Teaching our children to live generously is a practice that will have a profound impact on their lives and the lives of everyone they touch with their kind spirit. By providing simple ways for your kids can give back, you instill a special quality that has the potential to change the world.
Here is a list of kid-friendly ways to spread love and generosity throughout the year.
1. Deliver handmade cards to nursing homes
Gather your art supplies and help your little one create cards for the residents at a local nursing home. Seniors love having little visitors. Check with your local assisted living facility about volunteer opportunities. Perhaps you and your child could bring a game to play or work on arts and crafts while you make new friends. Many places have an adopt-a-grandparent program that sets you up with an individual that you can visit on a regular basis. This is a great opportunity for a way your kids can give back on a regular basis and create a special bond with someone.
Locate a local soup kitchen or food pantry and give the gift of your time. Make living generously part of your family’s life on a regular basis. You can adopt a food shelf and collect items each month to donate. Doing Good Together is the most amazing resource I have found for empowering kids to make the world a better place. These kid-friendly ideas will have a powerful impact on your family, community and the world.
Feed My Starving Children creates nutritious meal packets and distributes them around the world. Children as young as five can volunteer to help pack meals. Large groups can register for volunteer opportunities. Talk with your neighbors, scout troop, or youth group and schedule a time to make a difference in the lives of so many people.
3. Create a service-learning project
Habit for Humanity works to engage people in a variety of volunteer opportunities for all ages throughout the year. You can check your local Habitat affiliate to find ways to help. You can use this guide to design a service-learning project for your scout troop, youth group, school or any organization that wants to make a difference in their community.
4. Remember those who help in your community
Have your child make a list of the people in the community who make their day a little easier. Have your child write and draw a card to thank them for all that they do. The bus driver, lunch attendant, local firefighters, and waste management professions will surely appreciate your child’s kindness.
5. Go wild and support an animal
Help protect endangered animals by supporting the World Wildlife Fund’s conservation efforts. Kids can celebrate a special day and show love for the planet by sending someone a free e-card.
Another way to help our furry friends is to volunteer at an animal shelter. Check with a shelter near you to see if there is a time where you can help by walking the dogs or playing with the kittens. There is a great need for people to foster rescued animals. Click here to learn more about fostering an animal and to locate opportunities near you.
6. Help a neighbor in need
Do you have a neighbor that could use a little help around the house? Instill a generous spirit in your children by having them offer to shovel a driveway or water plants without the expectation of receiving something in exchange for the work that was done. You could also have your child help make a meal for a new mom or an elderly neighbor. Explaining how this thoughtful action impacts people’s lives helps your child develop empathy and understanding.
7. Assemble care kits for the homeless
Seeing a homeless person might be confusing or even a little frightening for your child. Creating care kits to hand out to those less fortunate helps your child see the impact of his or her actions on the lives of others. Use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about being grateful for the little things they have that others might not be fortunate enough to enjoy. Here’s a great resource on how to create care kits.
8. Become an angel
Chemo Angels help brighten the day of patients throughout their cancer treatment. This is a long term commitment that you and your child can do together. You will be assigned to a patient who you will encourage through small gifts, cards, letters, uplifting notes.
You can also apply to become a senior angel. Lift the spirits of a senior and show them they are loved through cards and letters.
9. Show your love and thanks to soldiers serving our country
Help your children write letters and color pictures for the veterans and men and women who are currently serving. Go to A Million Thanks to find out more information and directions on how to send your letters.
10. Host a bake sale for a good cause
If you and your kiddos love baking and helping bring a smile to someone’s face, then consider hosting a bake sale. Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child.