5 Ways Kids Can Give Back this Holiday

by Garrett Fleming

5 Ways Kids Can Give Back this Holiday, Design*Sponge

In 2006, TOMS made socially-conscious shopping a more mainstream concept for many consumers. Their idea of one pair of shoes for me, one for someone in need not only helped redefine expectations of how much charities actually do, but it made helping out immensely more accessible. Perhaps even more impactful than the amount of help they’ve provided in the past decade, however, is how much TOMS has done to influence the world of charity around them. Ever since their inception, brands big and small have echoed TOMS’ approach, making “one for me, one for you” a go-to style of giving back. Take Brooklyn-based social entrepreneurs Jacq and Scot Tatelman for example. For every backpack, wristlet and purse sold through their company State, they donate a backpack filled with essentials to an at-risk child.

In order to instill this sense of selflessness in their own two kiddos, Scot and Jacq constantly seek out opportunities to get them involved in charitable work as well. “[Poverty is] difficult for a five-year-old girl and three-year-old boy to fully grasp,” they tell us. “So as a family we choose to do small things. Small things with great love [and] the intention of opening their little, compassionate eyes to the world around them.”

Luckily for us, the couple is letting us in on some of the “small things” they’ve done to teach their children the value of lending a helping hand. Each approach to giving back is unique, impactful and they’re all easy as pie to pull off. Scroll down to check them out! —Garrett

Portrait courtesy of Jacq and Scot Tatelman

Create a Give-Back Bowl: The concept of a give-back bowl works in both family and office settings. Put a big bowl in the center of a busy room and just start dropping anything in it that could make someone in need smile: loose change, wrapped snacks, fresh fruit or cute notes. When the bowl is full, drop it all into a bag, hit the streets with your crew, and hand it out to those asking for support on the streets. You could also head to a local non-profit group’s office and pass it over.

“Free” Baked Goods and Hot Chocolate: This activity accomplishes two things in one: It’ll occupy your kids on a long, cold weekend and help them give back. Bake some cookies, brownies or whatever gets them excited (like some hot cocoa), and set up a stand in a busy part of your neighborhood. Tell everyone that the treats are free and tips are optional. Then donate the tips to the charity of your family’s choice.

Charity Miles App: Download the Charity Miles app, and go for a family walk, run or bike ride. The app tracks your progress and you can earn up to 25 cents/mile for non-profit groups including Autism Speaks and Stand Up To Cancer. It’s also a cool way to teach your kids how a healthy body = a healthy mind.

Supplies to Kids, Animals and First Responders: If you have kids or pets, you most likely have stuff lying around your house that goes unused. Take an hour with your kids and gather up your gently-used toys, blankets, pet food, pet toys, electronics and other household goods. Then clean them up and bring the toys to a children’s hospital or work with an organization like Good+ Foundation to donate them. Take the cleaned pet supplies to a local animal shelter or call a local fire house and offer to make their living quarters feel more like home with donated household items.

Shop Smart and with a Heart: As you’re crossing gifts off your list, consider companies and products that were created for bettering the world. One-for-one brands like ours and many others donate a portion of their proceeds to organizations doing incredible work. Most even use sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials. It’s not only great to support companies focused on more than their bottom line, but this acts as a great conversation starter when talking to your kids about how shopping for products and gifts can actually have a deeper impact. Start them young, and they’ll forever be socially-conscious shoppers!

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