Monday, May 31, 2010

Sending Goodies to Compassion International Sponsor Children

I’ve had a few recent emails asking about the types of items we can send to our Compassion International sponsor children. The Compassion website gives these specifications:
Because of strict mailing and customs regulations in the various countries where Compassion works, we cannot send our field offices items that exceed 8-1/2" x 11" and 1/4" thick.
Baseball and football cards
Calendars, smaller than 8-1/2" x 11"
Coloring books
Construction paper
Greeting cards
Laminated flowers and leaves
Magazines, less than 1/4" thick
Pages from coloring books
Paper dolls
Photos of you and your family
Scrapbook paper
Scripture cards
Small books within our guidelines
Small posters
Watercolor paint books (without paintbrushes
Here is a list of some of the things we’ve sent to our sponsored children:
~lots of photos and photo collages (also scanned in the child bio pictures and sent copies, many families don't have photos of their own children)
~soccer sports cards
~paperback blank journals from Dollar Store (must be thin, flexible and bound with staples.)
~printed off world maps with stars over where we live and our Compassion child lives
~thin softcover books (Dollar General has many Bible Themed ones. Keep in mind that Compassion will not translate a whole book. For Bible stories, I just write the verses covered in the front cover.)
~character band-aids
~coloring sheets and activity pages like mazes found online and printed
~collages made from pictures from nature magazines
~how to draw tutorials found online and printed
~many of the small Dover Publications activity books and paper doll books (they're mostly just $1.50 each and fantastic quality)
~business cards from Vistaprint with Bible verses on them
~gift bags (with neat holographic designs) for the children to store their letters and items from me

Oriental Trading has a wide variety of neat things you can send to your sponsored child. These colorful boxes fold flat and can be decorated and personalized with permanent markers and stickers. They also carry many Christian crafts and items that fit within the mailing guidelines.
I have also heard that the children really enjoy the greeting cards with music that plays when you open them. They also make a version that allows you to record a short greetings. Imagine how happy your child would be to hear your voice!
Keep in mind that you do not have to mail in a small business sized envelope! We always send our packages in larger manilla envelopes. This gives you a bit more freedom in choosing fun gifts to send! Also, remember that every item you send should be clearly labeled with the child's name and number as well as your sponsor number.
Mail them to the usual address:
Compassion Intl./ Child Correspondence Dept. / Colorado Springs CO 80997
I don’t think we’ve ever sent a letter to any of our sponsored children without at least one little “extra” to go with it. Sometimes we will also send along extra coloring sheets for the siblings of our Compassion kids.
If you have any great ideas for things to send, please leave a comment and share!

You can find a post with more ideas here!


Natalie said...

This is the most wonderful post - you have given me FANTASTIC ideas on what we can send Susi! We haven't been good about writing but this is my new goal - to be better.

So impressed and excited that you sponsor SIX arrows for God. You are my hero - I aspire to do this.

Thank you for the work you do!

Natalie at Mommy on Fire

Michelle said...

Thanks, Natalie! I am glad you found it helpful! Only 2 of our children are financially sponsored and 4 of them are Correspondence Children. (some children are sponsored by corporations or people who don't write, so they are assigned to people who will write to them. We also send $ for birthday and Family Gifts.) We love them all the same, though!

Julie (Dan) said...

When you send bandaids do you put them in a plastic baggy?

A Life In Focus Photography said...

just sponsored a child. was glad to see ideas for small gifts to include with letters.

Vicky Riley said...

I saw a post saying that we are able to send the musical greeting cards. I had been wondering about this myself. I saw some blank cards that allow you to record your voice talking to your child when he opens up the card. That would be awesome since our sponsered child could listen to us speaking directly to them over and over again.

Jennifer Hanson said...

So excited to use some of these ideas for our two girls! Thanks :-) (And thanks for you encouragement on my Compassion Sunday post from yesterday)

joyfullyblessed said...


Here's something I did with the letters I sent to my two beautiful girls, Anjely and Marta today. I got some of those "Pass It On" little cards with Bible verses on them. I included two identical cards and ask my child to keep one as a reminder of how much God loves them (The cards said "God loves you a lot.") And then I asked them to give the other card to a friend around them that hasn't gotten a letter from their sponsor in a long time. Who knows if that message will get translated correctly, but if it does, I thought it might be a neat way for those other kids who don't get letters to be reminded that Jesus loves them and that other people are thinking about them and praying for them. As I mail off these letters today and pray over them, I not only pray for beautiful Anjely and Marta, but also for their two friends who will recieve a little gift of love as well. Blessings to you and thanks for your encouragement in writing more often to my children.
Bekah <><

Renee said...

Here's a page where you can print out tons of Highlights hidden picture puzzles. My kids love these, so I'm going to print some out to send to our compassion kids.

