paper crafts ideas Many of you have asked about the larger pieces of mail that you send your sponsored child. The correspondence team processes this mail and they really go above and beyond to make sure your mail makes it safely to the children.

Suzanne works on our correspondence team and has graciously offered some tips on how to make sure we can process the larger mail pieces you send to us:

  • Include your sponsor number and child number (not just the name) on your letter. This lets us send the letters right away instead of setting the package aside for research that can take up to two weeks.
  • Be sure to also include your sponsor number and child number on the back of pictures, stickers, etc. in case they fall out of the envelope during processing.
  • You can send musical cards. It’s not only your sponsored child who enjoys musical cards — our correspondence team likes to dance to the music too!

Feeling low on creativity about what larger mail pieces to send to your child?

That’s OK — I feel that way sometimes too. Compassion collects great ideas on Pinterest AND I’ve found some really cute ideas for things you can send your child. Enjoy!

  • Create a small table-top calendar:

  • Cut out and send a paper-star garland:

Lastly, one of our Advocates, Yvonne, suggests tracing your hand and sending the cutout to your sponsored child. Include extra paper so your child can trace his or her hand and send it back to you:

You could even make something like this with the hands:

What paper items have you made to send to your sponsored child? Share your ideas with other sponsors in the comments below!

We originally published this post on January 7, 2013.

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152 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Amanda
    Jan 7, 2013
    at 5:15 am

    I’ve done the “I love you this much” hand craft before. It was so fun!

  2. Jan 7, 2013
    at 7:03 am

    I love the paper garland and “I love You” hands! Super cute. What material can we use to connect those paper stars together? I recently made and sent paper dolls and really cute drawing tutorial booklets covered with nice scrapbook paper: – The drawing tutorial booklets are really easy to put together and you can make them into small journals too.

    • Trysha Hicks
      Jan 7, 2013
      at 10:40 pm

      THANKS for that link!!! I can’t wait to make these for my little girls in Ethiopia, Ecuador and Indonesia!

  3. Jan 7, 2013
    at 9:29 am

    How fun seeing my daughter’s picture on the blog! We have received two of the traced hands back from our sponsored kids so far. We were so excited when we found them in our letters!

    • Katie
      Jan 8, 2014
      at 1:58 pm

      I also did the traced hand (only 3 months ago). I’ve already received one back (9 more to go hopefully!). It was a fun idea.

  4. Holly S.
    Jan 7, 2013
    at 1:31 pm

    I thought we couldn’t use staples or any kind of metal fasteners in letters…?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 8, 2013
      at 11:40 am

      According to our Child Correspondence team, you may use staples to fasten your letters together. Thanks for checking! -Susan

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 8, 2013
      at 2:40 pm

      Just to review we are still not able to metal items such as a metal book mark or metal ornament. However, staples on paper items are fine. -Susan

      • Cathee
        Jul 22, 2015
        at 8:14 pm

        When I first sponsored my first child 4 years ago, I sent a card to her and inside of it sent her a cheery bracelet that was a rubbery plastic and had flowers and butterflies glued to it. It was so bright and cheery, something I was sure she would love. She never mentioned receiving it, so I’m worried it may not have reached her. Why are there such strict guidelines on what you can send your child?

        • Emily Vanhoutan
          Jul 23, 2015
          at 11:58 am

          Cathee, you’re so thoughtful! I want to encourage you that we will contact our sponsors by email, mail, or phone call, if there’s an item we cannot send to their child. If we just had to peel off a butterfly if it wasn’t made of paper and would have held up items in customs, then we would have sent the rest of your letter just not the butterfly. If we didn’t contact you, then you can rest assured that your letter reached your child. I’m sorry if she didn’t acknowledge each item you sent to her. If you ask her in your next letter and highlight or number your question, this will help her to know to answer you, otherwise, she may have been very grateful for it but didn’t think to mention it in her next letter to you :). Often times, our children will take your kind gift or letter home and put it in a special place and then not write another letter for a month or so.

          I’m sorry for our strict guidelines with items you can send to your child! In the past we had previously allowed sponsors to send things like clothing and toys. However, these items were found to cost more to get through customs than the item itself was worth. There is also high risk of theft and loss when going through customs and they require heft fees to get them through to your child’s country. We found that we would be better stewarding your money by sending all items as documents and allowing sponsors to instead, send monetary gifts to their children. This not only allows us to use more money on the program that directly impacts your child, but also can stimulate your child’s economy as they purchase gifts in the market place, teach your child how to budget and use your gift wisely, and allows your child to purchase items that are their greatest need at that time.

  5. Lori
    Jan 7, 2013
    at 3:59 pm

    I have traced my hand, colored it in all kinds of colors, put my picture on the page too and said, “I think of you as I pray each day!”

  6. Jan 7, 2013
    at 7:16 pm

    I designed a Bible verses “cootie-catcher” that anyone can download, print, fold, and send:

    • Lynda Beutnagel
      May 2, 2013
      at 10:23 am

      I loved these things as a child and I think they are still enjoyed by all children! Thank you so much for an incredible idea!

  7. Barbara Ferraro
    Jan 7, 2013
    at 8:04 pm

    I have inserted pictures onto the letter which I have saved online in format to match the letter forms that come with childrens letters. I also send post cards, photos, pages from coloring and activity books, bookmarks, scripture cards, etc.

