Inside: 10 ways to give back to your community from your home! 10 meaningful service projects for kids you can do at home and incorporate into your family’s daily routines.
This year, perhaps more than ever before has exposed needs and issues that run deep in our communities.
When the schools closed, we realized that schools provided food security for many children, events over the summer exposed just how deep the roots of racism run in our institutions, and the pandemic has exposed the divide in how families are able to weather the pandemic — and these are just a few of the things we have witnessed this year.
It makes you want to do something — to reach out, yet our normal ways of doing that are blocked with physical distancing, further removing us from the very organizations that connect us to the community members that need our help.
Here is what you can do — you can teach your children empathy, compassion, and the joy of serving the community right in your own home.
Young children have a natural foundation for altruism (source). Supporting the development of empathy for others can start in their first year of life and build as kids get bigger.
When we help people in our community as a family, our children grow to be adults that do the same.Rachel Walt
Our children model what they see — not what we say. The most important way to teach kids our values of spreading kindness and loving others is to show that love through our families’ money, actions, and time.
Doing service projects at home is a fun way to do just that!
We all hope for our kids to grow up with open eyes and hearts for those in need. Yet, it can feel overwhelming — where do you start?
Instead of clearing schedules and setting aside time for big projects, I have found ways to incorporate meaningful service projects into our daily life as a family and you can too!
Here are 10 ways to incorporate service projects into your families’ day or week. With this list as your blueprint, you can create simple habits and integrate quick and easy projects that make a difference all year round.
10 Fun Ways To Serve Your Community From Home: Teach Children to Give Back
1. Create Love Bugs and Share
Find some river stones in your backyard or head to your local gardening store to purchase some. Use a waterproof acrylic paint pen and some googly eyes to create a sweet little “bug” on the stones.
Write an encouraging message on the bottom and place them around your neighborhood or community! Our neighbors loved this activity so much and sparked meaningful conversations and connections.
2. Make Kind Bookmarks to Share
This activity is a favorite at our house. We have the supplies out for the kids to grab at any time and they sure take us up on it! It’s a quick and creative way to encourage and spread kindness to other people. First, get card stock and cut it into strips, in the shape of a bookmark. Then use stickers, markers, embellishments like sequins and feathers to create a design from the heart. Add a sweet saying or phrase.
Take these bookmarks to your local little library, public library, school or even send them to libraries in nursing homes or senior centers and ask staff to hide them in the pages of the books! This craft is sure to bring a surprise and pop of joy to the readers’ day!
3. Help A Neighbor With Their Leaves or Snow
It’s that time of year again when some of us raking leaves and some snow. Why not help your neighbor while you are at it! You may want to surprise them or ask them if they need help with leaves or anything else!
*Wanna make this activity SUPER fun? Use an old tee to create a cape, don a mask, and become your very own leave or snow superhero!
4. Sponsor A Child
Sponsoring a child gives the opportunity to get to know another person in another culture through the context of a relationship. Your family gets a personal connection through your giving that will plant seeds of empathy and compassion for years to come.
Our favorite organizations to partner with for sponsoring are Child Fund Int., Friends of Ngong Road, JustONE Africa.
5. Shop and Collect Food for your Local Food Pantry
When you go grocery shopping, add a couple items to the cart reserved for your local food pantry. Have your children add them to a special box or basket in your home and when the basket is full, drop it off at your local food pantry. This is a concrete way for children to see how you can give to others a little at a time.
6. Make And/Or Sell Scarves To Give or Raise Money For A Charity
You don’t have to know how to sew to make a warm scarf for someone who might need it! You just need fabric like fleece and scissors! You can cut the fabric into strips long enough for a scarf, cut fringe on both ends, and tie them off. Voila! Now, share this scarf with your local homeless shelter or your cold crossing guard. Anyone will feel warm with a scarf made with love.
7. Create Cardz For Kidz
Bringing the world closer together one card at a time, Cardz For Kidz connects people that need uplifting to those that want to encourage others. Cards are sent to children in hospitals, foster homes, senior living homes, patients’ homes, and schools. They have partnerships in all 50 states and in every continent. This activity is especially important during the holidays.
8. Find an Opportunity for Your Family on All For Good
All For Good is a nonprofit that connects volunteers with organizations or people that need help with individual projects. It’s like a “Craigslist” for volunteering. They make it super easy to search for projects based on location, commitment, type, and more. They make community engagement fun and easy! It may spark ideas to submit your own project one day!
9. Paint Hearts Through Hearts Of Hope
Hearts of Hope started in 2001 in response to the attack on 9/11 in an effort to show love to people directly impacted by the tragedy. They serve people that are grieving or experiencing loss or tragedy through compassionate outreach. They send you hearts, you paint them, then they send them to people that need HOPE! So far, they have sent over 150,000 hearts to people in need. Where would you like to send HOPE?
10. Make Rainbow Crayons to Sell for a Cause
Now I know my house is not the only one with crayon stubs all over the floor, in the junk drawers, and coming out of my eyeballs. Teach your kids about reusing and creativity by making rainbow crayons.
Collect all those stubs, take the wrapping off, and line your cupcake tin- or any shaped oven-safe receptacle, cookie-cutter. Use your imagination to create unique color combinations by putting all those stubs in your cookie cutters.
Set your oven to 250 degrees and warm for about 15-20 minutes. Let them cool and be done! Now host an online auction or sale to benefit an organization of your choice! There are so many learning opportunities in this task alone. Maybe you can even integrate it into virtual learning lessons!
Crafingood a Mission-Driven Subscription Box for Kids
When you make giving and serving others a priority in your daily routine and a part of your family life, your kids understand the value of service.
When you want to make it easy and fun — join my Craftingood community — a Subscription Box Membership for Kids and Families!!
CraftinGood is a mission-driven social enterprise that offers thoughtful products for families to cultivate compassion for themselves and their communities.
Craftingood offers quarterly subscription toolkits, single activity kits, digital products, workshops, courses, and community. The products are filled with eco-friendly and ethical supplies to use in activities that spread kindness in your local community, materials to help a nonprofit around the world, and engaging books written by authors of color.
I created CraftinGood because I wanted our family to express the fullest versions of ourselves by using our creativity to help others. I understood the importance of having my kids learn about the community around them, to value differences, and teach them how to feel for and help others without spending half my time at the local craft store or my paycheck in the pursuit. I knew I wasn’t the only family that could use some support.
This year has brought on many challenges, yes. But, also opportunities for growth and creativity. Make this holiday season the time where giving becomes a habit and a mainstay in our schedules through easy and fun projects from home!