summer service ideas
for families and children

President George H.W. Bush believes, “Any definition of a successful life includes service to others.” Spark your child's or grandchild’s interest in seeing beyond themselves by engaging them in volunteer activities this summer. Here are a dozen literacy-minded ideas that can be easily adapted to various ages.


Create Bookmarks

Design your own bookmarks or color them using templates found online. Give them away to children or adults at a local nonprofit organization or library. If you wish to donate them to us, we will place them in the backpacks given to disadvantaged children during our Camp Adventure! summer program or through our My Home Library program this fall.

Operate a Lemonade Stand

Let your child select a charity to receive the proceeds. Consider matching the donation to make an even greater impact. Have your child deliver the proceeds to the charity and learn more about how the funds will help others in the community. Check out tips on how to hold a successful lemonade stand.

Donate Gently Used Books

Have your child give up some of his or her own books and have a conversation about how it might feel not to own any books, like many children across the city. Donate the books to a local organization. A list of organizations that accept books can be found on our website.

Hold a Book Drive

Whether in your church, neighborhood, recreational team, or social circle, hold a book drive. Check out our tips on how to hold a successful book drive.

Serve as a Read Aloud Guest

Contact your local library and ask if you and your child can volunteer to hold a read aloud session to families visiting the library. Have your child select a book and turn the pages as you read aloud or share in the reading session, based on their abilities.

Host a "Give Back" Party

Have your child create the invitations and ask guests to bring donations of back-to-school supplies or books. Deliver them to a local school in need or a charity of your child’s choice.

Make Posters

Help your child create a poster about why reading is important. Print the poster and give it to a local library or literacy nonprofit organization to display prominently to inspire more children to read.

Share Favorite Books

Have your child make a wish list of favorite books on and then invite friends, family and neighbors to purchase a book from the wish list. Donate the books to a local charity that serves disadvantaged children.

Make School Supply Bags for Disadvantaged Children

Include a note in each bag wishing the recipient children a great school year and letting them know someone cares. Donate the bags to a local charity or school.

Assemble and Stock a Tiny Library

Place it in a neighborhood or community center. Make this a family project by keeping it stocked with books for all ages throughout the year. Learn more about Little Free Libraries.

Start a Book Club

Help your child host a book club with friends and donate the books after they have finished reading and discussing them.

Write Thank You Notes

Give them to teachers and librarians in appreciation for their efforts to teach children and adults to become better readers.