Service Project Ideas for Kids ~ Easy Ways to Help Kids Help Others

So simple. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.  My daughter has been collecting food bank donations each month this summer, but August’s donations were low. How could we get more before our trip to the food bank to drop them off?  We’d already cleaned out our pantry and bought a few items with each weekly grocery trip and asked friends and neighbors for help. 

community service ideas for kids

You see, each time we drop off the donations, the staff and volunteers at the food bank weigh the items. They show you, on the scale, how many pounds of food you just donated. What a concrete way for kids to understand how much they are helping! My daughter loves it. And she set a goal for herself to make that number of pounds go higher each month.

So there we were in August with a few bags of donations, wishing we could give more. And then it hit me:  The dollar store. Stay with me here.

I gave my kids $20 and challenged them to buy the 20 most nutritious items they could find, that were also the best deal for their money.  A snack sized package of crackers or a whole box of pasta?  A package of 3 juice boxes or a big jug of apple juice?  

What about protein sources? They found canned tuna and peanut butter.  What about fruits and vegetables? We didn’t find fruit but we found lots of canned veggies. We found flour and cornbread mix. Cereal and honey. We had a cart full! 

Twenty dollars got us 4 bags of groceries to donate. We had been particularly concerned about donating to the food bank over the summer when donations are at a yearly low and more families are in need because kids who normally get free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch at school now have to stretch their budget even tighter.

We learned some other really important things from this experience, too.

It only takes giving a few small items to teach your child about the importance of helping others,  to experience what it is like to make a difference.

And this:

One of my biggest challenges with my kids was dispelling the myth that people who need food from the food bank are not dressed in rags with dirty faces and no shoes, like in the movies. People who need food from the food bank look just like us.  

It’s a Daddy who lost his job, and he was the sole breadwinner in his family.  His family lives in a suburban neighborhood much like ours.

It’s our friend who just got divorced and is struggling to raise her two kids on her own.

It’s a family who came from another country where work was scarce and poverty widespread, just like my own great grandparents, and it’s hard to make a life here; To help your family here and try to send money to the ones left at home who continue to face the bleak circumstances you left behind.

It’s a family who manages to get by most of the year, but in the summer, when their kids don’t get breakfast and lunch at school, they can’t quite make it to the next paycheck. Then the car breaks down. And their tight budget is simply stretched too far. 

More Small Ways Kids Can Have a BIG Impact In Their Communities

What touches your child’s heart?  Start there and help them find a way to help others. We chose this activity because it was something my daughter cared about. I got swept up in her enthusiasm.  My oldest child loves dogs, so we found a way for him to volunteer, even at a very young age, with a rescue organization. 

Show kids how to use technology and social media to bring attention to their causes. Just mentioning what your child is doing on Facebook brings awareness to the cause close to their heart. We started an email account for my daughter so she could email family and friends explaining her service project and requesting donations. 

Designate your child’s favorite cause as your charity of choice when you shop on Amazon, using their Smile program. A percentage of proceeds will go to the charity you select. I rotate the charities my kids care about on a monthly basis so each one gets something, and then I make sure to tell my kids, “I bought some books today and some of the money went to the dog rescue.” 

For more unique service project ideas for kids, click here.

 

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Summer Crafts for Kids ~ Summer Memories Book

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® Elmer’s and Wet Ones, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CraftandCleanUp http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

Summer’s end is drawing near. We’ve packed a whole lot of good, simple fun into this beautiful season. I want my kids to have wonderful memories of summers spent doing amazing things together: swimming, collecting shells at the beach, riding roller coasters, making s’mores around the campfire, going for long bike rides to nowhere in particular.  

How to make a summer memories book with your kids.

We have a fun way to preserve those memories and it’s also one of those summer crafts for kids that is perfect to do together, in these last remaining days of summer. We’re going to get messy with sand and glue, but that’s okay. These memory books will not only be a great keepsake but fun to show off to friends, family, classmates and more.

summer crafts for kids to make

 You will need:

  • Sand
  • Seashells
  • Elmer’s Glue/Wet Ones Combo pack (available in select Target’s Back to School section, while supplies last)
  • Cardstock
  • Printer
  • Small pocket photo album
  • Favorite photos printed out

Summer Crafts for Kids

How to Make a Summer Memories Book With Your Kids

  1. Gather your supplies. I found these 4×6 “brag book” style photo albums for $1.99 at a local craft store. Sometimes I’ve seen them in the dollar spot/dollar store bins too. We used regular play sand (the type you put into sand boxes) and seashells we’d collected from the beach. I found the Elmer’s Glue/Wet Ones combo pack at Target (available at select stores).
  2. Choose whatever colored card stock you’d like and cut it to 4×6 size.
  3. Have your kids spread Elmer’s glue at the bottom of the card to represent the beach, then sprinkle the sand on, tapping off any excess.messy summer crafts for kids
  4. Add small seashells and affix with Elmer’s glue.sea shell crafts for kids
  5. Allow to dry.  Clean up with Wet Ones wipes.
  6. Use card stock to make the title: “The Summer I was [insert age]”. We used the fun fonts and a banner at PicMonkey (free) but you can do this in any program or have the kids write it out in their own handwriting. Glue it to the card. Insert in front pocket of photo album after drying.beach crafts for kids
  7. Insert photos into the photo album pages.
  8. We added little descriptions to each photo. I asked the kids to tell me in their own words what was going on in the photo and what they liked about this memory.photo crafts for kids

