send. Originally a homeschooling idea, a lapbook is simply a folder-sized study unit organized around a central theme, containing multiple activities. For example, you might choose a Noah's Ark theme and include coloring pages, stickers, a matching game, a mini book, paper dolls, etc all depicting the story of Noah's Ark, and you might tuck it all into an animal-themed school folder. Some great resources for lapbooks include ( for Noah's Ark),,,

10. Paper bag puppets ~ How much fun are paper bag puppets? They are easy to assemble yourself, and you can find plenty of templates on Google and Pinterest, or you can be lazy like I was and purchase a Paper Bag Puppet kit from Alex toys, which comes with 5 ADORABLE puppets in individual plastic sleeves, with all the pieces necessary to make the puppet AND instructions AND stickers for decorating the puppet. How easy is that?? I punched out the pieces to keep the package within the size limits, and then stuck them all back in the plastic sleeve with a photocopy of the instructions, and my mailing was ready to go!

I hope this post gets you excited about spring mailings for your sponsored kids. I would love to hear your ideas and comments! What do you plan to send this spring?

Blessings and Happy Easter!


  1. Wow, what a great list!! Thanks for sharing :) It is practically impossible to find recordable cards. A while back I searched the internet, and this is the only one I found- Now I have it on hand to send to Mabel when she graduates :)

    Blessing to you too!!

    1. Thank you!! Yeah, I had a hard time too, but I did find one at a random drug store for a birthday for my Florance. Our family had fun recording a happy birthday message (over, and over, and over hahaha) just for her! Thank you for the link!!