Back-to-school can be a busy time for families, filled with homework, sports practices, school plays, and other extracurricular activities. However, it’s important to remember the role that volunteer service can play in your child’s development. Volunteering together as a family helps kids learn that they can make a positive difference through service to others.
Without further ado, here are 12 simple service projects for kids of all ages:
- Make crafts or write letters to be included in soldier care packages. Operation Gratitude will help you come up with ideas and find a donation center near you.
- Organize a food drive in your neighborhood to support a local foodbank, and have your children pick their favorite foods to donate. Feeding America’s Food Bank locator is searchable by zip code and can help you find a food bank near you.
- Fill backpacks with cups, pots, pans, soap, toothpaste, and other cosmetics to create homeless “survival kits” to be distributed to homeless people in your community, or find out other ways you can show your support by simply CAREing.
- Cleaning out your closets to make room for fall clothing? Save gently used clothing and donate it to your local family shelter, refugee center or charity thrift store.
- Become a Hospital Buddy and be a supportive friend to a child during their fight against cancer.
- Start a crew of neighborhood children to provide free lawn care and snow shoveling services for seniors in your community. Check out Points of Light’s resources for volunteers for tips on how to get started.
- During lunch at school, host a hot chocolate or cider stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of your choosing. Charity Navigator will help you find the perfect organization to donate to.
- Clean out your bookshelf of older, lightly used DVDs and books and donate them to a local children’s hospital.
- Be a companion to a senior in a local nursing home. Make cards and sing carols for them around the holidays. Use Create the Good’s guide for volunteering with seniors to help you get started.
- Collect used towels and pet toys and donate them to your local animal shelter.
- Adopt a military family for the Holidays and bring food, comfort, and friendship to a family struggling to get by.
Making a Habit of Service
Habits that children develop at a young age will stick with them long into adulthood. The following tips will help your children see the power of service and build a lifelong commitment to giving back.
- Deliver donated items with your kids. This will help them see and feel the difference they are making in the lives of people they have helped.
- Talk about and share your family’s service experience. Help your children process what they did, how it felt, and what they learned.
- Choose your next project immediately. Build on your kids’ enthusiasm and search for opportunities to give back in your area on All for Good.
- Family Friendly Volunteering: Ideas from A-Z — a free eBook by VolunteerSpot
- GenerationOn — resources for kids, teens, parents and teachers
- Doing Good Together — project ideas for home and in the community
This post is an updated version of our 2013 post, 10 Kid-Friendly Volunteer Service Projects.