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Community Kids: Volunteering Opportunities for Young Children

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Little children love community helpers, from firefighters to garbage collectors, and they are eager to thank them. Help your little one create care packages for police and fire stations, hospitals, animal shelters, schools, or any place community helpers congregate. Toddlers are often very excited when a mail carrier, garbage collector, or repairperson comes to your home, so why not encourage them to offer that person a bottle of water, a small snack, or a thank you note? (Even children too young to write can color a thank you picture.)

Clean Up!

It's impossible to go the park without your litle guy picking up trash anyway, so why not turn it into a good deed? Encourage them to pick up litter in natural areas like parks and beaches (wearing disposable gloves and with plenty of sanitizer for later!) and put it into a paper bag to throw away.

Sit and Socialize

 

 

Children practice reading to pups at the Humane Society of Missouri.

Animal shelters often how programs to teach animals how to get along with children. Ask if they have opportunities for socializing with pets (rabbits are one of the most common animals to be socialized at shelters). Just make sure to teach your little one how to be gentle with small animals ahead of time, and stay nearby to monitor.

Grow a Meal

Do you have a vegetable garden or fruit tree? Help your little one gently harvest food from your garden and box it up for a local food bank. This is a perfect way to combine the exercise and education of gardening with a chance to teach about helping others.

Sometimes, just being there is enough

Assisted living centers, senior residences, and other organizations often welcome young visitors to just come in and spend time with their residents. Little chatterboxes will love the chance to entertain a new audience, and older, sometimes isolated adults will be delighted by their animated company. For quieter children, you can suggest they adopt an older pen pal, someone to whom they can send pictures and drawings all year long. Older children can also practice reading aloud while reading to older adults who may have limited eyesight.

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