The impact of COVID-19 continues to change our daily lives and routines, but the volunteers nonprofits rely on are just as important as ever. A silver lining to the times in which our children are living is that the spotlight continues to shine bright on community service. This Fall, the starfish project for children is diving in deeper with more fun, no- and low-cost virtual community service opportunities that make doing good fun for kids and families! Remember, community service activities are no fail win-win options for kids’ self-confidence building. A completed community service activity comes with an automatic virtual “pat on the back.” As always, a real pat on the back coupled with a thank you and “job well done” from parents or caregivers makes the service experience ever more meaningful to a child. See below for ideas of fun service opportunities for elementary school students and families:
For older elementary school students and their families
Break the Record! The Seattle Public Library promoted its 2013 Summer Reading program by setting the world’s record for the longest book domino chain! The community service activity required 27 volunteers to run the project and lots of people donating books. See how long a book domino chain you and your friends can build! Then donate the books to WePAC, a great organization that gives books to Philadelphia elementary school libraries in need of books. To see the Seattle Public Library domino effect, check out this video. To learn about donating books to WePAC, go to https://wepac.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WePAC-Donation-One-Pager.pdf.
This project is appropriate for older elementary school students to organize and lead. It is an ideal community service project for groups of any kind. This project teaches kids about organizing, donating, recycling and has the added value of putting reading and books front and center. Costs per family are limited to the cost, if any, of the donated books.
Saving Animals One Letter at a Time.There are 2,245 species worldwide that are endangered or threatened. Research on the internet to find out which animal species are endangered or threatened in your area. Then organize your friends and classmates to start a letter writing campaign to your local politician urging the official to take action to protect the endangered species where you live. To get started, check out https://www.generationon.org/projects/save-animals-letter-campaign.
This project is appropriate for older elementary school students. The cost of the project is the cost of a first class stamp. Each child can complete this project independently in as little as five minutes. Project organizers should figure on one month to complete the project.
For Second thru Fifth Grade Elementary school students and their families:
Skip the plastic bag and be a friend to our environment! Pass on the plastic and carry your homemade No Sew T-Shirt Bag. This community service action can be really important because plastic bags live forever in landfills and sometimes in oceans and rivers where animals can accidentally consume the plastic. When you decide to skip the plastic bag and use a cool t-shirt bag instead, you are helping the environment and being a community service trendsetter! Grab a parent or babysitter and go to https://www.generationon.org/projects/no-sew-t-shirt-bags to see how this project works.
This project is appropriate for students ages 8 and older. This project utilizes objects found in most homes. Students in 2nd thru 4th grade will require adult supervision for the duration of the project. This project can be completed in one hour.
Give peace a chance! Make Relax Bottles for your grown-ups. This past year and a half has been an unusual time for grown ups and kids. Your community service of making Relax bottles can provide your grown-ups with instant relaxation, which is good for everybody! Grab a grown-up or a babysitter and go to https://www.generationon.org/projects/relax-bottles to see how this project works.
This project is appropriate for students ages 8 and older. The cost of materials for this project is typically under $4. Students in 2d thru 4th grade will require adult supervision for the duration of the project. This project can be completed in under one hour.
For our Youngest Students and Their Families:
Be a Healthy Kids Deputy! Using the website scrubclub.org., you can help your school community by putting the FUN in washing hands! Ask a grown up or a babysitter to help you navigate tohttps://www.scrubclub.org/resources/activities-for-kids.phpand print out the Test Your Scrub Club Handwashing Knowledge game for kids and the Scrub Club Fill in the Blank game. Ask your grown up or teacher if you can copy the games and hand them out to students in your class. If you really love helping your class stay healthy, search the Scrub Club website for tips on handwashing, mask wearing and staying well this winter!
This project is appropriate for 1st grade students and some Kindergarten students. Adult help is necessary. The cost of this project is limited to copying costs. This project can be completed at home in under fifteen minutes.
Stay tuned for the next Elementary Connections Community Service blog when the starfish project for children pulls back the curtain on the most fun community service activity ever!