A few years ago I was looking for ways to give back with my young children. They were five and under, so suggestions of volunteering at a shelter or working in a soup kitchen weren’t really feasible. This is when I started our tradition of shopping to donate.
This worked for me because I wanted them to learn early the joy of giving to others, and not just people in our family.
Here are a few other ways you can give back with young children.
- Toy donations. Go shopping and let your children pick out a toy that they think another kid will enjoy. Use the experience to discuss the importance of giving to others, especially those that may not have the things they take for granted (comfortable home, lots of toys, etc.). You can donate to a local charity and use their website to explain how they help others.
- Use current events to spark a family project. For instance, kids can go through their toys and find something that will be comforting to a child that has gone through a traumatic experience. Think sending one of their stuffed animals and a hand-drawn picture to a child impacted by a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, etc.). This is also a good way to teach sharing and empathy.
- Print free cards from websites like Crayola. Have your kids color the cards as gifts for kids at a local hospital.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If none of these work, look at what your child enjoys and use that as motivation. For instance, one of my girls love drawing, so encouraging her to create artwork for the local senior center would go over well. Another one loves jewelry, so having her make bracelets to donate to a women’s shelter would be good.
Let me hear from you. How have you given back with very young children?