More and more, middle schools require students to perform community service each semester. Why not have your child do some over the summer? Kids typically have less to do then during the school year. It’s a great time to devote to helping others.

Here are some activities that are appropriate for your child’s age. Discuss these with her (or get her suggestions) and choose one according to her interests and abilities.

Your preteen can:
  • Be a counselor-in-training. She can help at a summer program for younger children.
  • Babysit for a family she knows that really needs help with childcare. Consider doing it for free.
  • Conduct a food drive. She can ask neighbors, friends and family to donate canned food and deliver it to a shelter or food bank.
  • Record herself reading popular children’s books. Take the recordings to a children’s hospital wing.
  • Do yard work for a person who is elderly or has a disability.
Your teenager can:
  • Be a counselor at a summer program for younger children.
  • Be a mentor for a younger child or a preteen.
  • Tutor a child in math or reading over the summer. Do it for free.
  • Sign up to work for a campaign, if she is interested in supporting any of the candidates in the fall’s elections.
  • Read to older people at an assisted living center, or volunteer to go once a week and lead a game, such as bingo.

Source: Jenny Friedman, The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering, ISBN: 1-58904-012-0 (Robins Lane Press, a division of Gryphon House, Inc., 1-800-638-0928, Reprint permission from Copyright (c) 2008, The Parent Institute “Parent