What Goes in My Shoebox?

“Wow” Item

Delight a kid! Start with a medium to large item that will capture the child’s attention the instant he or she opens the box.


Ideas include: Soccer ball with pump, Stuffed animal, Toys (puppets, trucks, etc.), Doll (baby, Barbie, etc.), Musical instrument, Outfit, Shoes

Other Suggestions

Toys: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as toy cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.


School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.


Non-liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.


Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.


Crafts: Make your own items such as hair bows, finger puppets, and friendship bracelets.



A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself, your family, or group. If you include your name and an address, the child may be able to write back.


Do Not Include

Candy; toothpaste; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.


Gift Suggestions for Age and Gender

Girls

Select age group:

  • Doll
  • Soccer ball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Stuffed animal
  • An outfit of clothing to wear
  • Small musical instrument (such as a harmonica or woodwind recorder)
  • Doll
    (Consider including accessories such as doll clothes or a small doll bed.)
  • Soccer ball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Stuffed animal
  • An outfit of clothing to wear
  • Small musical instrument (such as a harmonica or woodwind recorder)
  • Backpack
  • Doll
    (Consider including accessories such as doll clothes or a small doll bed.)
  • Soccer ball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Stuffed animal
  • An outfit of clothing to wear
  • Small musical instrument (such as a harmonica or woodwind recorder.)
  • Backpack
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Adhesive bandages
    (Colorful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage. Do not include liquid antibiotic ointment.)
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils
    (Consider filling an empty container with non-liquid items such as hair bows, bracelets, sunglasses, or washcloths to maximize the space.)
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Adhesive bandages
    (Colorful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage. Do not include liquid antibiotic ointment.)
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils
    (Consider filling an empty container with non-liquid items such as hair bows, bracelets, sunglasses, or washcloths to maximize the space.)
  • Non-liquid lip balm
  • Flashlight
    (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, be sure to include extra batteries of the type needed)
  • Compact mirror
  • Stuffed animal
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Adhesive bandages
    (Colorful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage. Do not include liquid antibiotic ointment.)
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils
    (Consider filling an empty container with non-liquid items such as hair bows, bracelets, sunglasses, or washcloths to maximize the space.)
  • Non-liquid lip balm
  • Flashlight
    (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, be sure to include extra batteries of the type needed)
  • Compact mirror
  • Nail clipper and file
  • Stick deodorant
  • Washable/reusable cloth menstrual pads
  • Stuffed animal
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (do not include liquid glue)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (Do not include liquid glue.)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Shirts and pants
  • Pillowcase dress (loose-fitting sundress)
  • Underwear
  • Shoes and socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Hat/scarf/mittens
  • Sunglasses
  • Tote bag/purse
  • Hair bows
  • Friendship bracelets (woven with yarn or embroidery thread)
  • Shirts and pants
  • Pillowcase dress (loose-fitting sundress)
  • Underwear
  • Shoes and socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Hat/scarf/mittens
  • Sunglasses
  • Tote bag/purse
  • Hair bows
  • Friendship bracelets (woven with yarn or embroidery thread)
  • Shirts and pants
  • Pillowcase dress (loose-fitting sundress)
  • Underwear
  • Shoes and socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Hat/scarf/mittens
  • Decorative hat
  • Wrist watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Tote bag/purse
  • Bead jewelry/bead kit
  • Hair accessories (hair clips, hair ribbons, elastic hair bands, etc.)
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Pens
  • Coloring pads
  • Coloring books
  • Picture book
  • Notebooks
  • Glue stick (Do not include liquid glue.)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Watercolor set
    [Finger paint palette/crayons/markers (non-liquid containers), paint brushes, canvas or paper]
  • Make-it-yourself craft items or kit
  • Playdough
    (Consider adding plastic cookie cutters as non-sharp utensils the child can use with the playdough.)
  • Stickers
  • Skipping rope/Jump rope
  • Coloring books
  • Watercolor set
    [Finger paint palette/crayons/markers (non-liquid containers), paint brushes, canvas or paper]
  • Make-it-yourself craft items or kit
  • Puzzles
  • Playdough
    (Consider adding plastic cookie cutters as non-sharp utensils the child can use with the playdough.)
  • Stickers
  • Chalkboard and chalk
  • Binoculars
  • Skipping rope/Jump rope
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (do not include liquid glue)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Puzzles
  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Chalkboard and chalk
  • Sewing kit, fabric (1-2 yards), and ribbon
  • Laminated decorative pictures with looped ribbon attached as a picture hanger
  • Gardening kit with gloves and trowel hand tool (Do not include gardening seeds.)
  • Skipping rope/Jump rope
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (do not include liquid glue)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Foam ball
  • Kickball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated)
  • Finger puppets
  • Slinky
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Interactive toys that include push buttons, lights, noise (include extra batteries)
  • Stuffed animal
  • Foam ball
  • Kickball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Costume items to play dress-up, such as crowns and costume jewelry
  • Plastic toys and toy figures
  • Yo-yo
  • Small Frisbee
  • Small kite
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Stuffed animal
  • Foam ball
  • Kickball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Yo-yo
  • Small Frisbee
  • Small kite
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Marbles
  • Stuffed animal

