Creative Community Service Ideas for Kids Age 5 to 12

By | December 3, 2019

Hey there! It can be hard to find
volunteer opportunities for kids – especially kids under age 12 – but there
are plenty of ways that kids can make an impact through community service and I’m
going to share several of them with you today. Welcome back! For those new to my
channel my name is Amber Melanie Smith and I am a non-profit executive director
and speaker on service, leadership, and social impact. I make these youtube
videos to help aspiring changemakers of all ages to figure out tips and
strategies to make an impact in the world while living a life of impact and
purpose. So please don’t forget to subscribe to my channel! I make these
videos weekly and I’d love to see you back and have you check out some of the
other great videos I have that will help you figure out your path to change
making in the world. I previously made a video about how teens can make a
difference through community service and you can check that out at the link but I
wanted to focus today on younger kids because kids of all ages are out there
making an impact and really really making a meaningful difference in the
world and when kids are leading the way to create change it tends to inspire the
adults to follow suit so here we go I’m gonna jump into all the ways that kids
can make a difference that I’m going to cover in this video in two different
sections the first is going to be ways that kids ages 5 to 12 is what we’re
aiming for here can do service through established organizations out there and
the second set of ideas is for projects that you can do either at home or
anywhere in the world it doesn’t have to be add an organization but it can still
benefit a cause out there as I mentioned previously I work in the nonprofit field
and so my core function actually is to connect people to volunteer
opportunities in their community I work with hundreds of nonprofits and I have
heard of so many different ways for people of all ages to get involved but
it is admittedly more difficult for kids to get involved so I’m really excited
to share a couple of ideas here we go the first thing I want to share is that
some organizations have what they call at kids days so these are special
designated days where kids around this age range are invited and welcomed to
come with their families I know in my community our food bank has this so a
lot of other organizations across the country will have kids days too we’re
talking about shelters and soup kitchens food banks food pantries Ronald McDonald
Houses and other organizations that you would commonly find in your community
kids will be doing hands-on activities at these projects like sorting and
packaging food or clothing donations or in the case of say Ronald McDonald House
baking which can be super fun another great project for kids that will
get everybody outdoors is to do a litter pickup or clean up with your local
Nature Conservancy or Keep America Beautiful chapter they will have regular
cleanups of the community picking up litter one of the cool fun things about
this is that some of them have litter contests so you can maybe get a prize
for how much litter you can collect or you might find unusual objects out there
I know when I last let a group this is actually teens doing the litter pickup
at a nature trail in my area they found a hundred-year-old bottle so it can be
really interesting and spark some cool conversation with you and your kids when
you’re out there doing these types of activities okay so this is one of my
favorites I know that kids love animals and I loved animals when I was a kid too
but sometimes shelters in your area will not allow younger kids to volunteer in
the more traditional capacities at a shelter so a cool new service project
that I have seen emerging lately is reading to shelter pets it’s a great way
for kids to practice their reading skills and also get to interact with the
animals in a beneficial way so that is a super cool project and I’d love to see
you I’ll try that out a quick disclaimer that is possible that your local shelter
will not already have reading to shelter animals on its list of existing
volunteer needs so you might need to propose that idea
to them but I’m pretty sure they’re gonna be open to it because it is so
cute another great service opportunity for
kids is of course having a game or art day at a retirement community all
throughout the year but especially around the holiday some seniors and
retirement communities are feeling especially isolated and they might not
have family nearby or might not have family at all so being willing to go in
and just spend some quality time and be present and be a friend to a senior in
need is a wonderful way for your kids to volunteer
another idea with established organizations is a little bit out of the
box but it would allow kids to use the technology that they’re so comfortable
with now to help a cause and need and that is to be a storyteller or reporter
for a cause so all you would have to do is work with your child using a phone to
interview in organizations clients or other volunteers and let your child and
turn you them about the experience what they know about the cause how making a
difference is so important to the community for that cause so nonprofits
love to have social media and storytelling and video clips that they
can use to spread the word about what they do so having your kid leave these
interviews would be so adorable and I know for my nonprofit I would just die
to have something like that because having the perspective of a kid telling
the story of a cause would be so impactful of course an added a benefit
of having your child be a reporter for a cause is that they learn all about the
cause too and actually just a quick note on that topic one thing that is really
important to do with your child with your family after volunteering no matter
what kind of volunteer experience you’re having is to have a conversation it’s to
reflect on the experience to talk about it to ask your kid questions about what
they saw what they felt about what they saw doing this will really help them
understand the meaning of the volunteer work that they have done and hopefully
inspire them to continue it into adulthood
so now I’m going to get into some do-it-yourself or at-home service
projects you can do with your kid these are great for whether or not you can
find an opportunity with an established organization they are very convenient
and sometimes just require a little bit of supplies and planning the first do-it-yourself project is to
make flashcards for a younger classroom so these can be anything from
multiplication or division to studying a particular science or language topic but
what we hear from the schools that we work with at my nonprofit is that
teachers are really in need of extra resources to help out their kids so
flashcard kits that every student in a class can use would be really really
helpful less then your kids get a refresher on those topics to another at
home idea that is super fun especially for the crafty families out there is to
make kindness rocks all you need are some of those smooth pebbles you can get
at most home supply stores or gardening stores or maybe even in your yard and
some acrylic water-based paint and you can just paint the rock whatever color
