Feeding the hungry, donating presents to the poor, and performing errands for the elderly are all examples of community service projects for kids.
Kids working together, learn to solve problems and make decisions and successfully contribute to their community. They connect local concerns with global issues and gain an awareness of others. All this will serve them now and years later as they transition out of school and into the adult world!
Let’s discuss how a child can volunteer.
What are service project examples?
- Plant trees or wildflowers.
- Plant produce and donate the harvest to a local food bank.
- Plant seeds. Sell the flowers or plants and donate the proceeds to a local organization in need.
- Pick up litter at a park.
- Put on a play at your school, a fair or festival about local environmental or human needs issues.
- Collect items for a time capsule.
- Make treats for a local senior home.
- Improve school grounds.
- Develop and maintain a recycling program at school.
- Collect food, warm clothing, toys, or personal care items for the needy. Deliver to shelters. Remember shelters are in need of supplies all year long!
- Hold a Teddy Bear and Friends (Stuffed Animals) Drive.
- Donate the collected animals to a Homeless Shelter for new arrivals. Also…check with your local police station or fire station. Many are happy to take Teddy and Friends; a teddy bear can be a comfort to children in times of distress.
- Collect unused make-up, perfume and other cosmetics for a center for abused women.
- Make centerpieces, holiday cards, birthday cards, and notes for assisted living facilities, children’s hospital wards, or meals on wheels.
- Donate old eyeglasses to an organization or place that recycles them for the needy.
- Collect old stuffed animals and dolls, clean them up, repair and then donate them.
- Collect old clothes and donate them for a dress-up area at a daycare or family shelter.
- Make a holiday basket for someone in need or crisis.
- Write letters to servicemen/women.
- Put together a care package for servicemen/women.
- Form a litter patrol on school or park ground.
- In December contact a tree farm or nursery about donating a Christmas tree to a needy family, shelter or nursing home.
- Make bookmarks and leave them in a basket on the library counter for other students to take one when they check out books.
- Establish a pen pal project with senior citizens in a nursing home; children in a local hospital, or children in another country.
- Hold a used book sale after school, or on an evening or Saturday at the school or the local library. Publicize the event to the school and the local community. Donate collected funds to a worthy cause.
- Have a book drive to collect new and excellent condition used books for children who do not have access to many books (poverty or disaster areas in the U.S., other countries, a local Head Start or homeless shelter).
You can also visit the “First Book” website for ideas for book-related community service activities such as “Speed Read”…
Put Together Care Packages for the Children’s Hospital
Suggested items to include:
- Activity books
- Board books
- Human body books
- Pop-up books
- I Spy/Look-A-Likes
- Wheres Waldo books
- Talking books
- Spanish books
- Vinyl books (new or gently used only)
- Small Plush animals (brand new only)
- Chapstick (variety of flavors)
- Clear plastic shoebox-size containers for craft storage and organization
- Decks of playing cards – regular
- Gel pen sets
- Gift cards for special event planning (Michael’s, Target, Toys R Us, Blockbuster, and grocery stores for food activities)
- Haircare items (brushes, big tooth combs, No More Tangles, ponytail holders, hair clips)
- Koosh balls
- Nail polish (individually wrapped & new)
- Nail stickers
- Party packs of Play-Doh
- Rattles (plastic only)
- Uno cards
- Word search books
- Mad Lib books
27. Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Fighting Childhood Cancer One Cup at a Time
This is something to share with parents, childcare providers, and educators!
Alex passed away from cancer at the age of eight–however, share her vision and give children the opportunity to engage in hosting an Alex’s Lemonade Stand event.
This is a project that kids, parents, and educators can register on their own and receive resources and materials for the event. The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $50 million dollars since Alex’s initial stand– much of this money comes from kids who hold stands in her honor.
Community Service Ideas for Animals and Animal Shelters
28. Donate Needed Items to Animal Shelters and Organizations
Collect and donate items on animal organizations’ wish lists: Example: Paper towels, dried dog food, milk substitute, portable cages, blankets and towels, cleansers, and food bowls.
