Once upon a time in my school we had what were called “Activity Periods” that altered the normal school schedule for one day a week, allowing students to join clubs that met during that period. Another teacher and I ran what we called “The Give Back Club” which was basically a club where we did community service projects that “gave back” to the community. Those activity periods gave way to more class time due to state testing long ago, but I still like to involve my students in community service projects throughout the year, depending on the topics, lessons and units we are covering. Below are a variety of easy, inexpensive projects that students can create to help give back to their communities. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know in the comment section below.
Intro or Concluding Activity
- Acts of Kindness Paragraph Writing & Brainstorming (TPT Freebie)
For Babies & Families
- Developmental Hearts are given to mother’s who has a newborn baby in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Mothers wear the hearts next to their bodies so their scent is absorbed and then the hearts are placed in the crib with the baby. You can check out The Preemie Project and view the list of hospitals in need of them for their Newborn Intensive Care Units. Here is the Developmental Heart Pattern.
- The Preemie Project also has a need for Snuggle Tubes used for preemie positioning. The pattern can be found here.
- Angel Gowns can be made and donated to hospitals all over the country to be given to support families who have lost an infant. Bereavement patterns can be found here.
- Purple Hats for local hospitals to promote awareness to purple crying and shaken baby syndrome.
- Port Pillows for cars so the seat belts don’t rub on patients (children and adults) going through chemo treatments.
- Superhero Nightlights Service Project (TPT Freebie)
- Bean Bags for Child Care Centers
- Totes for Tots is project I created in conjunction with our local library. To encourage children to visit the library and continue to read, my students created denim tote bags and filled each one with a preschool aged children’s book. Every student donated a new or gently used book or $1 for me to buy a book to include in the tote bag. Every child that participated in their Story Hour program received a bag on their final session. Here is a similar pattern, but since ours were made from a sturdy denim, we did not line them. You could go either way; lined or unlined depending on fabric selection.
- File Folder Games for child care centers.
- Make homemade I-Spy games for children in the hospital or for the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices.
For Nursing Homes
- Puzzles made from old calendars. Puzzles can be made as simple or as complex as you wish. They can also be glued to card stock and laminated for added durability.
For the Homeless
- Mats for Homeless to sleep on made from clean plastic bags–collect as a school at all grade levels which makes for a great recycling project. Here is a tutorial for how to construct the mats.
- Check out the Do Something website for additional ideas.