I'm thinking I remember a post where you told how you package things up, but I can't find it now. We want to send a card, some stickers, a letter and some coloring pages to each of our kids, and if there's room, maybe some card making supplies so they can make their own christmas cards. Can I put all of it into a ziploc for each child? Does each item need to have their name & number, or just the bag?

Normally I just fit everything into an envelope, but this time some of the things are larger and I don't want to bend them. It's getting down to the wire!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hey Renee! Now do those Highlights pages print out ok for you? I've tried them before and they always print out on two separate sheets, splitting the picture in half. I wonder if it is something to do with my printer settings....
Anyway, I have never sent anything in baggies. I do write, at the very least, the child's number on every little thing. Then, I use a paperclip to keep each bundle for each child together. I slide everything into a large manilla envelope. (I have heard of some people using a baggie for things like puzzle pieces or matching card games, so I think they would go through if you have little bits of fancy paper for the card making. Just use a sharpie to put info on the bag, I'd think?)
With having 7 kids now, I may have to look into either splitting up shipments or finding some cardboard mailers. Letters and "stuff" for 6 was filling up a manilla envelope quite a bit, stuff for seven may be too tight of a fit!

Renee said...

Hmm... yeah, I get two separate sheets, but the one page has the full picture, and the second page has the items to find.

Thanks for the advice on the mailing :o)

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Ok, I wasn't sure if it was Operator Error on my part. ;) Maybe I could print them out, arrange them on paper the right way and print them off all on one sheet!

ESolgos said...

What a great post! You inspired me today! I'm going to go write right now.

The Life I Live said...

Thank you so much for these great ideas and for compiling this list! I have finished writing my letter, but now I can send my child other goodies.

garrysa said...

There are some neat things to print at
They are available in 93 languages. There are many things you can print there. Check out the "comic strip" poster.

kathy55439 said...

I went to and found a map of the USA and than colored in the state I live in Giving them some idea where I live

Mara said...

I love your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and all the helpful information.
Do you think it is possible to send to many things to your child? That may sound like a dumb question, but I have sent two packages so far. In each envelope I have sent several gifts, plus a letter. In the second package I included two things with a request that he give them to children of his choice. I don't want the other children to feel bad or resent my child, because he recieves so much.
I would appreciate everyones thoughts on this.

Jennifer Fisher said...

You have a great blog! Found the link on compassions fb page from you. Seeing all of these kids inspires me to go a step further and be an advocate too (officially I mean). I have sponsored a little girl for 8 years in Nicaragua and also have 2 correspondent kids, Daniel (Columbia) and Eddy (Nicaragua). Lots of great CI info on here. Great Job! (Interesting that I just typo-ed "great joy" by mistake--or not! :-)

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Jennifer, I am SO glad you found this to be helpful!

Elle Bee said...

Hi, I just joined the street team and found your blog through a comment you left in one of the forums. This has been so helpful, because like you, I don't want to send a letter without a little special extra in it. :o) Thank you for the ideas. I especially love the idea of sending a card with my recorded voice! Great!

carmen mitchell said...

This is awesome!!! I feel horrible that I haven't been sending things because I was always scared of not knowing what to send! Now I will definitely start sending "extras" to my child.

Thank you so much!!!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

You are so welcome! Enjoy!

Jen said...

This is awesome! I had no idea you could send the letter in a larger envelope. I've only ever sent pictures and post cards because I never knew what else to send. I'm so excited to send things to the kids now!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Jen, I think that many people mistakenly believe that you have to send in a letter sized envelope. We have a lot more options to send goodies when we use a manila envelope! Happy mailing!

Living my life as a mommy and wife......... said...

I love all the ideas posted here. especially the cards you can record things in. You could even record a short song such as Jesus loves me. What about balloons? I know this gives my kids hours of fun.

Nancy said...

Thank you for your blog, I found it a little while ago and enjoy it very much. I have been sponsoring a child for a number of years now, and because of your blog just recently added my first correspondence child. It's really a blessing to write to the children. One tip I didn't see in these comments that makes it much easier to send gifts to them is this: print out sheets of mailing labels with the child's name and number, and your name and sponsor number. Then you can just stick them on the back of everything you send. Saves a lot of time! God bless you Michelle!

garrysa said...

This question is to the gals on here. I sponsor a 12 yr-old (in September)girl, Julieta, in Colombia. She likes dolls. A lot of the paper dolls on the Dover site have age 5-10. I am thinking she would still like them. What do you think?

