Simple Ideas For Kids to Give Back in the Community

It’s not uncommon for my family to give back, especially during the holiday season. Whether it be sponsoring a family in need, donating toys, or simply just baking cookies for those in our lives, we try to find ways to give of our time, money, or skills for the benefit of others. This year, after a discussion she had at school about caring and sharing, my six-year-old wanted to help.

Simple ways for kids to give back to the community

We started to discuss ways that she could give back and actually feel like she’s made a difference. I wasn’t surprised when she had the idea to help out at an animal shelter. She has always been a lover of animals and wants to be a zoologist when she grows up.

Lucky for us, a friend of ours recommended Hercules’ Haven in Cedar Rapids. This farm just opened its barn doors earlier this fall, and rescues and cares for a variety of farm animals that are in need of love and affection. We contacted the owners, Alison and Danny Stone, and they generously allowed us to come to the farm to give Zoey an experience of a lifetime. For three Saturdays during the month of December, she volunteered as a farmhand by socializing with the animals and helping during the evening feed time.

It was an AMAZING learning experience that taught her compassion, patience, and hard work. What it taught me was that you are never too young or too small to do good and help others around you.

Simple ways for kids to give back to the community
Feeding the piggies at Hercules’ Haven

The next few months will be cold and gloomy, leading many parents scrambling to find something to beat the cabin fever blues. Instead of spending money at play centers, consider something more rewarding! Consider doing something for others, which is even possible in the comfort of your home. 

Simple Ways That Kids of All Ages Can Give Back

  1. Make get well cards for children at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
  2. Write thank you letters and draw pictures for area police and firefighters.
  3. Bake cookies for your neighbors or your mail carrier.
  4. Help shovel driveways and sidewalks in your neighborhood.
  5. Gather old toys that aren’t played with and donate to Goodwill.
  6. Read books to a younger sibling or friend.
  7. Play board games with residents at a local nursing home.
  8. Make sack lunches to bring to a homeless shelter.
  9. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or make homemade dog biscuits.
  10. Help Mother Nature by going around and picking up trash.
  11. Make a Helping Jar to collect extra change or put allowance in to donate to a charity of choice.
  12. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or Salvation Army.
  13. Learn how to crochet or knit, and make scarves to leave around town for the homeless.
  14. Volunteer at a school event.
  15. Make a neighborhood free Little Library box.
  16. Write letters to those serving overseas in the military.
  17. Make no-sew blankets and donate to a women’s shelter.
What ideas do you have to add to this list?


Mary, a native of Rockford, Illinois, attended DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois where she received her BA in Secondary Art Education. In 2007, she moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa after accepting a position as a high school visual arts teacher with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She and her husband, Collin, who is a teacher in the Iowa City Community School District, reside in Cedar Rapids with their daughters, Zoey and Munroe. Zoey is five and Munroe will be turning one in October 2016. In addition to being a full time mommy, full time teacher, and writer for the mom’s blog, she is also a professional artist who has shown and published works both nationally and internationally. Mary enjoys traveling, painting, and most of all, spending time with her family.


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