29. Raise Money for Animal Organizations
Raise money for homeless pets or sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife– by collecting coins. Sponsor a walkathon, bowl-athon, read-athon, etc. backed by pledges. Donate to local shelters or animal organizations.
30. Make Nutritional Treats for Pets
Make nutritional treats for dogs and cats, and give them to neighbors for their pets. Make extra for animal shelters.
31. Adopt a Zoo Animal
Adopt an animal like bear, lion, tiger, whale, or another animal. Many zoos, aquariums, and animal sea habitats have adoption programs. In exchange for financial support, you often get a photo and biography of your new adoptee.
32. Birthday Donations Instead of Presents
Instead of bringing a present to your birthday party, ask your guests to bring a bag of dog food, cat food, treats or pet toys. Bring the supplies to your local animal shelter (make sure to call ahead first and set up a good time!). Some shelters will let older kids walk and feed the dogs/cats, clean out cages and bathe the animals.
Senior Citizen Service Projects for Kids
This might be what comes to mind when you think of community service ideas for kids. Children can bring so much joy to people at this stage of their life.
33. Pet Therapy
Pet Therapy is a great project for brightening the day of nursing home residents who may not get much company. Set up a visit with your local nursing home and simply take your pets along for the residents to enjoy. It offers them some great company and a cuddly, affectionate cat, dog or another friendly animal to pet.
34. Play Card Games
This is a great intergenerational idea. Visit a retirement /assisted living home and have senior citizens teach the kid’s card games! Maybe the children can also teach them a game or two!
Ideas: Hearts, Double Solitaire, etc. There is a difference in the games that our senior generation has played compared to the youth of today! Our kids can learn marbles, jacks, hop-scotch, cat-in-the cradle, etc. Bring cookies or some other snacks that the kids have made, would be an extra treat to share!
35. Collect Old Shoes
Put out notices and containers—and start collecting!!!
Ever thrown out a pair of worn-out athletic shoes? Did you know that IT TAKES ABOUT 1,000 YEARS for those sneakers to biodegrade? Wondering what to do with the ones you’ve already got? RECYCLE THEM.
Every year, millions of pairs of athletic shoes are thrown away, not only wasting landfill space but wasting tons of reusable material.
Since 1993 Nike has been running a program called Reuse-a-Shoe. So far they’ve used 24 million pairs of athletic shoes to create sports surfaces. It’s part of the “Let Me Play” campaign, one of Nike’s longest-running environmental and community programs.
Worn-out athletic shoes of any brand are collected, processed and recycled into material used in sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for young people around the world.
To keep recycling equipment running smoothly, there are guidelines:
- Athletic shoes only (any brand)
- No shoes containing metal
- No cleats or dress shoes
- No wet or damp shoes
36. 20 Grains of Rice
Using the internet children can donate 20 grains of rice to the WORLD FOOD HUNGER PROGRAM!
The free rice site offers an English multiple-choice vocabulary test. For each word defined correctly, 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations World Food Program to help end hunger. To date–over 66 Billion grains have been donated!!!!
37. Food Drive
Each year Oct. 16 is World Food Day, however food drives are needed all year long.
Talk with children in your program (or home) about world hunger and consider hosting or donating to a food drive for a food bank in your community. Increase awareness of world hunger and take steps to combat it.
Establish a length of time for the food drive and have the youth in your program make posters to hang around the program site to promote the food drive.•Ask parents to get involved by helping transport the food from your site to the food bank.
Food Drive Example
Students at Wadewitz Elementary in Racine, Wis., collected 1,000 pounds of food last December for the Holy Communion Lutheran Church food pantry. Adding some motivation…when the student body met their goal, the PTA vice president Gretchen Berthiaume and a student volunteer had their heads shaved during a school assembly.___________Looking for a fun way to raise money for your favorite charity? Hold a “PIE IN THE FACE” competition … whatever class raises the most money gets to throw a pie in the face of the principal, teacher, etc.! The kids will love it! This is a fun ‘Community” idea for the month of April! ‘EARTH DAY’
We hope you have enjoyed this list of community service projects for kids of all ages. These ideas are a great way to give back while facilitating children’s learning and growth.
This is only a portion of ideas. Please see all other Community Service Categories…