We all want to teach our kids to do good, and volunteering can be a great way to get them involved and show them how to give back to the community. Here are a few ways that even preschoolers can volunteer.
Collect donations for your local food shelf
When you’re at the grocery story, grab specific items you can donate to your local food shelf. Or go knock on your friends’ doors and ask for donations (maybe let them know you’re coming first so they’re prepared).
Fill a backpack
As school kicks into gear, everyone is buying school supplies. However, this is a necessary expense not all families can afford. Also, when children come without the necessary supplies, that expense then falls on the teachers. Help provide school supplies by filling a back pack and donating to a nonprofit. A Precious Child has a program that may work for your family, otherwise contact your local school or local nonprofits to see if there is a need.
Make toiletry bags for your homeless shelter or social service agency
Help provide necessaties for people as they get back up on their feet. Toiletry bags are a simple, tangible way to reach out. Portland Rescue Mission has a great list of what to put in these bags. Also, I suggest contacting your local shelter or social service agency to see if this is a need. Often times it is suggested to keep bags like this in our car to hand out, but this can often remove dignity from the person we are wanting to help. Working with a social service agency can help avoid this dilemma.
Deliver cookies or baked goods to neighbors
In our culture nowadays it is rare to see our neighbors, and our sense of community had simply changed. Reach out to your neighbors and bring them some baked goods. Or if you know of someone in your church that has a hard time getting out and about, bring them some cookies. They may be thankful for the company. Along these lines, you could even look at volunteering with Meals on Wheels.
Visit your local nursing home
There are so many benefits to visiting a nursing home with your children. Children need to learn to respect and care for elders in there life. And did you know that being around children helps stave off loneliness in the elderly, and prevents ageism. Senior Advisor has more information on the benefits of children visiting nursing homes. Most nursing homes have events for the elderly. See if there is a way you and your children could come visit or volunteer, even better is if you become regular visitors.
Meals on Wheels
Did you know that you can deliver Meals on Wheels as a family? Bring encouragement and community to an elderly neighbor by bringing them a meal.
Say Thank You to the Mailman
I saw this idea on Instagram with Read To Me Activities, and it is awesome for those living where it gets cold (ahem, Minnesota). Say thank you to your mail man, garbage men, or other community helpers braving the cold by gifting them a pair of hothands. I’ve included a printable card template to make it easy: Hothands “Thank You” Note. Simply print the card. Let your child color it. Cut it out, attach it to a pair of hothands, and make your mailman’s life a little better.
Donate Extra Diapers
Has your toddler potty-trained? Load up all of your left-over diapers and donate them to your local diaper bank. Talk with your child about sharing the diapers they no longer need.
Raise Money for World Vision
I love the World Vision program that gives livestock to families. This gift provides a means for families to provide for themselves and increase their income. Allow preschooler to pick an animal to donate (i.e. a chicken). Help them ask friends and neighbors to donate money. See how many chickens you can buy together.
Is there a wishing fountain in your local mall? You know, the fountains where little ones can throw a penny and make a wish? What preschooler doesn’t love the wishing fountain? Instead of using all the pennies to make a wish, encourage your child to leave one for a friend who may want to make a wish. It really is the little things.
Cool and Dope
Cool and Dope is a volunteer organization started by kids to provide opportunities for kids to give back. Anyone as young as 2 years-old can volunteer with their organization. Subscribe to keep up-to-date on current projects.