Do you have a little (or not so little anymore) one out of school for the summer? Many parents struggle to find ways to keep their kids occupied during these months off. Even more difficult is discovering ideas to keep them busy without video games and endless television shows. We’ve pulled together a list of ideas for summer volunteering for kids below. Some of these can be done solo by children who are old enough to be unsupervised. Others may be a joint endeavor with a parent. Either way, you can use these to turn this summer into a learning experience that they’ll carry with them forever.
Visit with the Elderly
Chances are good that your city or town has a nursing home or retirement community in the area. The people living there often struggle with loneliness, making a visit from kids an excellent idea. You may be able to drop in for bingo night or one of the meals, or there might be a volunteer program already set in place. Little children could read picture books to the resident (or vice versa!). Older kids may benefit from some of their wisdom or enjoy tales from their younger years.
Park Clean Up
It’s important to instill the idea of environmental stewardship early on. A park clean up that’s organized by the park services or city could be just the ticket. They’ll learn about the benefits of green spaces and the downsides of littering. On top of that, this is time spent outdoors instead of in front of a computer screen. If the park is near your home, they’ll also be able to benefit from their labor later on in the summer, taking pride in their hard work.
The beauty of volunteering with food banks and food pantries is that the type of work you can do varies greatly. You might be there to sort a thousand pounds of potatoes over a few hours one evening with a few dozen other volunteers. Perhaps you work face to face with the people who need your help. It can be difficult to explain ideas like food insecurity to younger children, but it’s an important concept and important work.