This week I helped #BagItForward and shopped for school supplies in partner with Champions For Kids and the Elmer’s Bag It Forward program as a sponsored post for Collective Bias®. As you know I adore CFK and all of their programs to benefit our nation’s youth. #cfk
As one of four children I know how hard this time of year can be on the wallet of a parent who is just trying to get by. As an only child Kayla has missed out on the amazing indescribable (and sometimes neck-wringing worthy) relationship of a sibling. At the same time she also has been blessed with a financial plan in this home I’ll describe as narrow and deep.
Rather than spreading our disposable income amongst four children, having to make choices and sacrifices we have been lucky enough to spoil Kayla. In a good way. Not just with “stuff” but also a great start to her education with preschool and an ample supply of our time to get her on the right track when it comes to learning.
So when the opportunity arose to collaborate with the folks from Champions For Kids during this back to school season I jumped at it. I happen to love Champions For Kids because they mobilize Americans to create change in small doses that have large results and most of their programs are ones that young children can comprehend the effects of and get involved.
Our mission as a family was that while shopping for Kayla’s school needs we’d also pick up supplies to “Bag It Forward” and provide for a child who doesn’t have all of the luxuries Kayla does. I thought it would be great to donate to the Bayview Children’s Center where we have donated for other Champions For Kids projects in the past.
This center provides free preschool style childcare to low income families and parents who are actively seeking employment and need to go on interviews. I was excited to get Kayla involved in another chance to give back and reinforce the idea of helping others. If there is one thing I have learned about having a child who is technically too young for most school supplies it’s that this very assumption is dead wrong.
Have you ever handed a preschool aged child
I’ll never forget the first time I offered Kayla a notebook and some crayons. In her eyes it was better than just about any toy I could have bought her. I remember expecting the novelty to wear off after about 5 minutes. An hour and a half later she was still drawing away, cutting out shapes from pages and thoroughly enjoying this big kid privilege. Sure I had given her a bunch of pieces of paper before but something about that book being just hers made her feel in control.
So I headed to Walmart because I know it’s where I can stretch my dollar the farthest when shopping. I wanted to gather as many great school supplies as I could for one special little preschooler with my budget and came home with some great things.
Like these Elmer’s disappearing purple glue sticks. They have always been a favorite of mine because kids LOVE to glue stuff. The glue goes on drip free and purple so they can see where they put it. It dries clear and leaves their art looking neat as can be…well you know, as neat as preschool art can be.
Having the right supplies to let young children get creative is key. So I picked up some smaller sized markers called Pip-Squeaks that are perfect for tiny hands. I also added Play-Doh because while it doesn’t seem like an obvious school supply it gets little brains thinking creatively and helps build fine motor skills. And of course I grabbed crayons, Elmer’s School Glue and lots of notebooks and construction paper. I also picked up a bunch of things for Kayla that I planned to keep a secret.
Back at home I showed Kayla everything I had bought to donate and explained that there was a child here in San Diego who needed these things a lot more than she did. Initially Kayla was less than enthusiastic. She wanted to know why she wasn’t getting any fun school supplies and at four years old I get where she was coming from. It took her a few minutes of me explaining and she got over it and got excited about packing up this cute preschool sized monkey backpack.
When we were done and I hadn’t heard any whining or begging I told my little monkey that I was proud of her for helping and I knew it had to be hard to give away lots of things she really wanted. Then I pulled the stealth mom move and whipped out that cute giraffe lunch bag you saw. Kayla went crazy! It was time for a new lunch bag since we‘ve had the same one for the last two and half years and it was getting…icky.
She was even more surprised when she opened it up and found a ton of awesome school supplies for her inside. There were colorful dry erase markers for practicing math on her easel, mini markers of her own and of course tons of glitter glue which may just be her favorite thing on the planet. I really liked that this experience gave Kayla the chance to help Bag It Forward to another child and see firsthand that if you do nice things for others it comes back to you.
Wondering how you can get involved? It’s easier than you think and doesn’t cost much to make a huge difference for a child in need. In fact, the prices are so cheap right now that I grabbed all of the supplies below for the cost of a coffee house latte. Pretty amazing how making such a small sacrifice could provide so much!
So the next time you’re picking up a few things at the store or shopping for your own child’s back to school needs please consider grabbing a few extra things and Bag It Forward. The lesson for your own child is well worth the expense!