Children learn by the example set by their parents and extended family. If you make volunteering a part of your family’s life, your children will learn important life lessons like compassion, empathy, gratitude, tolerance, and community involvement. Finding opportunities to volunteer as a family is the first step in giving your family this important experience.

Here are seven ways you and your children can get out and volunteer in your community:

Visit a nursing home

Many older people live in facilities and have very little contact with their own family members. You can adopt a senior and visit regularly to bring joy to the person.

Donate to a food pantry

Sometimes, you can’t make a regular commitment of time. Donating to a food pantry is a way to volunteer when you can. Have the kids pick up canned goods in the store then make a trip to donate it.

Share stories with children in the hospital

Being in a hospital is scary for many young patients. Visiting a children’s ward and sharing a story is one way your family can bring a smile to a young patient’s day.

Volunteer at a local animal shelter

Many local shelters need help with exercising and socializing the animals in their care. Ask if your local shelter needs someone to walk a dog or cuddle a cat.

Clean up litter in a local park

This is something you can do on your own or as part of a larger group. Grab a trash bag and go pick up garbage. Be sure to wear gloves and dispose of the gathered trash responsibly.

Walk for a cause

A ton of charitable organizations have walk-a-thons to raise money and awareness for their causes. Older children can walk alongside adults, while little ones can ride in strollers or wagons.

Deliver meals to the homebound

Many people can’t get out of the house due to health or disability. Taking meals to their homes gives them a chance at a healthy meal and a bit of company during a long lonely day.

It is important that volunteering as a family is fun and rewarding. You are able to instill a sense of selflessness in your children and family unit that can be developed and handed down through generations. Volunteering can then be looked at as a joyful experience rather than an obligation.