Want to teach your family to give back? These 27 Family Activities are a great way to involve your WHOLE family in serving others!
Thank you to TOMS for partnering with us for this post.
I attended a dinner recently with a group of amazing women. We discussed giving back to our communities. Let me tell you, these women were powerhouses. News Anchors, actresses, pr mavens, self help gurus, coaches, I was in the presence of greatness. At one point, the conversation turned to our own families. These amazing, strong women had come to this dinner to discuss ways THEY could serve…..but want to know what shocked me? They were all asking the same question.
“What about my children?” “I’m worried that we are so blessed, and so lucky, and my children don’t understand.” “Are they too young?” “I don’t want to scare them, but I want them to learn and appreciate what they have.”
I have to be honest, for the first time that evening…..I felt a little less intimidated. Who am I? A teacher. I don’t consider myself to be a powerhouse, I work with elementary school aged kids all day wearing jeans and flats. These stiletto wearing forces of nature? I realized I had something to offer them too. And now I’m sharing it with y’all today.
Here’s the deal. We’re ALL busy. Of course as parents, we all want our children to appreciate what they have. We want them to learn to serve their communities and to help those less fortunate. And I get it. Being a teacher in a low performing school is my THING. I love it. The reality is, we live a life of service. But before you put me on a pedestal, as I reminded these women over our delicious dinner…..this is my JOB. I love it and I am paid to do it. That is not the way everyone is built to serve.
Today, I’m sharing 27 Family Activities anyone can do to teach their children to give back and serve others.
- Park Clean Up: Public Areas like parks can easily become less than enjoyable when they aren’t taken care of. A simple solution? Each time you go to the playground? Bring a trashbag and cleaning supplies. Fill a bag with trash, wipe down the equipment.
- Book Purge: Have board books your kids have outgrown? Duplicates? Donate books that need a home to your local library or women and children’s shelter.
- Toy In, Toy Out: If your home is anything like ours, we have more toys than I can even keep track of. And lately, I’ve been noticing Lydia has outgrown quite a few of them. Our new rule? Each time she gets a new toy, we select one that she has outgrown. These go into a box. When it’s full? It’s going to be donated to the playroom at our local children’s hospital.
- Family Meal for a Cause: Invite friends over for dinner. Instead of asking them to bring an appetizer or dessert….ask them to donate the cost of a dinner out to No Kid Hungry. The kids will have a blast playing with their friends and helping those in need.
- Blankets in the Cold: During the cold winter months, keep a couple of warm blankets in your car. During your errands and busy weekend activities, offer as a no strings attached gift to local homeless families.
- A Change for Change Jar: Keep a jar on your kitchen counter. Collect your families pennies and change. Each day empty your pockets. That change? You won’t miss it. When the jar is full? Donate it to your charity of choice.
- Bake Sale for Charity: Help your kids select a charity organization that speaks to them. Host a bake sale and donate the proceeds.
- Participate in a Walk or Run for Charity: Check your local parks, schools, tracks….almost every weekend you can find a walk or run for a cause. Why not get your cardio in as a family AND give back?
- Serve Your Neighbors: Ask your neighbors during this busy season how your and your children can be of service to THEM. Can you bring packages in when they travel over the holidays? Walk their pets? Be sure to check in with elderly neighbors who may need extra assistance.
- Letter for our Troops: Write thank you cards, and draw pictures thanking our troops for their service. Your local recruitment center or VA hospital can help you send them to the right place.
- Party for a Cause: For your child’s birthday party….collect gifts for a local children’s charity organization instead of gifts to bring home.
- Arts and Crafts Hour: Most children’s hospitals have a hosted arts and crafts time a few days a week. Offer to provide supplies, even volunteer and help with the craft time.
- Senior Buddy: Connect your child with a buddy at your local senior center or retirement home. Visit once a week for an hour. Bring arts and crafts they can do together or books to read.
- Serve a Meal: Volunteer at your local food bank. Even young kids can help set the tables and pass out napkins.
- Retired Equipment: Kids change their minds a lot. One week they want to play hockey, the next week play the trumpet. If you have sports equipment or musical instruments not being used, donate them. The coach or music teacher can suggest an organization or even connect you with a family in need.
- People in Uniform: Practice gratefulness. Those who serve our communities? Police, firefighters, ambulance drivers? We don’t thank them enough. Drop off homemade treats to their workplaces along with a card thanking them for all they do for us.
- Beautify Your School / Community: Help start a school or community garden. We all need a little beauty in our lives each day!
- Closet Clean Out: Clean out outgrown clothes….and bring to your local Goodwill.
- Tutoring: Older children can volunteer to help younger children with their homework. A great place to meet? The local library!
- Pet for a Cause: Volunteer at your local animal shelter or even foster a pet waiting to be adopted.
- Adopt a Family: Over the holidays, adopt a family through your local children’s hospital. As a family unit shop for the items on their list and deliver them together.
- Support Your Tribe: Have a mom friend with young kids? Know a family that may not be able to afford babysitting? Invite their kids over for a playdate and give their parents a date day (or evening).
- Say Thank You: Write thank you notes to the people that serve YOUR children. Teachers, nurses, pediatricians, librarians….those notes mean a lot to us. Let us know that we have made a difference in your lives.
- Grocery Carrying: Wait outside your local grocery store, and offer to help people carry their bags. That older gentleman or mom carrying an infant, will be very grateful.
- School Supplies: Donate school supplies to your local school. Not sure what they need? Call and ask!
- Emergency Supplies: Collect and donate emergency supplies to your local Red Cross.
And number 27? Shop for a cause. My favorite trend? Companies that allow us busy families to give back with our retail dollars. We ALL shop. We need clothes, food, toys and SHOES. Why not buy those items from companies giving back to those in need. TOMS is a company that helped pioneer this movement. We all know that their adorable shoes have a one for one model, right? So you buy a pair of TOMS, and a child in need is given a pair.
So last year, my school district was a TOMS drop site. Children in need were given shoes. And every single day, I see students wearing the shoes they were given by this amazing organization. Nothing makes me want to support a company more than seeing them help the kids I know. I have personally experienced the difference they are making, and I can tell you……it DOES make a significant change (plus their shoes are pretty darn cute).
Bonus, from now until November 18th any kids shoe order from TOMS ships for free. Yup, that includes orders of mommy and me shoes.
Want to see more family activities? Check out our Family Activities Section!What are your favorite ways to serve as a family?