Boys

Select age group:

  • Soccer ball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Stuffed animal
  • An outfit of clothing to wear
  • Small musical instrument (such as a harmonica or woodwind recorder)
  • Soccer ball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Toy truck or boat
  • Stuffed animal
  • An outfit of clothing to wear
  • Small musical instrument (such as a harmonica or woodwind recorder)
  • Backpack
  • Soccer ball/football (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Toy truck or boat
  • Stuffed animal
  • An outfit of clothing to wear
  • Small musical instrument (such as a harmonica or woodwind recorder)
  • Backpack
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Adhesive bandages
    (Colorful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage. Do not include liquid antibiotic ointment.)
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils
    (Consider filling an empty container with non-liquid items such as combs, markers, sunglasses, or washcloths to maximize the space.)
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Adhesive bandages
    (Colorful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage. Do not include liquid antibiotic ointment.)
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils
    (Consider filling an empty container with non-liquid items such as combs, markers, sunglasses, or washcloths to maximize the space.)
  • Non-liquid lip balm
  • Flashlight
    (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, be sure to include extra batteries of the type needed)
  • Stuffed animal
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Adhesive bandages
    (Colorful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage. Do not include liquid antibiotic ointment.)
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils
    (Consider filling an empty container with non-liquid items such as combs, markers, sunglasses, or washcloths to maximize the space.)
  • Non-liquid lip balm
  • Flashlight
    (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, be sure to include extra batteries of the type needed)
  • Nail clipper and file
  • Stick deodorant
  • Stuffed animal
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Erasers
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (Do not include liquid glue.)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Erasers
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (do not include liquid glue)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Shirts and pants
  • Underwear
  • Shoes and socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Hat/scarf/mittens
  • Sunglasses
  • Shirts and pants
  • Underwear
  • Shoes and socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Wrist watch
  • Hat/scarf/mittens
  • Sunglasses
  • Shirts and pants
  • Underwear
  • Shoes and socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Wrist watch
  • Hat/scarf/mittens
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandana
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Coloring pads
  • Coloring books
  • Picture book
  • Notebooks
  • Glue stick (Do not include liquid glue.)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Watercolor set
    [Finger paint palette/crayons/markers (non-liquid containers), paint brushes, canvas or paper]
  • Make-it-yourself craft items or kit
  • Building blocks
  • Playdough
    (Consider adding plastic cookie cutters as non-sharp utensils the child can use with the playdough.)
  • Stickers
  • Coloring books
  • Watercolor set
    [Finger paint palette/crayons/markers (non-liquid containers), paint brushes, canvas or paper]
  • Make-it-yourself craft items or kit
  • Puzzles
  • Playdough
    (Consider adding plastic cookie cutters as non-sharp utensils the child can use with the playdough.)
  • Stickers
  • Chalkboard and chalk
  • Binoculars
  • Building blocks
  • Tool set
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (do not include liquid glue)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Puzzles
  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Chalkboard with chalk
  • Tool set with work gloves
  • Fishing kit
  • Brightly colored rope or twine
  • Gardening kit with gloves and trowel (no seeds)
  • Magnets
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Skipping rope/jump rope
  • Marbles
  • Pencils
  • Small manual pencil sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil case
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank index cards
  • Solar-powered calculator
  • Safety (blunt tip) scissors
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Glue stick (do not include liquid glue)
  • Small adhesive tape
  • Foam ball
  • Kickball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Tennis ball
  • Finger puppets
  • Slinky
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Play cars/trucks/boats
  • Plastic tools
  • Plastic dinosaurs
  • Interactive toys that include push buttons, lights, noise (include extra batteries)
  • Stuffed animal
  • Foam ball
  • Kickball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Baseball and mitt
  • Tennis ball
  • Plastic dinosaurs, animals, action figures (nothing war-related)
  • Toy cars
  • Yo-yo
  • Small Frisbee
  • Small kite
  • Etch A Sketch
  • Hacky sack
  • Stuffed animal
  • Foam ball
  • Kickball (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated.)
  • Baseball and mitt
  • Tennis ball
  • Yo-yo
  • Small Frisbee
  • Small kite
  • Hacky sack
  • Toy cars
  • Stuffed animal

