We understand that sometimes it can be hard to make time to give back to our communities. But getting your kids involved in community service projects and activities can teach them valuable skills and life lessons like compassion, respect, and empathy. To get your family inspired, here are 5 ways to teach your kids to serve their communities.

1.  Bake cookies or brownies for your local fire station.  The firemen will really appreciate this simple but delicious gift, and it’s a fun way to teach your kids how to help out your community and thank local heros.

2.  Volunteer to be a foster family for a pet from your local animal shelter.  Taking care of a pet is a big learning opportunity for children. It teaches them responsibility and kindness to those who can’t take care of themselves.  Adoption also helps to keep strays off the street.

3.  Pick up trash at your local creek. Creeks and rivers are something we all share.  Teach your children to show respect for public property.  Even little kids can help clean up your city streams.  Look up a local Creek Week association near you:  http://www.creekweek.net/

4.  Volunteer to take your neighbors’ dogs for a walk.  Do it for free!  This can really help busy neighbors or older folks who can’t walk their dogs.  Your kids will learn how to take care of animals, respect public property (like sidewalks and dog parks), and help others.

5.  Make care packages for homeless people.  Fill bags with some hand sanitizer, tissues, a granola bar, etc. and hand them out to people in need that you pass on the street.  This simple act of kindness can encourage your children to be compassionate towards others.