Probably one of the most thumbs-down things about the coronavirus pandemic is being able to see your neighbors, but not being able to get closer than six feet to them. If you and your crew are feeling the disconnect, don’t stress! With a little creativity, you can get back to feeling as tightknit as ever within your community. Scroll down to see our super fun ideas for bringing your neighbors together without actually being in a crowd.
1. Organize a scavenger hunt.
The thrill of this hunt is getting to do something active with your neighbors while still respecting each other’s space. Organize a community-wide search by first picking and sharing the theme of the hunt—like animals, states, painted rocks, etc. You may need to prep a little by enlisting the neighborhood to put objects in their windows or on their porches. If you have a competitive crew, add a time limit and a hashtag for sharing pics of your finds.
2. Play Tic-Tac-Toe.
Keep your X’s and O’s socially distant by playing through a glass door or window. Create a Tic-Tac-Toe board with masking tape or an erasable marker on the glass. While you play, one opponent is inside the house, and the other is outside. This sneaky set-up also works with Connect Four and Pictionary.
3. Invite a food truck to visit.
If you feel like all you’ve been doing during this entire pandemic is cooking meals, give yourself (and your neighbors) a much-needed break. After checking on community interest and getting approval from any housing associations, contact a few trucks to see who might be available to set up shop for a couple of hours. To keep lingering crowds to a minimum, you might want to have the truck stick to mobile- or pre-orders only.
4. Have a social distance dance party.
Who knew busting a move with neighbors during a pandemic could be so simple (and ridiculously fun)? All you do is pick the neighbor with the best playlist to blast the music (make sure non-participating neighbors are okay with the ruckus) and invite everyone to showcase their dance moves in their driveways. Kick it up a notch by playing driveway freeze dance.
5. Start a fairy garden.
Do you believe in magic? You will after creating a fairy garden in your yard. Open it up to other enchanted friends by keeping the garden in a high traffic area—near your curb or a sidewalk, for example. Then, any passersby can help decorate the fairy garden with little items: pinecones, stick teepees, or stones for benches or garden paths.
6. Do a sidewalk chalk obstacle course.
From spins and twirls to squats and hopscotch, these chalk obstacle courses are not only fun to do, but they can become a community art project of sorts, with neighbors adding directives to it—“do a yoga pose,” “run in place,” “clap 10 times”—as they go.
7. Show an outdoor movie.
Mainstream movie theaters may be closed, but you’ll barely skip a beat by setting up a projector and an outdoor screen in your yard. Make it BYO by inviting neighbors to bring their snacks (buttered popcorn and Twizzlers … holler!) and sit on their blankets, six feet apart.
8. Make a trade (from a distance).
Save some money while getting to know your neighbors by conducting swaps of various things—clothes, books, toys, etc. Keep it contactless by setting it up online (try: Nextdoor.com or Facebook Marketplace), and being clear on a drop time and place.
9. Set up a free little library.
A little free library is a triple threat. It can bring your community together, curb book clutter and help nix the "summer slide." Set up is super simple, too—get creative and build your own (it's just a larger-looking mailbox) or buy one pre-made from The Little Free Library organization. Bookworms unite (without actually uniting)!
10. Host a virtual happy hour.
Let’s be honest here—this one never gets old. After you’ve shuttled the kids to bed or set them up on a Netflix watch party with their friends, grab a glass of your favorite beverage and snag some face-to-face time (through the interwebz) with your neighbor-friends. Don’t forget to make a toast … to health, happiness and community.
Featured image: iStock