Before we had our first child 9 years ago, my husband and I found it fairly simple to do some volunteer work. Having kids complicated things. Having time for volunteering can be difficult especially when your children are young. However, if you can include your kids, you can both volunteer and teach your children valuable lessons about thankfulness simultaneously. Here are a few ideas for volunteering with kids.
1) Donation Drives
One of the simplest ways of volunteering with kids is to participate in a donation drive. There are always various food drives or clothing drives going on throughout the year. It gives you ample opportunity to talk about why we collect items for other families and how fortunate your family is for the simple blessings of food and clothing.
2) Organize a Food Drive
Organizing a food drive at your church or school can be a great way to teach your children the power stepping up and doing good. It empowers children with the thought that THEY can take action and serves as a reminder that anyone has the authority to start something new to make a difference, even children.
3) Visiting the Elderly
One simple idea for volunteering with kids is to visit the elderly. If you have older people in your life that you know, you can simply set up a time to visit them with your children. If you aren’t acquainted with anyone elderly, think of older folks that might go to church with you, neighbors, or perhaps contact a local nursing home and see if there is someone that could use visitors. To prepare for the visit, consider making or buying a snack to share with them. The children could make cards or pick flowers to bring as well.
4) Food Blessing Boxes
Food Blessing Boxes are popping up in communities everywhere to help those who are in need of food. The concept is that there is a box similar to a mailbox, but larger and people can drive up and leave food. People who need food can stop by and get some. It’s an unattended small neighborhood food pantry. Our school built one and placed it next to the street to serve the surrounding neighborhood. Involving your children in buying items and placing them in the Blessing Box starts conversations about helping those in need and how some families struggle with food security. If your town does not have a Blessing Box, consider starting one!
5) Bell Ringing
During the holiday season, the Salvation Army along with other organizations raise money to help the needy. Ringing a bell can be an easy way for a child to volunteer. If you have smaller children, consider volunteering in a mall or area where there is no traffic.
6) Giving Trees
During the holidays, there are many opportunities to donate toys or clothing to children in need. Oftentimes you can find wishlists on Giving Trees or Angel Trees. Involving your children in this activity both brings awareness to the cause and helps your children comprehend that they are blessed.
7) Regular Meals with Elderly
Consider setting up a regular weekly meal with an elderly person. After our grandma passed away, my sister and I set up a weekly Tuesday morning breakfast with our grandpa. It wasn’t always easy to manage our crew of 7 kids in a restaurant, but it was well worth it. Inter-generational friendships are so valuable for children to develop and of course, our grandfather looked forward to seeing all of us each week as well.
8) Writing Letters to Soldiers
Writing letters to soldiers or drawing pictures for them is another easy way to volunteer with kids. There are many organizations that collect letters for soldiers to encourage them. Here is a site that lists several. Writing to a soldier helps bring encouragement to our troops and brings about conversations with your children about what soldiers do for our country and awareness of the sacrifices made for our freedom.
I hope you’ve found some excellent ideas for volunteering with kids! Which ideas will you implement into your lives this year?
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