Ideas for Kids to Help Others & Care for the Planet from a Young Age

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Want to inspire your little one to be a do-gooder? Here’s how. 

From doing something good for a neighbour to being part of a charitable cause – your kids are not too young to show and share good will. You can teach them to have an altruistic nature from when they’re old enough to walk. This will benefit you, them and the world around them. 

Teaching kids to do things for others just because helps them develop strong core values and create strong bonds and connections with other humans from a young age.

Here are some ideas for kids of different ages:

Ages 2 to 4

  • Encourage them to include other kids who may be playing alone. 
  • Let them help you choose canned goods and other non-perishables from your food cupboard to take to your local food bank.
  • Let them help you sort the recycling.
  • Print ‘thank you’ cards for them to color in and give to people who have helped them in any small way.
  • Teach them to donate to charity with a coin jar for donations and one for treats. Once they’re both full, the money gets donated to charity (or used to buy something for someone in need) and your child gets a treat too. 
  • Let them help you hang bird feeders in the garden.

Ages 5 to 7

  • Have them recognise toys that they no longer play with and ask them to donate it to a community centre or even organize a toy drive. 
  • If your child has long enough hair, consider donating it once they’ve decided they’d like a haircut. 
  • Teach them how to make pet toys for cats and dogs and donate them to animal shelters along with food and any other items they might need. 
  • If you’re having a birthday party or any kind of celebration, ask your child to head up a donation drive amongst your guests for a cause they care about. 
  • Have them set up a lemonade stand or sell homemade cookies (or any other cool thing they can make) to raise money for their charity. Have them create a sign telling people what they’re doing and why too. 
  • Have them help you clear out old books and donate to your local library, or even start a neighbourhood book swap right on your front lawn! Like these Little Libraries. 
  • Color and write ‘get well soon’ cards for older residents at hospitals.
  • Let them participate in fun runs and 5Ks with you for charity.

Ages 8 and Up

  • Organise a beach clean up or local park clean up near you with friends and family.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities on the US National Parks website
  • Teach your child about endangered species and find out which species are endangered in your state. Have your child choose an animal and then draw a card and write a letter together to your local leaders as well as congressional leaders to support conservation policies that protect this species.
  • Ask them to start a school supplies drive with their friends and family for kids in need at their own school and others in different areas. You can visit the Kids in Need Foundation to find out how you both can help. 
  • Get them to donate clothes they no longer wear along with personal care items for a Refugee Hope Box. They can also write a nice letter. Find a free label to ship donations at
  • Let them offer to help a neighbour with housework or to rake their lawn for nothing in exchange. 
  • Collect and deliver supplies to neighbors who have just had a baby, undergone surgery, or are house bound with an illness.
  • Start a community garden.
  • Organise a neighbourhood garage sale and donate the proceeds to charity.

Do you have any other ideas on how to get kids to volunteer? Tell us!

Follow Carmen Williams:
Carmen lives with her cat, Peeves in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a freelance journalist and copywriter with over 10 years' experience in all things digital. She’s written on various subjects from finance, to sustainability, to relationships for many brands, including Aurora Sustainability, TotalBeauty and News24.

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