10 Winter Service Projects for Kids

One of the most important lessons a parent can teach their kids is to serve, honor and respect others above themselves. Even young children, with little money or resources, can find ways to serve, encourage others, and do kind things for those in their community.

Through school, church and clubs, children are often exposed to service projects they can participate in. However, consider committing to volunteering within your own family. As a parent, set goals for each season, offering service options for your kids. As your children get in the routine of service, they will begin to learn the character traits of humility, kindness and charity. The following are ten service projects for kids that can be done in the winter:

1. Shoveling sidewalks – Winter weather can be treacherous for the elderly or those with a disability. Young kids may not have the endurance to shovel an entire driveway, but they can certainly help shovel a path from the driveway to the front door or mailbox for needy neighbors. This kind deed of service will help both the resident to prevent falling, as well as clear a path for postal workers to deliver mail.

2. Crocheting squares for “Warm Up America” – If your child has learned a skill like crocheting, they can use this talent to help an organization making afghans for the needy. Rather than taking the time to create an entire blanket, “Warm Up America” simply asks for donations of simple 7″x9″ knit or crocheted rectangles in any yarn (use up those mismatched remnants lying around). Kids can create crocheted rectangles on their own, and teach their friends this skill as well to produce more. What a great service project for winter, when your kids are stuck inside the house! Learn about Warm Up America here (and at many craft stores nationwide, such as Pat Catan’s).

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3. Collecting items for animal shelters – Pets are often dear to the heart of young kids. Take the time to visit a local animal shelter and have your child ask what items are needed for the organization. Usually, pet toys, office supplies, newspapers, blankets, food, trash bags and cleaning supplies are crucial to helping a shelter run smoothly. Kids can take up a collection or start saving part of their weekly allowance to help purchase items for an animal shelter this winter.

4. Donating old books, games, clothes and toys – During the winter, especially after the holidays, parents often like to de-clutter, and this is a perfect time to have your kids look through their old clothes, books, games and toys for items that can be donated. Take your children to a local family mission or women’s rescue shelter to see the charity firsthand, and learn what items are needed. When kids see what their donated items can mean to other children, this service project takes on a new, higher meaning.

5. Visiting a nursing home – Nothing teaches a child (or adult) humility like going to a nursing home and visiting with the elderly, sometimes lonely, residents. A simple winter service project for kids could simply be going with their parents to visit, play games, and talk with the residents there.

6. Retrieving mail for neighbors – If you live in an area where the mailboxes are located far from the residence, your kids can pick up the mail or newspaper for an elderly or disabled neighbor, who might have trouble collecting it in the winter snow.

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7. Creating greeting cards for nursing home residents, hospital patients or military – There are many lonely people, serving abroad in the military, living in nursing homes, or staying in the hospital during the holidays. During the winter season, kids can make homemade cards (or write encouraging notes in purchased ones) to send to those people who feel ‘forgotten’ this time of year, and brighten up their day.

8. Collecting magazines for organizations – Many organizations would love to have donations of good-quality used magazines, such as Veteran’s organizations, nursing homes, medical offices, or some shelters. As a service project, kids can inquire of family, friends, neighbors and churches for donations of used magazines that can be given away.

9. Saving coins for children’s hospitals – Kids can host a coin-drive service project, collecting pocket change from family, friends and acquaintances to give to a local children’s hospital. Take your child on a tour of a local children’s hospital, so they can see what it is they are giving to, what items are needed, and why kids need to go there. What a valuable lesson to teach your child, to see the circumstances of others their age, realize their own blessings, and see how they can be kind and give to those less fortunate.

10. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army – Contact your local branch of the Salvation Army to see if you and your child (always have an adult present) can volunteer to ring the bell during the winter and holiday season, to collect donations for the poor. Learn more about the Salvation Army here.

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Volunteering won’t come naturally to young kids; it has to be taught and modeled. Start at home by stressing the importance of kindness and giving to others, and explain to your children the value in charity. Choose simple service projects each season that you and your child can work on together, and watch the good works that will blossom.