Bring The Bonfire To The Front Of The House

Technology helps us lead better lives: We can stay in touch with friends and family members across the globe, and any question we might have can be answered at our fingertips. We can even order groceries via our smartphones. But with computers, Netflix and a variety of indoor pursuits available on demand, we miss out on a number of relationships right in our neighborhood. Think about it: How many of your neighbors do you know? If getting out and about is something you’d like to do, here are some ideas for bridging those gaps between you and your neighbors.

Plan a block party

Instead of sitting around the fire pit in your backyard, drag it out to the cul-de-sac. Your neighbors just might see you hanging out by the bonfire and want to join. Better yet, pass some flyers out ahead of time or knock on doors to invite everyone out on a set date.

Start a donation drive

What better way to get neighbors together than for a charitable cause? Check with the local food bank or social services organization to see what they need in terms of donations. People love to give back to their local community when they know how the donated items will be used and to whom they will be given. Combine a donation drive with a block party to add a social aspect to giving back.

Plan age-appropriate events

Neighborhoods with many small kids have their own entertainment needs. Plan an Easter egg hunt in the spring or set up a slip-and-slide in the front yard this summer. If your subdivision has a park, plan a family-friendly picnic where the kids can play and the parents can get to know one another. Most parents relax when they know that like-minded moms and dads are nearby keeping an eye on what’s going on at the swing set.

Work in your front garden

Plan to weed the front flower beds during the late afternoon on weekdays. Neighbors will be out getting the mail, playing with their kids or walking the dog. It’s a great opportunity to wave and introduce yourself. Working in your garden is also a great way to raise awareness for xeriscaping and the use of native flora. Who doesn’t love increasing environmental awareness while making new friends?

Check on your older neighbors

Front porch with rocking chairs and coverAs a society, we tend to forget about older generations. A simple knock on the door to see how your older neighbors are doing is so appreciated. You might be surprised to find your next great friend right on the other side of that door.

Organize a lending library

Small pop-up libraries are all the rage these days. Creating a dedicated location for your little free library can create a great meet-up spot on your block. Build a small box or use an old dollhouse as the frame for the little library where neighbors can donate, exchange, or borrow books. Make it even more interesting and encourage neighbors to leave little notes for one another.

Start a community garden

Does your neighborhood have open space that no one is using? Check with the neighborhood association to see if you can organize a community garden there. It’s a great way to educate kids on food health and the environment, and it encourages friendships among neighbors. You can even pair it with a canning group or a recipe exchange group that meets every month or so.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the demands of school, sports and church activities, but with a little imagination and sometimes only small changes, you can encourage a friendlier atmosphere in your neighborhood.  

How do you get to know your neighbors?

—Megan Winkler

Megan Winkler is an author, historian, Neurosculpting® meditation coach, certified nutritional consultant and DIY diva. When she’s not writing or teaching a class, Megan can be found in the water, on a yoga mat, learning a new instrument or singing karaoke. Her passion for a healthy mind-body-spirit relationship motivates her to explore all the natural world has to offer.



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