Amy’s Free Ideas

Christmas is celebrating the King of the universe being born--not as a rich young prince, but being born to poor parents who didn’t even have a place to stay when he was born. It is the perfect season to follow this example and serve other people, especially those who are struggling.

Kids learn by doing, and doing things for other people is a great way for kids to learn all kinds of life lessons about kindness and generosity and responsibility, to name just a few. Begin early, and your children are likely to grow up as very thoughtful, helpful people. Choose activities appropriate for each age, so they can see that what they do really does help other people. Here are just a few ideas to get your kids hooked on a lifestyle of altruism.

Preschool age

Children of this age can do things around the house for other family members. Even at this age, though, they can also do a few little things for people they know outside the home. They will not be able to do any of it well, but that doesn’t matter--they want to help, so come up with ways they can.

  1. 1.Get shoes or slippers for Daddy

  2. 2.Hold the door for Mommy when her hands are full

  3. 3.Pick up laundry Mommy has dropped

  4. 4.Hand baby a toy that was dropped

  5. 5.Play with baby brother or sister

  6. 6.Let sibling play with toy rather than insisting on playing with it himself (this is a hard one to learn, but don’t give up!)

  7. 7.Wipe up a spill

  8. 8.Set the table

  9. 9.Fold towels

  10. 10.Help make cookies (yes, this is a lot of work for Mommy, but doing is the best way for kids to learn!!) and deliver them to a neighbor, school teacher, Sunday school teacher, retirement home, etc.

Elementary age

Children at this age are rapidly developing, so each year they are able to do more--there is a big difference in what a first grader can do, and what a sixth grader can do! Keep stretching them by helping them see how needy the world is, and how their little bit can make a difference.

  1. 1.Choose one of their own toys to donate to charity

  2. 2.Collect food for a food drive

  3. 3.Fill a shoebox for Samaritan’s Purse (Christmas presents sent to poor children around the world)

  4. 4.Help sort food at a food bank such as Harvest Hope.

  5. 5.Help you deliver food to poor families with an organization such as Harvest hope.

  6. 6.Research local charitable organizations to find out how they need help, and decide if there is a way your family can help

  7. 7.Help serve food in a Soup Kitchen, especially if your own church does this.

  8. 8.Sing Christmas Carols at a retirement home.

  9. 9.Do yard work for elderly neighbors

  10. 10. Do house work for elderly neighbors

  11. 11. Deliver Christmas cookies to elderly neighbors

  12. 12. Help with yard work at your church

  13. 13. Help put up Christmas decorations for your church

  14. 14. Find out if there is yard work or cleaning that could be done at your child’s school, and organize a “help your school day.”

Pre-teens and teenagers

If young people have been doing service projects for several years, they should be ready to take on more responsibility and do research and make plans (with your help and oversight, of course.) Whether they have or not, any of the projects listed for elementary aged children will work, too. Just change it up so they are not doing the same thing every year, unless they really love it. Of course, once they can drive, more opportunities are open to them.

  1. 1.Find and feed homeless people

  2. 2.Provide coats, blankets, hats, gloves, etc. for homeless people

  3. 3.Join an organization such as “Big Brother/Sister” organization to help underprivileged kids year round rather than just at Christmas

  4. 4.Get your church youth group to take on an annual Christmas service project