Want to spend time together as a family this spring by lending a hand to worthy causes? There are dozens of opportunities: Gardens need tending, weeds need pulling, and we all need a chance to help out while having fun in the sun. Here are some family-friendly opportunities to share your skills and passion with your children and local non-profits.
All ages are welcome (with parent supervision) unless otherwise noted.
- Earth Day at Rattlesnake Lake, North Bend. Celebrate Earth Day by helping reclaim the Cedar River Education Center for native plants! Join Cedar River volunteers in planting natives plants, removing invasive plants, and mulching along Rattlesnake Lake. Following the restoration project, spend the afternoon celebrating the colorful history of land use with a performance of folklore and music by Snoqualmie Valley artist Bob Antone and friends. at the education center from 3-4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Ellis Pond Clean-up, Mercer Island. Join EarthCorps and the City of Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Dept. in restoring this local park and helping tree seedlings thrive by uprooting invasive plants. Note: Kids under 18 years of age need to go to miparks.net, click on volunteer opportunities and download the Volunteer Activity-Youth Form, which needs to be signed by a parent. Snacks, tools, and gloves will be provided!
Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Snoqualmie Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Planting. Join in the Annual Snoqualmie Arbor Day Celebration and tree planting, including fun games for kids to learn about trees, and free tree seedlings to plant at home, followed by tree plantings.
Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. Railroad Park Gazebo, Snoqualmie
- Shoreline habitat restoration at Seward Park, Seattle Restore shoreline habitat by removing invasive plants and building compost platforms.
Saturday, May 10 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday, June 14 10 a.m.- 2 p.m
- Stamp out Hunger: Involve your family in the whole process of food donation: go to the grocery store together, purchase non-perishable food, and place it in a bag by your mailbox. The National Association of Letter Carriers will then pick up and distribute your donations for their 22nd annual NALC Food Drive. Have your donations ready for pick up on Saturday, May 10.
- Community restoration at Sammamish Landing, Sammamish. With a little weeding and mulching you can help restore this beautiful shoreline.
Saturday, May 17 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
- Crown Hill Spring into Bed: Build, fill, and plant garden beds at the Old Firehouse Teen Center that will feed communities and help alleviate hunger in King County. Enjoy food, music, and fun with over 100 volunteers!
Saturday, May 17 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Gardening at Marra Farm, Seattle. Got a green thumb? With shifts three days a week from March through November, Solid Ground offers many times for you to help out and share organic gardening time with your family.
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, weekly 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Raise money while having fun
- Sleep Country Pajama Bowl: Raise money for foster kids by bowling in your PJs! Register your team, then start raising funds for your contribution.
Sunday, April 27, 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Two locations: Acme Bowling, Billiards & Events, Tukwila and TechCity Bowl, Kirkland.
Special event: Seattle Works Day, June 7
- Seattle Works Day: One cool opportunity to contribute as a family in an organized, specific way is to join Seattle Works for its mission-based fundraiser and largest day of service on Saturday, June 7. To sign up, you can form a team, join a team, or join the Seattle Works Team. The cost is $30/ team member (which essentially functions as a donation to Seattle Works), and includes an event tee and admission to the AfterParty. Here are some family-friendly options. Work clothes and boots recommended.
All projects happen on June 7 from noon–3:30 p.m. The After Party (kids are invited) is from 3:30–5:30 p.m. at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion.
Two Seattle Works projects that sounds particularly fun:
Magnuson Children's Gardens & Nature Programs, Sand Point. Typical tasks for late spring are: weeding & mulching the beds and paths, edging the little “Rolling Lawn," adding fun new growing features to the 300 sq. ft. food garden plot. 6344 N.E. 74th St., Seattle, WA
City Fruit, Jose Rizal Park, Beacon Hill, Seattle. Volunteers will help put on netting on the growing fruits. This is an organic and natural way to stop pests from ruining the fruits, and is a fun group activity. There will also be weeding and other tasks depending on the weather. 1008 12th Ave S., Seattle
About the author: Lauren Valencia is a former Seattle pre-K teacher and a freelance writer. This was originally written in 2013 and updated in 2014.