The boys allocate some of their allowance money towards a "give jar" but in addition, we teach them about giving with regular contributions towards a tzedakah box.
Teaching Tzedakah to Kids
As the resident shiksa in the What Do We Do All Day? household, I am constantly learning about my husband's Jewish faith. It is very important to me to join in with my children as they learn about and follow the Jewish traditions. Recently the kids and I made tzedakah boxes to put around the apartment.
You may be asking (as I did), what is tzedakah?
According to my understanding (and all others who are better informed than I are welcome to leave comments correcting me!), tzedakah (which literally means "righteousness") is the act of giving. It is not seen as an act of charity or a feel-good activity, but an act of justice and is an obligation for all Jews. The obligation is also not the same as a tithe to a religious institution. Children can learn about the daily responsibility of tzedakah by dropping change into special boxes. Scattering boxes in several places around the home will act as a continual reminder of the importance of giving to others.
Kiddo and New Kid each received a tzedakah box kit with their latest PJ Library selection.
They had a good time decorating the boxes. New Kid loved dropping coins in his box.
I covered a cocoa can with brown paper and snatched one of the boys' stickers as a label. I cut a slit in the top for dropping coins. It's a good that that having good crafting skills is not an obligation for the faithful! Although you can see in the top photo my can has a halo, so I must be on the right track! It's my version of the interfaith tzedakah box.
If you want to learn more about teaching children about tzedakah, I recommend the following articles at Kveller, a Jewish parenting site:
How do you teach your kids about daily responsibility of giving to others? We always love new ideas so leave a comment and tell us.