It doesn’t take much to bring happiness into another’s life!
There are many projects you can do from the comfort of your own home. Below are a few ideas to get you started on your journey of giving back. Pick a project to complete once a month with your children and initiate this lifestyle of generosity for your family!
- Teach your children to see goodness in every situation by keeping special “gifts” in your diaper bag to hand out to cashiers, librarians or friendly neighbors who show you kindness. Have your children draw pictures on cards with sweet sayings like, “Thank you for being so nice” or “You have a beautiful smile.” You can attach a hershey kiss or other special treat to sweeten the gesture even more!
- Take a trip to the Dollar Store and stock up on socks, water bottles, snacks and toiletries. Grab some dog food or treats as well. Have your little ones assemble simple care packages for the homeless and food packages for their pets. Keep them easily accessible in your car and when you encounter a homeless individual, you can offer them these goodies. Teach your children that everyone deserves kindness and love.
- Write a letter with your children to our troops and include a pretty picture to thank them for their service. You can mail these overseas to remind our troops that patrons back home appreciate all of their sacrifices for us. Children will learn the importance of our armed forces and the necessity of honoring their hard work for our country! Check out A Million Thanks for information on mailing your cards.
- Let’s face it, our kids love to be artistic so let them create beautiful cards to deliver to a local nursing home or children’s hospital. Include sweet sentiments to add even more cheer. Teaching children to help others in all stages of life will instill compassion into their hearts and build a respectful generation.
- Get your little ones crafty by creating signs to advertise your “sale” and raise money for a favorite cause! This could be a lemonade stand, bake sale or garage sale. Or be even more creative and have your children organize a “car wash” for neighborhood kids’ bikes, scooters and electric cars. Every cozy coup needs a new shine every once in a while!
- Help the elderly and disabled through Meals On Wheels. Have your children color pictures on construction paper and laminate to create fun placemats that can be distributed with Meals On Wheels food trays. You can deliver meals together as a family or simply donate your placemats to the organization for their distribution. This is a great way to teach your children that not everyone is able to complete everyday tasks for themselves. They rely on the help of others to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Teach your children that help is needed for all walks of life, including animals. Take old fleece, flannel or denim remnants and tie them together to make chew toys for shelter animals. Make pet beds out of old blankets and pillows for a local shelter. You could also bake healthy animals treats to donate along with your toys and beds. Here are a few healthy recipes to try!
- Ask your local library what items they need for their story time projects. They will likely have requests for crayons, construction paper, popsicle sticks, baby food jars and other crafty items. Your children can collect these items, helping their local librarians continue to offer their favorite story time activities!
- Teach your children to help their peers by putting together backpacks with school supplies at the beginning of each school year. Donate them to a local elementary school. Or have them pick out pajamas, winter coats and boots to donate to a local women’s and children’s shelter. It is important to teach our little ones that some children have struggles and we need to help when we can. It also teaches them the importance of gratitude.
- This is a tough one for the youngest volunteers, but it teaches a great lesson in generosity. Have your children look through their toys and stuffed animals and choose ones they would like to donate to children who do not have any. This is especially impactful around birthdays or holidays when your children will be getting gifts. Teach them to give before they receive. You can donate your used toys to adoption and foster homes like St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Louisville. New toys can go to the Ronald McDonald House or children’s hospitals. Used stuffed animals can be gifted to charities like Bears On Patrol, also in Louisville. There are a multitude of wonderful charities always thankful for our donations!
- Offer to rake leaves or plant flowers for elderly neighbors. You could also purchase a few small terra cotta pots from a local garden center, have your children paint them and plant colorful flowers in them. Then leave them anonymously on your neighbors’ doorsteps along with a sweet note to say “thank you for being such wonderful neighbors.” You are sure to brighten someone’s day while teaching your children to give back humbly.
- You also have the opportunity to plan a birthday party one month for homeless children through Volunteers of America. Their Brightening Birthdays program allow you to donate presents, decor, party supplies, provide entertainment or volunteer at the party. One great perk…your kids can volunteer with you! Make it a family affair.