‘Can This Go in My Shoebox?’ FAQ:

Are playing cards allowed?
Card games with animals, numbers or letters can be included in your shoebox gifts. However, poker cards or face cards (King, Queen, Jack, Ace) are not allowed, as the countries we ship to, have asked us not to send them as they cause challenges in their communities.


How about little toys like spiders, bugs, snakes, etc.?
All of those items are allowed.


Can we include batteries?
Yes, batteries can be included in your shoebox gifts.


Can videos, CDs, and DVDs be included?
Yes, all of these may be included in your shoebox gifts. However, keep in mind that the children may not have a DVD player or CD player available.


Can we include paint sets or glue bottles?
No, both of these items are liquids and can’t be included in your shoebox gifts. However, dry paint sets (such as watercolors) or glue sticks are OK to pack!


Can we include a toolkit with nails, screws, screwdrivers, and hammers?
Yes! The only tools that can’t be included are saws or pocketknives.


Are scissors OK?
Yes! Scissors are OK to include in your shoebox gifts.


Can items with camouflage be included?
If the child can wear or use the items without looking like a soldier, they are OK to include in your shoebox gift. So items like camouflage pencils, notebooks, cups, socks or underwear are OK (any camo colors). However other camouflage items like hats, t-shirts, pants, shorts or backpacks (any camo colors) could make the child look like a soldier, so those items are not appropriate.


Are squirt guns allowed?
Squirt guns can be included as long as they do not look like real guns. Brightly colored squirt guns are great to pack in your shoebox gift.


Can glow sticks go in a shoebox gift?
Yes, glow sticks are OK to pack in your gift. If the tube breaks, the liquid does not spill out and can’t damage other items.


Can we include wet wipes?
Yes, wet wipes do not have enough liquid to spill out into the shoebox so they are OK to include in your gift.


Can rubber balls be included if they have liquid glitter inside?
No, these would be considered inappropriate because of the liquid.


Is lip gloss OK to pack in a shoebox gift?
Lip gloss is a liquid and can’t be included. However, Chapstick, lip balm or lipstick can go!


Can I include toothpaste in my shoebox?
No, toothpaste is not allowed in shoebox gifts due to customs regulations.


Is Play-Doh OK to pack in a shoebox gift?
Yes, Play-Doh can be included in your shoebox gift.


Can compact mirrors go in a shoebox gift?
Yes. Compact mirrors can be included because if the glass shatters, it will be contained.


Can dice go in a shoebox gift?
No, with or without a game, dice are not appropriate. The countries we ship to have asked us not to send them, as they cause challenges in their communities.



Interested in packing shoeboxes?

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