  8. Trysha Hicks
    Jan 7, 2013
    at 10:06 pm

    Is the thread/string in that star garland allowed? I LOVE IT but want to make sure it’s OK?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 8, 2013
      at 2:48 pm

      A paper garland that fits the size guidelines (8 1/2″ x 11″ x 1/4″) but is tied together with string or ribbon is fine. We will also send small pieces of ribbon. It’s just large quantities of ribbon that we can’t send. Our goal in these guidelines is that the country office in each country won’t have to pay customs taxes on an item. If an item could be considered saleable, they could charge customs on it, usually more than what the item is worth. We want to be as economical with the sending of these items as possible so that more of the money we are stewards of can go to helping children in poverty. -Susan

      • Steph D.
        Jan 9, 2013
        at 8:51 am

        So if I cut two pieces of a simple ribbon that my sponsored girl can use to tie back her hair in pigtails, is that okay? They would only be about 9 inches long.

        • Susan Sayler
          Jan 9, 2013
          at 10:22 am

          Hi Steph! As long as the ribbon is in small quantities, it is fine. If we are unable to send an item, we will email you to notify you. -Susan

          • Kelly Bouscher
            Feb 19, 2014
            at 7:36 am

            Hi Susan, my question was going to be, if we send items and they are not able to be shipped to our child, how do we know? Do you always email if an item or items are not able to be sent? Thanks

            • Susan Sayler
              Feb 19, 2014
              at 10:47 am

              Hi Kelly! Yes, we will always email you if we are not able to forward items that you had sent to your sponsored child.

      • Nancy Storey
        Mar 3, 2013
        at 8:13 pm

        I sponser a 7 year old and would like to send her a book. It fits the measurement guidelines. In your comment above you mention being saleable. Would this fall in that catigory? Nancy

  9. Stephanie
    Jan 7, 2013
    at 11:17 pm

    One of my kids especially loves pictures of my pets! I always send pictures of my dog and guinea pigs to him and love making collages with the pictures and including anecdotes about them!

  10. Jan 8, 2013
    at 12:35 am

    I think the hand is a great idea, especially if you have a big hand. A friend of mine played JAWS in the Bond films and he gives his autograph that way. He traces his big hand on a sheet of paper.

    Whenever I go to the centers, the kids always want to put their hand against mine and enjoy how much bigger it is. I’m 6.5

  11. Jan 8, 2013
    at 3:52 pm

    These are awesome ideas! I’ve been hesitant to send other stuff, worried that it wouldn’t be approved or would make extra work, so it’s great to know these are all fine. We will definitely be making the pocket book. We once made small boxes from greeting cards at an orphanage in Mexico. The kids were so thrilled to have a place to keep little treasures they’d been storing in a crack or corner. These pocket books would be a great place to keep pictures and letters.

  12. Glenda Beeck
    Jan 8, 2013
    at 5:50 pm

    I was very surprised to read this article. Has it come from the Australian office? We’ve been told that extra items have to be flat & not thick; book marks shouldn’t have tassels; stickers shouldn’t be embossed etc; items need to pass through customs as “stationary” so only flat stickers, flat greeting cards, flat pictures, post cards & photos are suitable. Some of these suggestions don’t fit into those categories! Please advise & clarify. Thanks :-)

  13. Glenda Beeck
    Jan 8, 2013
    at 5:54 pm

    I just found what I was looking for – this has come from the/a U.S. office of Compassion. I think rules & suggestions from the Australian Office may differ!

  14. Jan 9, 2013
    at 8:35 am

    I didn’t realize we could send thick items like calendars! Are there any size limitations?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 9, 2013
      at 10:21 am

      Hi Tammy! Yes, there are size limitations. All items need to be no more than 1/4 inch thick and no more an 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches but many small calendars fit these limitations. -Susan

  15. Sinead
    Jan 9, 2013
    at 4:49 pm

    Thanks so much for these great ideas.
    I have sent my sponsored child a bookmark with a Bible verse in her language, I was able to get the verse online and bought the bookmark with her name and the verse on it. I also like to send stickers and colour in pages.
    Thanks again for the inspiration

    • Stephanie
      Jun 7, 2015
      at 11:08 am

      I love this idea- I am totally going to be looking for a bookmark for my child in her language now with her name on it!

    • Stephanie
      Jun 14, 2015
      at 4:31 pm

      Where did you find the bookmark?

  16. Donna
    Jan 9, 2013
    at 7:15 pm

    Are there further restrictions to Haiti or would all of these ideas work for paper products, staples and the like to that country?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 10, 2013
      at 10:57 am

      Hi Donna! All of these guidelines are the same in Haiti.Thanks for asking! -Susan

  17. Matt
    Jan 9, 2013
    at 8:41 pm

    My 3 kids like to think of creative things to send. Often we have sent their drawings, but they also thought of sending paper snowflakes and paper airplanes.

  18. Johnny
    Jan 10, 2013
    at 1:24 pm

    I used the picture that Compassion provides and had a caricature drawn of my sponsored child playing soccer (his favorite sport) with his country’s flag in the background.

  19. Tracy
    Jan 12, 2013
    at 6:24 pm

    I get together with a group of ladies to write letters each month to our kids. Everyone is so creative and here are some ideas from our group:

    1. Puzzles: We buy 24/50/100-piece cardboard puzzles, put them together, use Press and Seal on the front and back so they won’t come apart in the mail, and put them in a manila envelope. If they are too big for the envelope, we’ll split them in two and put them in two envelopes.
    2. Magic Color Scratch Shapes: You can buy these at Oriental Trading Company or Hobby Lobby in all kinds of shapes. We tell our kids to get a stick or rock to make their designs.
    3. Origami kits: most of these come with picture instructions so our kids can follow along and make them. Or we send origami that we have made.
    4. Fun Notepads (1/4″ thick)
    5. Blank Notecards: so they can give them to their friends
    6. Paper folders with animals or sports on them (like you’d take to school)
    7. Paper dolls (each month we’ll send them different clothes)
    8. Postcards of where we have been or where we live
    9. Snowflakes (we live in Colorado, so these are fun to send when we talk about getting snow).
    10. Stickers that we print with their names on them (so they can use them for notebooks, etc.).
    11. Baseball cards
    12. Blank scrapbook paper so they can make their own crafts
    Hope these ideas help!

