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Key Takeaways:

  • Children may struggle to be generous because of their poor impulse control, but they can learn to be generous through guidance.
  • It’s essential for children to learn generosity because it makes them empathetic and supportive adults.
  • A few generosity activities to try with your child include volunteering, participating in charity walks, and reading books about generosity.

It’s not uncommon for a child to hesitate to share their toys with others. Thankfully, practicing generosity activities with your child can teach them empathy and compassion.

If you hear many “I want” statements from your child, it may be the best time to introduce a similar love for giving. Here are 15 fun, simple, and impactful generosity activities to try with your child.

Definition of Generosity for Kids

Generosity is being kind, selfless, and willing to share resources or assist others without expecting anything in return. However, generosity doesn’t often come naturally to children, as they have poor impulse control [*]. Of course, this doesn’t mean generosity can’t be learned.

As children witness and participate in acts of generosity, whether through sharing toys, helping peers, or expressing gratitude, they internalize these values and gradually learn the emotional rewards associated with giving.

Being generous can even impact health and well-being in that it boosts mood and self-esteem [*].

The Importance of Fostering Generosity in Kids

Teaching kids generosity is crucial because it enables children to understand and appreciate the needs and feelings of others. Generosity also helps children build positive social relationships, reinforcing the value of cooperation and mutual support.

Additionally, generous children develop strong moral and ethical principles, which empowers them to become responsible, empathetic individuals.

15 Activities to Teach Kids Generosity

As kids mature, it’s essential for them to learn to meet others’ needs as they would want their own met. Here are some generosity activities parents and caregivers can try.

1. Share and Rotate Toys

It can be daunting for children to share their toys, especially when they believe they may not get them back. However, encouraging siblings or students to rotate their favorite toys every week will help introduce the concept of sharing. Emphasize how sharing can bring happiness to others.

2. Write Thank You Notes

Asking children to reflect on what they are grateful for provides an excellent opportunity to explore how their generosity can make others feel good. Encourage your child to write thank you notes to friends, siblings, parents, or teachers to reinforce the value of appreciation.

3. Create a Giving Jar

Every week that your child gets their allowance, encourage them to set some aside for donations. Discuss and decide on a cause or local charity to support—then follow up on how your donations have helped. This hands-on approach allows children to understand the impact of their contributions.

Many national charities and organizations like the Cancer Research Institute, Direct Relief, and the American Red Cross accept monetary donations.

4. Put Together Care Packages

Suppose your child’s best friend is feeling ill. Why not put together a care package? Throw in their friend’s favorite things. Perhaps they’re big fans of chocolate chip cookies and apple juice.

Preparing and delivering these packages can be a meaningful experience for your child.

5. Write “I Will” Statements

As they grow up, children learn the value of keeping a promise. Together, you can create an “I Will” board and highlight focus phrases like:

  • I will share willingly.
  • I will spend time with my loved ones.
  • I will share my talents with others.

6. Bake Cookies for Others

Who doesn’t love cookies? Involve your kids when preparing cookies and baked goods to share with neighbors, friends, and local community members. Not only will they experience the value of doing something kind for others, but they’ll also improve their practical skills (and make something delicious).

7. Write Kindness Coupons

Coupons are great year-round—not just for birthdays or special occasions. Create kindness coupons with your child that your entire family can “cash in” for help with the chores, a trip to the ice cream parlor, or even a hug.

Coupons can provide an excellent bridge for kids just learning to express their needs and desires.

8. Celebrate a “Giving” Birthday

Birthdays often mean presents. Kids love presents. However, birthdays can be an excellent opportunity to encourage children to dedicate a portion of their celebration to a cause that means a lot to them. Part of their “present” can be an opportunity to give back to others.

For example, your child might spend part of their birthday volunteering at the local animal shelter or giving gifts to other children.

9. Host a Charity Garage Sale

Giving up a beloved toy can be challenging, especially if your child has grown attached to it. Still, it’s important to remind your child that when they outgrow something or no longer have use for it, they can donate their things to others in need.

Go through your child’s old toys, clothes, and books, setting a few aside for donation to your local community.

10. Host a Sharing Circle

Inspiring generosity can be simple. At the end of each day, host a sharing circle and take turns sharing two things: something another person did for you and something you did for another person. Explain why these gestures meant a lot to you and how they made you feel.

11. Participate in a Charity Walk

Charity walks are a great way to promote physical activity while giving back to the community. There are dozens of causes to support, such as Light the Night, which raises funds and awareness for people diagnosed with Leukemia and Lymphoma. Walks for Wishes is one of the best family-friendly walks, as it raises money to grant wishes for those with life-threatening diseases.

12. Host a Neighborhood Event

Whether as a family or with the entire neighborhood, dedicate a day to giving back. Your family, friends, and community members can spend an afternoon doing chores for older adults, walking shelter dogs, or facilitating a neighborhood cleanup. Demonstrate to your child the power of giving back together!

13. Read Books About Generosity

Is your child a reader? Then they’ll love books like “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” by Jeff Brumbeau. The story follows a quiltmaker who agrees to produce a quilt for a greedy king. Throughout their journey, the king has a change of heart.

"The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving" by Jan and Mike Berenstain is the perfect book about generosity to read with siblings.

14. Allocate Family Favorites Time

Children must learn to be generous with their skills, things, and time. Start by dedicating thirty minutes to an hour a day to enjoy various family activities. For instance, if one of your children is a board game fan, choose one to play after chores and work. If you enjoy baking, get your kids to make cookies or cupcakes together.

15. Model Generosity Every Day

As a parent, teacher, or caregiver, demonstrating generosity to kids is essential to their early development. If you’ve ever heard of the phrase, “monkey see, monkey do,” why not demonstrate good habits? Let your child witness instances of generosity, like helping a neighbor bring their groceries in, volunteering at your local church, or sponsoring a school club.

The Bottom Line

It’s important for children to see a world beyond themselves. However, it’s normal for them to be self-involved at a young age, so providing opportunities to be generous will help them become more responsive to the needs of others.

Generosity is one trait of many that makes a child well-rounded. Study our character education posters to help your child thrive as they grow up.

Sources:

  1. “Young Brains Lack Skills for Sharing.” Scientific American, 2012.
  2. Harding, K. “Is Generosity Good for Your Health?” Columbia Doctors, 2024.

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