Mom hack – teach your kids about the power of donating (with a craft)

Even with Goodwill of Central Iowa’s donation doors temporarily closed, we know that donating is important for so many reasons. This is the perfect time to teach kids about the importance of donations items and get them involved in spring cleaning.

Donating unused items allows you to give back to the community, while being environmentally responsible.

While people gather their items to donate, it presents a wonderful opportunity to teach the children in our lives the importance of donating. Involve kids through craft and teach them how giving back to others in the community is of importance. Create a donation box and once they are done, ask them to fill it with clothing or other items they think another child would benefit from more.

Crafting Supplies

Creating a donation box requires no specific supplies and the only guidelines are the endless limits of a child’s creativity. Use a box or tote along with whatever odds and ends may be around the house for your child to create their own donation masterpiece.

We pulled together a variety of items along with some of our very own staple crafting supplies. Here is a list of all the items that were gathered for potential use on a box.  

  • Crayola Washable Markers
  • Crayola Jumbo Crayons
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Scotch Tape
  • Colored Paper
  • Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Coffee Filters
  • Gems and Rhinestones
  • Curly Ribbon
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Stickers
  • Paint Brushes (of all sizes)
  • Sponge Brushes
  • Washable Paints
  • Painting Drop Cloth
  • Cookie Sheets

If you don’t have any washable paints, no worries! We found a recipe for homemade watercolors. This adds a fun science experiment and sensory play to the project.

Making Your Box

Once all the supplies have been collected for your activity, make sure you are in a safe space for creativity to roam.

I executed this activity with my niece. For our trial activity we determined the kitchen was the best place for creativity to take flight. We placed the drop cloth on the floor and slowly handed supplies over to until she found what she wanted to use.

The most popular items in our box creation were the coffee filters and homemade watercolors. For our craft, painting was a new concept and it turned out to be so exciting! The coffee filters were doubled up and folded in half to be painted. We used cookie sheets to minimize any potential mess that could be left on the floor.

In our creation, we experimented with painting directly on the box, splatter painting, and finger painting. Can you sense a trend? We eventually tried our hand at what we could do with tissue paper.

We tore the paper into pieces and used both the watercolor paint and a glue water mix to make the tissue stick. Both worked to adhere the tissue onto the box for an attempted mosaic look.

Other wonderful ways to create a donation box include using crayons, markers and paper. This opens a variety of different ways that the littles can decorate their box. Whether creating designs on the box or making colorful paper cut outs, each decoration is perfect in its own way.

How To Teach Your Kids About Goodwill And The Importance Of Donating Items

This project is a wonderful way to teach kids about Goodwill of Central Iowa and the people we serve. When you’re done creating the donation box, encourage the kids to donate some of their gently used clothing and toys.

Use Goodwill’s A-B-C-D prioritization tool to help kids decide what to give away. Here’s what to teach them, in words they understand:

  • An “A” toy is a favorite one that you love and play with all the time (something you play with every day!)
  • A “B” toy is one you play with a lot, but not QUITE every day.
  • A “C” toy is one you don’t play with very much, as often as we have a birthday or holiday.
  • A “D” toy is one you really are not playing with at all. D stands for DONATE to Goodwill!
  • We want to store our A and B toys where we can reach them and put them away easily, and our C toys up higher in a box or on a shelf.

You can explain to kids that donating our “D” toys (and possibly some “C” toys too) helps others and also helps the planet. Did you know that each year, Goodwill of Central Iowa diverts over 20 million pounds of items from landfills?

Once it is safe for Goodwill to open donation doors again, have your kids bring their donation bins to a local store so they can see their items going to their new lives.

The donations received by Goodwill help fund the many mission programs that we have to offer. These include our Skills Training Program and Career Connection Centers for individuals with barriers to employment, Day Services Program for adults with disabilities, and Creating Excellence in Re-Entry for those re-entering society from incarceration. 

After explaining what Goodwill does for the community, tell your children how the donations fund these programs. The donations received will be sold in stores, outlet, or online at For every dollar that is sold, 83 cents go back into funding the mission of Goodwill. Explain that when they make donations, Goodwill can provide special training to help people in the communities.

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