As the school year winds to a close, a lot of parents are looking for ways to fill their kids’ summer. Of course, there are lots of day camps, beach days, family vacations and pool parties, but there’s one more thing you should add to your summer agenda – good deeds. Summer is all about having fun, why not help your kids learn that giving back can be fun, too? Summer vacation usually lasts about 10 weeks, so here are 10 ideas for good deeds kids can do.
1. Bring a treat to the fire station
Firefighters work hard to keep our communities safe, a lot of people bring hot cocoa to fire stations around Christmas time, but these heroes work year-round. Summer-themed treats like lemonade, fresh fruit baskets, ice cream or popsicles would be a great way to say thank you to our community helpers this summer.
2. Bring a treat to the police station
Along the same lines, our heroes in blue work hard to protect our communities, too!
3. Clean a park
Chances are you’ll be spending some time at a local park this summer, why not take one of those trips and use it as a time to give back to your community. Bring a trash bag and gloves, some spray bottles with soapy water and some rags. Little kids will love spraying down and scrubbing the play structures. If you’re going to be picking up garbage, a few good safety rules are to always wear gloves, only let grown-ups pick up cigarettes, and if you see anything that looks dangerous, do not touch it and tell an adult about it immediately.
Volunteering is a wonderful experience for kids and adults alike. Unfortunately, there are a lot of volunteer opportunities that are only available to adults, but a couple of places to check with are retirement homes and animal shelters. A lot of retirement homes like to let kids come and read stories to the residents, and animal shelters like to let kids come and play with and cuddle the animals.
5. Give ding-dong-ditch a better reputation
Make some cookies or pick some flowers, put them on a neighbor’s doorstep, ring the doorbell (or knock on the door) and run away! That’s an anonymous surprise anyone would be glad to find at the door.
6. Help a neighbor with their lawn
Most of us have a neighbor or two who might need an extra helping hand. Maybe it’s an elderly person who has trouble pushing the lawn mower and bending down to weed the garden or a working parent who just doesn’t have the time. Lend them a hand and do some yard work for them. Neighborhoods are safer and happier places to live when we look out for each other.
7. Organize a mini food drive
Ask friends and family to donate some canned food, maybe even use some allowance or birthday money to buy a few things, and then bring it to a local food bank. Donating to food banks is a great way to give back to people in need in your very own community.
8. Make cards for kids in the hospital
Get out some craft supplies, draw some fun pictures, write some sweet, inspirational notes and bring them to your local hospital’s pediatric unit. For safety, most pediatric wards are closed to the public but leave the cards with a nurse and they will pass them out to kids who need some cheering up while they are sick and probably lonely.
9. Send some snail mail
Everyone loves getting mail and with most communication happening virtually these days, most mail is either bills or junk. Brighten the day of some friends and relatives by sending them a postcard or letter. Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles especially love to get artwork from their younger relatives, so draw some pictures and mail them out!
10. Smile at everyone
Pick a day when you’re out and about to smile at everyone you see. Something as simple as a smile can completely turn things around for someone having a bad day, and smiles are contagious.