Are you familiar with Operation Christmas Child? I affectionately refer to it as “The Shoebox Ministry”–it’s a program that I participate in every year around this time. What I do is fill up a shoebox with toys, candy, school supplies, clothing, and toiletries. The shoebox is then forwarded to a kid in another country as a gift for the holidays.
I have participated with Operation Christmas Child every year for the last eleven years! I always have the best time shopping for “my kids,” and I’ve noticed that since I have had my own boys, it has been even more meaningful to me to share some of our blessings with kids who don’t have as many advantages as my boys do.
You can physically put a box together, or you can put a virtual box together through the Build a Box program. For $30, you can choose goodies to put in a box and Operation Christmas Child will take care of packing it up.
I checked out the choices of goodies to give in the Build a Box, and I noticed that you can buy a lot of these items at the dollar store. So, i decided to check out my local dollar store and see how many things I could find that would make great additions to your Operation Christmas Child shoebox.
What to Buy at the Dollar Store for Shoeboxes:
1. Washcloth Mitt Puppet: Toiletries are a useful and necessary addition to your shoebox. Washcloths were suggested in the Pack a Shoebox guidelines, but I found this fun froggy washcloth mitt at the dollar store. I think it’s great because it’s a washcloth, but it also doubles as a puppet.
2. Plastic-Wrapped Mild Soap Bars: The guidelines mentioned that mild soap bars should be wrapped in plastic. I chose these bars because they are mild, and wrapped up in plastic instead of cardboard. Three bars for a dollar!
3.Toothbrushes: I always get toothbrushes for my kids at the dollar store, so of course I included these in the shoebox as well. You can’t beat two toothbrushes for a dollar! You can also get a toothbrush that comes with a small tube of toothpaste. I also include an additional full-sized tube of toothpaste.
4. Hair Accessories for Girls: The dollar store has a great selection of hair accessories, and the price is right. I grabbed multipacks of hair bands as well as some fancier single hairbands. Barrettes are also a great idea.
Don’t forget to include a sturdy comb for both boys and girls.
5. Socks: You can buy multipacks of colorful socks at the dollar store. So many fun colors and patterns. Or, if you are of a more practical mind, the dollar store also sells white athletic socks.
6. School supplies and art supplies:The dollar store is a great place to get a good deal on school supplies such as this 12 pack of pencils. You can also find supplies like 48 packs of crayons, watercolor paints, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, calculators, and coloring books. You probably won’t find better pricing for these items, and the quality is comparable to what you’d find at another store.
7. Stuffed Animals: Since I don’t want a stuffed animal to take up a lot of space in a shoebox, I like to pick a small, squishy stuffed animal at the dollar store so there’s plenty of room for other goodies.
Not all toys at the dollar store are great picks for shoeboxes. If you shop there with your kids as often as I do, you know that some toys from the dollar store hold up better than others. Also, avoid any military toys such as guns or army men.
Toys that look like good shoebox picks:
8. Jacob’s Ladder Toy: This toy is brightly colored and made of wood. I always loved these toys as a kid! I hope my shoebox kids like them too.
9. Toy Chalkboard: These chalkboards are flat (don’t take up too much space!), and children can use them and reuse them. Don’t forget extra chalk.
10. Dress Up Tutu for Girls: What I like about this little dress up skirt is that it is small, which means it will fit in a shoebox without taking up much space! I hope it’s the kind of thing little girls in other countries would enjoy as much as little girls here in the USA do. Oh, and it’s only a dollar!
11. Punch Balloons: Find these in the party section of the dollar store. Operation Christmas Child has these on its Build a Box list, and I know from my own boys that these balloons are fun for months without popping.
Building shoeboxes are one of the highlights of my year. This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.
BlogFrog willmatch the first 200 boxes that are built. Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.