101 Creative Community Service Ideas for Kids, Teens, and Adults

Photo credit: Aleksandr Zubkov - Getty Images
Photo credit: Aleksandr Zubkov – Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Participating in community service is one of the most rewarding things you can do. No matter your age, giving back can help you build friendships, develop new skills, and increase life satisfaction — all while making the world a better place. It’s no wonder that in a Good Housekeeping poll of over 4,000 people, 19% of respondents said they typically volunteer once a month and another 19% said they volunteer even more than that.

Ahead, we’ve found the most impactful community service ideas for volunteers of all ages. Remember: these ideas are meant to be general. If one speaks to you, think of ways you can personalize it toward your interests and expertise. Don’t be afraid to think big either. While you could totally pick up litter at the beach by yourself, you’d cover a lot more land if you organized a group to help you out. You might even ask everyone in that group to bring a can of food for a food pantry, too. It’s all about getting creative and brainstorming ways to make giving back fun. And if you’re hesitant to get out into your community, don’t miss these exciting virtual volunteer opportunities.

Community service ideas for kids

  • Make cards for seniors.

  • Grow vegetables and donate the produce to neighbors or a food bank.

  • Use chalk to write inspiring quotes on the sidewalk.

  • Choose which gently used clothes to donate to charity.

  • Pick up litter at a local park.

  • Write cards to service members.

  • Make a “New to the Neighborhood” guidebook for new kids at school.

  • Put on a talent show at a nursing home.

  • Offer water bottles or snacks to sanitation workers.

  • Collect donations in lieu of birthday gifts.

  • Choose foods at the grocery store to

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A muffin tin deep dish pizza recipe for kids

One mom who sees it that way is Ashley Hansen, who was among parents who shared with me tales of cooking with kids.

Hansen, who owns Hansen’s Sno-Bliz snowball stand in New Orleans, admits she is a bit of a Pollyanna when it comes to cooking with her daughter Avery, 8, and son Gordon, 10.

“I always seem to go for this Mary Poppins aspect,” she said. “Let’s make this fun.”

And, snap, the job’s a game – literally.

“We have cooking contests with smoothies, small salads, grilled cheese, cookies. Everyone is encouraged to add a ‘secret ingredient,’” Hansen said, explaining that the idea for the game grew out of family members having their own ideas of how a cookie or smoothie should taste.

“So, I was like, let’s all put in our own special ingredient. They loved the idea of a secret ingredient that would not be revealed until the end.”

Hansen doesn’t leave everything to chance. Some contest ideas are born out of what she finds in her refrigerator or if she over-buys a fruit or vegetable.

“It’s important to lead them. I try to plant seeds and see who picks up what. Look, I have this Tupperware of roasted nuts. Look, I have bananas.”

The family loves crepes. Avery filled one with shredded cheddar and fresh dill. “She won that round,” Hansen said.

Gordon took home the trophy one day with his yogurt smoothie blended with rosemary and blood orange. “Avery and I looked at each other and said, ‘Gordy, this is so good.’”

A salad contest one night ended in another victory for Gordon – and for his mother. The boy made the winning combination of kale and watermelon.

“Ever since then he’s been eating all of his salads,” Hansen said. “He loves salads now.”


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