What would be some good ideas of allowable things to send to an 11 year old girl in El Salvador?

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I'd like to send something special but know so little about her and about her country other than some little research, as i've not gotten my first letter from her yet. I don't want to accidentally send something inappropriate, so I would really appreciate some thoughts and guidance on this. I've heard coloring pages and such are good but I worry 11 may be too old for that kind of gift.

Thank you! :)
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Renae lynn

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Posted 6 years ago

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Becky, Champion

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Hi Renae, it is wonderful that you are looking to send a thoughtful gift to your sponsored child. I've sponsored boys around that age and sent stickers, postcards of where I live or have visited, 'trading cards' of various animals, among other things.

Michelle, a Compassion advocate posted a blog of things to send older children.

Jill, another CI advocate also wrote a blog about things to send older children.

CI's blog has a post about Three things you should know about Compassion adolescents, which speaks to how important it is to encourage our sponsored children. You desire to send letters with gifts speaks volumes to how you already want to encourage her and let her know that she is important to you and loved. You also can ask other sponsors on Ourcompassion.org for ideas as many sponsors post about things they have sent their kids and letters they got from them.
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i have made a group on Facebook. Its a group for Holland. But there a lot of the idea's when you click on foto's. A lot of the explaintions is in english. Maybe you find something to send!

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good question. Have you seen the rubber band bracelets? I sent one to my child, who is also 11 and she loves it.
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Heather Mackenzie

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rubber band bracelets go through? I thought everything had to be paper
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Heather, Although we have seen these successfully go through customs before, we prefer that you do not send rubber band bracelets like silly bands. We cannot guarantee that your child will receive these items as they are easy to get lost and there is not a way to label them properly to ensure your child receives them. You can see a complete list of items that you can and cannot send, here.
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Adoramapix has PHOTO CALENDARS that you can send if you take off the metal binding and replace it with string.  We sent an 8"x8" calendar that we just filled up with pictures and some verses.  You can take off anything that makes it a calendar if you like.  They are really good quality and reasonably priced (they also have frequent sales).  They always go on sale at the end of the year.  We made one for us that was identical to  the one we sent so that we can go through the calendar together.  I put a small calendar section (with the days of the week the way they do them in Mexico since that's where she lives--Monday's first) for each month.  Then I put photos of us doing something appropriate for that month in our lives. I put special emphasis on extended family and SNOW because she is always asking about if it is snowing and what snow is like.  I also put in photos of flowers near us and butterflies--monarchs fly to Mexico and I asked if she had seen one.  I tried not to have photos that emphasize "stuff" we have, but rather people and nature. I put a caption and a verse on each page.  I speak enough Spanish to write in Spanish with some help from a dictionary, but regardless you could put the verses in your child's native language--check out Bible Gateway.  I figure that cuts down on work for the translator and makes it so that the word of God is translated only once and not 4 times.  Since I sent it in late December or early January, I started it in April to make sure she would have it in time.  I think photos of the child's country or from your home state would be great as well.  I have young children which makes for more photo fodder.  I hope that helps!

I'm also working on figuring out how to send a JESSE TREE OR JESUS TREE (one ornament a day during advent or lent respectively that take you through the Bible).  There are many versions around, though we did this one in felt for our family http://www.leafletonline.com/Jesus-Lent-Tree-Kit/productinfo/11938/ and I'm thinking of doing one in cardstock for our sponsored children.

Vermont Christmas Co has lots of ADVENT CALENDARS, including some that you can send to sponsored children.  We sent one with verses behind each door in Spanish to our (older) sponsored child in Mexico http://www.vermontchristmasco.com/product/2562/spanish-advent (I had to cut it down a bit so it met the size requirement, but it went through!) and we opened a door each day of December along with our sponsored child.  For our younger kids who can't read yet (and speak Haitian Creole, not Spanish or English) we are planning on sending www.vermontchristmasco.com/product/1115/religious-card-advent-calendars this one which is just pictures inside each door.  As you can see, I like things that connect us so we can do something on the same day as our sponsored child.  Remember to send it well in advance, though, as it can take 3 months for your child to get it.
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Elizabeth York

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I am a correspondent to a 10 year old girl in Nicaragua and I like sending her fun things as a way to connect. I have just recently started corresponding with her, so I haven't gotten to send her many things, but I do have ideas! I am going to send her a bookmark I made from a piece of colored cardstock and stickers. I then cut her another colored piece of cardstock and stickers of her own so she can make one too! I think it's important to connect through things other than letters too and I think it shows that you're willing to go that extra step to show them you care! Consistent letters matter too! God Bless. :)
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You can also take a stroll through a craft store (Hobby Lobby, Michael's, A.C. Moore), a dollar store, or endcaps at the grocery store and see what looks good that is also allowable to send.  There's a lot of that sort of thing you can find in a clearance bin if you don't want to spend a lot I have started a drawer for such things so that I can spread out what I send.  My favorite find of late was a Creatology 3-D animal puzzles for 30 cents a piece.  The Compassion International Pinterest board has loads of ideas as well.

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