Children and charity
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Children and charity

Each year there seems to be a craze that ‘defines’ the summer. Until a couple of weeks ago, 2014’s craze was clear – loom bands. Tiny rubber bands woven into colourful bracelets and worn on the wrists of middle-aged men who wouldn’t dream of wearing jewellery in the normal course of events.

But then a new craze emerged, sweeping away all before it. That craze, of course, is the Ice Bucket Challenge. First an inter-celebrity gimmick in the US in aid of ALSA (a Motor Neurone charity), it spread far and fast and now fills social media feeds. Over $100m has been donated to ALSA alone, with several other charities also benefitting from peer-pressure induced philanthropy.

Although mainly an adult phenomenon, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been great for raising awareness among young people about charities and giving, and generating some enthusiasm for fundraising activities. So, as the new term starts, what are some other ways to capitalise on this new-found excitement? How can we get our children interested and involved in charity? Here are five ideas…

Start small
There’s no minimum age for a sponsored activity! Well, almost. Children as young as 18 months can walk, jump or dress up for charity. One example is the Barnardo’s ‘Big Toddle,’ a sponsored walk aimed at children under 5, to raise money for children under 5. Sponsored silences, sponsored cycles, sponsored climbs – the possibilities are endless!

Encourage entrepreneurialism
Cakes, friendship bracelets, makeovers – there are lots of things children can make and sell for charity. A baking tray’s worth of cupcakes sold for 50p each could raise £6 for charity, which might not seem much to an adult but to a child is really something! As they get older, there’s always lawn mowing and car cleaning too!

Teams of talent
If your child takes part in some sort of group activity – like an orchestra or a dance troupe – then get others involved in your fundraising too! Talent shows, fashion shows or concerts are all great ways of raising money and giving children a creative outlet.

Weird and wacky
From new crazes like the Ice Bucket Challenge to old favourites like bathing in beans, there’s nothing like the weird and wacky to capture people’s imaginations and get the money rolling in.

Create connections
Putting a face to a cause is a really effective way of getting children more engaged. Perhaps their school has links with a school in Africa, or your family sponsor a child in South America? Helping children to understand the need they’re meeting, and the difference their activities can make, will encourage them to keep going.

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