project tips and reflection questions to create cards for others

Create Greeting Cards

Turn your art into an act of kindness.

If you have perpetual doodlers in the family, put those creative juices to work making cards for children with a serious illness.


Possible recipients

You can find information about children with chronic illnesses who are eager for "happy mail”at  or

What you'll need

  • Blank cards and envelopes (or paper you can cut or fold to make a card)
  • Decorating supplies: markers, crayons, stamps + stamp pads, stickers


  • View photos of the children on the websites above and read a little about each child’s illness and his or her interests.
  • Have your children choose which child they want to cheer up.
  • Decorate the card(s) and write uplifting messages, such as “Enjoy Your Day.” (Avoid get-well sentiments, because many of these children may be sick for a long time.)
  • See the Hugs and Hope website for additional card-making guidelines.
  • Simply mail your cards to the address provided for each child. Or, decorate cards for folks in a local hospital, nursing home or veteran’s home. Here you may have the bonus of handing out your handiwork in person and having a brief chat. 


  • Would you like to receive mail if you were sick? How would it make you feel?
  • What else makes you feel better when you’re sick?
  • Do you remember ever being sick for a long time? How would it feel to be sick for weeks, months or even years?
  • Was there a time when you weren’t feeling well and someone did something nice for you? How did it feel?
  • Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to be around a sick person or visit a hospital. Why is that? What can we do to change that feeling?


  • Going to the Hospital  by Fred Rogers (Puffin, 1997). Ages 2 and up. A comforting look at hospitals and hospital procedures through the experiences of two young children.
  • Franklin Goes to the Hospital  by Paulette Bourgeois (Scholastic Inc., 2000). Ages 4-8. Franklin’s visit to the hospital to repair a cracked shell can introduce young children to all aspects of a hospital stay.
  • The Lemonade Club  by Patricia Polacco (Philomel, 2007). Ages 6 and up. When a young girl discovers she has leukemia, she and her friends learn how to make the best out of sour lemons.
  • Because of Anya  by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Ages 8 and up. The story of a young girl diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease and her attempts to hide her illness in order to lead a normal life.

Take it further

  • Set up a card-making “station” at home – with paper, envelopes and decorating supplies. When anyone in the family has some down time and wants to spread some cheer, everything will be ready to go.
  • Expand your card-making efforts to friends who are going through a tough time. Or use your handmade cards to express gratitude to a neighbor, family member or community member who has made a positive difference in your family’s life.
  • Invite other families over for a card-making party, complete with unusual and imaginative decorating supplies.
  • Think of other simple, flat items to include with your cards – stickers, temporary tattoos, bookmarks.

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