Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas for a 10- to 14-Year-Old Girl
How to Pack a Shoebox for a Girl 10-14
I've participated in Operation Christmas Child ("OCC") for more than a decade but 2013 was the first year I decided to pack a shoebox for a 10- to 14-year-old girl.
After reading articles about the struggles young women face in the countries where OCC delivers, I realized how greatly a shoebox could impact a girl's life when packed with thoughtful gifts.
Why should I pack a shoebox for a 10-14 Girl?
The 10-14 age group often receives the fewest shoeboxes because it's easy and fun to shop for gifts most little girls will like: pretty dolls, fluffy stuffed animals, anything pink and glittery. But the truth is, shopping for a young woman can be even more fun and fulfilling.
What is Operation Christmas Child?
- Samaritan's Purse
Learn about the organization that founded OCC in 1993 and has since delivered shoeboxes filled with gifts and messages of love to more than 100 million children around the world.
Shop for your shoebox on Amazon
- Gift Ideas for a 10-14 Girl Operation Christmas Child Shoebox
I've created an Amazon Idea List filled with gifts that are perfect for a 10-to-14-year-old girl's shoebox. The list is mostly under $10 & includes everything from necessities like inflatable solar lanterns to fun things like toys.
Countdown to this year's National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child
Personal hygiene ideas for a Girl 10-14 Operation Christmas Child shoebox
Pack your shoebox with gifts that keep growing girls and their local environments healthy.
While shopping for your shoebox, I urge you to keep the planet in mind.
Nearly every country where OCC has ever delivered shoeboxes struggles to safely dispose of its waste. Places like Ghana, the Philippines and Nigeria lack proper waste management infrastructure so garbage piles up at dump sites and children living nearby scavenge through the hazardous trash to earn money.
When it comes to personal hygiene products, loads of low-cost alternatives are available. While plastic toothbrushes take 400 years to decompose and release chemicals into the air as they break down, bamboo toothbrushes are 100% biodegradable!
Look for products that are fair trade, organic, sustainably sourced, compostable, plastic-free, package-free, biodegradable and/or vegan.
Environmentally friendly personal hygiene ideas for your shoebox:
- Mild soap bars
- Natural loofahs
- 100% cotton wash cloths
- Natural deodorant and lip balm in plastic-free packaging
- Reusable cloth pads
- Bamboo toothbrushes
- 100% silk dental floss
- Bamboo hair brushes and combs
- Stainless steel tweezers and nail clippers
- Bamboo nail files
A few of the many beautiful places your shoebox could goClick thumbnail to view full-size
How reusable feminine products improve the lives of girls in developing countries
- Think Africa Press: No Pads, No School
An article about how the severe lack of menstrual education, sanitation facilities and affordable feminine products in Africa limits a girl's ability to attend school.
- UNICEF: WASH in Schools Empowers Girls' Educations
An awesome resource released by UNICEF's Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools project. Check it out for country-specific information about the hygiene issues impacting adolescent girls.
- Little House Living: Homemade Cloth Pads
A step-by-step cloth pad sewing tutorial and free pattern for those who want to DIY the reusable feminine hygiene products in their shoeboxes.
One out of every ten female students in Africa misses class or drops out of school completely due to her period, according to UNICEF. Help the girl who receives your shoebox attain an equal education by gifting her with a reusable cloth feminine product like this one.
Before UNICEF brought for us the sanitary towels we used to just stay home when menstruating and come to school when they finish. It used to be very difficult but since then there has not been even one girl missing school because of their periods.— Anne, 15-year-old student in Kenya
How a lack of access to clean water impacts the girls who will receive your shoeboxes
- Water.org: Water Facts
Illustrated statistics about the water-collecting responsibilities of women and children in developing countries and the impact those responsibilities have on girls' educational opportunities and independence.
- World Vision: Global Water Crisis Facts, FAQs & How to Help
Answers to the most common questions about the clean water crisis and ways to get involved.
- The Water Project: 10 Ways Clean Water Can Change the World
An informative infographic detailing the many ways access to clean water can change our world.
Every 2 minutes, a child dies from a water-related illness. You can help end the clean water crisis by packing a Life Straw into each of your OCC shoeboxes.
This amazing portable water filter removes 99.9% of bacteria from contaminated water, making it healthy and drinkable. Increased access to clean water improves girls' physical and mental health, potentially ending the cycle of poverty by allowing girls to spend more time in school.
Life Straws cost about $15 each but you can order a 3-pack on Amazon and save 30%. Divide the set among different shoeboxes or pack all three into one for your girl's family.
Shop for an environmentally conscious shoebox on Amazon
- Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox
My second Amazon Idea List is filled with shoebox ideas that are ethically sourced, biodegradable, organic and/or plastic-free. These gifts aren't cheap but they create minimal environmental impact while ensuring your shoebox recipient feels loved.
Toys, dolls & stuffed animals for a 10-14 Girl Operation Christmas Child shoebox
A durable, high-quality toy that a girl will love should be the foundation of your shoebox.
