I always love educational opportunities for my boys, and if they involve giving back to our community in some way, even better! CWIST is a free digital platform full of creative challenges for kids - everything from creating a worm farm to completing daily chores to researching a particular subject. I was immediately drawn to the Community section, and there were a good number to choose from. Ultimately, I assigned Pierce the "Teaching the True Meaning of Christmas" CWIST. This CWIST shows children how good it feels to help others during the holiday season.
This challenge had five parts to it. Pierce had to ask others questions like, "What does Christmas mean to you?". We talked about the difference between wishes/wish lists and needs, and watched The Polar Express. Then we wanted to help someone in need. Pierce has already done several things this Christmas to help others (taking hats/mittens for the angel tree at his school, helping pick out snacks for the Pack A Snack program which sends home snacks for underprivileged children over the weekends, and an upcoming canned food drive). But we had a great opportunity to participate in a fundraiser for Barn Cat Buddies (an organization that I dearly love - and two of our cats were adopted from their program).
This was the first time Pierce had ever been bowling. He loved it (and he even got a few strikes)! We talked about how the a portion of price of tickets went towards helping feed, spay/neuter, and vaccinate homeless cats. There was a silent auction, and Pierce took some of his tooth fairy money and placed bids on a couple of items. He also got some raffle tickets, and placed them in a few jars of items he thought were neat. I had helped the previous weekend to prepare the raffle baskets, and taken some donations, so I talked about exactly where everything came from and how that specific money went directly back to the cats.
It was a really special day and I think it left the impression in Pierce's mind of how we can do a variety of things in our community to give back.
We still have one portion of the CWIST to complete it - Pierce needs to read The Giving Book by Ellen Sabin. We don't have a copy, so we're going to try to track it down at the local library. Once that is completed, Pierce gets to earn his reward. I chose the reward of staying up an hour late for him. I'm a real stickler for bedtime, and Pierce actually thought I was joking when I told him if he completed his CWIST he got to stay up an hour late. He's looking forward to a special evening in the near future, getting to play board games with Paul and I until 9 pm.
This holiday season, CWIST has kicked off a multi-week giving campaign where kids can complete CWISTs to earn gifts for children in need. Once a child completes a CWIST, a toy will be delivered to the less fortunate child along with a holiday message, through Lighthouse Shelter and Sarah's House. It's a wonderful way for children to focus more on giving, and less on receiving this holiday season. I would encourage you to check out the site with your kids!