This is the first year that we've done the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. We didn't have an exact number in mind when we started, but we've ended up with ten boxes. I just finished filling them, so we're dropping them off at a local church tomorrow. There are five "boy" boxes and five "girl" boxes.
You have to mark the boxes with special little labels (in picture above). The labels show whether the box is for a girl or a boy, and there is a space to mark the age bracket of the toys inside.
We watched a lot of the online video tutorials in order to get ideas of what to put inside. Mom and I also spent several afternoons shopping at various places like Odd Lots, Dollar Tree and Dollar General for little school and craft supplies. We've also collected toys, pads of paper, paints, stickers, hair accessories, jewelry and dress up things, sewing supplies, small stuffed animals etc.
Getting some of these packed in a way so that the lids were able to close was quite a challenge! You have the option of packing in a plastic "shoe box" bin, a decorated box from Operation Christmas Child or a used shoe box that you have wrapped in Christmas paper. I put my foot down on the plastic bin idea, because that doesn't seem half as nice to send to a little kid. Okay, I know that it's kind of practical (if you don't mind plastic) to have the bin left over, but it's a lot nicer looking for a child to get a fancy colored box. So, I spent hours wrapping the boxes --- but the end result is pretty cheerful. :)
I didn't think to take pictures of all the toys and things while they were spread out and being packed, so here are pictures of the insides of some of the boxes as they look finished. We made two boxes for older girls (10-14 years) that had some sewing supplies. Little packs of thread (lots of different colors), scissors, flannel and cotton fabric, ribbon and trim. We also packed two boxes for boys in that same bracket, but they got watercolors, notebooks, modeling clay, models and some other things.
This has been really fun, and I can't wait to work on next year's boxes. Mom and I are planning on collecting the toys and supplies throughout the year. More later.