Encouraging kids to get involved in the community and volunteering to help those who are less fortunate can cause children to develop a sense of gratitude and self-worth. The value of doing charitable acts for others is tremendous, and kids will feel a sense of pride when they know that their actions are making someone else's life happy. Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available for kids, as long as you know where to look! When you begin to teach your kids about charity, talk to your kids to find out what types of activities they are interested in and take their ages and abilities into account.
School Supply Drives
Kids have better organizational skills than we give them credit for. They are also painfully aware of their less fortunate classmates. Your kids can talk to the school about organizing a supply drive, either at the very beginning of the year to help kids whose families can't afford school supplies, or at the end of the year to stock classrooms with supplies for the kids coming in.
Donating to a Food Pantry
Local food pantries are always in need of food. You can help younger kids by having them go through your own pantry to look for food that can be donated. Older kids may want to go to the store with their allowance to purchase canned goods.
Delivering Meals to the Elderly
Do you know someone who is older in your neighborhood, or perhaps a family friend who needs some extra help? Someone who is injured or who just had a new baby would also appreciate having a meal delivered. Have your kids plan the meal and help to cook it. It doesn't have to be fancy. A pot of spaghetti or a simple casserole goes together quickly and travels well.
Helping After a Natural DisasterKids may see reports of hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes on the news and feel frightened. By helping those affected, kids may feel like they have mitigated some of the damage caused. Survivors of a natural disaster need everything: food, clothing, money, baby supplies and even pet supplies. Your child may wish to donate some of his own clothing and toys, or may wish to organize a cash drive to donate to a cause like the Red Cross.
Cleaning up the Environment
Many local parks and nature societies have special days dedicated to planting trees or helping clean up natural areas. Check the website for your local county park system or Audubon Society to see when this type of event is taking place and bring your child. Dress for digging and get your hands dirty. Your child will immediately see the results of their efforts and will be especially impacted if the location is a favorite playground or park.
Helping the Elderly with Yard Work
Yard work is a great volunteer activity for kids because it's difficult for those who are older to get out and take care of their yards and gardens as much as they used to. Older kids can help with projects like gardening and mowing the lawn, while younger children can help pick up leaves. You might even find your kids more willing to help out around your own yard!