Family volunteering ideas can help the whole family connect and do some good. Most of the time it is adults that volunteer, but that does not mean the kids cannot join in and help out. Volunteering your time and getting the kids involved comes with some added benefits like getting to spend time together doing something good.
There is a reason that people volunteer their time to good causes that goes beyond the need to feel like we are contributing. It feels really good to volunteer. You can share the wealth of good feelings by using some of these family volunteering ideas.
Getting the Family Involved Delivers Great Benefits to You
Requiring all hands on deck to take advantage of these family volunteering ideas of course means that your family can help out a favorite cause, but there are benefits that your family will experience as well. It can be hard in this digital age to get the kids to break away from their screens and connect with the rest of the family. Getting out there and dedicating some time to a good cause means they have to unplug for a while and focus on something else.
Connecting over some good deeds is a great way to make some memories while you help you’re your children will get to see another side of you and ultimately will feel more connected. Teaching children that it is important to look out for the greater good and get involved helps to create thoughtful adults that are empathetic. There is no better way to teach than to model the behavior yourself. Taking kids along to volunteering opportunities is a wonderful way to remind them that there is a greater community that they are responsible for.
Family volunteering ideas are wonderful “teaching moment opportunities”. Volunteering can open up engaging dialogue with even the youngest children. It gives children something to think about and can help them to develop their own interests in making changes in their community.
These family volunteering ideas can open up a whole new bonding portal for you and your family.
Some Ground Rules
The first rule is safety. Even though you may want to jump right in and let the kids help build that house with Habitat for Humanity, avoiding child injuries has to be a priority. In other words, there are some family volunteering ideas that are better suited for older kids.
There is a reason construction companies have such strict safety rules. Construction sites are dangerous and no place for the under 14 crew. Construction sites are chockful of dangerous equipment that younger kids may just not be able to stay away from. From roll off bins to heavy earth moving equipment, there is danger everywhere on a construction site. When you are considering which family volunteering ideas are right for your family, consider the following:
- The age of your children
- The safety of your children
- How well your children can follow directions
A child as young as three may be able to participate in garbage collection at your local park, but it may not be the best idea to have them participate in an “adopt a highway” program and pick up trash on the side of the road. You get the idea. You know your children better than anyone. You want to make sure that they can participate safely in the family volunteering ideas before you make a commitment.
Older kids from the age of 12 and up can effectively roll up their sleeves and do some modified adult volunteer work. For example, one of the great family volunteering ideas is helping to build a community playground. A 12-year-old may not be able to lug the stone masonry supplies for the playground, but they certainly can carry bags of grass seed, soil, mulch, and more.
Preteens and young teens can easily manage landscaping material, while older teens can deal with the heavier loads. Just use your judgment to ensure that your kids stay safe while working hard towards the goal.
Look In Your Own Backyard for Opportunities
If you are stumped for family volunteering ideas all you have to do is look around your community. You do not have to limit your family to big projects connected to well-established charity organizations. You and your family can make a difference on your own.
Here are some family volunteering ideas that you can institute as a family project:
- Become voluntary landscapers for your local park. Contact the municipal authorities about planting some flowers, trees, or providing some upkeep for a local park. Commit to a monthly visit. With budgets stretched as tight as they are for many municipalities, it will be a welcome offer.
- Not the outdoorsy type? How about offering some residential cleaning services to a neighbor in need? You can also partner with local companies to see if they can do it for a discount. Helping a senior get the house cleaned up or a neighbor who is a single parent manage some deep cleaning is a great way to help out.
- Painting, fence repair, community center clean up, and more. Take a look around your neighborhood and consider what is needed, then volunteer to do it.
Some family volunteering ideas can be simple gestures that make life better for your neighbors. Offer to clear snow from driveways for your elderly neighbors. Make food baskets for neighbors that are struggling. Make sandwiches and hand them out. There are plenty of ways you and your family can make a difference right in your own backyard.
One family in Ohio was instrumental in turning a vacant lot into a playground for the kids. They lobbied the city to match community donations and convinced neighbors to put in some sweat equity. Your family volunteering ideas can get the ball rolling on a community project.
Working With Local Charities
Not ready to branch out on your own quite yet? That is okay. There are plenty of family volunteering ideas that fall under the direction of local charities. You may have to put in a little leg work to find the right opportunity.
