10 family-friendly volunteering ideas to strengthen community bonds

Grandpa teaches toddler to collect litter in a sunlit park.

Engaging in family volunteering is an exciting way to instil values of compassion, responsibility, and community service in both young and older family members. It's not just about community service; it's about creating heartwarming memories together. From little ones running around, stomping trails of just-helped-in-the-garden welly prints in their wake, to competing against loved ones to collect the most rubbish, here are 10 volunteering ideas that are perfect for families with young kids and teenagers, ensuring inclusive participation and a positive impact. 

Good news: for volunteering, youth opportunities are abundant. From invigorating walks along sandy shores, rounding up burnt out barbecues and empty crisp packets (don't worry, we've got gloves!), to rolling up your sleeves and assisting the elderly in your community—there's a chance for everyone to get hands-on. So, if you want to make a positive impact on the community by being a volunteer, family or not, all while getting closer to your family members, have a read of our 10 ideas for volunteering as a family: 

  1. Engage in a community clean-up. Embark on a family adventure and participate in a local community clean-up. Yes, you might get decorated head-to-toe in soggy leaves in the Autumn months, but orange looks great on you. This activity is an excellent way for young people to volunteer, taking responsibility for their surroundings and learning about environmental stewardship. It also serves as the perfect family volunteering opportunity, fostering teamwork and a sense of accomplishment. 
  2. Visit a nursing home. Dedicate an afternoon to visiting a local nursing home, where you can share stories, play games, and provide companionship to the elderly residents. Embrace the trails of biscuit crumbs, splish-splashes of tea, and enjoy making memories with those who have put so much in already. This activity is particularly beneficial for young adults looking at volunteering. For teens, this opportunity can help them develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the importance of caring for the elderly – that will be you one day! 
  3. Help out at an animal shelter. There’s a good chance you’ll be pitching in with the mucky tasks, like shovelling poo from cages and crates. But hey, that’s what gloves are for! It’s no price to pay at all for the opportunity to form loving and lasting bonds with your new furry friends. This is a valuable youth volunteering opportunity, teaching responsibility and instilling a love for animals. 
  4. Help out at a food bank. Contribute to your community by helping sort and pack food at a local food bank. This family volunteer opportunity is not only rewarding but also serves as an educational experience, teaching children about food security and the importance of community support. 
  5. Organise a fundraiser. Often when hosting a birthday, you are asked what you´d like as a present. Why not propose your loved ones to donate to a charity close to your heart as a birthday present? You can also motivate your family to organise a fundraiser for a cause that resonates with you. Picture bake-offs, a car wash, or a sponsored walk that transforms into an off-piste adventure – you weren’t lost, you were just taking the scenic route... Engaging in these types of activities is an excellent way for young people to volunteer, learning about the impact of giving back and the power of collective effort.  
  6. Beautify your local park. Participate in a park beautification project, spending your day planting flowers, painting benches, or picking up litter. You might be splattered with flecks of green-brown paint, up to your elbows in squelchy wet leaves, and have mud on your nose (why did no one tell you that was there?!), but that’s why you wore old clothes, right? This activity is a fantastic opportunity for volunteering, for young people especially, allowing them to take pride in their local community spaces and understand the importance of maintaining them. 
  7. Mentorship programs. Encourage your teenagers to volunteer as mentors for younger children, assisting them with homework or simply offering companionship. For our youth, volunteering opportunities like this one develops leadership skills, provides a sense of accomplishment, and helps build strong community ties. 
  8. Craft workshops for kids. If you’ve got multicoloured glitter coming out of your ears, and scraps of technicoloured paper stuck to every inch of you, while the little ones are having the time of their lives – you might feel right at home hosting a craft workshop for children. This is a delightful and creative family volunteer opportunity, enabling everyone to get involved, share their skills, and enjoy quality time together. After some craft ideas? Check out these impressive-yet-easy paper crafts, or how to make papier-mâché animals! 
  9. Support local events. Volunteer as a family to support local events such as fairs, festivals, or sports days. Whether it’s helping set up, manning a stall, or cleaning up afterwards, there are numerous ways to contribute and strengthen your community bonds. 
  10. Create care packages. Work together to assemble care packages for vulnerable community members or those in need. This is a heartfelt volunteering for teens activity, teaching them about compassion, the importance of community support, and the joy that comes from helping others.


