It’s often challenging to volunteer with children, and many volunteer organizations have a minimum age requirement. Children often think there is nothing they can do to help. Yet there are still opportunities to incorporate even the youngest world changers. 

Below is a list of ideas that may be helpful for teaching and including your children in a few altruistic ways. Make sure you explain the Who, What, Where, Why, and How to them.

  • What are we doing? 
  • Who are we helping? 
  • Where are we helping? 
  • Why and how are we helping?

These conversations often lead to thoughtful dialogue between you and your child and can raise important topics like inequity, poverty, life choices, gratitude, and social responsibility.

Keep it simple and let your child take the lead in thoughts and questions. Most importantly, show your child that helping others is fun!

#1: Collect clothing, scarves, and hats and deliver the items to a local shelter

Volunteer Together

Your child may not be old enough to serve food at a shelter, but they can help keep people warm by donating the clothes and shoes they don’t wear or have outgrown. Older kids could even go as far as organizing clothes drives in their schools.

#2: Reach out to your local foster care agency to make a meal for a new foster family

Foster agencies can connect you to a foster family that has a child recently placed in their care. Often, these families are adjusting together and the child may be overcoming trauma from a previous home. Making them a family meal is a great way to help during a stressful time.

#3: Connect with your county’s social service agency to see if there are any pressing needs

There may be a grandma who recently gained emergency custody of her granddaughter, but doesn’t have any baby supplies. There may be a single mom who is working hard, but can’t afford to buy Christmas presents. Maybe an eighteen-year-old just graduated from foster care and is out on her own, but needs help getting dishes and pots and pans for her apartment.

You never know who or how you might help, or the impact you might have on someone’s life when you volunteer together as a family.

#4: Find and volunteer at a local women’s shelter

The women who run to these places often have little social support. Women who are survivors of domestic abuse often have to flee their homes and leave money and items behind. These shelters are often in need of female sanitary supplies, baby items, diapers, and formula. You might even be able to find out the specific need of a mom or baby. It might be as easy as donating that old high chair taking up space in the garage.

#5: Write cards and draw pictures to mail or deliver to lonely elderly people

volunteering together

Life with children is usually hectic, busy, and noisy. Yet not everyone lives that way. Many people struggle with loneliness. Cheer up someone’s day by drawing, writing, and (if they live nearby) even hand-delivering your creations as a family.

#6: Bake some yummy treats for new neighbors

Moving is often a stressful time, and it can be difficult to make friends in a new area. As a family, why not show your new neighbors a warm welcome with some homemade cookies or brownies? Many kids love helping  in the kitchen, so anything with mixing ingredients is always a win

#7: Reach out to your local church, synagogue, mosque, or place of worship to get a list of those in need

Faith houses usually know who is struggling financially, emotionally, or physically. Maybe you and your loved ones can drop off soup to someone who is sick, or help drive a little boy to soccer practice because his dad broke his leg

#8: Rake leaves or shovel snow for your neighbor

Kids have a lot of energy. Get them outside and moving by doing something kind for a neighbor.

#9: Get a group to make sandwiches and hand them out to the unhoused in your area

Do you see unhoused people at the local park or city center and feel like there’s nothing you can do to help? There’s something you and your family and loved ones can do together: Make them some food or hand out water bottles. You may even have a great conversation with a new friend.

#10: Find a creative way to raise money for organizations like Carry the Future

Simple, easy actions can make a world of difference to one person–or a whole nonprofit organization!

  • Using for all your Amazon shopping needs can help your favorite charities like Carry the Future. Just pick a charity and 0.5% of your order costs will go directly to them, at no extra cost to you. 
  • You and your children can host a bake sale or hot cocoa stand, and donate all the proceeds. 
  • Hang up your child’s drawings and paintings and host an art show in your home for friends and family. Attendees can “purchase” your child’s art and all proceeds will be donated.
  • Put on a play in your backyard and invite your neighbors. Sell tickets and explain that proceeds will go to Carry the Future.

Volunteering with your little ones will help them grow in compassion, gratitude, and awareness, as you do your difficult job of raising tomorrow’s leaders.

How will you be volunteering with your little world changers? Post your pictures to our Carry the Future Facebook page.