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What Goes in My Shoebox?

Start with a quality “wow” item such as a stuffed animal, soccer ball with pump, or clothing outfit that will capture the child’s attention the instant he or she opens the box. See our gift suggestions according to age and gender listed below for other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to fill the shoebox.

⇠ Back to How to Pack a Shoebox

do not include Do Not Include

Lollies; chocolate or food; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquid paint; toothpaste; shampoo; aerosol cans; bubbles; crayons; plasticine/playdough; medicine; vitamins; used clothes; old toys; glass; porcelain; mirrors; war-related items; toy guns, knives; military figures; skull and crossbones; Halloween items; play money; playing cards; dominoes; tracts and Bibles (children are given an Operation Christmas Child evangelistic book at an outreach event).

FAQ: Can This Go in My Shoebox? ⇢

Gift Suggestions

  • 2-4
    A “Wow” Item
    Doll
    Stuffed animal
    Balls (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated)
    Outfit of clothing to wear
    Small musical instrument
    Skipping rope
    Personal Care Items
    Blanket
    Toothbrush
    Washcloth
    Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
    Comb or brush
    Adhesive bandages (colourful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage.)
    Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (consider filling any empty containers with non-liquid
    items to maximise space.)
    Clothing and Accessories
    Dress/t-shirt/top/pants
    Hat/scarf/mittens
    Socks/shoes
    Underwear
    Tote-bag/purse
    Sunglasses
    Hair accessories (bows, ribbons, elastics etc.)
    Friendship bracelets
    Crafts and Activities
    Pencils, coloured pencils, pens, texters, pencil case
    Colouring books, exercise books
    Safety scissors
    Watercolour set
    Board or cloth books
    Small manual sharpener
    Small adhesive tape
    Make-it-yourself craft kit
    Stickers
    Toys
    Cars, trucks, boats
    Interactive toys that include push buttons, lights, noise (include extra prepackaged batteries.)
    Building blocks
    Finger puppets
    Plastic tools
    Slinky
    Etch a sketch
    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.

    *Samaritan’s Purse encourages Operation Christmas Child shoebox donors to include a personal note in each shoebox gift to encourage the recipient child in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some donors also include photos and addresses. Occasionally, pen-pal relationships have developed over the years between shoebox packers and the recipient.

    Samaritan’s Purse encourages donors who include their mailing address to be cautious of correspondence from shoebox recipient countries, especially letters written to children. Correspondence from a stranger should be treated with caution and awareness. Samaritan’s Purse does not encourage shoebox recipients or ministry partner churches around the world to solicit support from our donors.

  • 5-9
    A “Wow” Item
    Doll/doll accessories
    Stuffed animal
    Dress ups – crown, fairy wands etc.
    Balls (tennis balls, bouncy balls, hackey sack, football, soccer ball, beach ball, etc.) with a pump if necessary
    Outfit of clothing to wear
    Backpack/bag/tote-bag/purse
    Small musical instrument
    Skipping rope
    Personal Care Items
    Blanket
    Toothbrush
    Washcloth
    Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
    Comb or brush
    Adhesive bandages (colourful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage.)
    Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (consider filling any empty containers with non-liquid items to
    maximise space.)
    Flashlight (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, include extra prepackaged batteries)
    School Supplies
    Pencils, coloured pencils, pens, texters, pencil case
    Exercise books
    Safety scissors, ruler, protractor
    Blank index cards
    Solar powered calculator
    Small manual sharpener
    Erasers
    Clothing and Accessories
    Dress/t-shirt/top/pants
    Hat/scarf/mittens
    Socks/shoes/flip flops
    Underwear
    Sunglasses
    Hair accessories (bows, ribbons, elastics etc.)
    Friendship bracelets
    Crafts and Activities
    Small adhesive tape
    Make-it-yourself craft kit
    Stickers
    Puzzles
    Chalkboard and chalk
    Binoculars
    Watercolour set
    Illustrated books, colouring books
    Toys
    Ribbon wands
    Lego
    Hand puppets
    Plastic toys and toy figures
    Yo-yo
    Small frisbee
    Small kite
    Etch a sketch
    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.

    *Samaritan’s Purse encourages Operation Christmas Child shoebox donors to include a personal note in each shoebox gift to encourage the recipient child in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some donors also include photos and addresses. Occasionally, pen-pal relationships have developed over the years between shoebox packers and the recipient.