    • Elizabeth
      Jan 15, 2013
      at 5:49 pm

      Are paper dolls now accepted for Rwanda? I sent several paper doll books about 1 1/2 yrs ago and they told me they could not ship. I was so disappointed, they said the books were given to a local needy child. So what type of paper dolls did you send? Thanks!

    • Debbie
      Jan 22, 2013
      at 11:49 am

      Hi Tracy, Just curious as to where you have found origami kits? We have 2 girls I would love to send them to but have not been able to find them at the craft stores. Thanks! Debbie

    • Stephanie
      Jun 7, 2015
      at 11:27 am

      Will most of these work for a 13-14 year old as well?

      • Emily Vanhoutan
        Jun 8, 2015
        at 2:18 pm

        Hi Stephanie! Absolutely, teens love post cards, baseball cards, scrapbook paper, etc. You might be interested in checking out our Pinterest board that we created specifically for letter ideas for teenagers! I’m hoping you’ll find some great ideas to use :).

        • Stephanie
          Jun 8, 2015
          at 4:05 pm

          thank you so much for the link! I am definitely going to be doing these

  20. Jan 14, 2013
    at 10:13 am

    Those are great ideas. I think the best thing that you can send is photos of you and your family…. That’s what they want to see….. They love you!!!

  21. Melanie
    Jan 15, 2013
    at 12:07 am

    Thank you Suzanne and Compassion for the endless ideas and support so that we may continue to minister and support our sponsor children through small gifts and letters with words of encouragement and love.

  22. gottabigheart
    Jan 15, 2013
    at 12:24 pm

    cool, I will use some of these ideas, I just got started about 2 days ago, and I am soooo excited to sponsor a child!

  23. Karen
    Jan 31, 2013
    at 10:30 am

    I sent my kid a woven paper heart. I’m not very crafty but it was easy. Here is the link –

    I glued a picture of me and one of her onto the heart so that she can always see how God holds both of us in His heart.

  24. Christy
    Apr 22, 2013
    at 7:46 am

    This just completely burst my bubble… :-( I was hoping to send my kids things like soccer balls and CDs and books for them and their siblings and care pkgs. for the whole families… Is there any way to get stuff like that sent to them?

    • May 24, 2014
      at 11:15 am

      Dear Sir, I have sent funds to have Bismark receive a soccer ball. Has he been able to receive the soccer ball as he plays soccer? If this is not possible how can I send Bismark a soccer ball? William Y Lee 3310157-4 Bismark Dadzie GH-938-0186

      • Susan Sayler
        May 27, 2014
        at 5:11 pm

        William, That is so incredibly thoughtful of you that you’re wanting to get Bismark a soccer ball! Thank you for your generosity! If you would like to send funds specifically for a soccer ball please write this in the “Special Instructions” box during checkout on our website. You will receive a thank you letter letting you know what Bismark was able to purchase within six months of when the gift was sent. Regrettably, due to customs limitations we are not able to send anything other than paper items in the mail to the children. You are welcome to deliver a soccer ball if you ever visit Bismark’s country though!

  25. Christy
    Apr 22, 2013
    at 8:08 am

    Ok new thought … Is there a way to email music to someone who is there and have them burn a cd to give to my kids?

    • Samantha
      Apr 28, 2013
      at 4:33 pm

      Even if they could (not sure they can or can’t) I don’t think the kids would be able to listen to the cd. not so sure how common cd players are. by the way if you want to help out your child you can send extra money and that goes directly to the family and gets them extra school supplies and food and other stuff they may need. it’s good to see your caring heart. im only 17, so not everything i say may be right, but it may be helpful. the important thing is you keep sending letters and encourage their faith in God. that’s the best gift you can give them

      • Heidi Anzilotti
        Feb 11, 2014
        at 2:50 pm

        You’re right Samantha. :) You can send extra money as a “Family Gift” and the local staff will work with the family to purchase whatever they need most. You will then get a letter from your child (in about six months) telling what what was purchased with your gift. Anything from food to tools to a goat and beyond!

  26. Samantha
    Apr 28, 2013
    at 4:36 pm

    umm…i’ve heard a couple different things. is it okay to send puzzles? i have one that i would be sending in two different envelopes cause its big but it is made of cardboard and under the 1/4 inch thick requirement. it does have sparkles on it if that makes a diference. so can i send it?

      Jun 26, 2013
      at 4:07 pm

      yes, you can send puzzles as long as you tape or glue together & put in a baggie so they don’t come apart in the mail. I used tac tape & it works because the puzzle is laminated on the front. It doesn’t mention glitter so I’m asking that too, for future reference.
      & of course 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller

  27. Diana
    Jun 25, 2013
    at 9:11 am

    Does anyone know where I might purchase children’s books written in Oromiffa?

    Jun 26, 2013
    at 12:33 pm

    I too need to know about sparkles & gems (as on cards or stickers), & should you take the sticker sheets out of its plastic covering? Are magnetic bookmarks ok? I figured not, but if you can send singing cards, I’m thinking maybe?

  29. Nancy
    Jun 29, 2013
    at 2:01 pm

    What about sending a puzzle piece (or a couple at a time), each one being able to connect to a previously sent piece? Then they could “do” the puzzle themselves, and would look forward to receiving the next piece in your next letter!

    • Cindy
      Jan 8, 2014
      at 7:28 pm

      I tried that and they sent it back saying it wasn’t acceptable. That was a couple of months ago, maybe the policy has changed?

      • Susan Sayler
        Jan 9, 2014
        at 11:04 am

        I’m sorry that we weren’t able send what you had sent. What did you try to send?

