Reminder: You are currently impersonating {{}}.

5 Ways to Spend Spring Break with Purpose

This spring break, be purposeful with your family and do something good.

There's a jar in our laundry room to collect loose change from pockets and coats. All year long, our family puts our extra pennies and found coins in this little Christmas jar. We love counting out the collection so we can leave it on the doorstep of someone who could use it. It's a small thing we do throughout the year that really adds up.

It's said doing something routinely for 30 days creates a new habit. I believe raising kids to serve others does even more: It creates children who are givers. We live in a culture that encourages people to put themselves first, but when we live with intention and focus on others, we reflect Jesus to the world.

God doesn't call us to greatness; He calls us to say yes. He doesn't add a size requirement. He can turn the smallest yes into the greatest impact. As Mother Teresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." This spring break, be purposeful with your family and do something good.

1. Clean up a local park by collecting trash, or rake a neighbor's yard. Bring an ice chest of popsicles to share.

One of my kids' favorite memories is cleaning up the local park at the end of our street. While playing one day, they commented on all the trash that littered the edge of the pond. Before I knew it, my husband led our small clean-up crew on a mission. Though this small activity went unnoticed and was a bit of a dirty job, for months afterward, my kids were proud of their hard work and would comment on it each time we visited the park.

2. Create a family mission statement.

Businesses, corporations, and nonprofits are a led by vision. Believe it or not, so are homes. If we don't have a clear focus on where we're going, we wander through our days and risk wasting our lives on things that don't matter. When our family decided to create a mission statement several years ago, it seemed like a great idea. Little did we know, our simple words on paper would lead us to make some life-changing decisions as a family. Your family mission statement doesn't have to be fancy or eloquent to be effective. Here's a simple exercise for creating a mission statement for your family:

To ... (what you want to accomplish as a family)

In such a way that ... (how you will do this)

So that ... (results or benefits of your actions)

Here's our family mission statement: "To make a difference in the world, a single light, shining brightly in such a way that we keep Jesus our focus, listen closely to His voice, and enjoy life. So that we can say at the end of the day, we've touched others and thrived."

Once you come up with a statement for your family, do something fun with it! Frame it, paint it, and make it special. We painted ours on an old wooden pallet for a funky flair, and it sits on our mantle, pointing us in the right direction.

3. Make no-sew fleece blankets for a local nursing home or homeless shelter.

This is such a simple, easy activity for the entire family, and it will be a blessing to the recipient. To make a blanket, you will need two coordinating pieces of fleece fabric (the larger the pieces, the larger the blanket). To make, simply cut 1-inch strips (fringe) around the four sides of each piece of fleece. Next, join the two fabric pieces together by tying fringe from both pieces together into knots. (See for a tutorial.) There are so many fun fleece fabrics available, it's sure to bring your family together and add a smile to someone's face.

Several years ago, our family, with the help of friends and blog readers, made more than 100 of these blankets and donated them to the local hospice group. It was a big blessing for our family to hand them over. A local newspaper even stopped by to document it. "It was so fun taking a picture surrounded by all the blankets and getting our picture in the paper," said Jon Welch, age 10.

4. Host a garage sale or lemonade stand, and give the proceeds to a family in need or a nonprofit you believe in.

Spring-cleaning is the perfect time to de-clutter and make a difference. Gather unused items from your home, family, and friends, and host a garage sale for good. You can simultaneously host a lemonade stand or bake sale, too. A few years ago, my kids were able to do this for family friends who were adopting. It was a lot of fun and a tangible way for our family to be a part of someone else's story.

5. Visit a local children's hospital and offer to read to patients.

For the last six years, our family has visited the hospital around my daughter's birthday to deliver special treats to the NICU staff who saved her life. They are always so appreciative of this simple gesture. There isn't much more difficult than having a sick child, and hospitals are a great place to let your light shine. There are so many opportunities: from reading to children or the elderly to serving the staff or leaving care packages for those in the waiting room. Visiting a hospital in your area can brighten someone's day. Bring stickers and coloring books, leaving lightly used books and magazines in the waiting areas.

However you spend your spring break, have fun and make it intentional. Not only will you be a blessing to someone else, you'll teach your children the greatest lesson of all: to love God and love others.


Conquer the Clutter

Spring Break: 5 Things Parents Need to Know

This article is courtesy of HomeLife Magazine.

Kristen Welch writes at her parenting blog, We are THAT family, and offers an honest mixture of humor and inspiration. She is the author of Don’t Make Me Come Up There and Rhinestone Jesus. In 2010, Kristen, her husband and their three children founded a non-profit maternity home, The Mercy House, to help impoverished teen girls in Kenya.