    Samaritan’s Purse encourages donors who include their mailing address to be cautious of correspondence from shoebox recipient countries, especially letters written to children. Correspondence from a stranger should be treated with caution and awareness. Samaritan’s Purse does not encourage shoebox recipients or ministry partner churches around the world to solicit support from our donors.

  • 10-14
    A “Wow” Item
    Doll/doll accessories
    Stuffed animal
    Balls (tennis balls, bouncy balls, hackey sack, football, soccer ball, beach ball, etc.) with a pump if necessary
    Outfit of clothing to wear
    Backpack/bag/tote-bag/purse
    Small musical instrument
    Skipping rope
    Personal Care Items
    Blanket
    Toothbrush
    Washcloth
    Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
    Comb or brush
    Adhesive bandages (colourful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage.)
    Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (consider filling any empty containers with non-liquid items to maximise space.)
    Flashlight (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, include extra prepackaged batteries)
    Compact mirror
    Nail clipper and file
    School Supplies
    Pencils, coloured pencils, pens, texters, pencil case
    Exercise books, books
    Safety scissors, ruler, protractor
    Blank index cards
    Solar powered calculator
    Small manual sharpener
    Small adhesive tape
    Erasers
    Clothing and Accessories
    Dress/t-shirt/top/pants
    Hat/scarf/mittens
    Socks/shoes/flip flops
    Underwear
    Sunglasses
    Hair accessories (bows, ribbons, elastics etc.)
    Friendship bracelets
    Wristwatch
    Bead jewellery/bead kit
    Crafts and Activities
    Colouring books
    Watercolour set
    Puzzles
    Chalkboard and chalk
    Binoculars
    Sewing kit (fabric 1-2 yards and ribbon)
    Gardening kit/gloves (do not include gardening seeds)
    Card games
    Toys
    Yo-yo
    Small frisbee
    Small kite
    Etch a sketch
    Marbles
    Kaleidoscope
    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.

    *Samaritan’s Purse encourages Operation Christmas Child shoebox donors to include a personal note in each shoebox gift to encourage the recipient child in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some donors also include photos and addresses. Occasionally, pen-pal relationships have developed over the years between shoebox packers and the recipient.

    Samaritan’s Purse encourages donors who include their mailing address to be cautious of correspondence from shoebox recipient countries, especially letters written to children. Correspondence from a stranger should be treated with caution and awareness. Samaritan’s Purse does not encourage shoebox recipients or ministry partner churches around the world to solicit support from our donors.

  • 2-4
    A “Wow” Item
    Stuffed animal
    Balls (Make sure to include a manual air pump so that the ball can be reinflated)
    Outfit of clothing to wear
    Small musical instrument
    Skipping rope
    Personal Care Items
    Blanket
    Toothbrush
    Washcloth
    Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
    Comb or brush
    Adhesive bandages (colourful ones can help a
    child be more willing to wear a bandage.)
    Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (consider filling any empty containers with non-liquid
    items to maximise space.)
    Clothing and Accessories
    T-shirt/pants
    Hat/scarf/mittens
    Socks/shoes
    Underwear
    Tote-bag
    Sunglasses
    Crafts and Activities
    Pencils, coloured pencils, pens, texters, pencil case
    Colouring books, exercise books
    Safety scissors
    Watercolour set
    Board or cloth books
    Small manual sharpener
    Small adhesive tape
    Make-it-yourself craft kit
    Stickers
    Toys
    Cars, trucks, boats
    Interactive toys that include push buttons, lights, noise (include extra prepackaged prepackaged batteries.)
    Building blocks
    Finger puppets
    Plastic tools
    Plastic dinosaurs
    Duplo
    Slinky
    Etch a sketch
    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.

    *Samaritan’s Purse encourages Operation Christmas Child shoebox donors to include a personal note in each shoebox gift to encourage the recipient child in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some donors also include photos and addresses. Occasionally, pen-pal relationships have developed over the years between shoebox packers and the recipient.

    Samaritan’s Purse encourages donors who include their mailing address to be cautious of correspondence from shoebox recipient countries, especially letters written to children. Correspondence from a stranger should be treated with caution and awareness. Samaritan’s Purse does not encourage shoebox recipients or ministry partner churches around the world to solicit support from our donors.