    • Patty
      Jan 23, 2014
      at 10:18 am

      I sent a deck of cards that way. They were matching/animal cards, sent them ten each in four different letters. I guess they were ok, I never heard anything otherwise

  30. Amanda
    Oct 4, 2013
    at 8:25 pm

    For larger items that still meet the size requirements, what type of envelope is recommended to use in mailing such items?

  31. Emily
    Jan 8, 2014
    at 7:26 pm

    I recently sent a couple of books that we got at Chick-fil-A in a kids meal. I did take the staples out, since I wasn’t sure about them, and put thread through the holes and tied it together. I’ve also sent some hidden picture pages and mazes before. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  32. Patrice
    Jan 8, 2014
    at 7:29 pm

    I recently sponsored an 18 year old boy from Eithiopia. What do you send a n older child?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 9, 2014
      at 11:07 am

      Patrice, I like to send greeting cards, photos, scripture cards, calendars, etc. to my 18 year old girl from Tanzania. I think the important thing with teens is lots of encouragement. They’re going through a particularly challenging time. Thanks so much for blessing an older child!

      • Stephanie
        Jun 14, 2015
        at 4:34 pm

        Do you send these in her own language?
        If so, were did you find them?

        • Susan Sayler
          Jun 15, 2015
          at 3:09 pm

          Stephanie, Compassion will translate anything that you send, including greeting cards and scripture cards. For this reason, I do not send items in my child’s language.

  33. Kristen
    Jan 8, 2014
    at 8:22 pm

    We recently learned of a famous soccer player from Togo that our young lady wished to meet–so we went to Ebay, purchased some trading cards of him, and are sending those in our next letter to our beautiful girl!

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 9, 2014
      at 10:59 am

      What a great idea! I’m loving your creativity and thoughtfulness with this one!

  34. Kathy
    Jan 8, 2014
    at 10:11 pm

    I have a wonderful friend and fellow Compassion sponsor who does a blog with wonderful things to print or make for our kids. If you subscribe to her blog, every now and then she will e-mail you a link for a free printable download of something wonderful to send to your sponsored child! This blog is awesome! Check it out!!

  35. Paula
    Jan 9, 2014
    at 5:36 am

    I’m not sure if this would work, but I’ll ask–would a small (say, 2″x5″ or less) cloth bookmark cross-stitched with a child’s name on it work with customs, or would it create a problem?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 10, 2014
      at 9:33 am

      Hi Paula! Regrettably, we can’t send any cloth items.

  36. Elaine
    Jan 9, 2014
    at 5:38 am

    I was reading about sending ribbons in the mail so I was wondering if you can send those simple ribbon hair bands that have a knot in them?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 9, 2014
      at 11:14 am

      We can send very small amounts of string (like the amount you might use to tie together a booklet for your child). Regrettably, we would not be able to send a ribbon hair band.

  37. Jan 9, 2014
    at 7:28 am

    I love these ideas. The hands are really precious. Once I used a really large round paper punch to make little pages out of scrapbook paper. Then I stamped verses on each page, punched holes in the top, and fastened them together with a ribbon (or maybe it was one of those round binder clips–can’t remember.)

  38. Randalyn Kiltz
    Jan 9, 2014
    at 8:10 am

    I laminated some of the beautiful leaves we had from fall and sent them since they don’t have seasons in Togo.

  39. Amanda
    Jan 9, 2014
    at 6:16 pm

    What type of envelope can we use to ship larger items?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 10, 2014
      at 9:57 am

      Hi Amanda! You can actually use whatever envelope you would like to send paper items to your child. The size limits apply to the items themselves and not necessarily the envelope.

      • Kal
        Jan 11, 2014
        at 12:38 am

        That is good to know. Thanks!

  40. Tina
    Jan 10, 2014
    at 7:55 pm

    Do the children have access to crayons to color pages sent to them?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 13, 2014
      at 8:52 am

      Hi Tina! Each of the student centers have writing and coloring materials for each of the children to use. You are more than welcome to send coloring pages and they will have markers or crayons to color them with.

  41. cora
    Jan 14, 2014
    at 8:40 am

    I was glad to hear that our child now knows about us! I have written to her twice, & usually just send stickers & a couple of pictures, but this gave me some wonderful ideas!!! Thanks to
    all the Compassion workers who make it possible for all this to happen for our children we sponsor! So glad to connect with others who do this! I know I am just so blessed to be able to do this!!!!

  42. Jan 15, 2014
    at 11:20 am

    I’ve talked with hundreds of kids about their sponsor. I’ve also helped many children write letters to their sponsors, which was especially fun when I knew the sponsor.

    The children know about their sponsor when their sponsor writes them. If the sponsor doesn’t write them, then all they know is the name of the sponsor, and at times they forget those, because they would only write that name when they write their program letters twice a year and the name is conveniently written on top of the paper.

    So, if the sponsor never writes to them, the children feel like they are writing a letter to some “identity” at times. They don’t know if the sponsor is a man or a woman, if the sponsor is 18 years old or 80 years old. This is especially true when the sponsor is a non writing sponsor from Korea and then they have absolutely no idea who this sponsor is.

    Many times the teenagers look up their sponsor on Facebook, even though they are not supposed to be doing that; they still look at what is posted on their pages and then they might have an idea who their sponsor is. So, be careful what you post on Facebook, they might be influenced by it. All the teenagers almost have Facebook, because they have internet access free at their schools. Pray for this for them that they won’t fall into temptation on the internet. Oh, and it is best not to accept their friendship requests if they send them to you….

  43. Dawn Lash
    Jan 15, 2014
    at 7:44 pm

    Thank you Kurt Bees for sharing all that. I really enjoy writing letters to my child, as I have no children of my own. Writing her is helpful to me as much as it is helpful to her. It is wonderful to have a child to care for.

