Bike- and Trike-a-Thons
Some of the charities helped through these events are the Multiple Sclerorsis Society, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Local events also raise money for kids and adults in your area.
Most events use the words "bike" and "trike" loosely. You can bring your wagons for little ones too young to ride and children who aren't quite ready for a tricycle can bring their ride-on toys.
Bike- and trike-a-thons have taken place everywhere from closed off day care parking lots to closed off downtown city streets.
Charity walks benefit a variety of afflictions, including food allergies, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, Down Syndrome, autism, diabetes and cancer. Walk for a charity that's close to your heart or let your child pick a charity walk.
Some charity events have special requirements that will appeal to children. For example, participants in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation tie jingle bells to their shoes. Everyone carries a balloon with a blinking light inside during the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk.
The U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots Foundation is the most popular toy drive. Generous donors have helped kids receive toys for more than 70 years. The easiest way to participate is to give your child some spending money and take her to the store. Make sure she understands the toys she'll be buying will be helping another child. When she's finished shopping, take the new toy to one of the drop-off locations. Toys "R" Us always has a barrel for Toys for Tots donations. Your child may even get to meet a Marine who's manning the collection site.
Other charities will gladly accept your kids' gently used toys. The Salvation Army and Goodwill are a couple of organizations that will make good use of toys that are no longer needed. Hospitals, shelters, children's homes and churches are just a few places you can donate toys so that your child's toys wind up in the hands of someone who will appreciate them.
Local TV stations tend to hold food drives close to Thanksgiving and Christmas. You'll find drop-off locations at the grocery store, TV station or at a live event where the kids may get to be on TV as they drop off the food.
Or help hungry families in your area just by taking a short trip to your mailbox. The post office collects millions of pounds of food each year during its Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Donations are collected the second Saturday in May each year. Let your child keep an eye out for the mail carrier on the day of the drive. When he comes to deliver your mail, walk with her to the curb so she can hand the food donations directly to the mailman. This will get her more involved in the act of giving vs. putting some food in a plastic bag and leaving it at the mailbox.
Kids have roller skated to benefit Parkinson's disease, jumped rope for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and put together puzzles to raise money for the Autism Society. Many charities have event ideas that your child can hold in her city or even in her playgroup listed on their websites.
Humane societies regularly hold charity walks to raise money for local shelters. This helps keep those shelters running so they can continue to house and feed the animals until they find a good home.
The ASPCA also holds a Wag n Walk. The money raised helps the organization rescue animals in need while fighting animal cruelty. The charity event also has fun activities for pets and their people after the walk so you can make a day of your charitable lesson.
Trick-or-Treat for Charity
The charity best known for raising money on Halloween night is UNICEF. Kids have been trick-or-treating for UNICEF for more than 60 years and have raised more than $164 million. The signature orange trick-or-treat boxes can be ordered online at no cost or you can usually find the boxes at corporate sponsors likeToys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us.
Kids can trick-or-treat for any charity to raise money for a cause that interests them. Find a reputable charity on the Better Business Bureau's website. If the charity doesn't provide boxes or cans for trick-or-treating, make your own. The day after Halloween, be sure to send a check or money order for the money collected while your child's efforts to raise money for charity are fresh on her mind.