#21 Volunteer At A Nursing Home

chalkboard parenting

A great way to spend time with your kids is to volunteer at a nursing home or senior center

Volunteer At A Nursing Home:

Some of my favorite dates are those that serve and help others. I’m all about having a great time with our kids, but I love to teach by serving side-by-side with them. This date focuses on serving your local nursing home, retirement center, or elderly care facility. I’ve volunteered for many years at some of these places in various situations. Some of these people are the loneliest in the world – it will break your heart. For various reasons, visiting a place like this can be intimidating, but I encourage you to try it.

There is a wide array of activities you can do there, depending on your passions, skills, and talents. Here are just a few to consider:

Provide spa services (facials, manicures/pedicures, hand massages, etc.).

Shine and polish their shoes.

Invite your hairdresser to go with you and offer shaves for the men.

Create a special dance evening for the residents.

Find out if they have a way to watch DVDs. If so, find some old movies or documentaries about sports history from their lives and have a movie afternoon with them.

Bring small bouquets for each guest.

Have a karaoke night.

Organize games of bingo or Wii bowling, play piano, sing carols, etc.

You’ll want to locate a local facility and call to ask about visiting options. Talk to the staff about the ideas you have and ask what would make their guests feel special. I promise you there’s a facility close to you that will welcome your visits. Once you have selected your facility and activities, go and spread some love among the residents. Listen to their stories, give lots of hugs, and provide them a day of the interaction and affection that so many elderly people are sorely lacking.

WMTDS (What Makes This Date Special):

This date offers the opportunity to spend time with your children, serve alongside them, and make a lot of people feel important and special. Senior center residents often feel so lonely. Imagine your family putting you in such a place because they felt like they had no choice, but against your will, and they leave you there. Some guests may have family members visit them often, but some never get visitors. You can give them such a delightful gift by making them feel special and removing that loneliness, even if only for a day.

Teachable Moments:

Serving others

Value and respect of the elderly

Education on those hurting and lonely around us

Teamwork with other volunteers or staff of the facility

There are few things greater than teaching our children how important it is to serve others. This date will allow you to do just that, giving your kids firsthand experience in serving the lonely and hurting people in the world. It also teaches the value and respect we owe to the senior citizens among us. You can show your children that it doesn’t take a lot of planning or expense to give up some of our time to go and care for the vulnerable residents of our community.


Anything you can do to spend time with the senior center residents would be appreciated since companionship is the best gift of all. The specifics matter less than your simple presence. You can call the facility and ask the staff for their suggestions. You may ask if they have specific guests who have no family or visitors and make it a point to adopt those residents and build personal relationships with them. 

Volunteering at a nursing home or senior center would also be a good date for inviting another parent/child combinations to go with you as a group. The more people you have going, the more options you have as far as activities you can offer.


Depending on the activity you choose, there may or may not be some related expenses. You may also reach out to local businesses or friends and family and ask them to contribute materials or donate to your cause.

chalkboard parenting

A great way to spend time with your kids is to volunteer at a nursing home or senior center


You will need to plan to come up with a time that works for both you and the facility. You will also need to plan what services or entertainment you want to offer. A good idea is to provide the facility with an agenda or list of things you want to do and coordinate your efforts.

Materials Needed:

You will only need related materials to what you plan to do at the while volunteering at the nursing home

Reference Websites:

Taking your kids to a nursing home

Visiting nursing homes

Why I take my kids to the nursing home

Why you should take your kids to the nursing home

Nursing homes

Amazon Resources:



For a list of other ideas on how to spend one-on-one time with your child, see the full list here.

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