The Day My 3-Year-Old Did Multiplication (By Giving to Others)

Although that may sound impressive, it’s not exactly what you would think. Perhaps she has learned something even better, though. She used giving to find out what multiplication looks and feels like in real life, and these tangible experiences for young children are a powerful way to learn and reinforce new concepts (like multiplication). When our family was introduced to CommuniGift as her third birthday approached, I already sensed that it was an opportunity to grow the impact of our family giving, but I didn’t anticipate the added bonus of our daughter learning multiplication, too.

CommuniGift was founded upon the belief that all children, no matter their circumstance, deserves to feel special on their birthday. For some families, the opportunity to throw a birthday party, or even purchase a gift for their child is out of reach. Meanwhile, as we selected a play place, ordered food, and chose the cake, the spirit behind CommuniGift reminded me that this was plenty. Simone had more than enough to make her feel special on her birthday.

We discovered that through CommuniGift’s interface, rather than having our guests bring presents to her party, we could invite them to donate gifts to her virtual “birthday buddy” instead. In the face of birthday consumerism, CommuniGift was an opportunity to buffer what was already enough celebration for one three-year-old. Simone could share the joy and magic of birthdays with other kids, who otherwise might not have the chance to celebrate their birthday this year.

As guests RSVPed and purchased gifts for her birthday buddy online, the impact multiplied. One birthday buddy’s wish list was fulfilled and another birthday buddy was added. In the end we supported 6 birthday buddies, thanks to our guests. Later, one of our guests ended up donating through CommuniGifts holiday platform and another hosted their own #giftback birthday a month later. That’s another 6 children and 30 gifts!

Simone, being so young, couldn’t quite fully grasp the effects of sharing her birthday with other deserving kids. But, I think she enjoyed looking at her CommuniGift birthday page and seeing all the gifts that would be delivered to her birthday buddies. As she grows, we’ll keep telling this story and reinforcing how her birtday helped others celebrate theirs.

My husband and I already know multiplication, but this experience came with a lesson for us, too. As each birthday approaches, I intend to ask myself: What is really necessary to show Simone that she is loved on her birthday? What are we engaging in that is fueled by “kid birthday culture” that we could forgo and put to #socialgood use instead? How can I help Simone begin to ask these questions herself so that she is empowered to decide what is nice to have and what is nearing excess?

When she does start to learn multiplication in school someday, we’re going to remind her of that time she was three and already learning it! And even more importantly, she’ll sense that the impact of giving is one of the most meaningful applications of multiplication that exists in her world.

Simone image

Simone and one of her birthday buddies each enjoying their respective birthdays.

Watch this impactful video about how CommuniGift affects the lives of children in need.

Interested in joining in? Find your birthday buddy here:


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