Good you are here! I’d like to introduce you to 10 easy ways to start off your voluntary work with kids. Easy tips that will make you connect with kids and get to know them better. These tips are very useful for your first week to reach out to, but can also always be of inspiration during your further voluntary work or with a single-day volunteering.
10 tips on what to do with kids
1. Games – games can be an easy way to get in touch with each other without having much to explain. You can bring games such as memory or quartet which are games that are very visual and easy to understand. Kids are usually very eager to play these games and to learn. It can be a learning process when you bring such game with animals or objects. It can also be interesting to bring one from home so kids can learn about your background.
Other games you could play can be: clapping hands together,
2. Crafting – Crafting is usually my favorite thing to start off with and I personally love to do creative things. Good thing: there are hundreds of easy and fun ideas. Create masks, make little dolls with paper, create postcards or fill balloons with flower to create dolls. Too much to mention all here, but I will list my favorite websites to find creative ideas. It can be fun to make something referring to an event (Easter, Christmas, Holy or a birthday celebration).
3. Sing – Singing is always a good idea to find joy! English songs are always useful and educationally, but even songs in your own language can work. As long as there is a fun part in it or a trick or something. When I volunteered with a Dutch organization in Nepal, the kids all learned Dutch songs with clapping hands. As long as its fun, it will work!
4. Kite – I figured that many kids love a kite. And it’s something you can create yourself, to kite with afterwards. I did this ones and especially boys loved it! Here’s a little tutorial how to do it. Things to bring? Tape, a little rope and some left over material to make it with (some plastic or an old newspaper).
5. Draw – Drawing is so much fun and so easy! If you’ll be volunteering with younger children, it can be good to bring a coloring page with a fun artwork. For kids that are a bit older, there are many DIY’s online to easily draw something cool step-by-step. A unicorn, a lion, a whale, an icecream – you name it (find it on Pinterest).
6. Color – Buy sidewalk chalk locally and bring a group together to create a big art on the streets. It can be anything, but make sure to pick a theme, let everyone create something with their own imagination and make sure together it’s one big painting. This way kids can create independently while also feel like they had a part in a bigger play. It always looks beautiful. TIP: make sure everyone poses for a photo afterwards:)
7. Prepare a play – Many kids love a bit of drama and imagination. So if you have a group of kids, why not prepare a play to perform? Think of a theme that would fit their interests and age and something they could imagine or refer to (Disney, a fairy tale or something extra ordinary that could happen in their everyday life). You can create a decor with the kids or make masks. It’s possible to add costumes and songs to a play. And the performance can be a night full of wonders, something extremely special. This activity can take 2 hours up to two weeks of preparation and can be a good ‘finishing up’ project for your time as a volunteer.
8. Paint – You know what’s an easy and fun way for kids to play? Create a painting with their hands, feet or fingers. Success guaranteed and lots of fun. Just be sure to pick the right paint (which you can wash off your hands easily!)
9. Magic – Learn kids an easy magic trick! It can be so interesting for the kids to learn a skill like that and impress their friends at school. they are usually very eager to learn such thing and show off. Try to figure out a quiet easy trick with little necessities, which has nothing to do with gambling. Youtube is full with DIY videos.
10. Organize a scavenger hunt – To bring the kids out and around, organize a scavenger hunt where you position small links in the area or give the exercises that link to existing things in the neighborhood. It’s so much fun to search together and walk around. This exercise can take up to 1.5 hours ideally. And don’t forget to think of a price once they succeed! Please check with the organization if it’s ok to bring the kids out or ask a member of the staff to come along.
When you start doing (small) activities with kids, be sure to prepare it well by considering if they could find the necessities in their own country. Also consider if they would be able to get it themselves. This way, you are able to inspire them to do it more often and you won’t surprise them with things from a different world. For instance, if wheat flower would be a scarcity in the country you volunteer, don’t start creating balloons filled with flower. Pick a different ingredient or something else to do.
Usually when I do something with the kids, I try to buy the necessities in advance so you’re not depending on the school or organization. They may have little supplies. It can be fun to shop for supplies together with the kids. I usually leave the things I bought behind, so the kids can play with it more often or do it again.
Favorite websites to brows for ideas:
- Crafting with Kids
- Juf Jannie (an interesting website if you are Dutch, with many crafting ideas)
- Zappelin (The DIY page of Dutch page Zappelin if full of ideas to craft, draw, play and listen to).