A trip to the park with the kids is all about having fun. The kids get some exercise, you get some fresh air, and everybody gets a break from the rest of the busy day. As a parent, you realize what a valuable resource the park really is, but do your children understand how lucky they are to have a safe, clean place to play right around the corner? With a little planning, you can help them be more thankful for their neighborhood resources and do a small part to make them even better.
As a family, or along with a few friends and neighbors, organize a community cleanup day activity. Choose a location -- the park, a plaza, or your street -- and schedule a couple of hours of fun and service. Make a game out of it. See which kid can collect the most litter. Create a scavenger hunt to locate things that need to be fixed, painted or cleaned up, the put kids in charge of each activity. If you want to clean up a park, contact your local department of parks and recreation to see if there are any specific projects that your family can help with, like pruning bushes or painting picnic benches [source: Clark].
Items to bring along might include garbage bags, brooms, rakes and gloves. End the activity with treats in the park or at a friend's house. Your kids will be proud of their contribution and will feel a greater sense of stewardship for their neighborhood.
One of the best ways to improve air quality in your neighborhood is to plant a tree. More details on this simple family volunteer activity on the next page.