As parents, we work hard to ensure that our children are educated and that they have the life skills they need to successfully navigate the world – especially once they have “flown the coop.” However, in addition to them being productive and capable members of society, we also want them to be good people.
We want them to be generous, caring, selfless, and kind. One way that you can nurture these types of attitudes in your children is to teach them the joy of giving back to their community. Here are a few simple and fun ideas for how your children can become positive members of your local community.
8 Ways Kids Can Give Back to Their Community
Visit the Elderly
Almost all communities have retirement or nursing homes that are filled with people who would love to have someone stop by for a friendly chat. Stop by the front desk of a retirement/nursing home in your area and ask them about their policy for visiting with their residents. Often, they rely on volunteers to help keep the residents happy, active and mentally stimulated. A lot of people have the misconception that volunteering at a nursing home might be boring or difficult. However, a lot of the time, playing a game might be just what they need. And what kid doesn’t love playing games?
Does your child have a lot of toys or clothes that they can no longer fit? A great way for them to practice giving back on a regular basis is to make it a habit of donating things that they no longer need or want. Especially essential items and items that might make other people happy, but that they may not be able to afford easily. Most communities make it easy for you. Plenty of organizations accepts donations, like churches, schools, and Big Brother Big Sister. It’s simply a matter of reaching out and then letting your child choose the charity of their choice.
Conduct a Donation Drive
If, for some reason, you can’t find a business or organization that your child can donate to, why not help your children start their own donation drive? It takes more time, effort, and organization, but if your children choose a cause that is near and dear to their hearts, it will be extremely worthwhile.
Feed the Homeless
If your area has a homeless population, your kids might want to start preparing meals and snacks to provide them with on a regular basis. If you’ve never done something like this before, I warn you that it can become very emotional. This is also a great opportunity to talk to your kids about the fact that some people are less fortunate than others, but that we all have the power to help each other in some way – even if it is just giving someone a hot meal.
Volunteer at a Food Pantry
Not everyone who is hungry is homeless. Many people have a roof over their heads but still, suffer from food insecurity. That is why a lot of organizations in communities across the world operate food pantries. These are places where people in the community can come by to receive packages of not only food but other essential items like toiletries and clothes. Check your community to find out if there are any food pantries that could use some more volunteers.
Have you ever noticed an area in your community that always has litter scattered around? Go out with your kids one day, trash bags in hand, and start cleaning up! Your kids might enjoy being part of keeping your community looking nice.
Paint a Mural
Another beautification project that your kids might enjoy is painting a mural. If your kids are really creative and love to paint or draw, why not ask a local business (or go to the city council) to find out if they can put their creative expression to work on some walls around town?
Make Baked Goods for Service Workers
Another great way to give back to the community is to give to the people who help keep the community running smoothly. I’m talking about all of the people that work hard every day to serve others. People like doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, postal workers, EMTs, sanitation workers, etc. Help your kids bake (or buy; I won’t tell) some tasty treats to hand out to people as you go throughout town. I’m sure they would appreciate the gesture. These are just a few ideas for how your kids can give back to the community.
These would also make excellent community service projects for kids under 12. What are some ideas that you have? I’d love to hear about them!