 This was the best part of the project for me, hearing what they got excited about, what they remember, seeing the smiles and joy as they recalled this beautiful summer and ran to show their books to Daddy. They carried their books along when we went to visit friends and over to Grandma’s house. 

photo books for kids

 How will you spend the last days of summer with your family this year? I’d love for you to share in the comments. 

Fun Science Experiments for Kids ~ Hydrofoils

This fun and easy hands-on science experiment, using three ingredients you already have, is perfect for warm weather outside, or not-so-nice weather inside. Hydrofoils use water (that’s the hydro) and tinfoil (yup, you guessed it) to demonstrate the concept of buoyancy.  

Big thanks to Holly Homer and Rachel Miller of Kids Activities Blog and their new book {affiliate link}101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters! for some fun science experiments for kids, including this one. More on their fab book in a minute.

Hydrofoils:  Water Science Experiments for Kids from "101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!"

Supplies Needed

  • Water in a container, bathtub or sink.
  • Tinfoil.
  • Pennies.

This experiment is about design:  Designing a boat that can float well and hold the pennies without taking on water, testing it and re-designing it again uses critical thinking skills

Fun Science Experiments for Kids - Hydrofoils @creeksidelearn

I gave the kids two different types of tinfoil, one was heavier than the other, but I let them discover that for themselves. They each set out to build, test and re-build their boats.  

While they worked, we talked about the concepts included in the experiment from the book:  Water pressure pushing up and gravity pulling the boat down. That’s buoyancy. 

 Fun Science Experiments for Kids - Hydrofoils

They made big foil boats and small foil boats and experimented with flattening the bottoms of the boats by pressing them on the sidewalk. 

Hydrofoils were a hit! We hope you will like them, too.

101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest Funnest Ever by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller

101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters! contains even more fun science experiments for kids, as well as crafts, games and boredom busters.  I love how each activity contains clear instructions and way to modify things for older or younger kids.  Each activity is geared towards kids from toddlers to 12-year-olds. Holly Homer and Rachel Miller are on a mission to create great activities for kids every day. You can find them at Kids Activities Blog and on Facebook and Pinterest

For more summer fun and learning ideas…

 Follow Julie Kirkwood, Creekside Learning’s board Summer on Pinterest.

I received this book for free for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. Read my disclosure page. Affiliate links in this post go to Amazon. I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if a purchase is made via these links. Thank you. 

Top 10 Hands-On Math Games for Outside

Take learning outside this summer with some fun hands-on math games.  These math activities for kids use the pool, sidewalk chalk, bikes, scooters and more to make learning fun. 

Top 10 Hands-On Math Games for Summer from Creekside Learning

Top 10 Hands-On Math Games for Outside 

  1. Keep those times tables fresh with skip-counting hopscotch.
  2. Water balloon math from No Time for Flashcards.  
  3. Number recognition game with sidewalk chalk: Put the fire out.
  4. Measuring in nature from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids.  
  5. Stomp-it! Place Value game. Move it  outside and use sidewalk chalk.
  6. Times table learning with chalk and a fly swatter.
  7. There’s lots of money math in a Lemonade stand.
  8. Make a hula-hoop clock with sticks and sidewalk chalk.
  9. Math in the pool! from Toddler Approved. 
  10. Sidewalk chalk mental math game on a scooter or a bike. 

You may also like:

 Follow Julie Kirkwood, Creekside Learning’s board Hands-On Math on Pinterest.

 For more great ideas of things to do with kids this summer,  follow the School’s Out Top 10 Summer Learning Blog Hop by Kid Blogger Network. 

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Telling Time Activities : Make a Hula Hoop Clock

Here is something I’ve learned as a mom over and over again:  Math is more fun outside! It’s true. If you are looking for telling time activities for kids, grab a hula hoop and some sidewalk chalk and you are ready to go. 

Telling Time Activities

Send the kids in search of sticks and break them to the right lengths for an hour hand and a minute hand. Soaking the chalk in water for a few minutes makes the colors brighter and easier to see. 

Call out times or write them in chalk using digital time and have your kids move the hands of the hula hoop clock to the correct time.  

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Follow Creekside Learning on Pinterest.

 Visit Julie Kirkwood, Creekside Learning’s profile on Pinterest.