Did you know it’s never too early to get kids involved in service? Seriously, moms and dads have even strapped infants to their chests to come and volunteer at our events!
I’ve got a busy toddler, and a busy life, and too often I’m just trying to hold myself together, so trying to find ways to volunteer in the middle of all that can be overwhelming! But luckily, PGK and our awesome nonprofit partners make it easy to combine things you want to do with your toddler anyway – super fun play that engages the senses and builds life skills – with meaningful volunteer activities you can do right in your own home.
Pro-tip: These activities are great for older kids, multiple kids of different ages, and whole families to do together, too! Most of these activities use supplies you already have at home, or can easily get at your local grocery or art/craft supply store, and they can be done from almost anywhere. All of them have a sensory or skill-building component that’s great for toddlers.
Want more fun activities at your fingertips? Download the Give Back App from iTunes!
1. Make bookmarks for kids learning to read
If you’re like me, you already do messy art activities with your toddler on the regular. Well, turn that into a volunteer activity! Reading Partners of the San Francisco Bay Area helps kids learn how to read, and every avid reader knows that a great bookmark is a wonderful thing. All you’ll need is some cardstock, scissors, coloring supplies like non-toxic paint and markers, and any other flat decorations your toddler’s creative heart desires. Get messy with it! When you’re done, let them dry, pop them in an envelope, and send them to Reading Partners so they can give them to new readers.
2. Dog biscuit bake sale
This awesome activity from the MSPCA, one of our partners in Boston. Toddlers love getting their hands dirty, and dogs love biscuits. Another activity that’s great for the whole family, get your toddler involved in making dog biscuits at home. Baking is a great sensory activity! Then help your child sell the treats to dog owners around your neighborhood, at the local dog park, or to friends, family, or co-workers, to raise money for the MSPCA (or your local animal shelter).
3. Trash free lunches
Packing lunches for your toddler to take to daycare or preschool is often a chore, but our Los Angeles area partner Grades of Green has a great idea to help your child use their lunch to save the planet! Make this activity toddler-friendly by getting older toddlers involved in preparing and packing their lunch for the next day before bedtime, using only reusable containers, utensils, napkins, and water bottle, and remind them that every day they eat a trash free lunch, they’re doing their part to save the planet.
4. Spread some PB&J Love
What kid doesn’t love peanut butter & jelly (or, if your child is sensitive to peanuts, sunflower seed butter & jelly)? If you live in the LA area, the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry needs PB&J sandwiches to help provide lunch for someone who might otherwise go hungry. And this is a great sensory and skill building activity to get an older toddler involved in! While you’re making the sandwiches together, have a simple talk about kindness and the importance of helping others, and making sure that nobody goes hungry. Needs vary, so be sure to call ahead to confirm the morning to drop off the sandwiches! And if you don’t live in the LA area, contact your local food pantry to see what their current needs are, and how your family might support their work.
Find more ways to engage your kids with service by using our online activity finder!
Or you can download the Give Back App from the iTunes store here.