Raising Generous Kids: 5 Service Project Ideas for Every Age

Raising generous kids is a lifelong gift that begins at a young age. It’s about teaching them to be more than just a part of your family; it’s about nurturing the spirit of generosity that extends to their local and global communities. By involving your kids in acts of generosity from a tender age, you not only instill the joy of giving but also foster the spirit of generosity and empathy for the needs of others. These teachable moments create a lasting impact, helping you model generosity and raise generous kids who will grow up to be more generous adults, making the world a better place.

5 Ideas for Serving as a Family:

1. School and Team Involvement

First of all, let’s emphasize that if you have kids, you’re likely already doing a LOT of service. So feel great about that! And remember that you do NOT have to do everything. Choose work that you enjoy, whether you choose to be a room parent, tutor during math class (my favorite!), attend field trips or serve on the board of your local little league. These contributions can make a world of difference to young minds and foster a strong sense of community.

2. Pick Up Trash

Picking up litter in your neighborhood can have a profound impact. It sets a positive example for your children and helps keep your community clean and beautiful.

3. Ask Local Organizations

Reach out to local organizations. They often have needs like activity kits that you can provide, making a real difference in the lives of community members. We’ve created stockings to give to unhoused people.

Raising generous kids -- family service project ideas for young kids
This is our family’s longest running service project so far.

4. Voting Education and Activism

Participating in voter education and activism is a fantastic way to support the democratic process. You’re helping to shape the future of your community and country.

5. Holiday Goodies for Delivery People

Around Christmas, consider putting out a basket of goodies as a thank you for delivery drivers (free printable). It’s a small gesture that can brighten their day and spread holiday cheer.

You can download various versions of this printable for delivery people here.

Young Children

Preschool Age:

  1. Toy Drive: Encourage your little ones to participate in a toy drive. Teach them the importance of giving their old toys to bring joy to other children. This early act of generosity instills the joy of giving and sets the stage for a lifetime of generous acts.
  2. Homemade Cards: Create homemade cards to brighten the day of an elderly neighbor, a sick neighbor, or a younger sibling. Small gestures like these teach children the spirit of generosity and the joy of giving.
  3. Baked Goods: On a cold winter day, prepare baked goods and deliver them to neighbors. This simple act of kindness not only warms hearts but also shows young children the spirit of generosity in action.
  4. Portion of Their Allowance: Teach young children to set aside a small portion of their allowance to donate to a local shelter. This action instills the value of generosity and the joy of giving.
  5. Nature Cleanup: Take your young children to a nearby park or beach and organize a nature cleanup. Let them learn about the importance of taking care of our environment.
raising generous kids -- service project ideas
This was a COVID-era trash pickup outing. Little kids love being helpers so they enjoyed this project.

Older Kids

Elementary School Age:

  1. Food Bank Volunteer: Engage your older children in volunteering at a local food bank. They can help sort and distribute food to those in need. This is a great way to teach them the importance of giving back to the community.
  2. Homeless Shelter Support: Involve your kids in preparing care packages for the homeless. Include essential items like hygiene products, socks, and snacks. These acts of generosity make a real difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
  3. Senior Citizens Outreach: Encourage your children to visit a local senior center. They can chat with the residents, play games, or simply keep them company. These acts of empathy and generosity bring joy to both the young and the elderly.
  4. Homemade Gift-Making: Organize craft sessions where your kids create homemade gifts for family members. This not only teaches them the joy of giving but also emphasizes the value of thoughtful gestures and acts of generosity.
  5. Book Drive: Organize a book drive where your kids can collect and donate books to a local library, school, or a children’s hospital. This teaches them the value of sharing knowledge and brings the joy of reading to others.


High School Age:

  1. Help a Neighbor: Helping older neighbors would be an incredible act of service for a teen. Clearing snow and ice in the winter, mowing a lawn during the summer, or just bringing a meal would have a lasting impact on both the neighbor and the teen.
  2. New Year Resolutions: Encourage your teens to make “generosity resolutions” for the new year. They can pledge to perform regular acts of kindness, such as helping a younger sibling with their homework or volunteering at a local charity. These acts of generosity make the world a better place and create a sense of joy in giving.
  3. Fundraise for a Cause: Support a cause dear to you through fundraising efforts. Many fundraisers often incorporate races or walks, providing the extra perk of physical activity. Choose a cause that holds a special place in your heart, and encourage friends and family to join in supporting it.
  4. Canned Food Drive: Organize a canned food drive at school or in your community. Collect non-perishable food items and donate them to a local food bank. This project emphasizes the importance of addressing food insecurity in the community.
  5. Community Cleanup: Organize a community cleanup day, where teenagers and their friends pick up litter in a local park or neighborhood. It’s a great way to promote community responsibility and the spirit of generosity.


Involving them in family service projects and raising generous kids is the best gift you can give them. These experiences model generosity and create teachable moments that shape their values and actions. By nurturing the spirit of generosity at a young age, you instill the joy of giving and the importance of being part of a family that embraces acts of empathy and generosity. This not only benefits your own family but also contributes to making the world a better place filled with more generous people doing good things. So, let’s take the first step and share the good news of raising generous kids and creating a more generous world.

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Financial Coaching Lisa Schader

Lisa Schader – Founder @MoneyFitMoms