Volunteering in Baños – 30 Kids and 100 Soda Bottles

Baños, Ecuador

What happens when you hand 30 kids 100 soda bottles?

Fun time and crazy creatures is what happens.

All of the stuff below were made during activity time at the Foundation in Baños – where we spent 3 weeks working with local kids and teaching English to adults.

Plastic Butterfly

Jack at the Bib, Baños, Ecuador
Jack and his butterfly

Bottle Monsters

volunteering at arte del mundo, banos, Ecuador
volunteering in banos, ecuador
Adela and her bottle monster

This is one of our favorite bottle mosters

making bottle monster in Banos, Ecuador

Bottle Fish

Making fish monster in Banos, Ecuador

Sail Boat

making sail boat in Banos, Ecuador

Both Jack and I had never worked with kids before. Animals – yes. Kids – no.

I always thought of kids as little aliens – foreign, covered in mysterious bodily fluid, and unpredictable.

And I was mostly right, but somehow we still had such a great time interacting with them.

So much fun that even when we’re not officially volunteers anymore, we still stop by to read to them and play with them. Bodily fluid and all.

Our 3 week volunteering stint here in Baños made us realise 3 things:

1. Kids’ ability to think outside the box never ceases to amaze us. I mean, seriously – feathers as eyes and nose (see pic 2)? Why not?
2. You know you’re not supposed to play favorites, but there will be kids who tug at your heartstrings just a little harder than the others.
3. There’s a very serious soda addiction problem in this place. How did we end up sacks after sacks of these soda bottles?

By the way, if you’re curious, here is the organization we were volunteering for. If you’re interested in working with uber cute kids who will charm your socks off, in an awesome place (seriously, we’re going into week 6 here in Baños). Check them out.

Tell us:

Have you ever volunteered and worked with children before? What was it like?

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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25 Replies to “Volunteering in Baños – 30 Kids and 100 Soda Bottles”

  1. Sounds like a great experience. Do you know if it would be possible to volunteer for 2 weeks at Arte Del Mundo? My time is kinda limited, but I have loved all my previous volunteering experiences.

  2. Bottle monsters are such a fantastic idea for creativity! I still think kids have cooties, I don't think it will change much but more power to you for working with them!

  3. How great are these bottle monsters? I am sure the kids loved their little creatures and have been extremely proud to present them to their parents!

  4. Exactly. We have two kids here that I swear I just want to pick up, one under each arm, and run away with. So adorable!

  5. Hey there, we use word of mouth and Twitter basically to get recommendations. Also, in some places we've found volunteering opportunities posted on hostel walls or restaurants so there's always that.

  6. It sounds like you had an amazing experience. I love your description of kids being like aliens. I actually believe that kids are some of the worlds greatest thinkers. Great article!

  7. I soooo want to be in this class. I've just set out a mandate not to toss any plastic bottles into recycling this week… I got plans for those!
    *raises brow and laughs*

  8. Volunteering with kids is seriously an incredible experience.

    Not only do they put just about EVERYTHING into perspective, but they also kind of make me wish I had feathers for eyes…

  9. I agree, those kids are adorable, and some of those bottles are fantastic. My favorites are the fish and pink bottle with the face 🙂 awesome.

    How did you guys find the best places to volunteer on your trip? We are leaving for a 12 month journey, and looking for some good recommendations. thx….

  10. I just left Nicaragua where I was volunteering in the public schools. You are correct, there are some kids who tug a little harder at your heart, causing you to contemplate kidnapping! 🙂 (just kidding, would never do this. but there was one little guy in particular who I could have fit into my backpack if necessary!)

  11. I've not worked with children before and did a day of volunteering at a daycare centre in Guatemala. I really admire you guys for doing three weeks.

    I think kids can smell my fear – I am so awkward around them! A bit nervous since next year I want to teach entire class-fuls in Korea!

  12. Don't the kids just bring out your inner creative child?! So glad you guys enjoyed volunteering there!! Banos is a very special place- surrounded my so much natural beauty. You will forever be able to make crafts from recycled randomness! 🙂

  13. I love the yellow bottle fish!!! Seriously, I would love to give that to my best friend for her birthday. Any way to get it here? I'll buy it of course! Let me know!

    LOVE your blog!!!

  14. We recently started teaching English to children in South Korea and it's amazing how little is can take to make you love a child. They are so precious! I love the way they look at the world and how a stamp or a sticker is the worst of their problems. I wish that was all I had to worry about!

  15. I'm so happy that you guys made a stop at the BIB, and I'm even happier that you enjoyed it! We have so many great memories of this place, and it's funny to recognize the kids in your photos. 🙂

  16. Sounds like a very rewarding experience! Small children are definitely a bit mysterious, yet able to provide some serious fulfillment. Enjoy yourselves!

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