Some charities have strict age requirements for their volunteers because they want to be sure that everyone stays safe. You may have to call around a little bit to find a charity that encourages the participation of children.
Here are some family volunteering ideas with charity organizations that are likely to encourage participation by children:
- Your local food pantry. Little kids can stock cans on shelves, and pack bags with supervision. Your local food pantry is a great place to find a family volunteering opportunity.
- Your local animal shelter. While the kids may not be able to get in the pens and clean them up, they can do other jobs. You can as a family pack up blankets and donate them.
- Race for a cause. Consider doing a family walkathon for a good cause. Get friends and family to pledge money to a special cause for your family’s walkathon, marathon, or some other activity.
Summer camps are always looking for volunteers. If you have a local summer camp consider asking if they need some help getting ready for the season. Of course, if you have a skill set that you can share, offer to share your skillset and bring the kids along.
You can even make your family’s favorite private campgrounds the focus of your family volunteering. Give back. Offer to spend half a day cleaning up park areas that you enjoy.
Other groups that always are willing to take some help and can make great family volunteering ideas include libraries, museums, retirement homes, and even the Red Cross. Sometimes you have to dig around to find a group that welcomes kids, but it is well worth the effort.
Charity Begins At Home
Some family volunteering ideas is more of a lifestyle than an activity. For example, set up a family recycling plan, then get outside and pick up some trash around the neighborhood, and recycle what you can. Start a “used book” charity at home. Collect all the books that everyone has read, and donate them to your local library, bring the kids with you to make the donation.
If your family loves to craft together, make some crafts for your local nursing home residents, then distribute them together. Get the kids involved in a “toy drive” right in their own toy box. Gently used toys that the kids have outgrown can be rehomed through the Salvation Army thrift stores, a collection point, or even given away to a child in need in your own community. Sharing is caring, and it helps you keep the clutter down. Be sure that you are willing to donate some of your own stuff to set a good example.
Not all the family volunteering ideas require you and yours to roll up your sleeves and do some work. Sometimes family volunteering ideas are focused on what you and your family are willing to give up to help someone. Gathering clothes that do not fit, toys that are not played with, and other items that are just sitting there and donating them is a great way to “volunteer”. Of course, you want to be sure that the kids come with you to dole out the collections so they can see who they are helping.
A Visit Can Make a Difference
Seniors love kids. They enjoy spending time with them and sharing their stories. It is not only good for the seniors to get a visit from children but it is good for the children as well. ‘One of the best family volunteering ideas is to go visit a local nursing home and hang out with the residents for a while.
Make small treat baskets with things like magazines, coloring books and crayons, word puzzles, and small food items, and let the kids distribute them and sit and visit for a little while. Of course, COVID 19 has put the kibosh on this for right now, but restrictions will be lifted and seniors will be so ready to have some visitors.
Visit your local VA hospital and bring a little sunshine to veterans. It is the same idea as visiting a senior home but a different setting. Veterans deserve all the honor and respect that we can give. Having the children visit and convey that they are grateful for their service can make a difference in a veteran’s life.
Of course, before you visit a nursing home or veterans’ home be sure that you touch base with the administration to get permission and find out what the caveats are for visitors. If any of your kids play an instrument, offer to provide some entertainment while you are there.
Connect with the senior citizen group in your community and ask what you and your family can do to help. Is there a meal on wheels program in your community? If there is offer to deliver meals and take the kids with you. Sit and visit for a little while when you deliver the meals. If there is not a program in your community, consider starting one. You can be the catalyst for change in your own community.
A visit can make all the difference in the world to someone that feels isolated. Kids are great ice breakers and can provide the company that so many people are yearning for.
Giving Back Feels Good
It is hard for kids to think beyond themselves. We are all born a little selfish. Getting them involved and teaching them to give back is easier when you have a family project that is based on giving. It feels good when the family comes together and accomplishes a giving opportunity together.
If none of the family volunteering ideas appeal to you and your family consider what will. What is your family interested in? What causes pique your interest? How can you help? Create your own family volunteering ideas by asking yourself those questions. Once you have your answer, get on out there and start making a difference. It will bring you and your kids closer, and help to shape the adults they will someday become.