This month's challenge was inspired by a phone call I received from a woman named Tammy after appearing on FOX19 for #GivingTuesday. Tammy runs Scarf It Up For Those In Need, a nonprofit working to provide children in need with warm winter accessories

During our conversation, Tammy told me this story: "One year a child was wearing his new accessories, but no coat. When his teacher asked why, he replied, 'It's my brother's turn to wear the coat today.' Sometimes our handmade scarves are the only thing that keeps children warm.When I heard that, I knew this would be the perfect activity for January! 

I LOVED Tammy's suggestion to attach a "warm" wish or bible verse to the scarves before sending them in, so I contacted Amy Johnson over at She Wears Many Hats to see if she'd let us use her "Made With Love" gift tag template. Thankfully, Amy said, "Yes!" To download and print your tags, click here (or the image below). 

For the first time ever (with the help of our AWESOME high school intern, Anna:), we made a video of our adventures completing this month's challenge (because EVERY challenge is an adventure:). 

In addition to developing fine motor, measurement and other mathematical skills through this real-life learning experience, the children were also developing problem solving skills when trying to:

  • Select the right type of fleece.

    • While shopping at Walmart (which, FYI has the best deal on fleece - $2.67 for a yard of solid color, $4.47 for prints and $6.97 for licensed characters), several of the children were attracted to a fleece variation called "Heavenly Plush," which shed much more than the regular fleece did. That being said, the children had to accept the fact that they weren't going to get their first choice of fabric as we didn't think the shedding fabric would be a good fit for this project.

  • Measure, and then mark the lines.

    • We needed to remind the children that when we measure something, the placement of the yardstick is extremely important as it must align with the edge of the fabric, otherwise the measurements will be off.

    • We also realized that they'd never had to make two measurements, and then connect the dots with a line, so that was a "teachable moment" too.

    • Additionally, they figured out that it was important to draw the line on the correct side of the yardstick, otherwise the scarf would be 5" wide instead of 6" wide.

    • We didn't consider the fact that permanent markers used for drawing the line would be, well, permanent. The lines aren't that noticeable after you cut along them, but next time we'll probably use a fabric marker instead.  

  • Determine the right type of scissors to use.

    • We tried several types of scissors before finding the ones that worked well for us. In the end, crafting scissors, fabric scissors and utility scissors worked best. While the process was frustrating at times, the kids liked making comparisons between all the different types of scissors and figuring out which ones worked best for them.

  • Help each other out.

    • While cutting, we determined it was much easier if someone helped guide the fabric and stretch it apart, making for a GREAT lesson in teamwork.

All in all, we had a BLAST completing this challenge... so much so that the kids wanted to make more with our neighbors on their recent snow day! 

They even came up with the idea to use the leftover scraps to make scarves for their dolls and toys:).

When finished making your scarves, please mail them to:

Scarf It Up For Those In Need
3152 Dixie Highway
Erlanger, KY 41018

If you'd prefer donating them to an agency in your area instead, please do! Schools, homeless shelters and battered women's shelters would be VERY appreciative.  

We'd love to see your scarves! Please share your photos with us on Facebook and Instagram.

@GivingFamilies #GivingFamilies 

If you'd like to complete next month's Good Mail Challenge, become a member! We'll deliver it straight to your mailbox. (Because kids LOVE getting mail!)

And, for every membership purchased during the month of January, we'll donate 10% of our proceeds to Scarf It Up For Those in Need* (when new families join by clicking their logo below). 

Looking for a unique gift idea? Send a gift membership!

*Know of an organization that would benefit from our nationwide network of giving families? Please let us know! Send an email to info@givingfamilies.com. 

Beth Nowak is a former Kindergarten teacher and mother of two who wanted to make memories with her children while making a difference in her community. Helping other parents do the same, she left the classroom to create Giving Families' Good Mail Challenges... fun and easy, family-friendly giveback activities that can be completed anytime, anywhere using materials readily available in most homes. To learn more and join the family, visit GivingFamilies.com.