From the Friday night games to the next door neighbors, you think your ‘hood rocks. Show it a little love now and again, and teach your kids what it means to be a part of a real community. From volunteer days to supporting a local school spirit night, scroll down for 23 ideas that can make your hometown just a little bit (or a lot!) more awesome.
1. Redesign a crosswalk. Cities all over the nation are setting up community crosswalk programs, which allow artists to add extra flair to the pedestrian's right of way.
2. Make seed bombs. This is a simple project, and it doesn't require a green thumb. Use this easy tutorial from Practically Functional, and then toss your supply in the dirt along roads and freeways.
3. Dedicate an Instagram page to your community. Start documenting what makes your 'hood special, ala Bill Cunningham, whether it's the trees, the architecture, the people, or maybe, all of the above.
4. Dedicate a bench. Arrange for extra seats to be added to an outdoor space in honor of a loved one.
5. Shop local. When you buy from a local business, you keep dollars where they belong—in the community.
6. Volunteer for a local non-profit. With Kids That Do Good, a brand-new platform that connects families to local organizations, you and your crew can easily find a group that accepts volunteers of all ages. Even one weekend morning a month makes a difference.
7. Create a pocket park. Tiny parks are popping up all over the country in an effort to bring more green space to urban landscapes. The National Recreation and Park Association has a great guide on how to get one started.
8. Check out a performance by the local theater company. What better way to keep your hometown’s cultural vibe going strong than by supporting the arts?
9. Plant a tree. Because the world needs more trees and you need more shade for your next picnic. The Arbor Day Foundation has all the info you need.
10. Create a free little library. It'll be the best thing to happen to your neighborhood since Mr. Rogers. Check out our tips on how to create one here.
11. Support local schools. Head to a spirit night at a local restaurant or store or pledge a fundraiser organized by parent-teacher associations.
12. Attend a hometown sports event. Local games, matches, and meets are a blast for the whole family. You'll spot familiar faces in the crowd and your kids can see the teams they might join one day.
13. Perk up your front porch. A statement door, a fun welcome mat, and flower pots are all easy ways to brighten up your home and your neighborhood.
14. Enter a parade. These fun events bring communities together. Don’t do floats? It's as easy as letting the kids spiffy up and ride their bikes as a group.
15. Practice guerrilla gardening. Claim a plot of unused dirt for yourself and start planting. Click here for ideas, or to find other guerrilla gardeners nearby.
16. Slow down. There are plenty of reasons why driving slower in a neighborhood makes sense—there have even been studies that prove it's a safer option for everyone involved.
17. Join the local open space alliance. This is the group that will fight to create a walking trail/wildlife refuge instead of another subdivision.
18. Turn utility boxes into art. You can organize a major campaign with real artists or just paint one or two, but make sure you check with your city hall officials before starting your project.
19. Organize a work exchange. Trade chores with your neighbors: Shovel driveways, pull weeds, walk dogs. Live in an apartment building? You can help tidy up communal space or carry recycling down to the street. Check out a few other ways to be a good neighbor here.
20. Bike around town. Using your bike more often helps create the demand for more trails and lanes—and that means less car traffic.
21. Host a pop-up play space. If "go big or go home" is your mantra, consider creating a temporary play space for kids in your community. This is also a great idea for groups. Find out more here.
22. Share your ideas. Get other people interested online (look for a local Next Door or Facebook group) or IRL by organizing a community coffee date.
23. Perk up your local park. See a broken swing or slide? Want to get new equipment added? Call your Parks & Rec department and share your thoughts.