Ever since our kids were small, my husband and I have made it a priority to do acts of service as a family. It’s something that my parents did, and some of my fondest childhood memories are from spending time as a family as we did something kind for our friends or neighbors. I’ve noticed that volunteering as a family makes a big difference in the attitude and overall feeling of our home, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t come without challenges. We’ve spent our fair share of time wrangling opinionated kids and chasing toddlers around instead of actually doing the work, but the end result is definitely worth it.
One of the hardest parts is finding a service project that is family friendly, but with a little trial and error, we’ve put together a list of activities that are age appropriate and still promote service:
- Decorate cards and lunch bags for a local soup kitchen or Meals of Wheels program. Our younger kids love this activity.
- Perform random acts of kindness, like complimenting strangers, providing directions, or letting someone get in front of you in line. We often go to a public place, like the mall, and set a goal that each person needs to perform three acts of kindness.
- Cut coupons from the Sunday paper and leave them around the right products at the grocery store.
- Assemble lunches for a local homeless shelter. Even little kids can help cut sandwiches or put chips in a bag.
- Write thank you notes for teachers, bus drivers, the mailman, etc.
- Help your kids go through their old toys and clothes to choose things to donate to kids in need.
- Make cookies to deliver to a neighbor or friend.
- Adopt a child or family during the holidays and buy or make them a special present. We like to leave things anonymously on their front porch.
- Write letters or draw pictures for military members serving overseas.
- Visit the animal shelter to play with and clean up after the dogs and cats. Some shelters require that kids be a certain age before they can volunteer.