Neighbor, We can Still be Friends During Social Distancing
I have heard it said many times lately: we are establishing a new normal. Working from home, social distancing, online learning for kids… to say that things are different right now would be a huge understatement.
Although I do consider myself somewhat of an introvert, I am struggling with not being able to spend time with people outside of our family of four. (No offense to my family members- you know I love all of you dearly!)
I have seen some really fun, safe ways that neighborhoods are being supportive of one another. Hopefully this will give you some ideas about things you could do to stay connected with others.
9 Ways to Bring Your Neighborhood Together While Keeping Social Distance
1 – Create a Neighborhood Chalk Walk
Specify a day or two where everyone writes inspirational chalk messages in front of their houses. Take a walk as a family and check out what people have written. Take your own chalk with you on your walk and write a response if you want!
2 – Host a Bear Hunt
Ask people to put stuffed bears in their windows or, if the weather is nice, outside in their yards. Have your kids count the bears as you walk through the neighborhood. If you want to make it a competition, create a way for families to submit their final count and then have some sort of a simple prize.
Or take photos of your family members with their favorite bears and share them to a neighborhood Facebook page (if you have one).
3 – Go on an ABC Scavenger Hunt
Print a list labeled A to Z (example here). As you walk through the neighborhood, have your kids look for something that starts with each letter of the alphabet. It’s harder than it sounds!
4 – Have Some Teens Create a Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt for Younger Kids
This is a great thing for older kids to do for the younger kids in your neighborhood. My teens were strongly encouraged (and eventually forced) to do this in our neighborhood. They actually had fun with it once they got started.
The two of them walked the whole neighborhood and made a list of unique things that you could easily see from the sidewalk. (Some examples: a specific lawn ornament, a different colored roof, a certain number in an address, a specific colored flower pot on a front porch,.)
They created a document which we printed and placed in a plastic box near our mailbox for neighbors to use on their hunt. We posted a sign outside and also shared it with our neighbors.
5 – Host Driveway Bonfires – if you can Stay in Your Own Yard
Our neighborhood designated a night to all have individual bonfires in our respective driveways. It was fun to look down the street and see lots of people outside. I will say that you have to be careful with this one – if you can’t trust your kids or yourself to stay away from other families please to not try this.
6 – Offer Grocery Delivery to Some Neighbors
Many people have Shipt or other grocery delivery services. However, that has been somewhat difficult to access at times. If you are going to the store to grab a few things, why not see if any of your neighbors need anything? This is not only a helpful service, but a way to limit the number of people that are out and about.
7 – Make Care Packages
Similar to “BOOing” at Halloween, we started something we called the “Stay home/ Stay safe/ Do something nice for a neighbor Challenge.”
The idea is simple: create two small, simple surprises for two neighbors. (Ideas: a roll of toilet paper, a container of Lysol wipes, some candy, some home baked goods, a coloring book.)
Secretly deliver that to two neighbors and include directions about how they continue to pass it on to two other neighbors until the whole neighborhood has been gifted.
We created a simple sheet with instructions and a simple sign for people to hang on their front door so people can easily see who has been gifted. This is a simple and safe way to let people know they are not alone. Plus it’s a fun project for your family to work on together.
8 – Share Your Old Toys, Books and Games
As you clean out your closets and find kids’ things you no longer need, offer them up to your neighbors! We set bags and bags of craft items, games, and books out on our front porch and offered them up for anyone interested. Boredom is a common problem these days- this is a way to help combat that. (And get rid of some clutter in your own house!)
9 – Join a Virtual Happy Hour – This One’s for Mom and Dad
Set up a video conference call (Facetime, Google Hangouts, Skype or Zoom) with some of your neighbors. While it felt a little bit strange to sit in my bedroom by myself with a glass of wine and my computer, I loved being able to see and talk to some of my favorite people.
Do you have any new ideas to share? Tell us in the comments!