Summer vacation is winding down – and most of us have already done everything we can think of to keep our kids entertained and out of hair. Summertime should be all about fun and enjoying what our local communities have to offer – like pools, parks, picnics, parades, fairs and so much more! Why not encourage your kids to use some of their free time to give back to your communities, and “pay it forward.”
Summer charity work is important for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it’s great to encourage our kids to “give back” – teaching them the importance of community and charity now will help instill a sense of patronage and compassion in your kids for years to come. Plus, it will give you guys something to bond over. And, it will also keep them out of your hair and out trouble while school is out. There’s nothing more stressful than a house full of bored kids! It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
We put together a list of kid-friendly volunteering activities that will keep you and your little ones busy this summer. Obviously, not every community has organized charity events, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give back somehow! Also, don’t get discouraged if your first endeavor isn’t a complete success – keep at it until you find something that you and your kids both enjoy and feels like you are really making a difference!
Clean-Up The Neighborhood
Picking up trash doesn’t sound very glamorous, but what community couldn’t use a little cleaning up every now and then? Put on some old clothes and some gloves and head to your favourite park. Bring along a trash bag and encourage your kids to help clean up the park, so it can be nice for everyone to enjoy. If you decide to clean up a neglected part of the community with your kids, express the importance of being careful of what they are picking up and why they should always wear gloves.
Head To A Nursing Home
There are dozens of nursing homes across the country full of elderly people who would love to spend the afternoon chatting or playing games with their kids. And, your kids may even learn a few important lessons from their new senior citizen friends. Take the time to point out to your kids that someday they will be just as old, and would love to have youngsters come and keep them company. Call your local nursing home and see when visiting hours are, ask the nurse on duty if there are any residents that haven’t had a visitor in a while.
Animal shelters are tricky because it’s pretty hard to take your kids inside and not walk out with any puppies. But, even if you do adopt a pet, it’s still considered an important aspect of “giving back.” Call your local animal shelters to see if they need any volunteers. If your kids love animals, bathing dogs and taking them outside for exercise would be the perfect act of charity.
Raise Money With A Yard Sale Or Bake Sale
Giving back to your community doesn’t necessarily have to be YOUR community. If you want to go global, you can check out some national charities online and pick a cause of your choice. Then, you and your kids could hold a fundraiser, like a yard sale, car wash, or bake sale, and donate all the proceeds to your charity. Make sure to advertise your sale, and that it’s clear that all money made will go to charity – you will be surprised by how many people show up, eager to help you give back. Nearly every charity’s website has a donation button where you can donate online. If by chance you choose one of the few charities that you can’t donate money online, call them and ask them where you can mail a check.
While you are out looking for charities to volunteer with your kids at, there are some parents that have other things on their minds, like how they are going to be able to afford school supplies for their kids this fall. This is a perfect opportunity to teach your kids that not everyone is as well off as you are, and there are some kids that won’t be going back to school shopping. Take your kids to the store and pick out a backpack and fill it with school supplies, then you and your kids can pick out a child in your community to “gift” the school supplies too.
Have you done any charity projects with your kids this summer? How do you encourage them to give back to their community? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to share your kid-friendly volunteer ideas!
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