We all know how important it is to pay it forward—doing things for others every day is an essential part of making the world a better place and it has the powerful ability to create positive change. Paying it forward doesn’t have to mean paying it back, though. You don’t have to wait for something good to happen to you because of someone else before you do your part. You can pay it forward for things that have happened in your past or things that you hope will happen in your future. You can even pay it forward just because you are having so much fun in life and want others to experience the blessings you have had.
Sometimes it just feels good to do good for things for other.
Thankfully, there are thousands of little ways to make a difference, many of them even genuinely enjoyable, as well as fulfilling. By having fun with it, you can effectively turn something you love into a positive experience for someone else. When all is said and done, they, too, can pass it on.
If you’re looking for different ways to make an impact today, or even just get a little inspiration, try one of these fun and creative ways to pay it forward—you won’t be disappointed.
1. Sing & Perform to Raise Money (and Spirits)
If you’ve got the chops, you might as well put them to good use. Whether you’re an amateur musician, play an instrument or simply sing, you’ve already got the tools needed to pay it forward. And, music and entertainment can brighten up someone’s day quickly. Offering to play or perform for free at a charity fundraiser is a great way to take your passion and use it for good. Even if there isn’t an event coming up, try taking to the streets to busk or perform for the public and donate the money you collect to a local charity or a cause near to your heart. You don’t have to be a musician, though—magician, dancer, whatever you might like—share your passion with the world.
2. Take Your Pet to Visit a Hospital or Nursing Home
If you’ve got a pet at home, you know that your love for them can’t be measured. They’re there for when you need something to cuddle, cheer you up or keep you company and that’s pretty valuable. If you’ve got a friendly dog or cat, why not share the joy they bring with others? Take them to a hospital or nursing home and you can employ what experts call “pet therapy”.
I’ve worked at senior’s homes, and I can tell you that when pets come in, it is the highlight of their day. Even the patients who never smile can’t help but feel good around an animal. In short, you’ll notice the faces of patients and residents brighten up when they see your four-legged friend. And because animals are fun by nature, they’ll get to enjoy the same fun with them that you have.
3. Bake or Cook For Others
There is always someone who could use a hot meal or a nice treat and you could be the one to provide it. Let’s face it, though—it’s not much of an inconvenience for most. Baking and cooking are enjoyable activities and when you get to share the end result with others, they’re even better. If you know someone who’s going through a difficult time, offer to prepare a meal for them. Even baking a treat to take to the office for your co-workers is a thoughtful gesture that won’t go unnoticed.
4. Volunteer to Coach Youth Sports
If you have a passion for sports, volunteering to coach a youth team is an effective way to pass on your love of the game, whichever one if might be. Not only will you get the opportunity to teach children the same sports you grew up playing, but you’ll have just as much fun as they do running around on the field or court.
5. Offer to Dog Walk
People of all walks of life have dogs for pets, but not everyone can afford to give them the exercise they need. If you know of an elderly or disabled person with a special pet and companion that needs walking, who can’t do it themselves, offer to do it for them. The dog will get a good, healthy walk, and you’ll get just the same—a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and have fun while doing it.
6. Knit Clothing
If you’ve got a knack for knitting, you have in your hands the ability to create clothing for just about anyone. If you already knit for your own enjoyment, why not turn the finished product into gift for someone you love for even someone less fortunate: clothes for a new baby, gloves for a cold pair of hands—the possibilities are endless and you’ll have a great time doing it.
7. Organize a Toy Drive
Especially around the holidays, toy drives can mean the difference between a child waking up on Christmas morning to find a present or nothing at all. If you want to pay it forward for every time you got a toy you loved when you were a kid, this is a perfect way to do it!
Start a toy drive at your office or school and get others involved to gather as many toys as possible for those in need. Even picking them out can be a blast—we never quite outgrow our love of a good toy and the sense of nostalgia will hit you like a ton of bricks and seemingly transport you back in time.
8. Volunteer at a Community Garden
If you take a walk around your city or town, you’ll probably find public gardens that seem to always be in perfect order. They don’t tend to themselves, however—it takes a special kind of person. If you’ve got a green thumb or a passion for the outdoors, offer your services and enjoy your time spent basking in beautiful weather amongst mother nature’s finest. You will pay it forward for all that healthy food that was grown and ended up in your stomach.
9. Share a Story
If you’re a parent, reading to your child is a great way to bond and give them the attention they deserve—in a world of overworked Moms and Dads, spending even just a little time with your kids is as good as gold for them and you. If you don’t have kids, volunteer to read at a nursing home or hospital. It can be fun to share a book with others, especially if it’s one of your favorites, and it’s a great way to pay it forward for all those times someone read to you.
10. Write a Letter, Paint a Picture
If you doodle in your free time, you can turn your scribbles into words of love or encouragement. Write a thank you letter to someone who deserves it, draw a picture to let someone know you care or even paint a masterpiece to give as a gift for no other reason than to say “I love you”. You can even just jot down something nice on a post-it note and leave it where you know someone will find it—a nice surprise can do wonders, even if it’s just a few words.
11. Drive Less, Bike More
In order to pay it forward, you don’t have to have one particular person in mind—doing things for the greater good is just as important. On nice days, try driving your car less and instead ride your bike. You’ll not only reduce your carbon emissions drastically over time and remove one less driver from the road, but you’ll get a bit of fun, exercise and much-needed fresh air (not to mention saving a ton on gas).
12. Sit With Someone New at Lunch
If you see someone sitting alone during lunch at the office or at school, offer to sit with them. You’ll not only have the chance to be a friend to someone who may need it and get a few laughs in, but you’ll get the opportunity to chat and get to know them, too. It certainly beats sitting alone and if you get a group together, you’ll have plenty to talk about.
Pay It Forward While Having Fun
There are so many ways to have fun while paying it forward and these are just the beginning. I hope you got inspired to try a few of your own. Try them in your own day-to-day and you might be surprised at just how enjoyable a so-called “selfless” act can be—the truth is you’ll get just as much out of it as everyone else.