  44. Angela
    Jan 22, 2014
    at 10:36 am

    Hello! I have printed out a paper doll and am working on laminating her so that if she gets wet, she won’t be ruined. Is it okay to send a laminated paper doll?

    Also, I have made a special envelope out of scrapbook paper so that my sponsored little girl will have something to put her paper doll clothes inside. I’m going to attach a small Velcro circle to the flap so that she can open and close the envelope. Is that acceptable? I don’t want something as small as a piece of Velcro to keep my doll clothes envelope from being sent because it took a lot of time to make. The envelope will be enclosed in the envelope that we send to compassion with her name and number on it. Thanks! :)

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 22, 2014
      at 2:59 pm

      Hi Angela! You are more than welcome to send a laminated paper doll to your sponsored child. That sounds super fun!

      As far as the Velcro circle, I’m checking into whether that will go through. Hold tight and I’ll let you know very soon what I find out. :)

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 23, 2014
      at 10:32 am

      Angela, I’m happy to report that the Velcro circles will go through the mail just fine. :)

  45. cora
    Jan 22, 2014
    at 4:59 pm

    Can you use 5×7 or 8×10 envelopes as long as they are not thicker than 1/4 inch thick? That would open up a lot of possibilities! I’m still new at this, & just want to do it right! Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! c.

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 23, 2014
      at 10:34 am

      Hi Cora! You are welcome to use whatever size envelope you would like. Just make sure that the inside contents are under the size limits of 8 1/2″ x 11″ and 1/4″ thick. Happy letter writing! :)

  46. Kristi
    Jan 22, 2014
    at 7:35 pm

    We purchased a very small, thin book about Noah’s Ark in my child’s language (Spanish). It is definitely thinner than 1/4″. Will he be able to receive this if we send it? He is only four years old and I don’t think the things that are talked about on here would work for him since he is so young. We also have a very thin (again, less than 1/4 inch thick) coloring book. Will we have to separate the pages to send this or can it be sent in tact?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 23, 2014
      at 10:41 am

      Hi Kristi! Regrettably, we have to tear the covers off of books so that they don’t look valuable (they could be stolen) when we are sending them in the mail. This is the only way to get them through. :( Otherwise we’re able to send it if it is under the size limits. Small coloring books are typically fine to send. I’m sure he would love coloring pages to draw and color on!

  47. Linda
    Jan 25, 2014
    at 10:20 pm

    I thought items had to be “flat.” I didn’t know such thick items, like calendars, could be sent.

    • Susan Sayler
      Jan 27, 2014
      at 2:21 pm

      Yes, we can send any paper items that are under 1/4″ thick. Feel free to send fun calendars, etc. to your kiddos. :)

  48. Dawn Lash
    Feb 11, 2014
    at 4:44 pm

    Does a Compassion representative explain to the children or their parents (if there are parents) that we have limitations on what we can send? Otherwise, it would be human nature for them to wonder why those of us living in what would be luxury to them, are sending them items that are hardly worth anything. I see everyone wants to send substantial things to their children, as I do, but we are forbidden to do so. I hope this is made clear to them.

    • Susan Sayler
      Feb 12, 2014
      at 1:58 pm

      Dawn, I honestly do not believe that the gifts that sponsors send are seen as meager gifts, whether they are paper items in the mail or monetary gifts. I’m not sure how to explain except that from my experience of visiting several centers and talking with children, the letters are absolutely treasured, let alone any other gifts that you send. These gifts are cherished and kept in safe places in their homes. They may not be seen as much in our culture and our country but they are treasured and cherished there.

      • Dawn Lash
        Feb 12, 2014
        at 5:08 pm

        I called Compassion International tonight and talked to Heather. She understood me instantly and said immediately that the children are aware that we have limitations on what we can send to them, though they may not know all about the customs details etc. This is the answer I have been looking for. She also had a brilliant suggestion – that I can mention to my child that I want to send her more things but there are limitations! I am very happy with her suggestion and satisfied that I can explain that to my little girl myself. I had not thought of that. I understand, Susan, what you shared also, that the children do cherish even just letters.

  49. morgan
    Feb 25, 2014
    at 9:08 pm

    I just make the hand craft. It was fun. I colored my nails to show my girl what I like. I even drew my rings and bracelets. O am thinking about doing the star chain for the next letter.

  50. Sherrie
    Feb 26, 2014
    at 9:41 pm

    I read that books within size limits would need the cover page torn off, correct? What about the small note books or pads of stickers? Are only individual pages pages allowed? Thanks so much for your help!

    • Susan Sayler
      Feb 27, 2014
      at 2:35 pm

      All of the items that we send cannot look like they are worth much money. Otherwise, there is a high risk of that item being stolen by corrupt postal workers in transit or they will charge us large amounts in tariffs. This is why we rip the covers off of books, in an attempt to make them look less valuable. This is important to keep in mind as you’re deciding what to send and what not to send. I’ve sent pads of stickers to my sponsored child and everything went through just fine. Be careful with the notebooks to make sure they need to meet the size limits, be completely paper (no metal spiral binding), and cannot look too valuable. However, another thing that I’ve done is to put writing and coloring paper (and other fun paper items) in a paper folder. You could also staple paper together to make a notebook. I’m not sure if this helps but hopefully it will give you some more ideas to work with. :)

  51. Chris
    Mar 7, 2014
    at 3:30 pm

    I am putting together my girls birthday gift and I made a small scrapbook type photo album. My plan was tying them together with a ribbon but after reading these comments I was wondering should I send it loose so that it ships thinner? each “page” is a round cardboard piece with the pictures and stickers on them. Is it each item that ships 1/4″ or the whole envelop?