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Considering the 10-13 year old girls I know in real life, most all of them would like paper dolls, still. (Granted, we have a big homeschooling community, so there's not that "too cool" factor with the tweens around here.) I would go ahead and send them. I would bet, if for some reason they were not her thing, she would pass them on to a younger sibling or friend. My hunch is that she would enjoy them, though!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle, Linda Shinn from OC here... Even though I *knew* most of these things already, the idea of the card where you can record your own voice was new to me! Or, if I'd read it before, I just dismissed it. But tonight I realized, some of my kids speak English, or are learning it. What a cool thing to send them!! Thank you for this blog!
Now to figure out what I would SAY.... (wonder how LONG that recording is! LOL!)

Familiar Little Frog said...

I have a couple posts now with great ideas for making small paper gifts to send sponsored kids--

Anonymous said...

I'm sure people who have sponsored kids know that you can buy spanish coloring books and other things that are already in spanish. my child loves it when she gets these because she can read it herself..

Anonymous said...

Anyone have ideas for something to send to a 14-year-old boy in El Salvador? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"Living my life as a mommy and wife" asked about sending balloons... Compassion says they can't send those. See

Valerie said...

Thanks so much for the great ideas! If you don't put your band-aid's in a plastic bag, how do you send them?

Anonymous said...

my 7 yo son's face just lit up when i read him that we could send his compassion brother a recorder card!! this is making me tear up with joy! THANK YOU for a fantabulous idea to spread some love!

Anonymous said...

We sponsor a little girl in El salvador. I have been using babble fish to translate pages from hidden pictures playgrounds that my daughters did not do. I also do this with small books. I also include stacks of post it notes and band aids. Little kids LOVE band aids. We also clip photos from my girls magazines of neat animals and animal posters to send to her. We have posters of the earth and outerspace from national geography and kids discover to send. When we buy cards, we pick ones with stickers, coloring pages, paper crowns and crafts or music. This a great blog-thank you!

Anonymous said...

We sponsor a 5 year old girl in El salvador. We took her picture to the local photo store and had it blown up, we than cut it out and laminated it. My girls (12, 8 and 3) take “her” everywhere we go. We take photos of “her” enjoying the beach, the amusement park, the museums, vaccations, riding our pony, sitting at our kitchen table, blowing out birthday candles, playing in the yard, cooking, sleep overs, etc. Than send her the photos. My girls love the idea of including their “sister” in everything they do and it is a nice way for her to feel remebered and loved.

Vickie M. said...

Michelle, I just wanted to thank you for your blog. I have just started sponsoring a little boy named Joel from Tanzania. We just got our packet. He will be turning 8 the beginning of August. We are going to send him a Birthday Card with some goodies. Because it takes months sometimes for the kids to receive their mail,should I also do a letter online and his money gift online? Would he get that quicker? I just want him to know we are thinking of him on his Birthday. I have spent the entire morning looking at your blog. Thank you for all your ideas and encouragement. It has really given me some great ideas. Have a blessed day.

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Thanks for stopping by, Vickie! I would go ahead and send a letter and birthday money online now. It will get to your child a bit faster that way. Feel free to join our Facebook community, too!

Vicki said...

Michelle, Thank you for the great ideas for gifts. My Samishka has a b-day coming up in September and I am going to send her a recorder card.

Kristin said...

Thank you for posting this list. I was wondering about a few items, though: would small cardboard puzzles and laminated cards (ie. playing cards and educational cards - addition, subtraction, etc) be acceptable?

Heidi said...

I am trying to figure out whether the little "Dover" sticker scene booklets will be ok. Do you know about these? Also, my son earned a free book from a bookstore reading program and instead of choosing one for himself, he wanted to get the one in Spanish to send to one of our sponsored children. It's a paperback, but it looks like it might not go through even though it meets the size requirements. Is there anything you suggest to do to make a paperback book fit the guidelines? (such as unbind it?) Thanks for your helpful blog!

Emily said...

Thank you for this! I just started sponsoring a 5 year old girl from Mexico through compassion. I'm trying to get ideas of what to send her so this was very helpful. Especially since i'm a first time sponsor! God Bless!

Jean T said...

I just found something from a magazine I received in the mail, its from the Lakeside Collection magazine, its Peel and stick sparkle mosaic art kit, its like mosiac tile but its in PAPER, they match the colors of paper with the right number and it makes a picture, sort of like paint by number only stick by number, I love themand bought 3 for my 3 girls, they are $8.95 a set but it has 13 in the set, great!!!

Msheepers said...

Thanks so much for the great suggestions!

I have purchased some of these items, and now I'm wondering how best to mail them? For small things like bandaids and small sticky note pads, can they be put in a plastic bag with a sticker on the outside w/ my and my sponsored child's info?

For pages of coloring books... If I want to tear out and send multiple pages, can I staple them together and just put my info and my sponsored child's info on one of the pages? Or do I need to put it on all of them?


wla said...

What an absolute blessing you are to me!Thank you so much for your passion enthusiasm and energy.The children will reap the benefits from your heart!! Thank You Thank You Thank You..and Gustavo says Gracias!!

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