Wondering what to do for activities with the children? Not sure where to even start? Let us help you! Keep reading for some inspiration, along with itemized lists of supplies.

OSSO volunteers are assigned to work in a specific orphanage and area or “casa” at the orphanage. Volunteers spend most of their assigned with a group of 10-12 children.  About 2-3 times a week, the volunteers visit other orphanages with about 45 children. When volunteers visit these orphanages, they go in group of 3 or more and plan a large group activity to include all of the children. Volunteers should prepare enough activity supplies for each child based on where they are assigned to work.

Thankfully children love repetition! When you plan a good activity, the children want to repeat it over and over again!

The volunteer house has a cupboard of activity supplies such as: glue, scissors, paper, crayons, jump ropes, games, etc. However, after volunteers arrive in Ecuador, they always wish they brought specific supplies. Here are some ideas of activity themes to help you plan:

Princess Party

OSSO volunteers visit a girls orphanage twice a week in the evenings. There are about 40 girls + 8 boys (brothers of the girls living there).

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Card stock, construction paper, sequins, feathers, pom-pom, and anything else to make crowns!
  • Prepare a song or dance to do with the children
  • Special Treat (candy bracelets or ring pops)
  • Supplies to make friendship bracelets

Super Hero Party

Superman, Spiderman, The Hulk, Captain America - the children in Ecuador love the same famous Super Heroes that you know! *Plan for at least 12 boys*

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Super hero capes
  • Copied patterns of super hero masks (bring a whole punch and string!)
  • Face paint
  • Books & movies about super heroes


Animal Safari

It’s easy to collect toilet paper rolls so why not make kid sized “binoculars” and go on a safari!

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Animal babies (Hide these around the orphanage to “hunt for”)
  • Animal stickers
  • Books about animals
  • Animal puppets
  • Safari dress up (hat or vest)


Little Artists Day

The children love any chance to be creative! Crayons are great, but it’s fun to use a variety of art mediums.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Playdough toys (rolling pins & cookie cutters)
  • Baking clay
  • Tempera Paint (if you add a few squirts of Dawn Dish soap it becomes washable!)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Small wooden decorations to paint/build
  • Shaving Cream, Food Coloring, & Zip loc bags (mess free finger painting!)
  • Perler “melting” beads and parchment paper (we have an iron!)


Movie Night

Because volunteers live on orphanage grounds, we occasionally like to have movie nights with the kids! We usually choose a Disney movie to enjoy with the children.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Movie treats (this can be prepared in Ecuador or brought with you)
  • Make movie tickets, or pop corn boxes to make it feel like a real theater.           
    *Movies can be purchased for $1 in Ecuador


Night Games

Although many of the children are in wheelchairs, they love to participate in games! It gets dark in Ecuador early, so it's the perfect chance to play with glow toys.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Bring light up toys (frisbee, rocket, etc)
  • Bring glow sticks
  • Bring glow-in-the-dark nail polish to paint the girls nails.


Wheel Chair Soccer Championship

The children love a good game of soccer in the afternoon. The children love to be pushed around or cheer on their friends!

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Soft soccer ball
  • Pom-poms, mega phone, etc to cheer on the soccer team
  • Bring face paint (Ecuador's soccer team colors are yellow, red, and blue)
  • Fabric paint to decorate T-shirts


Water Games

On nice sunny days, the children love to play outside in the water. Occasionally the children get to go on a field trip to the swimming pool.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Water balloons
  • Squirt guns
  • Floaty toys
  • Small bath tub toys that float


Special Olympics

While the children have many physical disabilities, we love to celebrate the abilities they do have! 

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Medals or ribbons for the children (please bring at least 25 so all children are included)
  • Supplies to make signs, decorations, and a torch with the children.
  • Bring Olympic music for the award ceremony (the orphanage has a stereo that can play CD's or connect to ipods)
  • Plan & prepare games - suggestions include: Discus throw (bring a frisbee), long jump (there is a sand box at the orphanage), cup stacking contest, Donut eating contest (bring string to hang up donuts), "minute to win it" games, etc!


