Volunteer Opportunities for Kids: 6 Ways to Make an Impact at Their School
Want to teach your kids the value of hard work and helping others?
Help out at school with your kids!
Most schools have lots of volunteering opportunities and would appreciate your family’s help, even when school isn’t in session. Volunteer together.
You’ll have a great family adventure and make the campus better for everyone.
In this article I’ll highlight several volunteer activities you and your family can do to make a difference at your children’s school.
Why Volunteer at Your Children’s School?
There are boundless opportunities to help out at your kids’ school during summer vacation, on in-service days and other days off.
When you bring your kids along to help, you demonstrate the importance of community service and instill values that they’ll carry with them throughout their lives. Plus, they’ll feel good about contributing to improving their school.
And there’s plenty to do! Whether you work a few hours, an afternoon or a day or two, every little bit helps.
In most schools, each teacher has to take everything down off the walls at the end of the school year. Then the custodial staff spends the summer cleaning carpets and waxing floors, often leaving the rooms in disarray.
Many teachers come back before the school year starts so they can get their classrooms ready. They would love your help!
In addition, schools have a variety of tasks that need to be done in general to beautify the campus before all the teachers, students and their families come back.
There may be flowers that need replanting, benches that need painting and parts of the playground that need refreshing. With limited budgets, sometimes these areas on campus get the least attention. A little TLC will make a big impact on your children’s school.
While back-to-school is probably the most common time to help out, be on the lookout for things that need to be addressed throughout the year.
Once you get your kids tuned into the things that can be done to beautify their campus, they may start coming to you with ways they want to help out on days off and weekends too.
Before you begin any project, check with the school administration to see which areas they think need the most attention (and ask permission—you may need to register to be on campus or sign a waiver to work on certain projects).
Bring a few ideas of your own, just in case they don’t have a specific assignment for you.
Assess the School and Make a List
Visit your children’s school and make a list of any areas you think need improvement. Throw out some observations and ask questions, but let your kids take the lead.
Write down ideas, and if you want, take pictures of the problem areas.
Next, prioritize the projects with your children. Select the top projects that are reasonable to do and that you think will make the biggest difference (fix plumbing and electricity, no—unless that’s your background; beautify the school, yes).
After you create your list of volunteer tasks, take it to the principal. See if he or she has a preference, make sure the school’s faculty and staff aren’t already working on these projects or just ask if there’s something they need volunteers to do.
Note: Sometimes schools have maintenance money in their budget, so ask about that for larger projects.
Once you have an assignment, gather your supplies and get started! To make an even bigger impact, grab a few other families to chip in too. This is a great community service activity for Scouts, church or other youth groups, too.
Need some ideas? Here are six things you can do with your kids to improve their school.
#1: Beautify the School’s Entrance
To make the biggest impact, start with the entrance to the school. Ask your kids what they think would improve its look.
A few simple things you can do with your kids: clean the gates and mulch the front area.
Also, trim branches that are hanging too low or clear out roots that are overgrown onto the sidewalk. And take a yard blower to clean out any spiderwebs on the school building.
The entrance is important, but clean out the area around the exit doors too.
#2: Clean Up the Playground
Children will be using the playground daily for the majority of the school year, so make sure it’s ready.
Assess the grounds and equipment. See what needs to be cleaned, painted and/or fixed. This is a child-friendly task, since your kids will be great at finding all the little details that need improvement.
Notify your school if you discover anything that is not working properly for student safety.
Many schools have sand as the surface for playgrounds. See if your sand has become filled with leaves, pine needles or even trash. Use a rake to remove debris and freshen up the sand.
#3: Prepare Picnic Tables and Benches
Does your school have outdoor spaces with picnic tables and benches? Make sure these special lunch spaces are clean and well-maintained.
Take a broom and sweep away any spiderwebs. Clean out the areas below the picnic tables and benches. Then take a bucket of warm soapy water and scrub down the tables with your kids.
If your school has benches located throughout the campus, see if they need some freshening up too.
#4: Help in the School Office
There’s quite a bit of paperwork that needs to be organized in the school office. Papers need to be copied, counted and sorted into class sets, and distributed into teachers’ mailboxes. Stop by the school office and help organize back-to-school paperwork.
Ask if your family can volunteer to help make this task a little easier. Your school or the parent/teacher association (PTA) may have a volunteer team your family can join to help out with office tasks.
While you’re at it, make sure the school campus is eco-friendly with recycle bins in place and see if there are bulletin boards that need covers and borders to prepare them for the new school year.
#5: Brighten the Teachers’ Lounge
Check out the teachers’ workroom and lounge to see if there’s anything you can add to freshen up the space.
Donate flavorful coffee, make pillows for the couch or create a flower arrangement for the counter or table.
High-traffic areas like these can get a little worn over the years. Since everyone on campus uses these spaces all day long, any improvements you make with your children can make a big difference.
Surprise the staff with something special for back-to-school. Create a simple Welcome Back banner or poster with your kids or bake something for the teachers during the first week of school.
#6: Create a Back-to-School Teacher Supply Box
Many teachers use their own money to supplement the supplies they get from the school. Help them out. Create a back-to-school supply box for teachers at your school.
You can also put supplies together to donate to a school in need.
Look at the schools in your area and see which ones need a little extra support from the community to help provide materials for less-fortunate students.
Search for bargains at stores in your neighborhood and/or plan and host a school supply drive with your children.
Whatever you do for your school or another school in your community is an opportunity to do good while bonding with your kids. See what needs to be done and work with your children to do it. You’ll have great memories and make lots of other people happy in the process.
Some Final Thoughts…
Volunteering at your children’s school can be rewarding. Volunteering with your kids is even better!
School administrators, teachers and custodial staff have so much to do to maintain our schools. And they appreciate having extra eyes and hands willing to help to make it the best place possible.
Back-to-school isn’t the only time they need assistance. Consider pitching in prior to meet-the-teacher nights, open houses and other school events too. It’s the little touches that can make a school shine and make families feel proud!
The bonus of volunteering in this manner is that it encourages your kids to value and appreciate their own school, which will lead to even more school success.
What do you think? Have you volunteered at your children’s school? What projects did you take on? How will you help this year? Please share your thoughts and photos in the comments.
Kim Vij shares ideas for making everyday moments into teachable opportunities at The Educators’ Spin On It and on an award winning Pinterest board. Other posts by Kim Vij »