Teach your littles the gift of giving, and they’ll feel they can change the world. From making a simple change jar to participating in a coastal clean-up, we’ve collected five family-friendly ways to volunteer right in your ‘hood. Scroll down and gift it out.

doggirl_eileenmcfall_via_ccPhoto: Eileen McFall

Raise Pint-Sized Money
Little philanthropists can decorate cool canisters to encourage classmates (and teachers!) to donate their pocket change. They can explain to fellow students and educators that they’re collecting coins to nurture the dogs, kittens and other critters at the Ellen Woodward Animal Shelter.

Ellen Woodward Animal Shelter
6461 El Apajo Rd.
Rancho Santa Fe, Ca
858-756-4117
Online: animalcenter.org

donate_coins1_nikki_walshPhoto: Nikki Walsh

Birthday Gift Share
All kids want to have their cake and eat it too. If you shop online through Rady’s Children Hospital not only do gifts go to kids in need, but also, your little birthday angel gets to pick a present. Bonus for the environment: No shopping or wrapping needed.

Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation
3020 Children’s Way
San Diego, Ca
858-966-7878
Online: radyfoundation.org

birthday_nikki_walshPhoto: Nikki Walsh

Dig into a Garden
A family who gardens together, gives together. Water, weed and prune at the San Diego River Garden. You bring your work and sweat and they’ll provide the tools and supplies.

Dates: The Second and Fourth Sunday of the Month (You’ll need to RSVP!)
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Ages: 4 and up

The San Diego River Park Foundation
Mission Valley East
3334 Camino Del Rio N.
San Diego, Ca
619-297-7380
Online: sandiegoriver.org

Coastal Clean-Up
Show little surfers the importance of keeping our beaches beautiful by attending a local coast clean-up. Grab the sunscreen and a hat, then show your kiddos why people flock to our soft sandy shores by picking up what others’ left behind.

Surfrider Foundation
Online: sandiego.surfrider.org

beachcleanup_guywann_via_ccPhoto: Guy Wann

Toys for Tots
While you’re holiday shopping for your little elf, they can shop for toddlers without toys. Not only do the gifts go to San Diego kids, they’ll also get a military salute from a Marine. Look for the red-and-white Toys for Tots boxes around the county.

San Diego Toy for Tots
Online: sandiego.toysfortots.org

Does you know a good way for littles to volunteer? Leave us a memo in the comments below.

—Nikki Walsh