8 simple and safe service ideas for all ages.
Summer is here, and depending where you are in the world, your favorite summer activities might not be an option right now. What to do with these kids all day?
I don't know about you, but after so much time with my family in our bubble, I am itching to get out and reach out (in a safe way) and to remember that we are part of a much bigger neighborhood and world.
We have compiled a list of some of our favorite service activities and we hope you will join us for a Summer of Simple Service. These ideas will be kid friendly, use little preparation or effort, and be safe for everyone.
We invite you to use the hashtag #summerofsimpleservice so we can follow along as a community to see the good our families are doing in the world.
1. Pick up trash- This can be SO simple. Keep new trash bags in your stroller or purse and whenever you go out for a walk around the block, play at the park, or hike in the mountains, challenge your kids to pick up litter as you go. Bring plastic gloves, hand sanitizer, or some kind of grabber tool or these scissor tongs to make it extra fun (and sanitary).
2. Weed or water a neighbors' flower bed- Everyone loves a nice yard, but not everyone loves bending over doing yard work on a hot day. Call ahead and ask what can be done, then assemble your rain boot clad work crew and gather your tools.
3. Summer singing- Think Christmas caroling but without the snow and freezing toes. Make a list of your friends and elderly neighbors and go door to door singing Christmas songs with your kids. Just be sure to be safe and knock on the door and take quite a few steps back.
4. Create a chalk obstacle course- Take a sad stretch of sidewalk and turn it into something fun for the whole neighborhood to enjoy on walks! With just a box of chalk and some imagination, you can create "obstacles" (like jump over the river, hop on the lily pads) and tasks for everyone to enjoy. Don't forget to complete the course yourselves.
5. Make a donation- Talk to your kids about the specific needs of your community right now, especially the food bank. Make a list of extra chores around the house and let them earn money to donate to a cause that is meaningful for them.
6. Paint and hide rocks- Kids love painting, kids love rocks! All this project needs is a bunch of smooth rocks and acrylic paint. Paint happy pictures, or write encouraging words on them. Then heft all your rocks to a public place like a park or a trail and hide them for others to find.
7. Write thank you notes- Anyone else feel like writing a thank you note is a lost art? Teach your kids both letter writing and gratitude at the same time! Grab paper and pens and let your kids brainstorm who they want to thank. (Think everyone from siblings, friends, teachers, post worker.) See these tips for writing thoughtful thank you notes.
8. Summer fun package- If your kids are disappointed they can't have summer playdates, put together a bundle of goodies to share instead. Things like play dough, bottles of bubbles, and sidewalk chalk, will keep little friends busy for hours (kids will love it and Mom will THANK YOU).
Remember that the point of service should be FUN, and leave your kids with smiles and happy feelings. As much as possible, let your kids be in control and decide what you do and who you serve.