Whatever your age, whether you’re older or younger, there will be a volunteering opportunity out there to suit everyone’s abilities and interests. Children who are encouraged to volunteer from an early age are far more likely to realise the benefits sooner, and can help to encourage the people around them to do equally good deeds. Not all volunteering has to be ‘official’ or even necessarily organised. There are short term projects to get involved with, local events and things going on right on your doorstep that are brilliant for encouraging children to take part in. Often when we heard the word ‘volunteering’, we think of adventurous trips in far away lands, but often volunteering projects and positive initiatives are happening right on our doorstep. There are many ways for children to volunteer in their day to day lives, so we’ve put together this list to help give some ideas…
There are programs specifically for under 18s on our website, including family volunteering in Nepal. These programs will help young people in so many ways, by teaching them how to behave in a volunteering situation. These shorter trips are designed for younger people as they range from as little as one-three weeks. This can make them perfect to do in the school holidays. For more information on how to sign up, have a look on our website! You’ll be able to learn so much from the people you meet, while bonding as a family at the same time.
2. Visiting elderly people
There are organisations and charities that help to arrange regular meet ups between families and elderly people who perhaps only have limited or no family left. You can be matched with a person who lives in your area, and can commit as much time as you desire, perhaps one afternoon a week. This can be a life changing experience for everyone involved, where you can form true valuable friendships. This is perfect for children, providing they are accompanied by a responsible adult, because they can provide great company for the elderly individual. Children can do crafts, bring them artwork that they may have created at school, listen to their stories or ask questions and learn more about their lives. Often, visiting a grandparent can be the highlight of a child’s week. Why not add a few more to the list and do an amazing deed in the process?
3. Grow vegetables
Growing vegetables at home to offer people who don’t have space for their own gardens, or to donate to hunger centres is an amazing way children can learn about fresh produce and feel the warmth of doing an amazing thing for the community. Children will love to see something they have nurtured turn into something that can feed people in need. Vegetables like potatoes, carrots, green beans and cabbage are all things to add to the patch at home. This whole process can also encourage children to get involved in cooking and can develop their interests in food. One good deed – two great bonuses! Get creative and adventurous with your crops, and start growing today!
4. Make some toys to donate to your local children’s home
Making toys at home is a brilliant way to make children feel good about themselves, and perfect a skill at the same time! Things like sewing teddy bears or making material tolls is a great thing to do, and a responsible adult can help to share photos of these toys on social media, not only to promote the toys but also to encourage other people to get their kids involved too. One thing to remember about volunteering is, it’s wonderful to spread the word to make more people do good things in the community!
5. Save or raise money to donate to animal shelters
Find where your local animal shelter is and get in contact to ask what fundraising projects they have on at the time. Children can get involved in loads of fun ways, either by raising money at school or with the help of their family and friends. Things like sponsored walks, car boot sales and selling old toys online are all great ways to raise money for the animal shelter and teach the importance of volunteering their time to children.
6. Pick up some litter in your local area to save wildlife
Not all volunteering projects have to be organised by charities or other groups. Simply walking around in your local area and picking up litter is a great way to help the community and save local wildlife from getting stuck in it. If you have a family dog at home, take the dog on a walk and pick up litter at the same time! This will be great exercise and will also do a lot of good for the animals, such as birds, insects, hedgehogs and badgers if you live in the UK!
One great way for kids to volunteer is to take part as a whole family! Our options are perfect for kids because they’re for shorter periods, so you can fit them in with school holidays and around other breaks throughout the year. Choose from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and South Africa and start planning your perfect adventure. You can work on community support, work with animals or even marine conservation. Spend some time deciding where to go, as a family! Get in touch to discuss more of our options.
8. Donate old toys, books and activities to local charity shops
When old toys stop being played with and given the love and attention they deserve, the best place for them to go is to the local charity shop! This way, they can be sold at a discounted price to other children who perhaps will appreciate them a bit more. Many charity shops give the proceeds to charity, so it’s like a double good deed! Do a bit of research and find one near you that you’d like to donate to, then fill up a bin bag and get cracking!
