You think your ‘hood totally rocks. And so, it’s time to spread a little love around the zip code and show your kids what “community” really means. From volunteer days to supporting a local school spirit night, scroll down for 20 ideas that can make your hometown just a little bit (or a lot!) more awesome.

photo: Rick Obst via Flickr

1. Dedicate a bench. Arrange for extra seats to be added to an outdoor space in honor of a loved one.

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. 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.

photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Flickr

4. 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.

5. 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?

6. 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.

photo: Gabby Cullen

7. 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.

8. Support local schools. Head to a spirit night at a local restaurant or store or pledge a fundraiser organized by parent-teacher associations.

9. 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.

photo: Scott Miller via Flickr

10. 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.

11. Practice guerrilla gardening. Claim a plot of unused dirt for yourself and start planting. Click here for ideasor to find other guerrilla gardeners nearby.

12. 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.

photo: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr

13. Join the local open space alliance. This is the group that will fight to create a walking trail/wildlife refuge instead of another subdivision. 

14. Shop local. When you buy from a local business, you keep dollars where they belong—in the community. 

15. Turn utility boxes into art. You can organize a major campaign with real artists or just paint one or two. Head down to city hall and chat with someone in order to get the ball rolling.

photo: Lotzman Katzman via Flickr

16. 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

17. Bike around town. If you use your two-wheeler more often, that will help create the more demand for more trails and lanes—and that means less car traffic.

18. Share your ideas Get other people interested online (Next Door is a great community app) or IRL. 

photo: Jocelyn Kinghorn via Flickr

19. 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. 

20. Perk up your local park. See a broken swing or slide? Want to get new equipment added? Call your Parks & Recs department and share your thoughts.

Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Share with us in a Comment below!


—Gabby Cullen