Especially this time of year, we’re focusing on gratitude - being grateful for our families, our health and all the good things in our lives (not just material things). Finding ways to give to our community is one of the ways that we teach our kids about gratitude. I want them to learn about volunteering, about service to others, and making a positive impact.
There are many ways that we can all share the joy of giving back with our little ones. I find my children like to participate in activities that involve a direct connection to the recipient more so than simply donating money. Here are over 20 kid-friendly, COVID-friendly volunteering ideas!
Start Close to Home
You don’t have to go far to find opportunities to help others.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood with a garbage bag & some gloves, and clean up trash on the side of the road.
- Shovel snow for your neighbour.
- Collect and deliver supplies to neighbors who have just had a baby, undergone surgery, or who may not be able to get their own groceries.
- Make people smile. Have your child draw pictures to post at your community mailbox or display in your windows.
- Collect used books to donate them to your local school or family shelter.
- Sell their old toys and donate the proceeds to a local charity.
Help Those Less Fortunate
Helping your children learn that they can help by sharing, takes the focus off getting gifts and puts it on what we can give.
- Make care packages for the homeless to deliver to a shelter. Some ideas to include: travel-sized toiletries, socks, mittens, granola bars, and bottled water.
- Donate art supplies to a shelter that serves children.
- Collect coats and blankets for your local homeless shelter.
- Sponsor a child through Toy Mountain to make sure these children have magical holidays.
- Sponsor a holiday hamper for a local family in need. Many organizers will match you with a family, and provide a list of specific requests that family might have.
- Gather canned foods to donate at a local food bank.
- Have your child sort through old toys they don’t play with anymore and donate them to Goodwill or another local charity group.
Many kids have a special love for animals, and tying their volunteer experience to something they love can be a great way to keep them interested and motivated.
- Donate newspapers, dog beds, or other pet supplies to a local animal shelter.
- Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog.
- Pet sit for a neighbor who is going out of town.
- Make bird feeders for a community garden.
Thank Your Community Helpers
Find ways to help thank your helpers who keep your community going.
- “Adopt” a grandparent by having your kids make hand drawn cards for nursing home residents.
- Fill a care package for a patient at a local children’s hospital. We love to support the Markham Stouffville Love Box Project. A few times a year the kids come with me to the store to pick out toys and activites for a pediatric patient their age.
- Provide unopened craft supplies to use at your child’s school.
- Bring a grocery gift card to your local firehouse.
- Write thank you cards to local health care workers and mail/deliver them to the hospital to thank them for helping the community.
- Bring a thank you package to your local police department.
With so many ways to donate your time, energy and talents to help others, which will you choose?