Summer is officially here and the kids are out of school. It’s a magical time in your child’s life when he or she can put the homework and busy school schedule aside and play in the pool, ride bikes, fly a kite or just sit in the shade and read a book. It’s also a great time for them to consider ways they can volunteer or perform a community service to enrich their summer experience. Giving back has numerous benefits for kids and families who get involved. It’s an opportunity to teach them that it is better to give than to receive. Volunteering as a family develops a positive service habit that will stick with them long into adulthood.

Here are nine great ways your kids (and you) can give back this summer:

  1. Volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels in your neighborhood.
  2. Stand outside on garbage day and have the kids armed with cold bottle waters or fun treats to hand out to those hardworking members of our communities.
  3. Run errands, cook meals, or spend time with someone in your neighborhood dealing with an illness.
  4. Write letters to deployed service members.
  5. Certify your dog as a therapy dog to volunteer in hospitals and schools.
  6. Volunteer as a family to help at a Ronald McDonald House in your area.
  7. Decorate reusable grocery bags and fill them with your kid’s favorite non-perishable food items and donated them to Feeding America or a local food bank in your community.
  8. Box up gently used clothing and toys and donate them to your local family shelter, refugee center or charity thrift store.
  9. Collect used towels and pet toys from neighbors, friends, and family for the local animal shelter.

After you have completed your summer volunteering project, don’t forget to celebrate! If you and your kids are donating goods or money to a local charity, deliver the items with your kids in person so they can see firsthand how their time and energy makes a difference.

Build on your kids’ enthusiasm for volunteering and choose your next service project together.

What community service activities are you and your kids doing over the summer? Comment below or jump over to our Facebook page to join the conversation. We’d love to get the word out on local service programs in your area that are kid-friendly.