I took my kids grocery shopping with $50. They were told all of the food we were buying that day was going directly to a local ministry that provided meals for hungry families. I’ve never seen my kids more excited in the grocery store. It was awesome. Children naturally want to make the world a better place. It’s up to parents to show them that they have the ability to make all that great stuff happen; they don’t have to just watch adults do it. So, parents, we’ve got 30 community service ideas for kids that they can totally do with just a little help from you.
There are so many benefits when kids do community service. It teaches empathy, helps them grow in responsibility, increases gratitude, and makes them all-around better humans. These 30 community service ideas for kids have options that little ones can get in on and older kids can grow from, too. And don’t think you have to organize everything. Let your kids do some research and call different non-profits to find out how to best meet the needs of your community. Just making phone calls or sending formal emails is a great learning experience.
1. Get 10 families together to make Thanksgiving meal kits. Every family can bring 10 of one item. Have the big kids stuff bags while little ones decorate cards.
2. Grab a bag, put on some gloves, and pick up trash. Pick a street you drive on every day and unofficially adopt it as a family.
3. Clean out your drawers and closets and donate the clothes to a thrift store that benefits a local non-profit.
4. Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.
5. Ask a local food bank what item they are most in need of. Leave a box outside your front door and ask friends and neighbors to drop the item off. Do this in a month where there’s not a major holiday. Hunger is year-round.
6. Do a loose change collection for a local pregnancy center. Give everyone who participates a baby bottle and ask them to bring it back a week later filled with change.
7. Write letters of gratitude to members of the military who are far from home. Operation Gratitude can help!
8. Collect books from friends to take to a local shelter.
9. Who says you have to plan community service ideas for kids? Teach your kids that if they see an opportunity to serve, they should act on it. Keep plastic grocery bags in the car. When you see trash on the side of the road, pull over and pick it up.
10. Go to an assisted living facility and offer to be a pen pal with a resident. Bonus: Your kids will learn how to address an envelope, and grow in patience as they wait for the response to arrive.
11. Host a lemonade stand and donate to your kids’ charity of choice.
12. Offer free car washes in your neighborhood. Even if they aren’t perfect – they’re free!
13. Make placemats and laminate them. Take them to nursing homes or a local soup kitchen.
14. Get a haircut and donate it to Locks of Love.
15. Collect old towels or blankets and donate them to a pet shelter.
16. Make cards to deliver to the local veterans hospital.
17. Bring crafts or playing cards to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Sit with the residents and ask them to share stories from when they were young.
18. Create brown bags for the homeless. This is a great activity for multiple families. Everyone brings a few items (deodorant, gum, granola bars) in bulk, the kids decorate the brown bags and then stuff them. Each family goes home with a stash to keep in the car and hand out when they see someone in need.
19. Often kids who are removed from their homes don’t have bags to carry their personal items in. Collect duffle bags to donate to foster and adoption services.
20. Make cards for police officers and firefighters to thank them for serving the community.
21. Pull weeds outside your church or school on a Saturday.
22. Create a welcome flyer for new students at your school. Tell them where to find the best ice cream and the park with the best slides.
23. Go door-to-door at local dentist offices asking for extra toothbrushes. Take what you collect to a local homeless shelter.
24. Offer to mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn, pull weeds, or rake leaves. Bring lemonade and stay for a chat.
25. Have classes create thank you cards for your school’s custodians.
26. Collect gently-used backpacks from classmates and donate them to a local shelter or charity for kids to use in the new school year.
27. Create bookmarks with kind words and drawings and slip them into books at the library.
28. Buy flowers to take to a local cemetery.
29. On your child’s next birthday, let him or her pick a local charity, and in lieu of presents, ask party guests to bring an item to donate. (They’ll still get presents from you!)
30. Pick up litter at a park and then stay and play!
What’s your favorite community service idea for kids?
Who says you have to plan community service ideas for kids? Teach your kids that if they see an opportunity to serve, they should act on it.
ASK YOUR CHILD…
What’s your favorite way to be a helper?
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