Service projects are awesome Christmas traditions for family. Holiday volunteering and doing community service is great for helping kids focus on helping others and giving back during the holidays. Check out our ideas for family volunteer projects and ways volunteer with kids — even when stuck at home!
Service Projects Ideas (For Holidays or Any Time!)
Looking for ideas for service projects for your family during the holidays / Christmas holiday volunteering, or service projects for youth groups, service projects for cub scouts or girl scouts, volunteer opportunities for teens, or co-op or ideas for school service projects?
Service projects for youth and families (and even service projects from home) are an important part of teaching your kids how to give back and create a lifelong interest in volunteering and serving the community.
Teach your kids early how to do something to get involved! (Yes, there are many places to volunteer with kids!)
Before we get to our holiday season volunteering ideas, let’s start with:
What are service projects?
Service learning projects are volunteer actions, performed by individuals or a group, that benefit others and helps kids learn how to give back to their community. Let’s take a closer look at service learning projects examples.
Service projects ideas for youth, service projects for schools, and service projects for families include:
- Creating a food drive
- Walking dogs at kennel
- Donating socks to a local shelter
- Raking leaves for elderly neighbors
- Delivering meals for homebound
- Building houses for those in need
- Creating a community garden
- Implementing a recycling program
(Don’t miss our full list of 19 community service ideas later in the post. KEEP SCROLLING!)
Get A Christmas Story Printable Activity Pack!
What are some volunteer ideas?
Service Projects From Home
Volunteering this holiday season can even be done from home!
- Create Christmas cards and send them to nursing home residents (write: For any friend in the address)
- Write a letter to a soldier
- Decorate kindness rocks to leave around (or on your neighbor’s porch) the next time you’re out
- Ship an Amazon care package to a local animal shelter (check their website for current needs)
- Write thank you notes for doctors and nurses working in a local hospital
- Do a coat or sock drive right from your house using social media, texting, or Zoom to get friends or family involved
- Send a shoebox of items to a child in need
- Make an easy (NO SEW!) quilt and donate it to a nursing home, children’s hospital, or shelter
What are the benefits of community service?
Kids service projects, community service and volunteering for teens:
- Help build self-esteem.
- Improve confidence.
- Give a sense of purpose.
- Spread love and kindness.
- Create a sense of community.
- Teach empathy.
- Help to eliminate stress.
- Create a network of like-minded people.
- Improve skills (and help to develop new ones!).
- Help to understand social responsibility.
- Make you happier!
Volunteering for Kids: The Giving Manger
If you’re looking for a way to get your family involved in multiple community service projects for kids counting down to Christmas, you may enjoy The Giving Manger.
The Giving Manger comes with a manger, “straw,” a baby Jesus and a booklet.
You count down to Christmas (like an Advent calendar) by performing a kind deed.
Each time a deed is performed, you place a piece of “straw” into the manger, building a bed for baby Jesus.
On Christmas day, you place the baby Jesus!
(I really love this as one of your service learning projects ideas!)
If you’re looking for a version for younger kids, there’s also one called Miracle in a Manger. This can help your little ones understand a holiday service project.
Here’s how it works (from the set):
With our beautifully illustrated book, daily “activity” cards and the sweet angel who brings straw each day for the baby Jesus’ manger, Miracle in a Manger is the December countdown to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Angel Message (activity) cards will consist of a Bible verse that corresponds with the story of the birth of Jesus.
On each card will be a list of activities for your little one to participate in.
If they do one or even all the activities, the next morning when the Angel brings a new message he will also bring a soft strand of hay to place in the manger.
Then on Christmas morning not only will your little one receive their material Christmas presents but the BEST gift of all, the TRUE meaning of Christmas.
The doll that was an Angel is simply transformed into baby Jesus by removing his halo and wings, wrapping him in a blanket and placing him in the manger full of soft straw.
If you want non-religious ideas for youth service projects or family service projects that you can do at the holidays and all year long, try the Sneaky Card Game: Play It Forward.
From the game:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: become a secret agent of joy, spreading art and intrigue to an unsuspecting public.
Inside each box is an interactive scavenger hunt that will inspire creativity and reward audacity.
Take a selfie with a stranger, create a collaborative doodle, become a flash mob of one.
Complete each objective and then pass the card along to an unwitting accomplice, who now becomes part of the game!
The fun is ever-expanding, but it all starts with you – Play it forward!
Here are great ideas for service projects for teens all the way down to tots!
Get the whole family involved in giving back!
Service Projects For Kids
What can kids do to give back?
Here are ideas for community service projects.
Although we’ve focused on holiday volunteering, these ideas for service learning projects are great for any time of the year!
These are also good service projects for teens if they need volunteer work to complete credits or for their college application.
ALSO CHECK OUT:
19 Holiday Charity Ideas
Here are good ideas for service projects:
- Collect new children’s books and give to kids at a shelter.
- Have a cookies and craft night for the kids at a shelter.
- Adopt a family from an Angel Tree OR host an angel tree with your group!
- Visit a nursing home and make holiday crafts with the residents.
- Make a freezer meals for an elderly neighbor or someone who is homebound.
- Collect donations for a local animal shelter.
- Spend time with animals at a local shelter.
- Surprise a teacher, Sunday school teacher, or mentor with a coffee or smoothie gift card and a note letting them know why they’re so special to you.
- Have a sock drive for kids in need.
- Donate scarves and mittens to a local shelter.
- Collect new board games to give to kids in need.
- Create holiday cards for kids in a children’s hospital.
- Send books to troops.
- Send a card, gift, or care package to a troop member.
- Offer to rake leaves, shovel snow, or do yard work for an elderly neighbor.
- Create a Little Free Library so everyone, no matter how much or how little money they have, has access to books!
- Make bird feeders for a local park, schools, or your own yards!
- Hand out blessing bags with hand warmers, gloves, socks, snack bars, etc. to give to the homeless community in your area.
- Collect food donations for shelters and soup kitchens. The holidays and cold weather see a spike in people using their resources. And, if they allow kids, sign up to help with meals during the holidays!
Holiday volunteering ideas are only limited by your imagination — even when you’re stuck at home!