By fostering a generous spirit in our young people, we can make a difference in their lives and the community. You can get started now with fun activities that promote kindness and giving at any age. We have compiled a series of activities, a lesson plan and resources you can use to get children and teens started with carrying out acts of kindness and giving back.

The following resources will be helpful to families, educators, child care providers and mentors in sparking the charitable giving conversation with children and teens and helping them to become engaged in charitable giving, volunteering and civic involvement.

Online Activities

The following websites can help your child or teen find a cause they care about, participate in fundraising activities and connect with organizations in need.

Helps children figure out what causes they care about and how they can support it in different ways. Also includes a variety of charitably driven activities children can partake in from home or in the community.

Send electronic invitations for your child’s next birthday party that splits cash gifts 50/50 between the recipient and a charity.

Offers unique programs and events, valuable services, and fun activities that promote kindness and giving among children.

Offers teachers and child care providers with lesson plans and resources to teach giving and volunteerism, civic engagement, and character through service learning.

Provides step-by-step instructions – including photos, video clips, helpful products and artwork – schools can use to teach children the small things they can do to care for our environment.

Collects cheerful drawings from volunteers of all ages and distributes them to senior citizens, troops overseas, and anyone in need of a smile.

Helps teens connect with volunteer opportunities.

Includes a wealth of age-appropriate project ideas, games and resources to help youth, families, groups and schools lead their own service projects.

Youth Service America helps young people find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues.

Children can get ideas for how to carry out acts of kindness.

Children’s Books

Consider reading one of these books along with your children and having a conversation about its message, the bigger picture at play, and how there are ways that each of us can begin to help.

Offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to live in return.

View on

A feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary good deeds.

View on

Words and pictures show children contributing in their community in simple yet meaningful ways.

View on Harriet's Bookshop

Encourages children to develop their abilities and use their talents to help not only themselves but others.

View on

Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference (Ages 8 and up) by Barbara A. Lewis

View on

A comprehensible guide to giving money, volunteering, donating goods, and organizing charity events.

View on

True Stories About Young People Making a Difference (Grades 5-10) by Barbara Lewis: Features true stories to help inspire teens to believe in themselves and the ability of determined young people to make a difference in the world.

View on

Written by kids, for kids, this version of the Youth Changing the World Toolkit helps elementary-age children imagine and plan a service project.

Download PDF

Suggested Reading for Adults

Parents, Teachers and Child Care Providers

Raising Caring Kids in a Digital Age by Susan Crites Price: A roadmap for parents, grandparents and others for teaching kids – from toddlers through teens – the value of giving.

View on

Provides step-by-step instructions for 101 easy, meaningful service projects for families, schools and communities.

View on

This combination parenting and personal finance book helps parents teach their children key money skills – such as saving, spending, budgeting, investing, building credit, and donating – that they’ll need to become financially secure adults.

View on

Raising Kids Who are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber: Explains how talking openly to children about money can help parents raise modest, patient, grounded young adults who are financially wise beyond their years.

View on