I'm a huge advocate for packing OCC shoeboxes with practical gifts like water filters, toothbrushes and sewing kits — these things can change lives after all! But a 10- to 14-year-old girl is still a child, and the first thing she sees when she opens her shoebox should be something she's going to fall in love with.
Ideas for an amazing gift that will "wow" the girl who receives your shoebox:
- Stuffed animals or Beanie Babies
- Baby dolls with accessories
- Action figures that are not war-related
- Fashion dolls with clothing and accessories
- Card games and puzzles
- Deflated soccer balls with mini manual ball pumps
- Wooden jump ropes and yo-yos
- Colorful bouncy balls
- Dress-up accessories such as wings, tiaras and jewelry
- Picture books and pop-up books
Where will your shoebox go?Click thumbnail to view full-size
What not to include in your Operation Christmas Child shoebox
Customs regulations dictate what is and isn't allowed in your shoebox.
Just as important as what you should include in your shoebox is what you absolutely should NOT pack. Increasingly strict customs regulations make it difficult for some things to cross borders even though they may have previously been allowed by Operation Christmas Child.
Here's what you should leave out of your shoebox:
- NO FOOD — This includes candy, chocolate, fruit snacks & drink mixes. If you can eat or drink it, it shouldn't be in your shoebox.
- NO TOOTHPASTE — Both liquid and solid forms of toothpaste are a no-no.
- NO BREAKABLES
- NO MONEY
- NO WAR-RELATED TOYS — This includes rubber knives, toy guns that resemble real guns and military action figures. Brightly colored mini squirt guns are allowed.
- NO LIQUIDS OR LOTIONS — This includes paint, glue, lip gloss, nail polish and mascara.
- NO AEROSOL CONTAINERS
- NO MEDICINE OR VITAMINS
- NO SHARPS — This includes shaving razors, swiss army knives, saws or blades of any kind.
- NO USED OR DAMAGED ITEMS
- NO CAMOUFLAGE CLOTHING — Do not include anything that could make a child look soldier-like. Camouflage-patterned items like pens, notebooks and socks are allowed. Pink camouflage is also allowed.
- NO MATCHES OR LIGHTERS
- NO SEEDS OR PLANTS
From camels to canoes, shoeboxes reach their destinations in a variety of ways.Click thumbnail to view full-size
One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.— Malala Yousafzai, Activist for Women's Education
School supply ideas for a 10-14 Girl Operation Christmas Child shoebox
Pack a shoebox that helps girls around the world get the education they deserve.
- Pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners and erasers
- Mechanical pencils with lead refills
- Pencil cases
- Solar-powered calculators
- Chalk and mini chalk boards
- Mini dry-erase boards and markers
- Math flash cards
- Index cards
How a lack of access to electricity impacts kids' educational opportunities around the world
- The Dark Side of Education
Millions of children have no access to electricity, leaving them to study by the dim light of kerosene lamps or small fires.
Help make education attainable for the recipient of your shoebox by including a solar-powered inflatable lantern like this one.
Examples of Girl 10-14 OCC shoeboxesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Clothing ideas for a Girl 10-14 Operation Christmas Child shoebox
Pack your shoebox with durable, well-made clothing items that girls can grow into.
Top 5 Clothing Ideas for a 10-14 Girl Shoebox
The following clothes are useful for girls regardless of whether your shoebox ends up in a tropical climate like Panama or a country like Serbia that experiences freezing cold winters. They also take up very little space in your shoebox.
Other clothing ideas:
- Sleeveless Tops
- Long-Sleeve Shirts
- Hoodies / Sweatshirts
Shoes, outerwear & accessories for a Girl 10-14 Operation Christmas Child shoebox
Include fun gifts that protect young women from the elements.
- Flip Flops
- Baseball Caps
- Rain Coats
- Mini Umbrellas
- Hair Elastics
Operation Christmas Child Poll
Which age group is your favorite to pack shoeboxes for?
Girl 10-14 Arts & Crafts for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox
Poll: Shoeboxes Through the Years
How long have you been packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child?
Shoeboxes can include gifts that let young women express their creativity.
- Colored Pencils
- Sketch Pads
- Coloring Books
- Construction Paper
- Paint Brushes
- Watercolor Set
- Craft Kits
- Crochet Hooks
- Polymer Clay
- Glue Sticks
- Duck Tape
- Washi Tape
Girls can use these gifts to learn new skills that could help them earn money.
- Fat Quarter Bundles
- Fabric Scissors
- Safety Pins
- Straight Pins
- Pin Cushions
- Tape Measures
- Seam Rippers
Pack your shoebox with small tools that can help girls grow food or flowers.
- Canvas Totes
- Gardening Gloves
- Rakes / Cultivators
- Pruning Shears
- Knee Pads
- Spray Bottles
- Mini Flower Pots
- Mini Watering Cans
- Gardening Aprons
Curate gifts that help girls feed themselves and their families.
- Cooking Utensils
- Forks & Spoons
- Mini Frying Pans
- Mini Sauce Pans
- Potholders / Oven Mitts
- Water Bottles
Questions & Answers
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