Tag Archives: kids


Helping Kids Live with Purpose

UntitledIn my work empowering kids to live with purpose, some of the concerns I hear most from kids is that they don’t have any idea what their purposes or gifts are.

They hear profoundly impressive stories of people who dedicated their lives to purpose like Harriet Tubman or Gandhi or Jane Goodall, and though they feel inspired, they get intimidated. They perceive purpose as having to be huge and world-sweeping, and they give up before they start, or they save it for adulthood.

But purpose is a life practice. It’s one foot in front of the other. It’s a path that is illuminated just a little bit at a time. For most people, it is humble, small, and often quiet.

And it’s extremely important.

Living with purpose leads to better health, happiness and society. Kids who feel purposeful have higher self-esteem, better grades, and healthier friendships. Yet, according to a recent Stanford study, 80% of youth have not found something meaningful.

So where do they begin?

One of the easiest places to start is with their interests.

I often tell kids, “Start with what you love.” This is the point where I hear in various ways that what they love has no value. For instance, at an orphanage in a Mexico, a young girl told me that she didn’t have any interests, that she really only liked doing her hair. Countless kids in the United States have told me they only like Minecraft. One child in Michigan told me he only likes cupcakes.

So, next, I ask them, “How can you use that interest to contribute to others?”

It is so beautiful to see how these kids transform when they figure out the answer to that question, when they realize that the interests they thought were useless or even self-indulgent can help others. They feel so important!

The child in Mexico ended up braiding my hair in the most beautiful braid it’s ever been in. Then, countless young girls at the orphanage wanted one, too, so she spent the afternoon brightening their day.



Many of kids I’ve met who love video games have decided to invite new students over to their houses to play. Some others have chosen to help younger kids learn how to play. Others have decided to gather up their old games and video game-theme clothes, toys and books and donate them to children’s charities.


Some of the kids who love cupcakes and other treats have hosted bake sales to raise money for charities that speak to their hearts.


The interests of children can change by the day. They outgrow things. A love for braiding hair today could be knitting or painting tomorrow. The point is not to demand mastery or lifelong passion. The point is to give kids a taste of purpose. Every child has something to offer.

When they start thinking how they can extend their interests to serve others, they feel what it is to live with meaning. They realize they have the power to create that feeling for themselves and they grab it.

Click image to download the printable checklist directly from Kids for Peace.

Peace Day Challenge!

Click image to download the printable checklist directly from Kids for Peace.

Click image to download the printable checklist directly from Kids for Peace.

In cooperation with the United Nation’s International Day of Peace on September 21st, one my favorite nonprofits, Kids for Peace, is challenging all kids to do as many peaceful acts as possible! Kids for Peace has created a free list of peaceful suggestions that makes it very easy and fun for your kids or students to get involved. The acts are accessible for kids of all ages and make enjoyable family and classroom activities.

I’ll be joining forces with the kids in my community to spread peace over the next couple of weeks, beginning with a visit to an orphanage in Mexico tomorrow to help out with a fun soccer day.

If you’re interested in creating your own fun day of peace, download the checklist here! Be sure to use #PeaceDayChallenge if you share photos of your peace efforts on social media!


Best Kid Holiday Gifts Under $30

I get holiday shopping out of the way early so I can use my December free time for fun family stuff like baking or reading holiday stories by the fireplace. The more I can get online, the better. Below are my top picks for kids ages 5-10, all under $30. Click the images to go directly to the products.

Snow Anytime Snowballs

The weather doesn’t always cooperate. Now your kids can pelt each other with snowballs whether it snows or not! Bonus: no rogue snow chunks sliding down the backs of shirts. ThinkGeek. $19.99.

Tekno Black Light Bubbles

Pinterest be darned! I can never get the DIY glow-in-the-dark bubbles to work. These are a guarantee. ThinkGeek. $7.99 (black lights separate, $10+ on Amazon)

Cotton Candy Maker

Seriously. Is there anything cooler than this? It’s especially great at Christmas, because you can toss a candy cane in for peppermint cotton candy. Great for kids who can’t have corn syrup or food dyes. Amazon. $27.96.

Mentos Geyser Tube

25 foot soda geysers don’t make enough appearances in life. Especially in the snow. Steve Spangler Science. $4.95.

Scavenger Hunt

Perfect indoor game for a wintry day. Fun enough for the whole family to jump in. Amazon. $10.99.

Gotcha Gadgets

Turn pranksters into electrical engineers with this funny kit. MindWare. $24.95.

Carpet Skates

An awesome set of “ice” skates for those who live in warm climates, and also for those who dislike the elements as much as I do. Steve Spangler Science. $19.99.

Bouncing Bubble Kit

I love bubbles. I will never outgrow bubbles. Especially if they continue to increase in their coolness. These bounce. Need I say more? Steve Spangler Science. $29.99.

Easy Dollar Bill Origami

Any kid with this gem is sure to be a superstar in the school lunch line. Low priced enough for you to slip a couple of singles in. Barnes & Noble. $4.95.

uKloo Treasure Hunt Game

Treasure hunt games are always fun. This one’s geared toward beginning & reluctant readers. Mindware. $18.95.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and other Scary Things

I have a soft spot for anxious kids in both real life and fiction. Little Alvin doesn’t get enough hoopla for the quality of his stories, in my opinion. Barnes and Noble. $6.99.

Real Walkie Talkies

These are not babyish walkie talkies that don’t work. These are the real deal, for elementary school kids who want to hide under their beds & talk to neighbor friends late at night, or who want to make games like Cops & Robbers a lot more interesting. Amazon. $21.99.

Planet Frog

Like the ubiquitous classroom butterfly kits, these things are an awesome lesson in transformation. Fat Brain Toys. $29.99.





Coconut Caramel Dip (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Corn Syrup-free)


Happy October! This twist on the classic caramel dip is a great alternative for kids who can’t have dairy or corn syrup. You can taste the coconut in this dip, so I only recommended for kids who like that flavor. Some yummy variations include adding about 1/4 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips or a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk solids (This is the heavy layer at the top of a coconut milk can. Thai Kitchen usually has a full cup’s worth. Supplement with the liquid if you don’t have enough)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste


Cook sugar over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt (about 5 minutes), turn the heat down to low. The trick is to allow the sugar to turn a caramel color, without letting it get dark. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed if sugar is darkening quickly. When sugar is melted and is a caramel color, add the coconut milk. It may splatter, so back up if necessary. The sugar will solidify into a large solid candy. Keep over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until all the candy has melted (about 15 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Refrigerate until the caramel has thickened (about 1 hour). Enjoy!