Ways to make a difference in the GTA this March Break
The Unsolicited Moms co-founder says spring vacation is the perfect time for kids to learn how good it feels to do good
BY JACQUELINE COURT
When kids do their parts to get involved with their communities, the benefits go way beyond the people they’re helping. They’re also more likely to get good grades, experience a self-esteem boost and even prioritize civic engagement in the future. But kids may not always see why volunteering is so important, for themselves or their communities.
Luckily, there’s a solution: use March Break as an opportunity to combine fun activities with a lesson on the joys of giving back. Encourage kids to participate in activities that allow them to engage with their local community, and they’ll soon learn exciting new things and a little about themselves, too—like how full their hearts can feel when they do something good for others. Here are our best bets for ways to make a difference.
Combine collaboration and innovation—with camp
MakerKids is the perfect organization for kids who are ready to kick-start their journeys as changemakers. The organization, which uses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to teach kids to innovate and inspires them to make a positive difference in the world, is hosting its annual March Break day camp at the Toronto MakerKids space in Bloor West Village. All week long, kids in grade 1 to 8 will discover how to be creators, not consumers. They’ll work in teams to solve problems and also have a chance to create their own mind-blowing designs and inventions. The camp advances kids’ skills in communication, leadership and critical thinking—and, best of all, they get to dabble in gaming, coding and robotics.
Create eco-aware kiddos
Show kids how they can help the environment by creating their own drop-off boxes for hard-to-dispose-of items. Let neighbours know that this March Break, you’ll take recyclables like batteries, electronics, light bulbs and other items that can’t go in the regular blue bin. Mark each box clearly so everyone knows which items go where. At the end of the week, take the kids on a trip to drop off the boxes at local depots, big box stores or other facilities that will take the items. Make a game of it and see who can collect the most for a prize of their choosing. Maybe an afternoon matinee or a bowling bash?
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Helping newcomers to Canada learn about the events, resources and activities available to them is a great way to help new neighbours feel included in the community—and this is the perfect week to get started. From taking a family of newcomers to a maple syrup festival to bonding over superheroes at Toronto Comiccon to simply helping them access services, there are plenty of ways to help.
Create a Little Friendly (Charitable) Competition
Challenge your kids to choose and support their favourite local charity. This is a great opportunity for children to get creative or learn a new skill while raising funds for a cause that’s close to their hearts and home. Plus, they get prizes at the end! Create a sign-up sheet and ask each child to set a goal for the charity they want to support. Maybe they want to try to read five books? Or create some artistic masterpieces? Or learn to make a new recipe or two? Whatever the goal, they must collect pledges and complete their task by the end of March Break. That’s when the charity gets their donation and the kids get their prizes. What a fun way to wrap up the week!
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