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Visit a website of "alternative gifts" to target a donation of any amount toward one of many specific programs that improve the lives of people around in the world.
Learn more about the spiritual benefits of generosity in these books:
- The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life by M.J. Ryan (Conari Press, 2000)
- The Courage to Give: Inspiring Stories of People Who Triumphed over Tragedy to Make a Difference in the World by Jackie Waldman, Janis Leibs Dworkis, and Joan Lunden (MJF Books, 2000)
- These books offer examples of generosity:
- Thanks & Giving All Year Long by Marlo Thomas and Friends (New York: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, 2004)
- I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children by Mark W. McVeigh, Marian Wright Edelman, and Barry Moser (Harper/Collins, 2005)
The idea of having a basket of "fidget objects" available during session activities comes from Sally Patton, author, workshop leader and advocate for children with special needs. It is a simple, inexpensive way to include and welcome children who find it difficult to sit still or who learn better while moving.
Provide a basket for fidget objects. Fill it with pipe cleaners, koosh balls, and other soft, quiet, manipulable objects.
When you introduce the fidget object basket to the group, begin by saying that some people learn best when their hands are busy. Give an example such as someone who knits while listening to a radio program or doodles during a meeting or class. Point out the fidget object basket. Tell the children they may quietly help themselves to items they may wish to use to keep their hands busy if this helps them to listen. However, also tell the children that the fidget object basket will be put away if the items become a distraction from the story or any other group activity.
You can make the basket available for the duration of the session, or bring the basket out only during activities, such as hearing a story told, that require children to sit still and listen for a significant period of time.