Kiddie Carnival

Volunteers can set up stations so the children can rotate through the different activities.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Clown costume (the kids love to see volunteers dress up!)
  • Carnival decorations, tickets, and music
  • Pin the tail on the donkey game
  • Bingo game
  • Music for musical chairs
  • Prizes for a fish pond
  • Face paint
  • Mini pie crusts and boxes of pudding mix (pie eating contest)
  • Ring toss
  • Bean bags
  • Parachute
  • Bubble machine
  • Collapsible tunnel/kid tent
  • Long balloons and a pump to make balloon animals
  • Bowling (bring a mini set, or make a set out of pop bottle in Ecuador)
  • Set of small rubber duckies with numbers or shapes written on the bottom. The children can play a matching game while the duckies float is a large bin. These can be bought online at Oriental Trading, or you can buy a set from the Dollar Store and draw the shapes/number on the bottom!


Holiday celebrations

OSSO volunteers love any excuse to celebrate with the children.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Party favors and decorations (signs, streamers, balloons, party blowers, hats, etc)
  • Valentine’s Cards
  • Green St. Patrick Day supplies (gold coins, green food die, 4 leaf clovers)
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Easter egg die
  • Trick-or-treat bags
  • Halloween Costumes
  • Thanksgiving decorations (turkeys, thankful trees, canned pumpkin to make desserts, etc)
  • Christmas stockings, small gifts, candy canes, etc.


Baking Supplies

Whether it’s a birthday cake, or movie treats, the volunteers are often baking or cooking for the kids. The volunteer house is stalked with supplies, but there are a few things that are difficult to find in Ecuador.

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Food coloring
  • Sprinkles
  • Parchment paper
  • Chocolate chips
  • Birthday candles
  • Cream of tartar (often used in Playdough recipes)
  • Canned Pumpkin (especially for Thanksgiving)


Appreciation Day for orphanage workers

The OSSO Special Needs orphanage has 25 employees. We are blessed to have some of the most angelic employees care for the children at OSSO's orphanage. As you will experience, their work days are long and hard. Some of these workers have been working with OSSO since the orphanage opened. We would love to choose one day to give them an extra special "thank you". 

*ALL gifts must be approved through the Orphanage Director before giving it to an employee.*

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Blank Thank You cards (everyone in the group can help decorate them)
  • Prepare a song or dance to perform during a short program
  • Make refreshments (this can be made in Ecuador, but you may want to bring special ingredients with you)
  • Bring a small gift for the employees. It's important that all of the gifts are the same or very comparable. (examples include: small lotion, chocolate, etc)


Pinewood Derby Race

There are several children old enough to make a race car with a little help. The other children would love join in with a match-box cars for race day!

  • Pinewood Derby Car sets (At least 2 sets, but could use 6)
  • Acrylic paint


Sunday Puppet Shows

The Directors at the Special Needs orphanage suggested that the volunteers do a puppet show on Sunday afternoons (although this is a great activity at all orphanages any day of the week!)

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • Puppets & simple stories for a puppet show
  • Supplies to make puppets with the children (brown paper bags work great!)
  • Flannel board stories (the orphanage has a flannel board)


Family Home Evening

OSSO has made agreements with each orphanage not to preach any religious doctrine against their will. All but 1 orphanage has asked that we do not talk, preach, or bring any religious material to their orphanage. However, the Directors of the Special Needs orphanage are members of the LDS faith. They invite the volunteers to plan and prepare Family Home Evening Activities to do with the children. This is completely optional, and no volunteers will be asked to attend if they do not show interest. 

Suggestions of supplies to bring:

  • FHE lesson. (This can be in Spanish or English as many of the children understand English).
  • Songs (either on CD or ipod).
  • Activity/craft (recommend activities from the Friend magazine)
  • FHE Treat (this can be brought or made in Ecuador)


We ask each volunteer to choose a craft supply to bring, and search for ideas how to use that craft item. Examples are shown below with paper plate crafts, coffee filter crafts, and paper bag crafts. You can search for ideas on Pinterest or search in Google images (for example “paper plate kid crafts”. If you would like to do crafts with toilet paper rolls or egg cartons, those can be easily collected in Ecuador! Don’t worry about bringing those items!


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