Keep Your Community Beautiful & Get the Kids Involved!
It’s the last day of April! Did you know that April is Keep America Beautiful Month? Keep America Beautiful is an organization that brings citizens together to better there community through education and service in areas like preventing litter, reducing waste, and beautifying communities. I often tell my children that our community is what we make it. It’s the truth. If we sit around assuming that someone else will make the effort, do the work, and create change…. the change will never happen and our communities will become places we wouldn’t want to live. It is our job as citizens of our community to come together and create those changes ourselves, planting trees, picking up litter, and educating our families about ways to keep our communities beautiful. It’s also something we should do all year long!
This past week, the kids and I had our own little Keep America Beautiful adventure, as we focused on preventing and cleaning up litter. I spent some time discussing with the kiddos, how destructive and just plain ugly litter can be. I reinforced our family’s rules of picking up after yourself, and making sure that all trash items end up in either the recycle bin or the trash can. Then we took a little ride over to our church to put into action what I had been teaching them. I gave each child a plastic bag, and we spent the next half hour picking up litter around the playground at our church.
The kids were amazed at all the litter, and couldn’t believe that other kids would just throw their trash on the ground. The litter at the playground consisted mostly of candy wrappers, but we did find a few other items like straws and juice boxes. This is a great activity to get your children involved in their community. It’s a short and simple community service project that allows them to become invested in their community and proud of the changes they’ve made. A project like this also allows for some instant gratification (much like planting flowers or trees at a local park), and we all know children love it when they can see instant results from their efforts.
Look for programs in your area (especially during the Spring time) when your local parks might be planting tress or flowers. If you want to put together a littler cleanup project for your children, I would recommend picking somewhere they spend a lot of time – a local playground or park is usually a good place to start. We picked our church playground, because it’s a place that my children spend a large amount of time each week, and somewhere that is important to them. When it’s a location that is special to them, they are likely to be more motivated to clean it up, and keep it clean. You can even go as far as adopting an area in your community for you and your family to be in charge of keeping beautiful. Contact your local Keep America Beautiful organization for more information.
As an added note of safety, when you take your children on a litter cleanup adventure, be sure to discuss issues of safety with them. Set rules such as not letting your children pick up sharp objects like broken glass or plastic, or other potentially dangerous items. This is part of the reason I took my children to the playground, since I knew the majority of the litter would be paper products and candy wrappers. Lastly, keep hand sanitizer and wipes on hand, or have your children wear gloves.
Hope I’ve motivated you to go beautify your community and get your children involved! Any clean-up or community projects you are working on now? Got any creative ideas for getting your children involved in community beautification projects?