As an upper elementary teacher, I am always looking for community service projects for my students. A project does not have to involve a lot of time or money to be effective, both for the children and for the recipients.
Since I love to sew, I love sewing projects! This year, I came up with a simple sewing project that the students are totally enthused about. They are making small stockings for residents of a nursing home across the street from our school. At the beginning of the year, I made a list of sewing items we would need to do this project. I wrote each item on an index card and had the cards available for the parents to pick up at Back to School Night. I was even bold enough to ask for donations of good working sewing machines, and I got three! Within a few weeks, we had a sewing center complete with pinking shears, fabric shears, straight pins and pincushions, tape measure, batting, fabric scraps, thread and needles. I traced a simple stocking pattern onto cardboard, and we cut the stockings out with pinking shears. After a demonstration and a few practice runs on scraps, the students simply stitched around the edge of the stockings. Other classes are going to fill them with candy canes, notes and bookmarks.
The stockings can be sewn by hand using felt, yarn and wide-eye needles. Just whipstitch around the outside edges and tie a knot at the end.
A quick project the students can do involves only construction paper and peppermint candy. Make thank you notes for those who work at your school. (If you are in a large school, you could limit cards to support staff and administration.) Each student writes a thank you note on the paper, cut to the size of a note card. The note should say something like, “Thank you for all you do for our school.” Then a piece of peppermint candy is stapled to the paper. Depending on the size of your school and the weather, the cards can be placed under the windshield wipers of the cars in the parking lot. If your school is larger, it may be better to deliver them to the teacher’s boxes or hand them to the recipients.
Students love doing these projects, and they provide a way for the children to express their love and gratitude to those around them.