Let Them Grow: The Gift of Warm-Heartedness

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

The Gift of Warm-Heartedness

Photo courtesy of Dylan

During this season of giving, it may be hard to help young children fully enjoy giving to others. They can’t empathize fully with others yet, so why share? As we joke, “If I touched it, it’s mine.” Toddlers are inherently greedy; they can’t help it. It’s a learning phase and they will grow more caring and kind because of it. By making giving gifts a fun and engaging activity, we can help teach our children that sharing, giving, and going out of our way for others can be rewarding and enjoyable.

Last year at this time, we teamed up with Art Always in Florence to collect personal hygiene supplies for the community.  This year we would like to team up with Art Always and anyone in the community who is interested.

Painting and donating winter hats is a fun way to encourage your toddlers to create for and think about someone else. Winter hats are always needed at our shelters. You can talk to your child about whom you’re making the hats for and why. Encourage your child to tell people they are making a special gift to help collect more of these needed items.

The Warm-Heartedness Bin

  • New winter hats
  • Water based non-toxic fabric paints
  • Stiff paintbrushes
  • Cut sponges
  • Tape
  • Stencils
  • Older children can use: fabric pens, puffy paint, and print making rollers

To make it easier and less taxing (on both of you) paint hats for a week or two leisurely. Have a station or a bin ready to go. Encourage your child’s friends and other company to make a hat as well.

Other Tips

  • NEW Fleece hats seem to work best
  • Be sure the paints you choose to use are water based and require no heat setting
  • Offer colors one or two at a time. Leaving time for colors to dry.
  • Use the stiff brush teach a dabbing method to apply
  • Tape down the stencil and hat

In order to connect the child with the experience, it helps to reiterate why you are doing the particular project. Why is it important? How will it affect people in our community? Help your toddler feel proud about the artwork, the final project, and the act of giving.

When they are complete, take a trip and donate the hats to your nearest shelter or drop them off at 221 Pine St., # 314 in Florence.

Happy Heart Warming!


Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programing for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.


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