Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.
Once upon a time, yards weren’t guarded off by 8-foot fences. Instead, kids played all over the neighborhood with their friends, bouncing around from yard to yard. When a new neighbor moved in, you’d greet them with a green, shiny Jell-O mold or a freshly-baked, steaming pie.
But these days, it seems no one’s quite as interested in getting to know their neighbors. Or maybe it’s just a bit more difficult to communicate while everyone is in their own little worlds, running late for soccer practice, rushing off to work, or glued to that brand-new, top-model smartphone screen.
The truth is that many of your neighbors might long for the more open, welcoming feel our childhood neighborhoods had. The only problem is that it won’t get that way on its own; someone’s got to do something about it. And if you’re reading this, you might be just the right candidate. Here are some ideas to help bring a more community-driven feel to your neighborhood:
1. Start a community garden
Whether you live in an urban area or the suburbs, a community garden is a fun and special way to bond with your neighbors. It allows the neighborhood to come together for a single purpose, teaching the younger ones about responsibility and allowing everyone to reap the benefits of a plentiful harvest. Best of all, it encourages healthier eating by offering residents easy access to fresh ingredients. So talk to the city council, mark off an area for gardening, and get digging!
2. Don’t have a neighborhood committee? Start one
One thing that brings an extra level of order and communication to a community is a neighborhood committee. Look for leaders in your neighborhood and encourage them to get involved in making some of the area’s big decisions: petitioning for new playground equipment, planning events, and deciding whether homes can be painted bright purple could be just a few of the items on the new committee’s to-do list.
3. Throw a custom backyard carnival
All kids love when the carnival comes to town — but instead of waiting around for it, why not plan it yourself? Set up fun games, like a ring toss or darts, and maybe even a dunk tank (Now you just need to find the sucker who’ll be willing to sit in it).
4. Hire neighborhood kids for odd jobs
Need the lawn mowed, the snow shoveled, and the dog walked? You know where to turn. By providing local kids with easy jobs, you’re helping teach responsibility and giving them the opportunity to feel more independent than ever before. And their parents will be happy to hear all about how responsible their children are and how well they’ve completed their tasks.
5. Get the kids together to put on a show.
That could mean anything. Set up a fun stage in your front yard where the kids can showcase their talents: everything from singing and dancing to gymnastics and powerful slam dunks. Don’t forget, you’ll definitely need a great backyard trampoline if you’re hoping for a really outstanding show. And we can help with that.