Volunteering, giving and serving in a variety of ways are things that children can be actively doing on their own—as young as eight or nine years old. We’ve brainstormed and researched an array of options that kids can (mostly) do on their own—although, depending on the age of the child and your location, parental guidance and assistance is certainly encouraged and necessary for some activities.
You can also download the PDF of this resource, which could be used to start your own brainstorming list. There are blank lines in each section for you to write in your own ideas of how you and your children could serve others in ways that relates to their personality, values and interests.
In the home:
- Do things that they aren’t expected to, such as the following:
- Make morning coffee!
- Offer and serve guests drinks.
- Invite friends and family over for a meal that they make themselves (or make mostly on their own).
- Make siblings’ beds.
- Collect money from family and visitors to donate to an important cause.
- Make supper once a week.
In the community:
- Contact non-profit organizations to ask about their volunteer opportunities for children.
- Take or lead a Jane’s Walk (janeswalk.org), a walking festival that happens every May across the world.
- Offer to help neighbours and others with home and property upkeep.
- Connect with nursing homes and offer to visit some residents who don’t get many visitors—to read, play cards, or engage in other games.
- Lead a toy drive or just donate presents (that they either receive themselves or that they spend their money on) to Toys for Tots (toysfortotscanada.com) or Angel Tree Christmas (https://prisonfellowship.ca/angel-tree-christmas/).
- Pick up litter they see, or plan to go out for a couple of hours to pick up garbage in a certain area of their community.
- Start a collection at church or a regular hang-out—collecting food, clothing, toys and personal care items to be donated to shelters.
- Make gift baskets for those in need or crisis.
- Read to younger kids at a library or church.
- Collect and donate items to animal organizations’ wish lists. (This generally includes cat and dog food, cat litter, blankets, towels, portable cages and food bowls.)
- Start or join a community garden.
- Offer to be a mother’s helper to a new mom.
- Join a group that has built-in volunteer activities like Scouts (https://www.scouts.ca/), Girls Guides (https://www.girlguides.ca) or 4-H (https://4-h-canada.ca/).
In the world:
- Go on an organized mission trip.
- Raise funds for one of the many organizations that assist with outreach issues around the world, such as https://www.savethechildren.ca/.
- Sponsor a child in need (perhaps as a family) and write letters to this child (https://www.compassion.ca/).
- Make food choices that don’t support inhuman work conditions or inadequate payment for harvesting food (https://foodispower.org/).
Related Online Resources: