After being inspired by a school project completed by my kids in first grade, I decided to set up a basket for birthday compliments. Those celebrating the birthday honoree can write what they like about that person, signed or anonymously, on an index card. The birthday boy or girl then reads all of the compliments out loud, and the cards are put in a bag marked with the year. The compliments have become treasured keepsakes, and I am amazed at the amount of fun and love they inspire. Simple words, from the heart, can leave a lasting impression.
The book the first grade teachers at the elementary school read is Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz. The teachers then randomly select a student each day who is the topic of guided writing. Every classmate writes and draws what they like about the featured student, and the teachers participate in this activity as well. The teachers then bind all of the work into a gift for each student. This activity is a wonderful lesson in tolerance and kindness, and is an effective confidence booster.
Painted Easter Eggs
Instead of dying dozens of hard-boiled eggs (whose fate would be to rot in my fridge before I could possibly eat them all), we buy 3″ wooden eggs from a local craft store and use acrylic paint to decorate them. These keepsakes allow us to reflect on the past year and design something that will record a memory for each of us. Some day, when my kids are grown and it’s time to de-clutter my storage, each one of the children can take their eggs and continue the tradition.