Last year, we offered up some ideas for how to get your kids involved in serving others in a fun and thoughtful way — especially during those lazy summer days.
But we realize this summer is going to look a lot different because of the coronavirus. Most summer camps are closed, vacations have been canceled or delayed, and your kids may be keeping their distance from their friend groups out of caution.
Just because this summer will be different doesn’t mean your family can’t still have some fun. And you’ll have the opportunity to share a little kindness along the way, too.
Here are six more ideas for your family to have some safe fun while helping other people in your community:
1. Go grocery shopping for someone else
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, many elderly or vulnerable people were worried about venturing out by themselves. And something amazing happened! All across the country, neighbors started checking in on their older friends and dropping groceries on their doorstep.
But why stop now? Even though many stores have done a fantastic job of looking out for their older customers and even setting special hours for them to shop, some older folks still might not feel comfortable venturing out.
Do you know of someone who may not feel safe going to the store or simply can’t because of a disability or illness? Ask for their grocery list and then hit your local store.
Get your kids involved by asking them to decorate boxes with stickers, glitter, drawings, and other artwork. These fun, custom boxes will be perfect to fill with groceries and place on the recipient’s doorstep.
Want to go a little bit over the top? Decorate your car with balloons, ribbons, or pinwheels. When your neighbor or family friend sees you pull up with your silly car while delivering their groceries, it will definitely make them laugh or put a smile on their face.
2. Bake something yummy for someone new
While sheltering at home, many of us chose to learn a new hobby — like baking! Whether you’ve been baking for years or just a few months, try out a new recipe and get your family to deliver it to someone special.
Maybe your neighborhood just had someone new move in. Or show your support for nurses and doctors by dropping off cookies or brownies to their unit. Even if you don’t feel comfortable going to a hospital, you can still drop them off to first responders like police officers or firefighters.
No matter who you decide to shower with homemade love, be sure your kids or grandkids are a part of the baking fun. It will be quality time for your family and a good way for them to learn something new.
3. Do yardwork or plant flowers in someone else’s yard
Know someone who would love some flowerbeds or a garden in their front yard, but they can’t get out of the house or down on the ground? Offer up your family’s services and plant some beautiful flowers or tomato plants for someone you know.
Being outside together will be good for your family, and you can give back to a neighbor or loved one while still social distancing.
Don’t know of someone who needs a hand in the yard? Why not plant a garden of your own! Once your harvest arrives, you’ll have plenty of veggies to share with friends, family, and people in your community.
4. Make cards for people in nursing homes
Throughout quarantine, many families haven’t been able to visit loved ones who live in nursing homes. This means that elderly men and women may be feeling lonely.
Break out the crayons, markers, or stickers and make some homemade cards for an entire hall of a nursing home. Ask your kids to write encouraging notes and draw pictures to cheer up the recipient. Be sure to get involved, too, and make cards of your own.
Even if you never get to meet the recipients, you can be sure your children’s artwork will be hung with joy in rooms and admired.
5. Social distancing yard sale
If your family feels comfortable, consider hosting a yard sale outside your home. You can easily spread out the tables displaying your items for sale to encourage proper social distancing. Of course, you can also offer hand sanitizer to your guests while your family wears masks.
Get your kids involved by having them sell their old toys or clothes. As you help them separate out items to sell and items to keep, you’ll have the opportunity to teach them about not getting too caught up in material things and share about how many kids around the world don’t have many toys or clothes of their own.
Then, take it a step farther by donating your profits to help children in need on the other side of the globe.
6. Take part in a water balloon challenge
Kids are kids. They’re still learning about generosity, so they may not be incredibly eager at first to give away their profits.
Enter the water balloon challenge.
If your kids raised $50 from a yard sale or other fundraiser, tell them that every dollar they donate from their earnings will buy them one water balloon to throw at mom, dad, or grandparents.
Yes, it’s a lesson learned at your expense. But I guarantee everyone involved will be having fun by the end of it.
Of course, you can up the ante by telling your kids you’re donating money yourself to be able to throw water balloons at them! See how much you can raise as a family. And, then, at the end of the summer, have a huge water balloon fight while knowing you helped people in need.
Not sure where to donate? One urgent need right now is helping kids who are without a sponsor.
When a child living in poverty doesn’t have a sponsor, it often means he doesn’t receive the basic essentials he needs. Without a sponsor, healthy food, basic medical care, educational opportunities, durable clothing, and even a safe place to live can be out of reach.
Child sponsorship has always been an overwhelming need. But now, the need is even greater because of the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. And since the Children of the World choir — World Help’s main avenue for recruiting new sponsors — can’t travel any more, the number of new sponsorships is down 94 percent.
But your family’s summer fun can help meet an unsponsored child’s needs child for three months. Click the button below to learn more.
And even if this summer isn’t how your family envisioned, you all can make an incredible difference in this world — all while having fun.