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30 Service Projects for Kids & Families

Looking for volunteer ideas or service projects to help others this holiday season?

I’ve written before about what I want my kids to love about November and understanding how to help their community, serve others and be grateful for all they have is a big part of it.

But here’s the thing – it’s not always easy to do, is it?

We all get busy – school events, homework, prepping for the holidays, daylight savings time makes the day feel much shorter so you’re more likely to stay inside in the evenings ….

…. so many small excuses for why we aren’t able to fit things in.

But I realized over the years that the idea of giving & kindness doesn’t have to be this BIG, GRAND action —

The small acts are JUST as important!  

This year, we’re sharing 30 Ideas for Gratitude & Giving to inspire families — service projects that can be done at home, Random Acts of Kindness that can be done together and places where families can to volunteer during the holiday season.


30 Service Projects for Kids & Families

There are quite a few things that happen in November –

Turkey Day of course, when we give thanks for all our blessings (and turkey according to my husband 🙂

Veterans Day when we remember those who serve and protect us all through the year.

World Kindness Day (which is November 13th this year) a day to think about Random Acts of Kindness (also referred to as RAKs) and how they brighten someone’s day.

And #GivingTuesday (it’s always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) – a day to focus on how we can give to others.

Every one of these is a great time to talk to the kids about the ideas of gratitude, compassion and helping others. 

Even though we’re sharing 30 Acts of Gratitude & Giving, our family’s goal is to complete 10 during the holiday season.

I need things to be obtainable for us and while we always talk about the ideas of helping others and incorporate books that share the ideas of gratitude and giving throughout the month – I want our goal to be one we can achieve (and hope that we can build on more formally each month and year).

I want our family to try 10 INTENTIONAL ways of giving/gratitude this month and encourage us to talk about the unintentional ones that happen naturally.

And I’m inviting your family to join us!

Just think, if 1000 families join in, that’s 10,000 acts of service!

Now that would be a wonderful thing to celebrate 🙂


Free printable for planning family service projects for the holidays

Family Service Ideas

I know it can be difficult to find opportunities to volunteer with younger kids but there are a number of ways families can get involved in service.  I’ve included links to websites that can help you learn more about some of our suggestions.

• Donate to a food drive or local food bank (use this free printable flyer to get your neighbors involved too!)

Send a letter of thanks or holiday greetings to member of the miliary

Donate candy to our military who are overseas

• Help Syrian refugees

• Donate blankets or coats to a ‘Keep Warm in the Winter’ drive — One Warm Coat has locations near you or check with your local church or service organization

Bring food or toys to a local animal shelter

• Participate in a Hat & Mitten drive for local school kids

• Adopt an Angel from a Giving Tree

• Write a letter & put in the Make a Wish mailbox at Macy’s stores where they donate $1 for each letter (use our free printable Santa stationary to get started!)

• Clean up a local park, street or other community area

Make a birdfeeder for your yard or local park

• Donate books to a book drive, library or homeless shelter

• Make cookies for someone (fire fighters, librarian, an elderly neighbor etc)

• Volunteer as a family to be bell ringers for the Red Kettle

• Serve a meal at your local food pantry or mission (many serve meals the day before or day of Thanksgiving)

• Write a ‘thank you’ note to a teacher, coach, babysitter, special person in your life

• Buy holiday gifts from a place that supports others

• Send Thanksgiving greetings to family who won’t be with you to celebrate

Pack a Shoebox for a Child (donation dates are Nov. 16th – 23rd)

• Visit a nursing home to play games or read with the residents

• Put together Care Kits for a local women’s shelter or homeless shelter

Donate a toy to a Toys for Tots collection bin


Acts of Kindness

Acts of kindness are simple things we can all do that help brighten someone else’s day!  I love these because so many come naturally to kids — they smile at others and offer to help so often 🙂  Here are a few ideas but I’m sure your family will have many of your own too!

• Don’t get mad at someone who made you angry

• Do a chore for another family member without them knowing

• Smile at someone who looks sad

• Hold the door open for someone or help them with their packages/groceries

• Leave a ‘thank you’ note for the mail carrier or person who delivers your newspaper

• Give out candy canes to people while running errands

• Give someone an unexpected hug

• Take the dog for an extra walk or play with your pet/give them some love

• Rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor

• Give someone a compliment

 If you’d like more ideas, be sure to visit Coffee Cups & Crayons for their great ideas of Random Acts of Kindness!

 Family Service Projects & ways to help during the holidays!

I hope these free printables will help to inspire your family over the next few months —

Use the 30 Acts of Gratitude & Giving to brainstorm what you’d like to do as a family

and then record them on the Gracious Giving printable which you can hang on the fridge or in another prominent place (maybe bring to the dinner table each night?!). 

Have your kids place a sticker in each box once you’ve completed the service activity or RAK and be sure to discuss which have brought some joy to both others and your family!


 Thank you for making kindness & service to others a part of your holiday season!!


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