It’s true what they say…volunteering warms the heart of the giver as much as the receiver. This is a powerful lesson you can teach your kids by encouraging them to get involved with their local community. To get them started, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best volunteer opportunities for kids.
Volunteering opens up a whole world, gaining life experience and perspective that can be difficult to understand in a classroom.
By learning to think beyond their own needs, you can foster kindness in your child. Not only will they learn the importance of giving back, but it’s also a great way to get them busy and out of the house!
Year-Round Volunteer Opportunities For Kids
These are activities that your kids can get involved with any time of the year. No matter their age, there’s sure to be plenty of volunteer opportunities to inspire your kids.
Local Food Bank
Food banks rely on tons of volunteers in order to operate. Besides donating food, they often need help sorting out donations and packing up care packages to give to families. This is a great way for preteens and teenagers to help behind the scenes.
Organize A Bottle Drive
Accompany your child as they go door to door collecting bottles. Then, take them to a bottle depot and then donate all proceeds to a charity of your child’s choosing. You can also make this a community affair by getting more friends, family, and neighbors involved in the cause.
Together with your child, see if you can go help out at a nearby shelter to serve food or set tables. Alternatively, you can help collect materials such as coats, blankets, and toiletries to donate to the shelter as these items are always in need.
Help The Local Wildlife
Those of us who live in urban areas can easily help out our local wildlife. For example, put up a bird feeder or birdbath to provide birds with food and water. Add a bug hotel to your local park to give the bees a spot to rest. Plant a tree so it can grow into future habitat!
Join A Community Garden
Many children enjoy taking part in growing a garden. Besides planting in your own backyard, register your child to have their own plot in a community garden. They can help to beautify the space, plant a pollinator-friendly garden, and even donate produce they grow themselves.
You can also offer to restore or upkeep garden beds at places such as churches, community centers, or for an elderly neighbor.
Join A Race
Many walks and runs are hosted on behalf of a charity. Your child can join by raising money and participating in the event themselves. If it is a large event, they could also volunteer their time by providing water and snacks to participants.
Some little ones are so brave when it comes to cutting their hair! Out of all of these volunteer opportunities for kids, this one is one many participate in.
Charities such as Locks of Love accept hair to make wigs for adolescents who have experienced hair loss due to a medical condition. A child who grows their hair out will feel so proud when they cut it off for a good cause.
Walk A Dog
If you have an elderly neighbor or know someone with mobility issues, your child can volunteer to help walk their dog. Not only do they help out someone in need, but they also get some exercise of their own!
Baking goodies is an excellent way of saying thank you. Together with your child, bake up some treats such as brownies or cookies to gift to someone to make them smile. An elderly neighbor, the local fire hall, your child’s teacher, or a daycare worker will all appreciate the gesture.
Hold A Garage Sale
If you have plenty of items to get rid of, why not host a garage sale? Ask your child to help you organize a garage sale and donate the money to a charity. Ask your child where they would like to donate to so they can get excited and invested in raising as much as possible.
If you have a child who is hesitant to volunteer, try taking them to an animal shelter. So many kids love spending time with animals that it won’t even feel like any work. Many shelters need help with walking animals and keeping them company to tire them out.
Hang Out With Seniors
Sometimes, all you have to give is your time to really brighten someone else’s day. Kids have contagious energy and enthusiasm, and many senior centers and homes love having them stop by to visit.
To make the visit even better, have your kids bring cards, drawings, or treats to give to the residents.
Clean Up Litter
Go on a walk through your community and make it a mission to collect a bag full of litter. You can comb through your local beach, park, or even along the sidewalk to help clean up the area and make it a better place to be.
Not only will your kids make a positive impact on the environment, but it’s also a great teaching moment about the importance of respecting mother nature.
Read To Younger Kids
If you have a kid who just can’t put a book down, get them to spread their love of reading. They can read aloud to younger kids at their local library, church, daycare, or community center.
Depending on the age, it can be board books, picture books, or a novel for a recurring reading series.
Christmas Volunteer Opportunities For Kids
When it comes to the holiday season, there is no better time to get involved with the community. The season is about giving and spending quality time with one another. So, if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities for kids (holiday edition), this is a great place to start!
Assist In Christmas Shopping
Many people have difficulty leaving their homes and getting Christmas presents for their loved ones. Volunteering to help someone with their Christmas shopping can go a long way, whether you’re shopping in person, helping them buy online, or assisting in picking up packages.
Many boutiques, malls, and community centers offer volunteer-based gift wrapping services where the proceeds go to charity. This is great for older kids with a crafty side!
Since we’re always dreaming of a white Christmas, someone has to stick around to shovel snow! After a snowfall, encourage your child to help shovel snow for neighbors and within the local community.
Send Christmas Cards
Many people don’t get to spend Christmas at home and with their loved ones, so it is especially important to thank community workers and service people during the holidays. Your kids can spread the Christmas spirit by making cards for military personal, EMTs, firefighters, police, and others who dedicate their time to helping others.
Help A Family In Need
Rather than spend a ton of money on excessive Christmas presents, try sponsoring a local family who is in need. Many local organizations help out families by providing wish lists where you can purchase gifts and other essentials to spread some holiday cheer. Get the whole family involved when shopping!
Bake Christmas Cookies
Taking the time to make something sweet can really brighten up someone’s day. Have your kids help you whip up a batch of festive cookies to give out to neighbors, family, teachers, daycare workers, and others who you want to make feel warm and cozy and loved.
Decorating for Christmas could be a full-time job! Places such as churches, community centers, libraries, senior centers, homeless shelters, and many other non-profit organizations always appreciate help in making decorations or setting them up.
As far as volunteer opportunities for kids goes, this would also be great for the whole family!
While you don’t see carolers as often as you used to, it’s sure a treat when they stop by, or you see them at a Christmas market. So if you have a little nightingale on your hands, encourage them to put their good voice to use by singing Christmas carols.
Operation Christmas Child
With Operation Christmas Child, you fill a shoebox with toys, school supplies, and hygiene products to give to children across the globe. Like sponsoring a family, your child can help pick out items to put in the shoebox and add some special touches such as drawings or cards.
As it cools down in the winter, the season is especially difficult on the homeless population. Help your child with a clothing drive through school or the community to raise donations of warm clothing to give to a local shelter.
Pass Out Candy Canes
Volunteering can be as simple as making someone smile. Spread some Christmas joy with your child by passing out candy canes to classmates, neighbors, and even Christmas shoppers on the street!
Most importantly, try to volunteer together. Kids learn from watching what you do, so you can be a big influence in encouraging them in wanting to volunteer on their own. It’s a great way to spend time together and to inspire your child to be part of their local community.
What other kid-friendly volunteer opportunities do you know of? Leave them in the comments down below so we can help to spread even more kindness throughout our communities.