you’d like or multiple colors and then write inspirational words and designs on
the rocks a lot of hospitals community centers or even schools are using these
to beautify their outside areas and inspire people when they walk by a third
idea that is also in a crafty vein is plug I just learned about plug I think
it’s super cool plar is basically plastic yarn so what people are doing is
taking old plastic grocery bags which I know are just completely overwhelming my
pantry right now and probably yours too you take them you cut them into strips
and then you can actually crochet them into other things like more sturdy bags
or mass that can be donated to a shelter for folks experiencing homelessness this
has been a great project that I have personally seen done with kids in my
community if you’re interested I can leave a link to where you can learn more
about how to do that in my description below the fourth idea is to combine
something you might already be doing with helping a cause and that is to have
a birthday party for a cause so you would ask your friends to bring some
kind of donated items such as food or clothing or other items that a
non-profit you want to benefit has identified as a need and you’d ask your
friends or your kids friends to bring those items in lieu of birthday present
this is a great way to have your kid think about what cause they want to help
as part of their birthday celebrations and drive that conversation around
change and how to support the cause in the winter or summer a great thing to do
is to have a hot cocoa or a lemonade stand in your front yard to raise money
for a cause you care about so again the kids can identify the cause that they
care about and what they like to raise money for they can drive the whole
effort to make the hot cocoa the lemonade and collect the money outside
from your neighbors and it’s just a really really fun way to practice so
many things from learning about money to being a great salesperson to how
important it is to help will cause financially as well as giving your time
my dog’s really cute right now she’s having a dream and her little paws are
twitching the next do-it-yourself project is to make cards for kids in the
hospital or seniors experiencing isolation loneliness there are many
organizations out there who work directly with these populations so you
just need to connect them to figure out how to get cards to them that they can
distribute to those kids or seniors another super fun twist on this project
is to make it social so your kids can invite all their friends over and have a
coloring and card-making party for the folks in need and if your kids and you
are not that artistic that’s okay there are lots of templates online that
you can print out that have color in designs that are also greeting cards so
you can print those out and then just make it a coloring party instead of a
card-making or artistic drawing party and then have your kids write a nice
message inside the card and boom you’ve got some beautiful cards to give to
people who would love to hear from a friend the next
is to make pet bandanas and care kits for pets in the shelter so a lot of
shelter and animal rescue organizations love to have cute little things like
bowties and bandanas and just things to make their animals look even more
adorable to increase their odds of getting adopted and this is super easy
to make at home you can find templates and instructions for how to make these
vandana’s out of old shirts or fabric that you have and some fabric paint and
write things like adopt me or I love snuggles or something really cute like
that and then give those to the shelter and if you want to go step further you
can collect things like pet toys or snacks or food to include in a care kit
for the animals as well another creative way that you can help animals and
shelters get adopted is if you are artistic you could have your family draw
portraits of the dogs and the cats and the other animals who are up for
adoption so I’m talking hand-drawn colored in
portraits of these pets the shelters can put next to the pets in their kennels at
the shelter’s and also share online how cute is that
who knows you might fall in love with the animal your kids have drawn you
might have to take them home my final do it yourself at home service
project idea is a little bit different and that is to help teach your kids
about not just finance but helping other people through allowing them to donate
their allowance to a microfinance organization and before your eyes glaze
over let me explain microfinance is this idea that has really taken over the
nonprofit and social enterprise world over the past couple of years that is
about having everyday people make small investments in people in underdeveloped
countries and in their businesses so we’re talking about organizations like
the Grameen Bank or one of my favorites Kiva you can make an invite
Smit as low as 20 or $25 in someone else’s business across the world to help
them pull themselves out of poverty so they’re taking these small investments
and they’re putting them back into their business whether it is agricultural you
know raising animals that they sell or you know making clothing things that
will help them grow as a business that they can take better care of their
families this has been a really dignified way of allowing people who
have the means to support people in other areas of the world that are less
developed the cool thing is when you make an investment in one of these
businesses through a non-profit like Kiva you actually get the loan repaid so
if your child donates their allowance to a business that they pick they can see
the people on the Kiva website and choose who they want to invest in then
the majority like 99% of these loans are getting paid back by the people who have
now grown their business and started to lift themselves out of poverty then your
kid can reinvest at allowance in someone else’s business and continue the ripple
effect and making a difference so it’s a little bit more of a sophisticated type
of service project but it could be really interesting to talk about in
terms of you know financial literacy and allowing them to pick exactly which
family and business idea from someone in some other part of the world for
themselves okay so those are all of my ideas for now I would love to hear about
your ideas though what are you doing with your kids in this age range to make
it impact in the world what has been the most fun for your kids and for your
family and what is made the biggest difference in your community I’d love to
hear about it share in the comments below I’m going to include a few links
about some of the things that I talked about in my description so be sure to
check that out and once again don’t forget to subscribe because I make
weekly videos social impact service leadership non of
profits and more you’re on Facebook don’t forget to check out my group
change the world or bust I’m having conversations with changemakers from
around the world they’re on how we can all work together to make a bigger
impact in our communities thanks again for watching and see you next time

One thought on “Creative Community Service Ideas for Kids Age 5 to 12

  1. Amber Melanie Smith Post author

    Are you volunteering with your kids? What are some of your favorite service activities?


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