Teaching kids how to give back is important AND easy to do. There are many ways to teach generosity to children and get involved in helping your community.
Christmas is right around the corner and the holiday season is about giving. During this time of year, people donate gifts to angel trees and send shoe boxes filled with goodies to other parts of the world. My family participates in these activities during the holidays, but what happens the rest of the year, when December is over.
Giving for Kids
We like to teach our kids to give throughout the year and teaching kids about giving is very easy! It can be hard to find the time when you’re busy with school and activities, but my husband and I try to make it a priority in our home to help others that are less fortunate or in a tough spot. When activities slow down in the summer is the perfect opportunity to find some time to go volunteer.
Now that my kids are getting older, they have volunteer requirements for confirmation at church and school. Both school and church offer different types of volunteer options, which I love. They can participate in things they enjoy.
Here are some things that you can do all throughout the year with your kids to give back.
Participate in a 5K
Most races donate money to a cause. You can pick a few and run (or walk in my case). My family is doing a Pay It Forward race tomorrow morning. Every finisher gets a bottle of money from $10-$100. We pooled our money with our baseball team and donated it. I think this is great because the kids have to do something to earn it! Update: We’ve done this race many times since then and love to see what amount of money we get in our bottle at the end. We’ve done other races and it’s a great confidence boost too. My daughter literally wore her medal for a year.
There are many volunteer opportunities to work at races too. They always need volunteers to hand our race bibs, make gift bags and prepare the course.
Sponsor a Child
My husband and I have sponsored a child through the organization Unbound for probably 11 or 12 years. Once we had kids and they got to be a little older, we decided to sponsor 2 more children. We get pictures and write letters to the kids. We send little gifts throughout the year. We sponsor a girl in India and 2 children in Nicaragua.
My husband and older son were lucky enough to go on an organized trip and meet the kids in Nicaragua. They got to meet their families and see where they lived. It was a big eye opener for my 10-year-old.
Donate toys and clothes
I think it’s great when your kids can clean out their rooms and help decide what toys they’re ready to give away. I load everything up in my van and sometimes drive around with it for over a week until I can get all the kids in the car at the same time. I make them go with me to the local donation center to drop them off, so they can see how the items will be used.
Volunteer Ideas for Kids
My community has a back to school bash and they give away school supplies, backpacks, shoes, etc. This is a great opportunity to donate items. If you can’t donate, then something like this is perfect for kids to help out. They can help stuff the backpacks and see all the children they are going to help with all the great items.
My older son also participated in a program at school where he delivered food on Fridays for kids to take home for the weekend.
A fun activity that we also participated in was helping pack up meals. We have a restaurant near us called Tacos For Life. They organized a day where everyone came together and even my youngest daughter was able to participate. We loaded rice, dried veggies, beans and seasonings into bags to be sent to other countries.
Here’s my daughter sitting in the meeting room learning about the program and what we were going to do. She’s going to kill me for posting this picture.
You’ll have to look at community needs to see what ways parents and children and can do together. You may want to check with your town. Following those places on social media is a good place to start.
- homeless shelters
- local food bank- Update: My two oldest boys are in high school now! They both support our local food pantry charity and it’s their go-to volunteer place. The people that work there love when they come in because they can do all the heavy lifting.
- thrift stores
- Other local nonprofits such as Family Promise. Family Promise helps homeless families.
- local senior centers or senior care centers
- Special Olympics
These are just a few things you can do. Some don’t even cost a dime, but your kids can still have that great feeling when they help others out. Let me know if you have any other ideas I can add to the list.