In most cases, summer is the most awaited time of the year for your kids. Summer is synonymous with no school, no rules, and pure fun. Your kids’ goals are to indulge in ice cream cones, splash all day in the pool, and build sandcastles until the sun comes down. Given the expectations of what summer should look like, how can you get your kids involved in giving back during their oh-so-beloved summer break?

The best way to get your kids excited about giving back is by engaging them. Most likely, your kids have already participated in school campaigns, charity fundraisers, and food drives, so they more or less have an idea of what giving back looks like. But now’s the time for you to give them the opportunity to define giving back according to what their interests are. If you allow them to come up with their own ideas on how they could be contributing back to their community, chances are they will be more open and excited to get started. The key is to explain to your children that giving back is way more than just donating or volunteering; it’s about making a difference and creating change, no matter how big or small. If you’re able to instill these values in them, giving back will be more than just another activity to do in the summer; it will become a cause.

If you and your kids get stuck on coming up with ways you can all give back, here are a few ideas to inspire you:

-Hold a neighborhood yard sale, a bake sale, or even set up a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to an organization in need.
-Spend a morning cleaning up a park, a river, or even a beach.
-Sort through old toys, books, and clothes and donate them to a children’s shelter or hospital.
-Sort through canned goods in your kitchen and donate them to your local food pantry. If you want to take it a step further, deliver those items to people in need.
-Make sure to reuse and recycle at home.
-Plant a tree.
-Run a marathon for a charity you support.
-Visit a senior facility and spend times with its elderly residents.
-Assemble a care package for someone in need.
-When summer is almost ending, buy school supplies for students in need.

These are just some of the many ways you can get your kids into giving back. Don’t forget to ask your kids for other ideas and most importantly, try to keep the mindful of the greater good they are doing. The rewarding feeling they will get from helping others out will be ten times better than any plain ol’ ice cream cone.

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