    • Susan Sayler
      Mar 7, 2014
      at 6:00 pm

      Hi Chris! That is so thoughtful of you! Your little girl is going to LOVE this! We can only send very small portions of string to tie books together so be frugal with the quantity. Also, you are more than welcome to staple the book together if you would like. The items need to be flat and no more than a 1/4″ thick. This means that each item needs to be under 1/4″ and the envelope does not count towards this. So if you’re sending a scrapbook, the whole book needs to be under a 1/4″ thick.

  52. Chris
    Mar 7, 2014
    at 4:17 pm

    I have a few more questions:
    How many items per 8.5×11 envelope?
    Can I seal envelopes like birthday card envelopes that are within the larger 8.5×11 envelope?
    When I write an e-mail to my girl, how long until she recieves it and can she print it?
    When I send a gift :birthday, Easter, Christmas, if you have it before the event do you wait to deliver it?
    Is there a limit to the length of a letter? The email formats are quite short so I wonder if mailed letters have to be short as well.

    I think that’s it for now. Thanks for all of your help.

    • Susan Sayler
      Mar 7, 2014
      at 7:12 pm

      Hello again! Happy to help! You may send as many items as you’d like as long as they are no more than a 1/4″ thick total each time for each child. Please leave all envelopes open so that we can open them for translation and to make sure everything can go through. It takes anywhere between two weeks to three months for letters to go back and forth, depending on the area your little girl lives in. We recommend sending monetary gifts for birthday, Christmas, or Easter two to three months prior to the event. For birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, we send reminders three months in advance. There is no limit to the length of the letter, however, shorter letters sent more frequently are usually better than longer letters sent less frequently.

  53. Lisa
    Mar 8, 2014
    at 12:10 pm

    My husband and I went on a cruise and I was determined to find someone who sold the braided name bracelets so I could get one for each of our children. At each port, I had no luck and finally had to go “off the grid” in Mexico to have them made. The ones I found were slightly different, but I was so thrilled to have found a “flat” souvenir I could mail! I think we were also extorted a little on the price, but I was determined! When I went on line to get the correct address, I found out that I was not able to mail anything that was plastic and these have a plastic “body” covered in yarn. So sad. However, I found a wonderful place on line in the States that will make them strictly of braided threads. Note to self: Always check “do’s” and “don’ts” of gift giving.

  54. Ilaria F
    Apr 25, 2014
    at 1:47 am

    Hi there! I found some nice book covers (9″ ×7″) that I think my kids might like. They are soft, flexible plastic (similar to contact paper). Can I send them to my kids with colourful paper inside to make up a super thin notepad?

    • Susan Sayler
      Apr 25, 2014
      at 11:51 am

      Hi Ilaria! Regrettably, we cannot send plastic. I’m so sorry but we wouldn’t be able to send the book covers. :( However, we could send a thin notepad!

  55. Sheryl Cooper
    Apr 26, 2014
    at 6:21 pm

    Can I send a 4×6 photo in a protective, see through 4×6 “sleeve” that is a “filler page” for a photo album? I hoped to send 2 or 3 of these photos in sleeves, plus a cardstock front & back, tied with small strings in the holes usually used for photo album rings. In future letters, I’ll send addl photos in sleeves to be added. My concern is that I’d consider this a “plastic sleeve”, and I keep reading “no plastic”, but it is actually a very similar material to ziplock bags. Does “no plastic” refer to sturdy / hard plastic? Thanks for clarifying!

    • Susan Sayler
      Apr 28, 2014
      at 11:15 am

      Hi Sheryl! I love your creativity here! Yes, we can send photos in the protective sleeves, as long as there are only a couple of photos and sleeves. :) Regrettably, if the total number of sleeves/photos is more than 1/4″ thick, we cannot send them.

  56. Kathy
    May 21, 2014
    at 9:12 am

    So if we send something like the “I love you this much” craft above, or say, a commercial birthday card, all those things are translated somehow? Just like the letters? I figured they would have to be but am just not sure of the process. Thanks!

    • Susan Sayler
      May 22, 2014
      at 4:33 pm

      Hi Kathy! I’m looking into this and I’ll let you know what I find out!

    • Susan Sayler
      May 27, 2014
      at 5:13 pm

      Hi Kathy! Again, such a great question! I checked with our translators and all of these phrases on greeting cards are translated as well as any message you write in them. :)

      • Kathy
        May 27, 2014
        at 6:16 pm

        Thank you! I am making the crafts right now!

  57. Samantha
    May 24, 2014
    at 12:17 pm

    I have fun scrapbook paper which is I think 12×12. Now I know that it’s outside the size limit, but I’m wondering if it’s possible to just fold it and call it good.

    • Susan Sayler
      May 27, 2014
      at 5:03 pm

      Hi Samantha! Yes, feel free to fold it and as long as it’s under a 1/4 inch thick you’re golden. :)

  58. May 30, 2014
    at 7:45 pm

    Both of my sponsor kids love to draw. I recently made a little notebook with a cardstock cover and some blank paper, fold over and staple it. I decorated the cover with a couple of stickers, my child’s name, and the word “artist” in her language and a ribbon to tie it all shut. I’m kind of proud of my little creation.

  59. Julie
    Jun 17, 2014
    at 8:00 am

    Would you please give me the information on sending my child gifts? I have been looking for guidelines and have been unsuccessful in my search. Also, where do I send them? I want her to know how much she is loved and prayed for. Thank you.

    • Susan Sayler
      Jun 17, 2014
      at 9:43 am

      Hi Julie! I love your heart to love and bless your child! That’s so very sweet of you! In the mail, you can send any paper items that are smaller than an 8 1/2″ by 11″ and no more than 1/4″ thick. A complete list of items can be found here. Please make sure to include your name, your sponsor number, your child’s name, and your child’s number on whatever you are sending and send these items to: Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004.

