Most experts agree teaching children money skills when they are young can help them develop healthy financial habits that last a lifetime. And many parents are using debit cards for kids to help their children learn how to spend, save, and manage money.
In addition, one of the most valuable money lessons children can learn is how to give to charity. In addition to giving money, they should also be encouraged to take action to support causes and help others. Similar to learning about money early, this could lead to a lifetime of being involved, connecting to their world, and making meaningful change.
Here are some ways your kids—and you—can support charities, get involved, and help others.
Getting involved can be rewarding for the kids, and the entire family. And there are so many ways to have an impact. Here are just a few ideas:
Community cleanup. Whether it's a playground, church grounds, or a local park or creek, spending a day cleaning up teaches kids to take care of their community. You can do this (with gloves and hand sanitizer, of course) as a family, with a group of friends, or you can contact a local organization, such as an environmental group, and join their efforts.
Collect socks for homeless shelters. Socks are one of the most-requested items in homeless shelters. You and your family could buy and deliver socks, or you could organize a collection drive. You could find out what other items the shelters need and collect those, too.
Support a local animal shelter. Many local animal shelters and The Humane Society need dog walkers and other volunteers, and most of them always need food, cleaning products, and other items. Again, you could organize a drive to collect supplies.
Volunteer at a Special Olympics event. Special Olympics holds numerous events during the year and volunteers are always needed. You can also volunteer at other local organizations that support people with disabilities.
Most non-profit organizations are always in need of monetary donations. But instead of just writing a check, here are some ideas for actively raising funds to support charities you care about.
Car wash. A tried-and-true fundraiser, a car wash is a fun, easy way to raise money for a cause. The upfront costs are low; all you need is some soap, sponges, a hose, and some friends. A car wash also gets kids engaged with the community while they raise funds.
Shoe drive. Chances are you have several pairs of shoes around the house no one wears. Your neighbors and friends probably do, too. You can partner with an organization that specifically works with local communities on projects like these (Google "shoe drive near me"), or set up your own initiative and find an organization that will serve as a facilitator to distribute items to those in need.
Used book sale. Collect gently used books from friends, family, and others in your community and have a used book sale. There are almost no upfront costs and just about everyone has a few books—especially children's books—they are no longer using. If you have any books left over after the sale, you can check with your local library to see if there's a place to donate the remaining books.
Holiday cards and tags. Valentine's Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays provide the perfect opportunity to create and sell handmade holiday cards. All you need are art supplies and a bunch of friends to create the cards. Gift tags are also easy to make and popular. You can sell the cards and tags online, in your neighborhood, or at a community event.