50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas

Welcome to the November 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Service Projects
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about what service means in their families.

Life is busy. But I don’t have to tell you that. In all the hustle and bustle of daily living, sometimes busy parents forget the importance of acts of service. In order to become a full human being, children should be exposed to serving others at a very early age.


Ideally, acts of service will just be something your family does. They are part of life, not special occasions. While a once yearly act of service is not something to ignore and can be instrumental in someone or something’s life, it is certainly more beneficial to your child to see serving others as a way of life. It is something we do as part of the circle of humanity.

It can be hard to think of interesting and practical ways to serve others on an ongoing basis. It can be especially difficult to find one or two things that include everyone in your family, especially when you have children of varying ages.

Below you will find a list of 50 possible family friendly community service ideas. Hopefully you can include one or more in your family’s normal routine.

Service Projects That Benefit The Environment
1. Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
2. Pick weeds and clear debris and litter from common neighborhood areas.
3. If you do not have mandatory recycling, collect recyclables as a family.
4. Facilitate a seed or a plant exchange in your neighborhood. Young children     can help deliver seeds and plants while older children can help with the gardening.
5. Make bird feeders for public places and keep them stocked with bird seed.
6. Collect old phone books in your neighborhood for recycling.
7. Clean up trash along a river or in a park.
8. Create a habitat for wildlife. For example, owls love nesting boxes. Build one as a family and position it in an area where owls typically reside.
9. Collect aluminum cans from friends, family, and neighbors and donate the money to a favorite environmental charity.
10. Volunteer to separate recyclables.
11. If you see a tree that’s in trouble, try to save it. Find out what’s wrong with it and how to make it better.
12. Pick up litter in a designated area monthly.

Service Projects That Benefit Seniors
13. Adopt a “grandfriend” and make regularly scheduled visits just to offer company.
14. Visit a nursing home.
15. Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean gutter or wash windows for a senior citizen.
16. Pick up medicine for an elderly person.
17. During bad weather, visit seniors to make sure they have everything they need.
18. Go for a daily or weekly walk with a senior citizen.
19. Deliver meals to homebound individuals.
20. Offer to pick up groceries with/for a senior citizen.
21. Teach a senior friend how to use a computer or the Internet or help them with anything they may need to use the computer for.
22. Take a pet to a nursing home.
23. Do art projects with people in nursing homes.
24. Offer to read to people in a nursing home.
25. Write letters to people in a nursing home, if you can’t go and visit.

Service Projects That Benefit Animals
26. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Help clean up, play with the animals, or do whatever’s needed.
27. Become a foster family for a shelter or rescue group.
28. Become a caretaker for a feral colony of cats.
29. Raise a dog for persons with disabilities.
30. Do pet therapy with your animal at nursing homes and day care centers.
31. Collect and sort newspapers to donate to a local animal shelter.
32. Collect food and supplies needed for a local zoo, animal shelter or food bank.
33. Adopt a Zoo Animal.
34. Volunteer at a local wildlife sanctuary or survival center.

Service Projects That Benefit Homeless or Struggling Community Members
35. Help cook and/or serve a meal at homeless shelter.
36. Alter and repair clothes for the needy.
37. Gather clothing from your neighbor and donate it to a local shelter.
38. Make care kits with combs, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. for homeless people.
39. Bake bread and deliver to the hungry or homeless.
40. Help with repairs at a local homeless shelter.
41. Donate art supplies to kids in a homeless shelter.
42. Make a care package with mittens, socks, T-shirts, etc. for a child at a homeless shelter.
43. Clip and collect coupons and give them at your local food pantry or homeless shelter.
44. Pack and hand out food at a food bank.
45. Create a space in your garden specifically for growing produce to donate to a food bank.
46. Prepare a home-cooked meal for the residents of a nearby homeless shelter.
47. Bake a batch of muffins and deliver them to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
48. Assist with sorting and organizing items donated to a homeless shelter.
49. Assist in a shelter day-care room, taking care of children while parents look for jobs.
50. Make first aid kits for homeless shelters.

There are hundreds of other ways in which you can help others. How does your family incorporate service into your family life?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to weekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.



  1. Thank you for the handy list of ideas! I often struggle with what to do with my littles – I’m saving this for future reference :)

  2. Love these ideas. Pinning!

  3. Thank you so much for this awesome list! I want to print it and check them off for the new year..maybe we will!!

  4. Pinning, facebooking and tweeting these ideas. What a perfectly put together list. Thank you for giving me inspiration and organization in my service learning curriculum! Love it.

  5. Oh, my goodness, this is amazing! I’m bookmarking and pinning this sucker. I think adopting a grandfriend would be a great idea since we don’t have older family members in the area.

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