Time for Neighborhood Activities and Fun
By Patti Hermes – Parent To Parent
Finally! The warmer weather is here! Time to get outside and play. Go over the neighbor’s house and play in their yard for awhile, or round up a posse and head for the playground. Stretch the boundaries a little, drag out the bikes and head off on some adventures! Get back into the neighborhood activities.
Growing up, Mr. Rogers made us all want to be in his neighborhood, where it was always a beautiful day. Sesame Street reinforced the image of the idyllic neighborhood by singing about all The People in your Neighborhood. Of course, in our real neighborhoods, there are plenty of neighbors that we may or may not want to sing about. And how we treat our neighbors, whether we greet them, or avoid them, or gossip about them, is teaching our children lessons in community.
Let’s face it, neighbors can be annoying. Neighbors’ children can be annoying. And yet, we’ve all chosen the same place on earth to live with and among each other. We can live and let live, or we can avoid each other, or we can fight it out. I do not suggest the latter. The kids do enough of that, and they somehow forgive and forget and get back to the game, eventually. But the adults, at least the ones who can’t go hide in a cabin in the woods, have to behave responsibly.
That doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone over for game night or barbecues all summer long. But what does a polite nod and a wave cost you? If you duck your head every time I walk down your sidewalk I’m only going to write a story about you. (Kidding! Well, maybe that is a good idea ,) A little communication can go a long way to healing relationships, or not letting something like my sons screeching like banshees outside your window every afternoon drive you absolutely nuts. Just saying.
We all have little quirks that may or may not annoy those who live in close proximity. And some activities work better in neighborhoods that are more spread out than in condo communities. You know, like your new home theater system, or a teenage garage band, or a pet rooster. And it’s not always noise that bothers. Having too many vehicles parking all over your lawn and street, and not cleaning up after your pets, wherever they may roam, can ruin everyone’s enjoyment of the great outdoors in your neighborhood.
With the coming of spring, many of us are just finally emerging from our long winter hibernation. I, for one, am looking forward to puttering around in the yard and digging in the dirt in my attempts at beautifying my little corner of the world. If you happen to walk by, go ahead and wave, even stop and say hello for a bit. And don’t be afraid to ask my kids not to block the sidewalk with their bikes. The best way for them to learn how to be neighborly is to see it in action.
Great ways to increase the sense of community in the neighborhood is to plan a potluck block party where everyone can get to know their neighbors and share some good food. Here are some great recipes for neighborhood block parties.
Outdoor games for kids and adults are fun anytime, here are our favorite outdoor games for all ages.