9. You can get your dog certified as a therapy dogs, to bring to care homes, hospitals and schools
If your dog is calm and friendly with new people, signing them up to be a therapy dog could be the best decision you make all year. Obviously this would have to be arranged by an adult, but children can go with them to sit with those who require the therapy, if they decide this is okay. Dogs are great to help relax people with illnesses or other health problems. This can help children feel good and learn to be calm and considerate to others’ feelings and needs.
As a young person you can even volunteer with South Africa, and learn as much as any of the older volunteers. With our programs, you’ll be on a busy schedule but it will be extremely satisfying and you’ll be glad you came! You’ll be able to track the animals, and work with the rangers to build a sustainable system for generating food for the animals. Lions, giraffes, elephants, picture it like a safari with full back stage access!
11. Donate food to the local pantry in the supermarket
In many supermarkets, there will be a ‘food bin’ or ‘pantry’ (often near the door) where you can donate a tin or a can of food to go to people less fortunate. On the way round the supermarket next, children should be encouraged to choose something nice to put in the food donation bin. This is not only very generous, but it teaches children to be thoughtful about what others might enjoy to eat. Sometimes these food donations will go to homeless shelters near by, sometimes they will go on to charities that work with people who can’t afford to shop in the supermarkets every week, and some food donations are for people in different countries altogether. It’s good to find out where the food is going, to teach children about poverty around the world and give it some all important context.
12. Sponsored walks in the community
Kids aged 5 and up can get involved in walking events that may happen in the community. Search online to find out what’s happening in your local area, or if there’s nothing on, why not organise something yourself? You can put up posters in local coffee shops and at school to get all your friends involved. It’s also amazing to plan an event yourself, so you can have a say about where that money goes!
Come to meet the wonderful friendly people of Sri Lanka with your whole family. This way it’s perfect for kids, and could make it even more special. You’ll have plenty of free time in the evenings to spend time together and make hundreds of fond memories. Whether you want to teach, build communities or provide sports coaching, you’ll never want to leave this beautiful place.
14. Check your local library for volunteering projects
Looking for volunteering projects at your local library is a great way for kids to get involved in the local community. Libraries can organise reading groups where older children can help to teach younger children reading and writing. If something like this isn’t already organised in your local library, why not propose the idea to them? They might be pleased to get someone keen to get involved in an ongoing project!
15. Sign up to a local gardening project to keep the parks clean and tidy
Offering over your time to something like a local gardening project is an environmentally responsible action, that can help push sustainable initiatives and make you feel good at the same time! This is a wonderful option for children, because they can learn important skills along the way that perhaps will stay with them later in life. Gardening skills are a valuable trait that is arguably being lost in modern day! Bring back the gardening and help improve the community you live in.
On our volunteer program you will help assist marine biologists collecting important data and research to ensure the safety of the turtles there. This is an amazing thing for young people to get involved with, and can help give them an idea about work they may want to take part in in the future. As a family, you can even work towards releasing baby turtles back into the sea together! This is an incredible feeling, and will create a memory you’ll never be able to forget.
17. Help local wildlife!
Animals like hedgehogs need some help to make sure they live long and happy lives. Things like leaving the leaves out in your garden can help to make sure the hedgehogs can build a home for themselves! Take some time to get online and learn about which conditions different animals are attracted to. That way, you can make sure your garden space is perfect for the animals and wildlife that probably live right outside your door. This is a great thing for children to get involved with, as it’s inexpensive and can be done in the garden at home!
To sum up, there are hundreds of creative ways that children can volunteer their time to good causes. These don’t even necessarily have to be activities that you have to travel far for, or that require a lot of money in the first place. As long as they are well researched first, these projects can be what helps to shape a child’s childhood into something meaningful! Have a look on our website to find the perfect volunteering project for you and your family. It could be the best thing you ever do.
We hope these ideas have been helpful. Good luck with your future volunteering! We’d love to hear about them.
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