Do you have teenagers or younger children looking for opportunities to serve in the community? We're always on the lookout for great service projects for teens and kids. A favorite project in our home is making simple fleece blankets. They're easy and inexpensive to make, and it's fun to throw in a favorite movie or visit together while we work.
Service Projects for Teens
If you're in the mood to get out of the house and serve, you might also enjoy this cool Service Scavenger Hunt idea. We did it with the youth (ages 12-18) at church, and it was a blast!
Finding community service opportunities to fulfill school club responsibilities can be tricky. (Especially if you wait until the last minute.) Making fleece blankets can be done individually or with a group of kids, and no advance planning is necessary. All you need to do is find an organization that needs blankets. (The maternity wards in hospitals, shelters, and Women's centers are great places to start.)
If your kids or teens are shy and have a hard time getting out of their comfort zones and working with strangers in the community, this is a great alternative. The work is done at home, but they still have to talk to people when it's time to make the deliveries.
How to Make a Fleece Blanket
You are not going to believe how easy it is to make these blankets! Our first try making these was for a hospital a few years ago, and even my six-year-old was able to do it!
Here's what you'll need:
- Fabric Scissors
That's it! The hardest part is determining the size blanket you want to make. The size will depend on where you plan to take the blankets. Our latest batch was baby blankets for newborns, so my teen used about 1 ½ yards of fabric for each blanket.
Want to know my secret to getting the right size fabric for any fleece blanket project? Ask the lady at the cutting counter of your local fabric store! Tell her the purpose of the blanket (baby blanket, lap quilt, twin blanket, etc), and I bet you anything that she (or he) will be able to help you choose the right amount of fabric.
- Cut a 5 inch square piece of paper or cardboard to use as a pattern. Lay the pattern on a corner of your fabric and cut off the corner. Repeat on the remaining three corners.
- Cut strips in the fabric along one edge. The strips should be about ¾ inch wide and the same depth as your pattern (5 inches).
- Tie a simple knot at the end of each strip.
- Repeat on the remaining three sides of fabric.
Easy, peasy! If you are working with small children, I suggest that you cut the fabric strips for them. Make their part of the project tying the knots.
Depending on the size of your fabric, plan on each blanket taking approximately 1 hour. Of course, if you are socializing while you work, it may take longer. That's what makes service fun, though, so socialize away!
How to Save Money on Fabric
If you want to make this a large project with several teens involved, consider asking for fabric donations. Prepare a flyer letting people know about your project and who the donations will help, and share it! Great places to share are facebook, your church congregation, and friends and neighbors. Some people will happily donate fabric, and others will donate money to buy what you need.
Next, try your local fabric stores. Let them know about your project, and see if they have any great discounts they can offer you. It never hurts to ask! If you can't get a discount, never go into a fabric store chain without a coupon! If you don't have one, google it. You can almost always find 40% off coupons for most chains. It may take you a few trips into the store, but you can save a lot of money.
Have fun serving!
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