Do you have teenagers or younger children looking for opportunities to serve in the community? We're always on the lookout for great service projects for teens and kids. A favorite project in our home is making simple fleece blankets. They're easy and inexpensive to make, and it's fun to throw in a favorite movie or visit together while we work.
Service Projects for Teens
If you're in the mood to get out of the house and serve, you might also enjoy this cool Service Scavenger Hunt idea. We did it with the youth (ages 12-18) at church, and it was a blast!
Finding community service opportunities to fulfill school club responsibilities can be tricky. (Especially if you wait until the last minute.) Making fleece blankets can be done individually or with a group of kids, and no advance planning is necessary. All you need to do is find an organization that needs blankets. (The maternity wards in hospitals, shelters, and Women's centers are great places to start.)
If your kids or teens are shy and have a hard time getting out of their comfort zones and working with strangers in the community, this is a great alternative. The work is done at home, but they still have to talk to people when it's time to make the deliveries.
How to Make a Fleece Blanket
You are not going to believe how easy it is to make these blankets! Our first try making these was for a hospital a few years ago, and even my six-year-old was able to do it!
Here's what you'll need:
- Fabric Scissors
That's it! The hardest part is determining the size blanket you want to make. The size will depend on where you plan to take the blankets. Our latest batch was baby blankets for newborns, so my teen used about 1 ½ yards of fabric for each blanket.
Want to know my secret to getting the right size fabric for any fleece blanket project? Ask the lady at the cutting counter of your local fabric store! Tell her the purpose of the blanket (baby blanket, lap quilt, twin blanket, etc), and I bet you anything that she (or he) will be able to help you choose the right amount of fabric.
- Cut a 5 inch square piece of paper or cardboard to use as a pattern. Lay the pattern on a corner of your fabric and cut off the corner. Repeat on the remaining three corners.
- Cut strips in the fabric along one edge. The strips should be about ¾ inch wide and the same depth as your pattern (5 inches).
- Tie a simple knot at the end of each strip.
- Repeat on the remaining three sides of fabric.
Easy, peasy! If you are working with small children, I suggest that you cut the fabric strips for them. Make their part of the project tying the knots.
Depending on the size of your fabric, plan on each blanket taking approximately 1 hour. Of course, if you are socializing while you work, it may take longer. That's what makes service fun, though, so socialize away!
How to Save Money on Fabric
If you want to make this a large project with several teens involved, consider asking for fabric donations. Prepare a flyer letting people know about your project and who the donations will help, and share it! Great places to share are facebook, your church congregation, and friends and neighbors. Some people will happily donate fabric, and others will donate money to buy what you need.
Next, try your local fabric stores. Let them know about your project, and see if they have any great discounts they can offer you. It never hurts to ask! If you can't get a discount, never go into a fabric store chain without a coupon! If you don't have one, google it. You can almost always find 40% off coupons for most chains. It may take you a few trips into the store, but you can save a lot of money.
Have fun serving!
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This is a great idea! I had no idea how easy it was to make a fleece blanket, and they're so cozy. It's neat that this is something the whole family can do together, so everyone can feel useful and help.
We've done the fleece blanket thing before for our church. Was a great family project to do together!
Our girls were just trying to decide what they could do for the local nursing home. Will show them this, looks a great project.
Our girl scout troops make blankets/beds for the animal shelter all the time. It is such a great project and kids have fun doing it. They also made a bigger version for kids at the children's hospital.
I love this! I've been teaching my kids about the importance of volunteering and giving back since they were toddlers. Great ideas!
Fantastic ideas - kids get to volunteer and also learn some lifeskill. Can't emphasize enough the importance of doing both those.
I really love this I’ve been teaching my kids about the importance of volunteering and giving back since they were toddlers. Great ideas i'll keep teaching them more
Erica @Black Bloggers Network
I'm always looking for service projects for the students that I work with. This article gave me some great ideas that I'm definitely going to share. Thanks!
Great ideas for teens to get them off of their computers and phones and being creative.
I am going to share this with my brothers! This is something great for them to do over the summer break!
I bet my daughter and my nephew would love to do something like this! Such a great idea!
I've always loved to do this kind of projects! I'll definitely suggest your post to my cousins, you shared some great ideas!
I love this! I have a teenage son, and while he might not want to make blankets, there are other ways he should be giving back.
My daughter could do this though!
Really a great idea. I don't have any teenager but suggest to other moms.
That is so nice for your children to do. I love the idea. I would have never known how easy that is to do.
Encouraging teens to volunteer as well as learn life skills is really important - a little less tech and more of real life, methinks :-)
This is great! Def something to tell my kids about!
These look like fun and exciting ways to build lasting friendships. I will have to try them when my daughter gets older.
These are great ideas. I run a teens group at my library and will have to show the kids some of these things as they might be intersted in doing them for the community.
I absolutely loved the idea of the baby blanket! That was so kind of you guys to give back! Totally inspiring too!
This is such a great way to get kids involved in helping out. This blanket is so lovely! I really like the idea!
I love this - I haven't got teenaged kids but can think of many of my friends who do and they'd love this!
LOVE these fleece blankets. These were my favorite to make as a kid. They are the perfect project.
Love the fleece blanket! :)
The fleece blanket is such a great idea! It is important to teach them creativity!
Thats such a great idea! My three year old went through chemo when she was 9 months old that getting hand made items like these blankets, or pillowcases or handmade dolls were so special to us. It was just a reminder that we werent in this alone. There there were other people in the world who cared enough about strangers to spend part of their time making something special to brighten someone elses day. Thank you so much for teaching your children to do for others and to serve their community.
The service project sounds awesome! Make children and adults a bit busy is a good thing to do if we are free, especially in the summer vacation. By the way, the blanket looks so nice and easy to make! Thanks for sharing with us :)
Such a Great Ideas Thanks for Share This
Now this is really helpful list. I really loved it.
Angela @ Gym Clothes
Really a great idea, I think this is the easy way to make a fleece blanket. Love it. Thanks for sharing this great idea.
I love this idea. I have a question though when you were taking these blankets to the maternity ward did you have to wash them and package them specifically because these were going to newborn babies. For the health of the babies or did you just make them and take them up there? Were you able to pass them out to the new moms or do the nurses do this for you ?
Hi, Rebecca. It may depend on the hospital. We just made the blankets and took them to the hospital. We did try to keep the fabric clean as we were working. We dropped the blankets off at the front desk, and the nurses took over from there. I would call your local hospital and check their requirements. Have fun!
Simply Beautiful! Thanks for Sharing. Animal Embroidery Designs
Eric R. Haney
Really a great idea, I think this is the easy way to make a fleece blanket. Love it. Thanks for sharing this great idea. Keep sharing.
Fantastic ideas – kids get to volunteer and also learn some lifeskill. Can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing both those.
Nice thing to do. My kids are teenager, so I'll try to let them do more significant activities. Adding this to my list. Thanks.
It is the meaningful idea for teens. It helps them become more active and give the useful things to others. Thank you so much for your experiences and sharing.