Whether it’s sloppy mud or sticky glue, when you’re stuck into volunteering activities, Plenty Flexisheets are your friend. Winner of Product of the Year 2024*, Flexisheets are 50% longer**, meaning more sheets per roll for all of life’s messes. Choose what you use with new flexi-sized sheets.

There are a lot of ideas here – which is great! But don’t feel obliged to try all of them. Only take on what you and your family are capable of – that's just fine in our book. If you’d prefer to volunteer from the comfort of your own home, check out our guidance and tips on online volunteering instead. 

Caring for your local community is one of those acts of care that can go a really long way, no matter what you’re able to do. That’s why, in the year 2020, we invested over 750 hours of our time in local and national community projects. For example, we’ve been supporting In Kind Direct, a UK-based charity that provides essential care products like nappies and period products, since 2002. Learn more about why this initiative is important.

Family volunteer opportunities you can get involved with

So, we’ve got some great ideas for young volunteers to make a difference in their communities, but what are some more concrete opportunities for young people volunteering? Look no further than these family volunteer opportunities: 

  1. Volunteering with Children. Many charities and organisations in the UK offer opportunities for whole families to volunteer together. You can get involved in activities, events, and even holidays that are designed to be family-friendly. You might find opportunities at sports or youth clubs, schools, or other community organisations. For more information, check out this handy guide.
  2. HelpStay. HelpStay provides a platform for families to connect with hosts in need of volunteers. This is a great way to travel with a purpose, learn new skills, and contribute to meaningful projects. The opportunities are vetted to ensure safety and relevance. Check out the HelpStay website for more information.
  3. Action for Children. Families can volunteer to support vulnerable children and families in their local communities. There are a variety of roles available, ranging from mentoring young people, helping at events, to providing administrative support. This is a chance to connect with your community, learn new skills, and make a real difference. Visit Action for Children to see how you can get involved.
  4. Volunteering in the Scottish Highlands. If you’ve seen people up to their knees in questionable brown sludge, and they’re laughing, you might wonder why – or how. Well, they’re called endorphins, and when we go outdoors, we get loads of them. If you want to laugh your (sodden) socks off and make a positive impact, volunteering in the Scottish Highlands could be an incredible experience. Opportunities might include environmental conservation, wildlife protection, and other outdoor activities. This is a unique way to experience the beauty of the UK while contributing to important conservation efforts. Visit Volunteer World for more information.
  5. The Prince's Trust. The Prince's Trust offers a variety of volunteering opportunities for teens and young adults, which could be suitable for families with older children. These opportunities include both residential and home-based roles, providing flexibility for families. Visit the Prince’s Trust and see which opportunities you can get involved in.

These opportunities provide a range of activities at various locations across the UK, meaning there’s something for everyone, everywhere! Volunteering together can be a rewarding way to spend time as a family while making a positive impact in the community.

Volunteering as a family: a win-win

So, call in the troops – from the chaos coordinators to the laughter generators – and let's embrace volunteering and every faucet of sticky, squelchy, stinky and sublime mess it brings. Embark on your next family volunteer adventure today!

Remember, inclusivity is key when participating in volunteer activities so try to ensure that your commitment to inclusivity is evident in your actions. After all, volunteering is about creating a positive impact and fostering a sense of belonging and care for everyone in the community.

*Winner General Household Category (Survey of 8,000 people in UK & ROI). 

**Length of roll when compared to Plenty Original. 

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