'Tis the season of giving. No matter how small, every good deed counts. This year, I came up with an idea for Naperville Therapediatrics: my private speech and language practice, that would benefit children in my community. First, I sought crayon donations from neighbors and clients. Then, I purchased 48 mini Christmas activity pads from Oriental Trading Company, ordered Christmas silicone trays on Walmart and Amazon, and bought containers and holiday treat bags at the Dollar Tree. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I pulled out all of these materials and got to work during my private speech and language sessions.
The mission: recycle broken crayons into Christmas shaped ones and package these new treasures with a coloring book to be donated to a children's unit at a local hospital. Before we got started, I explained to all participants that these crayons would be going to sick kids in the hospital during the holiday season.
The participants: elves as young as 3 years old to high school-aged helpers, all of whom receive services at my practice.
The results: creative, festive, thoughtful crayon designs beautifully packaged to spread some cheer.
Step 1: Peel paper off all crayons. Initially, we were doing this during our sessions until I stumbled upon a You Tube video on how to do this using a bowl with warm water.
Step 2: Break crayons into smaller pieces for both small and large silicone trays. All clients could complete this task and it lent for opportunities to request "help" if needed. Clients working on articulation of target sounds earned crayons after completing speech drills. Those needing to build sentence lengths practiced requesting crayons by color and/or size.
Step 3: Fill both large and small trays. I could address following directions ranging from a simple "Put in" to "Put some red crayons in the big stocking." One client had some trouble following a two step command to break crayons, then put in, so I broke the crayons while he sorted them by color. I couldn't trick him with varying shades of green or blue either! He got the sort correct every time.
Step 4: Place silicone trays on a cookie sheet and put them in a preheated 275 degree oven and cook for 10-25 minutes depending on thickness. Once cooled, you can push the crayons out of the trays and get them into decorative bags.
I made some labels that read: Made with love and healing thoughts by clients at Naperville Therapediatrics and then I put a label on the back of a business card for each bag. I just love it when a project comes together this well!! Clients really enjoyed seeing finished projects and some creators went home with a sample crayon to enjoy. One middle school client even discovered comprehension for a concept that we have been working on for some time. No matter what I tried, she just couldn't grasp the concept of "thick" until she held a thick crayon in her hand. There's nothing better than sharing in the joy of progress. My heart smiled when she exclaimed, "This is what you've been telling me about!" "We made some thick crayons!" YES!!
In the end, I was so moved by both the response from my community for crayon donations and the smiles on the faces of clients and caregivers when I explained the project we would be working on during our sessions. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa as a means of inspiration to spread some acts of kindness in your community. Wishing you all a blessed holiday season!!