  60. sharon
    Jun 20, 2014
    at 7:48 pm

    Are the paint pages that have the small just add water paint squares allowed?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jun 23, 2014
      at 9:30 am

      Hi Sharon! As long as the paint pages are made of paper, we can send them. Regrettably, we wouldn’t be able to send paint brushes. Each student center does have coloring supplies though so hopefully they will have some brushes that your child can use with the paint.

  61. Laurel
    Jun 20, 2014
    at 8:02 pm

    What about duct tape crafts? I was thinking about making a wrist band, bookmark, and maybe a little coin purse. Would these be okay to send? They’re all very flat …

    • Susan Sayler
      Jun 23, 2014
      at 12:10 pm

      Hi Laurel! I work for Compassion and flat (under 1/4″ thick) Duct tape crafts are going through right now so you are welcome to send these items for the time being. :)

      • Laurel
        Jun 23, 2014
        at 12:53 pm

        Great! Thank you. 😀

  62. Ashley
    Jul 11, 2014
    at 10:54 am

    So just to be clear, is the braided thread bracelet ok to send? What if it were to have llastic beads or something?

    • Susan Sayler
      Jul 11, 2014
      at 11:12 am

      Hi Ashley! While we can send very small amounts of thread, I would advise against sending a thread bracelet. Also, elastic beads most likely would not go through. We classify every thing that we send as documents so most of the item must be paper and no other type of material.

  63. Frances Shine
    Jul 14, 2014
    at 12:28 pm

    I can’t find the address where to send gifts. Can someone please help me? Thank you.

    • Susan Sayler
      Jul 15, 2014
      at 9:37 am

      Hi Frances! Please send paper gifts to:

      Compassion International
      [No street address necessary]
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004

  64. Michelle
    Jul 21, 2014
    at 3:03 pm

    I’ve seen a few people who put together a “kit” of stickers, coloring pages, etc inside a cute folder for their kids, but I know the folders traditionally are a little bigger than 8 1/2 x 11 (I think I saw that they are 9 x 12). Are these folders being allowed currently? I’d love to stock up during back-to-school sales if I am able to send things in this format!

    • Susan Sayler
      Jul 21, 2014
      at 4:59 pm

      Hi Michelle! Yes, you can send folders filled with fun paper items. Some people call them “Lapbooks.” They must be within the size limits though so no more than 8 1/2″ by 11″ and no more than 1/4″ thick. If they are bigger than that, we will cut them down to get them through the mail. However, you may want to trim them yourself so they look pretty.

  65. Aug 3, 2014
    at 7:32 am

    If anyone has a photocopier that also scans, its a fun thing to scan in real leaves from trees. They look very realistic when printed out and could be sent with a variety of types of leaves printed to show our sponsored kids what grows where we live. Or for an Autumn/Fall themed letter to show the beautiful colours they turn. Or place small leaves around the edge of the scanner plate to form a frame for a letter writing page, or cut them out to decorate folders to send. It may even work with small flowers, though I haven’t tried that myself.

  66. Kelly
    Aug 3, 2014
    at 12:36 pm

    If the photo calendars are okay, does that mean actual photo albums (paperback) like ones printed by Shutterfly would be acceptable, so long as they fit the thickness/size restrictions of all paper gifts?

    • Susan Sayler
      Aug 4, 2014
      at 9:03 am

      Hi Kelly! Yes, you can send paperback photo albums if they are under 1/4″ thick. :)

  67. Trysha
    Sep 22, 2014
    at 5:08 pm

    Can we send bandaids? Like in the individual wrappers, maybe if lightly tape one end of the wrapper to a sheet of paper? It’d be fun (and practical) to send things like Hello Kitty or Dora bandaids to my little girls.

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Sep 23, 2014
      at 9:16 am

      Hi there Trysha! Band-aids are such a great gift to send to your child and you can be assured they will get through customs :). Thank you so much for checking! You can view a complete list of items that you can and cannot send to your child, here.

  68. Dec 14, 2014
    at 9:55 pm

    For more tips on writing your child, I started a Facebook page of creative things you can send/letter tips. Here’s the link:

  69. Sara Loggins
    Feb 12, 2015
    at 9:01 pm

    I have a younger boy in Honduras and I sent him a small lapbook that he can hold in his hands. I made a pocket in it and found some number flashcards at dollar tree. No words, just the number on one side and that number of animals on the other side. I sent 1-5 to him in the pocket last time and the next time I will send him some more to add to it. I thought that we would work on numbers then I could introduce the Pairs of animals on the Ark, 10 commandments, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, etc. I take into account that it is very possible that the parents or guardians are unable to read also, so I am just sticking with picture stories and numbers with him at this point. Who knows, maybe he will teach his parents something!

  70. Jennifer
    Mar 8, 2015
    at 8:07 pm

    Thank you for all the lovely Ideas! I do have a question. Can I send flimsy plastic Stencils? They are found in a “Fashion Angel: Flower Power Fashion Sketch Portfolio” They are almost paper thin. They come with Puffy stickers, and Paper Sketches of Girls to Design Clothing for. I took the Spiral out and am sending the 4 “stencils”, some of the paper girls, and the stickers for her Birthday. Is this okay?

    • Susan Sayler
      Mar 9, 2015
      at 2:05 pm

      Hi Jennifer! These stencils look super cute! What a great idea! You can definitely try to send these but I cannot guarantee that they will go through because they are plastic. It might be okay though because they are so thin. We will let you know via email if we are unable to send them.

      • Jennifer
        Apr 6, 2015
        at 4:54 pm

        Thank you!