  • 5-9
    A “Wow” Item
    Stuffed animal
    Balls (tennis balls, bouncy balls, hackey sack, football, soccer ball, beach ball, etc.) with a pump if necessary
    Toy cars, truck or boat
    Outfit of clothing to wear
    Backpack/bag/tote-bag
    Small musical instrument
    Skipping rope
    Personal Care Items
    Blanket
    Toothbrush
    Washcloth
    Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
    Comb or brush
    Adhesive bandages (colourful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage.)
    Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (consider filling any empty containers with non-liquid items to maximise space.)
    Flashlight (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, include extra prepackaged batteries)
    School Supplies
    Pencils, coloured pencils, pens, texters, pencil case
    Exercise books,
    Safety scissors, ruler, protractor
    Blank index cards
    Solar powered calculator
    Small manual sharpener
    Erasers
    Clothing and Accessories
    T-shirt/top/pants
    Hat/scarf/mittens
    Socks/shoes/flip flops
    Underwear
    Sunglasses
    Wristwatch
    Crafts and Activities
    Colouring books, illustrated books
    Watercolour set
    Small adhesive tape
    Make-it-yourself craft kit
    Stickers
    Puzzles
    Chalkboard and chalk
    Binoculars
    Toys
    Building blocks
    Tool set
    Plastic dinosaurs, animals, action figures
    (nothing war-related)
    Lego
    Yo-yo
    Small frisbee
    Small kite
    Etch a sketch
    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.

    *Samaritan’s Purse encourages Operation Christmas Child shoebox donors to include a personal note in each shoebox gift to encourage the recipient child in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some donors also include photos and addresses. Occasionally, pen-pal relationships have developed over the years between shoebox packers and the recipient.

    Samaritan’s Purse encourages donors who include their mailing address to be cautious of correspondence from shoebox recipient countries, especially letters written to children. Correspondence from a stranger should be treated with caution and awareness. Samaritan’s Purse does not encourage shoebox recipients or ministry partner churches around the world to solicit support from our donors.

  • 10-14
    A “Wow” Item
    Stuffed animal
    Balls (tennis balls, bouncy balls, hackey sack, football, soccer ball, beach ball, etc.) with a pump if necessary
    Outfit of clothing to wear
    Backpack/bag/tote-bag
    Small musical instrument
    Skipping rope
    Personal Care Items
    Blanket
    Toothbrush
    Washcloth
    Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
    Comb or brush
    Adhesive bandages (colourful ones can help a child be more willing to wear a bandage.)
    Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (consider filling any empty containers with non-liquid items to maximise space.)
    Flashlight (solar-powered or hand-crank; if battery operated, include extra prepackaged batteries)
    Nail clipper and file
    School Supplies
    Pencils, coloured pencils, pens, texters, pencil case
    Exercise books
    Safety scissors, ruler, protractor
    Blank index cards
    Solar powered calculator
    Small manual sharpener
    Erasers
    Clothing and Accessories
    T-shirt/top/pants
    Hat/scarf/mittens
    Socks/shoes/flip flops
    Underwear
    Sunglasses
    Wristwatch
    Bandana
    Crafts and Activities
    Colouring books, books
    Watercolour set
    Small adhesive tape
    Puzzles
    Chalkboard and chalk
    Binoculars
    Tool set with work gloves
    Fishing kit
    Brightly coloured rope or twine
    Gardening kit/gloves (no gardening seeds)
    Magnets
    Card games
    Toys
    Yo-yo
    Baseball and mitt
    Small frisbee
    Small kite
    Marbles
    Kaleidoscope
    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.

    *Samaritan’s Purse encourages Operation Christmas Child shoebox donors to include a personal note in each shoebox gift to encourage the recipient child in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some donors also include photos and addresses. Occasionally, pen-pal relationships have developed over the years between shoebox packers and the recipient.

    Samaritan’s Purse encourages donors who include their mailing address to be cautious of correspondence from shoebox recipient countries, especially letters written to children. Correspondence from a stranger should be treated with caution and awareness. Samaritan’s Purse does not encourage shoebox recipients or ministry partner churches around the world to solicit support from our donors.