For children, opening the door to givingis much like opening a book – a new world and experience captures them and beckons for imaginative thinking, spirit, and reflection. Add simple service projects and volunteering to your family library of activities this holiday season with these creative tips and ideas
from our friends at VolunteerSpot.
What’s the best way to get young children involved in Service?
Children are naturally generous and want to help others. Volunteering together builds family bonds and helps kids realize that even small people can make a big difference in the lives of others.
Start simple! Decorating cards and drawing pictures from home are great ways for kids to get creative and make a difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s for residents at a local nursing home, troops abroad, or even their Scout leader or team coach, creating cards makes for an inspiring giving activity.
Explore their interests! Are your kids animal lovers? Connect with a local animal shelter and see if your family can volunteer grooming, walking, or petting the animals. Enjoy cooking with you? Bake some sweet treats together for a new neighbor. Do they love the outdoors? Plant wildflowers or pick up trash at your park or trail.
Connect with other families! Encourage friends with kids to join you – helping others in your community as a large group makes the experience even more memorable. Capture the fun with pictures for the family bulletin board or scrapbook.
TIP: VolunteerSpot’s free online sign up sheets and coordination tools save time and make it easy to organize all the people and things that help you make a difference in our communities and schools!
What service activities are best with kids?
These are some simple favorites that children enjoy :
- Collect gently used coats, books and toys for a local family shelter. Bring kids along when delivering donations so they can see where they go and how they help
- Rake an elderly neighbor’s leaves or shovel their snowy walk
- Decorate re-usable grocery bags and fill them with your kid’s favorite non-perishable foods. Deliver them to your local foodbank
- Host a neighborhood hot-chocolate stand and encourage kids to research a local cause they care about to donate their proceeds
- Collect old towels from neighbors and donate them to the local animal shelter. Bonus: Collect pet toys and food too
- Attend a local fun run or performance in your community that gives money collected to a group or cause your family connects with. Talk about the charity in terms children can understand.
What books do your recommend about helping others?
Stone Soup by Ann McGovern and Winslow Pinney is a beautiful story of a community coming together to not just feed one another’s hunger, but to share of themselves and build community.
Well Earth, Well Me! By Kenda Swartz Pepper serves an environmental mind and helps kids and their parents understand how they can help others just by helping their Earth.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud and David Messing is an instructive metaphorical illustration that encourages children to practice daily kindness.
Bonus: FREE eBook “Family-Friendly Service ideas from A-Z” from VolunteerSpot!
Reading Rainbow wants to thank VolunteerSpot for contributing to this weeks guest blog on Helping Others. We appreciate their support in our mission to inspire a love of reading in children and connect them to the world they live in through quality literature so they can “Go anywhere. Be anything.“