Part III: Getting the Kids Involved- Ideas
This has easily been one of my most favorite posts to write. Nothing gets me as excited as a good brainstorming session!!
In the other installments of this series, we’ve been looking at why it’s important for organizations to get kids involved and how organizations can get kids involved. In this final post, we’re looking at specific examples of how kids can get involved and some resources to get started. What’s fun about this third piece in the series (although who are we kidding, they’re ALL FUN!!) is that this is something that organizations can use AND families can use. I’ll also include a few links to specific sites that help encourage getting kids involved.
When you look at these examples start letting you wheels turn and think about how you can take these ideas and apply them to your own organization (or family!). Take one of these ideas or let them be inspiration for something else creative!
Penny Drive Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition, right? Get at least two groups (but the more the merrier) and pit them against each other. Give kids a short time frame, maybe two week, to collect coins. At the end of the two weeks, find out who has raised the most money. Let the winning group decide what area of the community they would like to use the raised funds to help.
Tear off posters You’ve seen these posters. They’re normally in coffee shops, or on telephone polls, or other places where people congregate. “Need a babysitter” it will say (or something like that) then the ends are cut so you can tear a piece of paper with a phone number on it. Take this idea and have kids decorate the poster to say “Take a Compliment” then put compliments or positive sayings at the ends. If you’re a nonprofit, you can relate these back to your mission. For example, if you work at a kennel, the paper tears can have positive ways pets contribute to our well being, and so on. Here’s a link to a poster to give you some ideas.
Garbage Pick Up I went to Santa Cruz a few months back and the hotel I was at was doing something really cool. They had a scavenger hunt (with different garbage items listed, like a soda can, a plastic bag, etc.) for kids to pick up trash on the beach. Families grabbed a scavenger hunt sheet, a bag, and gloves, then started collecting. When it was complete, kids could hand in their completed scavenger hunt for little prizes. I’ve seen other places do this (normally places along the beach) where you can fill up a can with garbage and the coffee shop will repay you with a free cup of coffee and so on. This is a great way to get kids involved in environmental clean up, teach them why it’s so important to throw out their own garbage, plus keep the places we love clean. Here’s a link to a sheet to get you started.
Kindness Rocks Kids love this, teens love this, adults love this, everyone loves this simple idea! Paint a rock and add a kind saying to it, then hide that rock somewhere in the community. A lot of towns have their own version of this, and you can get extra motivation from the parent group itself by clicking here.
Some Kind of Drive Can drive, can drive, coffee drive, shoe drive, some kind of drive. Find a need either locally or globally and run a drive at a kids school. Here’s the important thing about this. These are fun and all, but they work best when kids can see how their actions are impacting others. Try to make this tangible for kids by showing them how people benefit from their kindness. If you run an organization and want to do this at a school, be sure to find a way where kids can see their impact.
Have kids host a fundraiser. I know, this really means have adults host a fundraiser and let the kids help, but it still matters. Organizations and families can do this one. Make it simple so the kids can be the face. Let them feel how good it feels to raise funds and give back. What kind of fundraiser can you host? Think simple: lemonade stand, car wash, bake sale, yard sale, etc. Have the kids make the signs, have the kids help people, and let the kids choose the cause. This builds kids’ confidence and gives them an opportunity to talk about a cause they love.
Kids can help fight hunger. This is a cool one that teaches kids about the abundance most of us enjoy versus what others may be lacking. If you’re an organization who helps fight poverty I highly encourage you to share this eager volunteers. Download this calendar and have kids set an extra place setting at their table. The extra place setting is a visual reminder for people who are hungry at each meal, and the calendar gives prompts to let kids count all their abundance with coins. At the end, kids are more conscious of what they have (what parent doesn’t want their kids to be more grateful for all the food they have) and the kids have set aside money that can then be donated to an organization that works to end hunger. Get more info here.
Birthday Party in a Box. Who doesn’t love a birthday party, right?? This is fun because kids know what to do. Kids love birthday parties and this gets them excited. Plus, there’s national organizations to help kids carry this out. Visit this website to get more information like what to put in the box. They can even ship it to lucky kids for you! If you would like this to stay local, take this idea and reach out to local organizations like Salvation Army or homeless shelters to see if there is any need.
Have Kids Help Seniors. Put a twist on this on the party in a box. Create a party in a box for seniors and call the local skilled nursing facilities. This is super popular and seniors love kids. This is a GREAT way for kids to get involved. Unlike the birthday party in a box, kids can actually see how happy this party makes people because they get to party with the seniors. There’s other ways kids can be helpers with seniors. They can help with Bingo or they can make cards on the holidays and bring them to people, flowers on Valentine’s day, etc. If you’re an organization, think of ways kids can come help and make these opportunities available and known in the public!
Outsource your work. Can kids help you with your work? For science centers there’s something called citizen science where anyone, including kids, can help record data and send it in to national centers. It’s innovation through public participation. Believe it or not, kids have been responsible for helping in really big and meaningful ways. If you’re a science center, help make this accessible to families. If you’re another organization, think of a way you can put a spin on this. Here’s more information on citizen science and citizen science just for kids, here and here.
That’s all for this installment of getting the kids involved. We know it’s important because kind kids are important, and having kind kids who are passionate about your good work is also important. Don’t ignore this important demographic! They have a lot to give and love being empowered to make a difference.
I hope you enjoyed this final installment of this series, Do-Gooders! Be sure to share this with your organization. See you next week!