Looking for age-appropriate volunteer ideas for kids? You’ve come to the right place. Just as kids can do some type of household chore at every age, kids can also volunteer in some capacity at every age. Learning to volunteer alongside their parents at a young age helps children become adults who are caring and involved members of their communities. Volunteering teaches kids compassion and empathy for others while simultaneously building their confidence and self-worth. Making a tangible difference in the lives of others gives children an early sense of purpose that will serve them well into adulthood.
If you struggle to find age-appropriate volunteer opportunities, reach out to a local church or nonprofit organization. They can probably point you in the right direction, even if they don’t have an immediate need for volunteers. Below are a few volunteer ideas for kids of every age, but the possibilities are truly endless.
Volunteer Ideas for Kids at Every Age
Ages 2 to 4
- Choose a few nonperishable items from your pantry to donate to a local food bank.
- Donate extra Halloween candy to a local dentist’s office that participates in Treats for Troops.
- Collect old sheets, towels, blankets, safe toys, and pet food for a local animal rescue or shelter.
- Create Valentine’s Day cards, St. Patrick’s Day cards, Easter cards, Halloween cards, Thanksgiving placemats, and Christmas or holiday cards and decorations for nursing home residents.
- Take new or gently used magazines, card games, and puzzles to nursing homes or assisted living and memory care facilities.
- Deliver hand lotion, fuzzy socks, and blankets to nursing home residents before the holidays.
- Donate new coats and shoes for kids in need to Operation Warm at the beginning of winter.
- Fill a bucket or tub at your front door with water bottles and pre-packaged snacks for delivery people during the holiday season.
- Collect new or gently used books for a Little Free Library in your neighborhood.
- Color thank you cards for veterans and first responders.
- Take cookies or other treats and snacks to your local fire station.
- Deliver flowers or cookies to a neighbor recovering from surgery, childbirth, or illness.
Ages 5 to 7
- Adopt a foster family through your local chapter of National Angels, and fill and deliver their monthly Love Box together as a family.
- Set up a lemonade or hot chocolate stand to raise money for your child’s favorite charity or nonprofit organization.
- Make bracelets, soap, slime, or popcorn to sell to raise money for your child’s favorite charity or nonprofit organization.
- Time for a haircut? Donate long hair to Wigs for Kids (for children with hair loss due to a medical condition) or Pantene Beautiful Lengths (for women with cancer).
- Pick flowers or bake bread or cookies for a friend or neighbor recovering from surgery, childbirth, or illness.
- Depending on the season, help an elderly neighbor with weeding flower beds, watering plants, pruning, or raking leaves.
- Sing Christmas carols (bring bells to jingle) and hand out candy canes and holiday cards at nursing homes or assisted living and memory care facilities.
- Create care packages for homeless people with toiletries, water bottles, and snacks to keep in your car.
- Sign up to be a morning greeter or a lost and found item collector at your elementary school.
- Bake cookies or make other treats to deliver to first responders.
- Write and decorate thank you notes for veterans and first responders.
- Help a teacher set up her classroom before school starts or pack it up after school ends.
Ages 8 and Up
- Volunteer at a local animal rescue or shelter, walking or playing with lonely dogs and cats who are waiting for adoption.
- Visit and play games with or read to residents at nursing homes or assisted living and memory care facilities. Some facilities will even allow you to provide hand massages or manicures for residents.
- Serve at a local food bank during the holidays together as a family.
- Help a younger child learn to read, write, or do addition and subtraction.
- Have a garage sale to raise money for your child’s favorite charity or nonprofit organization. Your child can pick out toys they no longer use and clothes and shoes they no longer wear to sell.
- Host a school supplies drive benefiting the Kids In Need Foundation before school starts.
- Build a Little Free Library in your front yard, and fill it with gently used or new books together.
- Help an elderly neighbor with mowing, pruning, or weed eating.
- Reshelve books or assist the librarian with other tasks at your local library.
- Clean up a park for Earth Day or plant trees on Arbor Day.
- Run for student council or another leadership position at your school.
- Help with decorations, set-up, and cleanup for church or school events, like a fall festival, carnival, or fundraiser.
No matter the age, toddlers and children can volunteer their time in some way to help make a difference. Volunteering will teach your kids to put themselves in the shoes of others, if just for a moment, which is a valuable life lesson at any age. What volunteer ideas would you add to the list?