One of the biggest challenges of my project is finding projects that work for a preschooler. Abby is only three – she will be four in November. Granted, she is pretty mature for her age and fits in well with kids a little older than she is, but she still is only three. A couple of people have commented that they planned to get their children into service – just at a later age. One of my goals with this project is to help show people that yes, preschoolers can – and should – do service projects!
As you know, my project started from a list posted on someone else’s blog. The list includes over a hundred things you can do with your family to make a difference. While the list includes a lot of great ideas, it also includes a fair number of projects that (a) are just not realistic at this time (ie: becoming a foster parent or adopting), (b) are not age appropriate for Abby (ie: cuddling babies or sewing sleeping bags), or (c) seem too small to qualify as a true service project (ie: write a family mission statement or taking time each week to unplug as a family). Thus, I have come to the realization that I will need a lot of projects outside the list in order to meet my goal of averaging one project per week for a year.
I have done a lot of internet research looking for ideas. I contacted a local organization that uses volunteers to feed the homeless, but they told me the minimum age is 12. They also told me that 12 is the minimum age for the majority of non-profits in the area. That was a little disheartening to hear, but it has not stopped me in my search. Yesterday I found a book – Service Projects Preschoolers Can Do – which is en route to me now. The book includes 44 service projects specifically geared toward preschoolers. I am looking forward to its arrival!
There certainly are more opportunities for older children, that is for sure, but I am quickly learning that preschoolers are definitely NOT too little for service projects. Abby has really seemed to enjoy our projects thus far, and I am hopeful that the long-term effects will last long beyond her preschool years. If you know of any good preschool appropriate projects, I would love to hear about them! Please post your ideas in the comments section!