The Gingerbread House toy store is helping kids stay busy in the summer months while learning valuable lessons.
The Summer of Kindness initiative started last summer as a way to give kids in the area something fun and unique to do over summer vacation. Kids can come into the store and pick up a kindness sheet that has goals for them to accomplish over the week.
From 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday, a local nonprofit organization comes to The Gingerbread House to do activities with kids. The activities help benefit other people in the community.
“Anything in the world you can be you can always be kind,” Event Coordinator Marisa Larkin said. “I feel like the younger you start that you’ll get into the habit and you can grow from there.”
The initiative began June 1 and will last until Aug. 10. It allows kids to keep busy during the summer while also giving back to the community and helping others. The initiative is open to children of all ages, however the majority are four to eight years old.
Some of the previous Saturday activities in the initiative include painting plants for a local nursery, designing quilt squares for the Child Protection Network and more.
“The goal is for them to get in the habit of doing kind things,” Larkin said.
Throughout the week, kids fill in a bubble on the kindness sheet every time they do something kind. After the Saturday activity, the kids drop a piece into a Plinko board which gives them an additional challenge for the week. This challenge can be to help make dinner or to make a new friend.
“It’s constantly challenging them to do something kind for someone else,” Larkin said.
To end the summer, the store will host a party to celebrate the initiative on Aug. 10. The kids will also turn in reflections to show what they liked and gained from the initiative.
“A lot of the time it’s ‘Doing nice things for other people made me feel good too,’” Larkin said. “I think the initiative is something that takes up time but is also super meaningful for everyone involved. Hopefully it’s something that will stick with them.”