October 16, 2020


Even before COVID hit, Australia was rapidly transitioning towards a cashless society. With cash becoming a thing of the past, it’s important to teach kids the value of the dollar and how to give back.

To stop kids of the 21st century thinking our little plastic cards hold a never-ending stream of money, it is important to show them the value of just one dollar to give back and to help those less fortunate.

For those looking for some cost-effective ways for young kids to give back, here are our top five recommendations:

Donate used bottles and cans:

When you have kids, it isn’t uncommon to go through many drink containers in one week. Instead of putting them in kerbside recycling, take your kids down to their local recycling machine where each eligible bottle can be exchanged for 10 cents. While there, they will also have the opportunity to donate some of their 10c refunds to TOMRA’s new ‘Bottles Can Change Lives’ appeal which is raising crucial funds for OzHarvest, Beyond Blue and The Salvation Army to support Aussies doing it tough during COVID-19. Go to bottlescanchangelives.org.au to find your nearest recycling machine.

Knitting for cats

Donating isn’t just about helping people in need, it applies to our furry friends too. If you are good with a knitting needle or love to crochet, try getting your kids involved through the Cat Protection Craft Club. Cat Protection Society is a no-kill shelter, meaning that they look after a variety of cats until they find their fur-ever homes and as a result, the company is always in need of blankets and toys. With patterns for blankets and toys for both beginners and experts, everyone is able to make and donate something the cats will love.

Go through your pantry

Everyone knows Aussies went a little crazy at the beginning of 2020, stocking up on tinned items and toilet paper that we will never use. Food pantries, food banks and food rescue programs are available across the country to collect food and redistribute it to those in need. Teach your kids to give back to those less fortunate by taking them through your pantry and showing them what they can donate to the local food rescue charity.

Find a dollar, give it away

Kids love a treasure hunt, so next time you give them some extra pocket money for completing their weekly chores, get them to look out for specially marked dollar coins. The Royal Australian Mint has recently produced millions of “Donation Dollars” as their way of taking part in this year’s International Day of Charity. The new coins in circulation act as a daily reminder for Aussies to help charities in need. Even for those without the cash to spare, just one dollar makes a difference.

Help native wildlife

Donating doesn’t need to cost a cent. In fact, it can be as simple as helping your native wildlife have easy access to fresh water and a place to cool down during the heat of summer. Once it starts to heat up, encourage your kids to fill up a small tub of water and place it in the backyard. This way native birds, koalas and other animals can get some much-needed respite from the hot sun.

What do your kids do to give back? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • My children grew up donating bottles and cans with guides and scouts in NSW – but here in Victoria there is no such scheme for recycling. Such a pity that they don’t learn how to give when they are young – because if they don’t learn it when they are young they won’t ever learn it.


  • Somr great ideas jere. I am going to look into knitting for cats.


  • Our school has many outreach programs.


  • It’s always good to remember we are a small Cog in a bigger wheel, yet for that wheel to go forward we need every piece to work together. To give or be a part of something bigger than yourself is a reward in itself, acceptance, sharing, caring, ownership and respect of others are qualities learnt. The earlier we start to experience this, the more natural it will seem.


  • Such great ideas! Always nice to see kids growing up with respect


  • So many good ideas here. My kids used to visit the people in the local aged care home


  • My girls attend a Catholic school and learn about helping others all the time and they put it into action which is great.


  • Lots of good tips here. Kids need to learn compassion for those less fortunate


  • thank you for these lovely tips and pointers. We really need to be kind and thoughtful right now!


  • This year my son will be walking from our home town to a town 50kms away to raise money for the Cancer Foundation. He’s doing this in honour of his father who passed away 2 years ago to cancer. He has a greater understanding of where this money goes to and what it’s used for. Anyone who wishes to donate and tell him they can’t donate much his reply is “even if it’s only $1. it all adds up”. I’m so proud of him and anyone else who feels the same way. My boys were always taught the value of the $ and I’m glad to say they understand even more so now.


  • I’m always role modelling ‘giving back’ and charitable opportunities so my son knows that is what we do in our family. We donate food, clothes, money. The KMart Wishing Tree is a huge one for us every year where we donate many gifts to cover all members of a family, never leaving our the parents. We donate money to all sorts of causes that are relevant and meaningful to us. My son has also taken on various charitable opportunities himself having organised and participated in Relay for Life, Movember, just to name a few.


  • When my children find money on the floor they put it in a charity collection. Their school does a goods drive at Christmas time so we donate a lot through there. And cashing in bottles has only just started here so we have been collecting them to cash in.


  • If kids visit elderly grand parents for fun, sleepovers such as special movie nights or special outings where possible – and not just for free babysitting care – it brings great joy for both and can build very special relationships.


  • We do lots of things to give back and donating bottles and containers is easy and donating food too. There are so many ways to give back and teaching kids at a young age to give back has long term benefits for communities.


  • I like the idea of this post. I’m going to start thinking a lot more about instilling this value with my kids. Thanks for the ideas so far.


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