  71. Kathryn
    Mar 29, 2015
    at 3:35 pm

    Hi! This might be such a dumb question ,but I am new to all of this.
    I was wondering if I could send small packets of Neosporin or any over the counter cream meds or even alcohol wipes to disinfect cuts that possibly could save their lives or bug spray? This might have been asked before. Sorry if it has. Also I haven’t heard anything from my sponsor kids at all. How do I know if they are receiving their packages. Thanks so much!!!

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Mar 30, 2015
      at 1:49 pm

      Kathryn, you’re so thoughtful and these are most certainly great things to know when sponsoring a child with us so please know we’re happy to answer your questions! We really appreciate you wanting to bless your child in such a practical way :). Regrettably, due to strict customs regulations, preventative and medical items like you’re mentioning cannot be sent to your child. All items that you send must be paper products that are within the size requirements of being no larger than 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size and 1/4″ thick. I would encourage you to view our complete list of items you can send to your child. Your children receive every picture, letter, and sticker that you send :). Your child will respond to questions you ask, ask you questions in return, and the relationship you can build with them is one that they treasure for years to come! If you ever send a monetary gift to your child, you will receive a letter six months later thanking you for your gift and letting you know how it was used!

      I also want to encourage you that you will hear from your kiddos soon! It looks like you just recently began sponsoring Joana and Alexandra in the last couple of weeks :). You will receive an introduction letter from your children within the first four months. Thank you for writing already! Letters take 2-3 months to be delivered both ways and so your kiddos will be looking forward to hearing from you!

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Mar 30, 2015
      at 1:49 pm

      Kathryn, you’re so thoughtful and these are most certainly great things to know when sponsoring a child with us so please know we’re happy to answer your questions! We really appreciate you wanting to bless your child in such a practical way :). Regrettably, due to strict customs regulations, preventative and medical items like you’re mentioning cannot be sent to your child. All items that you send must be paper products that are within the size requirements of being no larger than 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size and 1/4″ thick. I would encourage you to view our complete list of items you can send to your child. Your children receive every picture, letter, and sticker that you send :). Your child will respond to questions you ask, ask you questions in return, and the relationship you can build with them is one that they treasure for years to come! If you ever send a monetary gift to your child, you will receive a letter six months later thanking you for your gift and letting you know how it was used!

      I also want to encourage you that you will hear from your kiddos soon! It looks like you just recently began sponsoring Joana and Alexandra in the last couple of weeks :). You will receive an introduction letter from your children within the first four months. Thanks for writing to them right away, however! Letters take 2-3 months to be delivered both ways and so your kiddos will be looking forward to hearing from you!

  72. elizabeth
    Apr 3, 2015
    at 5:40 pm

    We have 3 sponsored children and normally write online letters, but I would like to send something small within the given guidelines. My question: Can I put all 3 kids’ items in one 81/2 X 11 envelope, or do I need to send each separately?

    • Susan Sayler
      Apr 6, 2015
      at 3:33 pm

      Hi Elizabeth! Thanks so much for writing to your children! They are blessed to have such a loving and supportive sponsor! :) You are welcome to send items to all 3 of your children in the same envelope. Please simply label each item with their names and child numbers. Also, your outside envelope can be any size but the items themselves just need to be under 8 1/2″ by 11.”

  73. Ilaria
    Apr 18, 2015
    at 1:58 am

    A way to create cute encouragement cards is to print lunchbox notes/cards. You can easily find free templates on the web. They are perfect both for young and for older children. Who doesn’t love to hear how special, awesome, brave and loved he/she is? 😉

  74. Carolyn
    May 18, 2015
    at 2:58 pm

    Hi! I have recently begun sponsoring two girls in different parts of the world. And I’ve picked up some small coloring books for them that meet the size guidelines. When I send the coloring books, along with the letters, is it OK to put them all in one 9 X 11 envelope, as long as each item is clearly identified? Or is better to mail each girls’ items in a separate envelope? Thanks!

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      May 19, 2015
      at 11:11 am

      Carolyn, that was so thoughtful of you! Thank you so very much for blessing them in such a tangible way and I know they’re going to be so excited to get these special surprises from you! As long as you label each item that you send with your sponsor number and their child numbers so that we can ensure each coloring book and letter is sent to the correct girl; feel free to send them in one envelope to save on postage :).

  75. Jun 18, 2015
    at 1:42 pm

    A friend recently told me that Walgreens has a 4×6 brag book that is soft cover and will go through the size limitations! I just visited my child in Peru, and I am hoping to try this with the pictures I have of our visit!

  76. Kinsey Clodfelter
    Jul 17, 2015
    at 5:45 pm

    Hi I got some prayer cards to send to my kid. They aren’t paper but I think the same thing that would be used for post cards would I be able to send them to him? Also we can send folders to our kids as well?

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Jul 20, 2015
      at 3:43 pm

      Hi there, Kinsey! All items that you send must be made of paper and must fit the size limits of less than 1/4″ thick and 8 1/2″ x 11″ or smaller. As long as your folders fit these guidelines, you’re welcome to send them :). Regarding the prayer cards, if they’re the same as post card material, we consider that paper and they should go through just fine! Thanks for sending such thoughtful items to your kiddo!

  77. Sara
    Jul 22, 2015
    at 1:15 pm

    Ok, some have said that we can send school folders and some have said we cannot send school folders without cutting them down. All the folders I have found are 9 1/2 x 11 1/2. Would I have to cut them down?

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Jul 23, 2015
      at 11:51 am

      Hi Sara! They may go through and have for sponsors before but if we receive a folder from you and it’s over the size guidelines and we believe it will hold up in customs (as we send everything as a document), then our staff will cut the item to make it fit :). To be safe, we always ask that sponsors ensure their items are less than 1/4″ thick and 8 1/2″ x 11″ or smaller. I hope this helps!

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