I have participated in Samaritan Purse's Operation Shoebox for many, many years. In the past we have generally taken all the kids to the Dollar Tree and Walmart and helped them pick out the items to pack a shoebox. Let's just say, it was chaotic and confusing with JD in the toy section and me over in toiletries trying to sway and convince the kids into practical choices. By the time we got out, I usually had some toy items I wouldn't use and was missing key toiletries we needed. This year, I smartened up and did the shopping with just Moriah, and then let them pack what they wanted from the supplies I piled up on the table. I think it was better for the kids also, because they weren't totally overloaded with the entire store's selection and trying to compete with their siblings to go over their selections with an adult.
I gave them the mandatory pack list of toiletries and then they got to choose the age (and gender) and fill the rest with fun stuff. The homeschoolers packed at lunch time and the schoolers packed after school.
We labeled and stacked the boxes as they were finished.
Moriah and Alyssa declined a photo-op but had a good time participating also. Tori and Julia were so into it that they didn't notice me and my camera. Selah could hardly function in the presence of the Ring Pops, so she mainly sucked on one and shook her head yes when I asked, "do you want to pack this?" (Bella ended up in time-out due to her continual asking if she could have the toys.) Elijah repeatedly told her, "No Bella, those are for poor kids in Africa; you are an American!"
When they were done, I packed the last few and we will deliver them to a collection site tomorrow.