Ah, summer. That time when quintessential pastimes have a good chance of working their way into your child’s daily activities. Now might also be a good chance to work volunteerism into the hobbies, talents and interests which your kids will be exploring. The ideas below need not be the exact choices you make as a family, but may they give you inspiration. Give your child a chance to see that their passions have value beyond just their own enjoyment of them. Have fun AND enact change. It’s like having your cake (ice cream, lemonade, popsicle, watermelon… or whatever their favorite summer snack is) and eating it too!
For the Bookworm
Host a book swap: Help your voracious reader find new reading material by hosting a book swap amongst friends. Highlight their use of one of the “3 R’s” – reusing instead of buying new. They can also ask their peers to bring 3, exchange 2, and donate the extra book to an organization that distributes to others in need of quality reading materials.
For the Naturalist
Appreciate: The headlines about children being nature-deprived can be harrowing, especially when raising children in an urban community. Schedule a few “Appreciation Days” (to our beaches, deserts, rivers, forests, etc.). Make time beforehand to research the special features and animals of this region. Also discuss humans’ impact on these spaces. Knowledge (and arguably appreciation too) is power towards wanting to make a positive impact.
For the Sports Fan
Host a tournament: Put the fun in fundraising by hosting a tournament surrounding a favorite sport. Or try a new sport on for size.. foosball, ping pong, croquet? Your child will gain some summer math practice when adding up scores and funds, and the activity goes from tournament to tourna-meaningful.
For the Artist
Donate your talent: Learning a new dance routine or song? Perform it at a Veteran or Senior Center. Painting faster than there is wall space for in your home? Donate it to a community outreach center to brighten the decor. What connections can you make with the community to share your child’s creativity with those in need?
For the Techie
Tell a story: There are so many applications out there that let your child tell a story: iMovie, Prezi, PowerPoint, Kid Pix, GarageBand, Comic Life, and the list goes on. What cause, fact, inspirational organization or change maker can be brought to light (on a computer screen)?
Nowadays, even summer comes with structure. If your child’s summer weeks are already booked with activities, see if you and your child can discuss how to integrate a service or philanthropic component into their planned camp or vacation. Perhaps camp staff, summer instructors or an organization at your travel destination is available to help your child see service as a valued summer pastime too.
Philanthroparent.com is dedicated to helping parents raise socially and environmentally conscious kids. It provides resources and activities that allow families to use their talents and passions to do good both locally and globally. For support with your family’s service endeavors, to find out about organizations that go hand-in-hand with the activities mentioned above, and to learn more about the project, contact the Chief Philanthroparent, Marissa Nadjarian, at firstname.lastname@example.org.