Generosity and Service While Practicing Social Distancing

A silver-lining in this time of social distancing is that people and organizations are demonstrating generosity and looking for ways to make a difference. In times of uncertainty the question of “how and where do we fit in all of this?” is on everyone's mind. As caring adults, we can help young people find their fit through empathy and generosity. Learning to Give can help with resources and information.

Participating in social distancing is an act of generosity and civic duty during this virus outbreak throughout the world. Social distancing, more aptly named physical distancing, which means we are unable to engage at close physical proximity, can feel isolating and difficult. Calling attention to the generous nature of this global effort can help us feel better about the difficulty of staying apart from friends, loved ones, and strangers in traditional public settings like restaurants and stores. It is important to be aware of and process our feelings, and taking action is one way to move through those feelings.  

While many of our children are out of school and daycare for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, we are all challenged with how to keep them occupied, engaged and willing to continue to learn. Teaching generosity and service-learning can help you meet that need! Learning to Give offers some education-based activities you and your kids can engage in from home.


  • Use our Simple Safe Service project guides to  give your family ideas for generous actions that encourage youth voice and promote the common good, even when we are apart. Each project includes step-by-step instructions, reflection, and a connection to an optional lesson plan. 
  • Share this video “Philanthropy and Service-Learning: Why Do They Matter?”  with your kids to help them understand the word and act of philanthropy.
  • Teach a lesson or do an activity that prompts discussion about generosity. Learning to Give has hundreds of lessons and resources you can use for free. Get Started here.
  • Simply TeachOne! Here are daily lesson plans, project ideas, and resources to help you link learning to generosity during social distancing. These lesson plans provide conversations starters for you and your family about our roles in civil society. 
  • The lesson “Neighborhood Vision” may inspire an outdoor cleanup. Have your kids spend some time getting fresh air by creating a clean and welcoming environment for wildlife and friends in their own backyard. They can make vision boards of how they would like to make their community better and share them with their class when school is back in session. 
  • Learn about the process of service-learning to investigate an issue and make a plan to address it through our talents and passion for making a difference. This video gives an overview, and these resources walk through the process.
  • Art in all its forms can help us thrive. Many young people are decorating front windows, sidewalks, and creating signs to thank essential workers. This lesson teaches about the value of art to survival. “Powerful Words Can Warm the Heart


  • Build empathy by asking, “I wonder what [my friend, my grandma, my neighbor] feels like in this isolation? Write notes and send one every day starting today! Just pick a time and be consistent, and encourage your kids to write notes, letters, stories, or draw pictures and then send them to people they care about, troops overseas, or to local nursing home facilities. 
  • Set up a donation corner in your home. Go through your clothes, toys, etc. and organize the items you plan to donate, but be sure to check your local donation centers to see if they are actively accepting donations. If they are not, store your items until the centers re-open. 
  • Check in online or call the help-line of local shelters, hospitals, and other facilities to find out how you can support their wish lists. 
  • Donate to local food pantries to help those who rely on school meals during the week.
  • Make a list of positive, uplifting, and energizing music to share with others. Then share it on social media! @learningtogive #LearningtoGive   
  • Organize a neighborhood treasure hunt for your kids through a neighborhood communication (Facebook group). Tell neighbors to put paper shamrocks/eggs/flowers in their windows, and then children can get some fresh air by walking through the neighborhood finding as many shamrocks/eggs/flowers in neighboring windows as possible!
  • Create a song about philanthropy. Go a step further and post it to social media sharing with us @LearningtoGive #LearningtoGive
  • The shared experience of reading a book is powerful in many ways. Children learn reading, listening, and comprehension skills, while together you celebrate the joys and sorrows that good literature presents. Literature brings us closer and introduces real issues and broadens experience in a safe environment. Try our literature guides and tips for making your time reading aloud with children more meaningful and effective. 
  • Get to know your kids and what they care about with this Blue Sky envisioning activity. Your kids will understand themselves and their community and imagine a better world. Then, as a family you can discuss first steps you can take to making that vision a reality.
  • What’s a fun thing to do with kids that also incorporates math? Baking! With this you will not only get a sweet treat, but you’ll also help strengthen your child’s fraction work and addition.
  • Build something! Use paper, glue, tape, string, boxes, etc. and build towers, bridges, slides, swings, etc. Create a whole city! Be resourceful and creative.

Other Resources

It is vital that we look to the positive in times of uncertainty. In the next few weeks or months, we are given the gift of deliberately slowing down, reducing our busy schedules, and making time for the family and friends closest to us in our lives. Many of us may be facing a shift in work and how we work, to not being able to work at all. Together, we’ll get through this. We ALL have something to give.