With the holidays upon us, it’s important to remind children that this is not only a time for receiving, but also a time for giving.
Here are 14 ways children can do something nice for others this holiday season.
- Clean out and donate: Have your kids clean out their closets and toy boxes. Donate clothing and shoes that no longer fit and toys and books they haven’t played with for a while to a local thrift store. There are many parents out there looking for gifts for their own children for their holidays.
- Donate money: Encourage them to put a few coins from their money box into holiday collection bins to help those less fortunate.
- Adopt a family: Adopt a family in need for the holidays, have your kids pick out special toys and games to give to the family’s children.
- Toy collections: Find out which organizations in your area are collecting new toys for kids. Take your child to the toy store and have them choose the new toy that will be donated.
- Bake and give: Bake delicious holiday treats with your kids. Help them to deliver these treats to neighbors or your local nursing home.
- Holiday bags for the homeless: Take your kids to the local dollar store and help them collect items for the homeless including hygiene items, warm hats and gloves, and non-perishable food items. Let the kids bag the items and then deliver to local homeless men and women, or to a local shelter.
- Sing Christmas Carols: Last year was the first time I’d had carolers knock on our door and sing. I cannot begin to tell you the joy it brought to our evening. My kids continued singing long after the carolers had left. So teach your kids a few Christmas carols and sing for your neighbors.
- Hospital donations: If you child is upgrading, or has lost interest in, the gaming console or games, encourage them to donate them to a local children’s hospital.
- Cook and serve meals: Sign up to serve meals at your local shelter, soup kitchen or Ronald McDonald House. Younger kids may not be able to serve food, but they could play games, or do crafts with any children there.
- Write letters: Even the youngest child can draw special pictures, while the older ones write letters to family and friends who do not live close by over the holidays. There is something special about receiving a handwritten letter, especially if you are feeling isolated over the holiday season.
- Gifts for the troops: Package up a box of leftover tinsel, handmade ornaments, candy canes, and more Christmas goodies to send to the troops. They will appreciate that little piece of home.
- Volunteer: Reach out to local volunteer organizations and find out if your kids can help hand out toys at hospitals, help out at local organizations, or package food items at the food bank. Generally the minimum age for volunteering is 6.
- Handmade cards: Have your kids make handmade holiday cards for children who will be spending the holiday season in hospital.
- Give love to animals: The holiday season is a prime time for families to drop their pets off for boarding while they travel to visit family. Contact these organizations and see if your children can help walk, play with, or feed the animals.