52 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS
1. Reclaim your corners: organise up to four long table lunches, one on each street corner or verge. Invite every house on your street and ask them to bring a plate.
2. Listening booth: take a bench out into your street domain, put up a sign and call it the street listening booth. Take some time out to listen to your neighbours’ stories. (why not see if your neighbours are interested in recording oral histories of your street)
3. Chalk drawings: get some boxes of chalk and ask your neighbours and their children to decorate your street. (road and footpath space, get permission before using driveways) Extend the activity by having a street art competition. Don’t forget road safety.
4. Decorative verandahs: decorate your front verandah and post it on Instagram. Check out your neighbours’ decorations and start conversations about them. Expand by inviting your neighbours to decorate their verandah. Make up and invitation, or use the one on the City website, and put it in your neighbours’ letterboxes.
5. Street swap meet: organise a street swap meet in your garage. “My kids have outgrown this, maybe your kids would love it.” Invite all of your neighbours to attend.
6. Plant swap: organise a plant swap day and invite your neighbours to take cuttings from your garden and you take some from theirs.
7. Verge planting day: organise a street verge planting day – be proud of where you live. Access the City’s Adopt a verge program by calling 9439 0200.
8. Street fundraiser: get your street behind supporting a worthy cause and crowd fund it.
9. Ice-cream party: organise a street ice-cream party. Each household brings a different flavour tub of ice-cream to share.
10. Book and magazine swap: organise a street book and magazine swap day.
11. Walking group: start a street walking group – with or without dogs, where children in prams and on bikes are welcome.
12. Social media: create a closed street Facebook or Instagram group. Invite your neighbours to join via a letterbox drop. Use the group to share ideas, swap items or services and generally support each other.
13. Treasure hunt: organise a street treasure hunt – finish with a BBQ.
14. Talent show: organise a street talent show – everyone brings refreshments. Children love to show off their talents.
15. Hello Cards: children can create a hello card and put it in a neighbour’s letterboxes. Each household with children creates them for different houses, particularly for residents who do not have children or live on their own.
16. Work exchange: “I will mow your lawn this month, you mow mine next month” or “I mow your lawn in exchange for you doing something different for me” This works well and saves people money on services while creating relationships.
17. Front yard sporting match viewing: bring the TV into the front yard and neighbours come together to watch the match. Everyone brings their own refreshments.
18. Pot luck dinner: everyone brings a dish to share. This could be in a home, backyard, front yard or as a long table dinner.
19. Street directory: include everyone’s contact details and ask each person to provide a funky fact about themselves to make it fun. You can even include a section where people can write what they are interested in being involved in.
20. Roaming Gnome: this is a street gnome that roams the street. If the gnome ends up in your yard it is your turn to relocate him. Try to be as creative as you can to make it fun. Maybe the gnome will be greeting the postman.
21. Random acts of kindness: encourage your children to do random acts of kindness for others in the street particularly the elderly or those who live on their own and new residents.
22. Street book exchange/library: build a street exchange box. It can be as simple or as fancy as you like. Neighbours can then swap books, magazines, jigsaw puzzles or board games.
23. Bunnings gardening workshop: some Bunnings stores will host free community garden workshops for groups. You can learn tips and tricks for DIY or gardening and you invite all of your neighbours to get involved. Contact your local Bunnings Activity Organiser for more information.
24. Community project: develop a community project for your whole street. Example: build bird feeders for the trees in your street.
25. Book club: start up a book club by inviting your neighbours along for an afternoon tea. Take turns choosing a book to read. Meet as often as suits you and your neighbours.
26. Communal fruit trees: plant fruit trees in your front yard and invite others in your street to do the same. Children can pick fruit whenever they like. The more varieties of tree in the street, the less fruit people need to buy and the more fruit children will eat.
27. Garage sale: invite all your neighbours to come together for a combined garage sale on the same day.
28. Front yard movie night: set up the TV, or projector if someone has one, set up chairs and blankets, make popcorn and have a family movie night. Families can bring a picnic dinner, drinks and snacks.
29. Walking tour: if a resident knows about the history of your area, they can lead a walking tour for all of the newer residents.
30. Compost bin or worm farm: create a communal street compost or worm farm for everyone’s vegetable waste. Some residents will need to take the lead on this one to ensure it is managed properly. Everyone can share the compost or worm juice that is produced. Make use of the City’s composting and worm farm workshops.
31. Photography competition and/or exhibition: invite neighbours to take photos of the things they love about their street. Exhibit the photos in the street and ask a local elected member or other person of interest to judge. Request a donated prize from a local business. Host a celebration for the photography competition. A community BBQ or party.
32. Stargazing night: get all of the children out into the street or front yards to do stargazing. This will work best if the house lights are off to reduce light pollution. If any of the residents own binoculars or telescope, even better, bring them out. You can find out when interesting things are happening in our night sky from the Warrumbungle Observatory.
33. Culture nights: if there are people living in your street from diverse backgrounds, suggest hosting culture nights where you celebrate someone’s culture. Have a meal, play music and maybe have a performance of their culture. Do this throughout the year for each culture represented on your street. Don’t forget to celebrate your own culture as well.
34. Fairy lights: put fairy lights in trees in your front yard and invite your neighbours to do the same. You can even host a get together under the lights once they are up.
35. Street cricket: host a game of cricket in yours and your neighbours’ front yards. Invite all of the children and parents to get involved.
36. Lego: put a blanket and some boxes of Lego in the front yard and invite the neighbours to come and build with Lego. Remember, no one is ever too old to build with Lego so don’t just invite neighbours with children.
37. Rhymetime or Storytime: hold a Rhymetime or Storytime in your front yard. Invite your neighbours through a letterbox drop. Neighbours can take turns in running each one.
38. Nerf gun war: Have a Nerf Gun war in the front yard. Invite neighbours to bring along their nerf guns and bullets and join with the kids to have a battle. This is fun even for adults so don’t forget to invite your neighbours who don’t have children, although they may have to borrow a gun.
39. Homework club: start a homework club where children can do their homework together and help each other. This is especially good if you have neighbours from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as it can sometimes be difficult for parents to help their children with their homework. Invite neighbours to be involved. Include neighbours without children as they may enjoy helping the children in ways such as listening to them read.
40. Card game: invite your neighbours to a street card game. Set up a table in the front yard or a park and invite neighbours to come along and play some cards.
41. Kite flying afternoon: host a Kite flying afternoon in the street or Local Park.
42. Easter egg hunt: invite your neighbours to participate in a street wide Easter egg hunt. You can ask those who say they will participate to donate a packet of Easter eggs to reduce the cost.
43. Street cubby building day: have a cubby building day. Children can work together to build cubby’s or visit each other’s cubby houses.
44. Wheelie bin decorating: have a wheelie bin decorating competition using temporary decorations, chalk or other removable medium. Please note that wheelie bins are the property of the City and it is an offence to permanently mark or damage your bin. Why not use this activity to encourage recycling and responsible waste practices within your street.
45. Selfie booth: set up a marquee with simple props and invite neighbours to come and use the “selfie booth”. Ask them to share the photos on the street’s social media pages.
46. Birthday party for your street: have a birthday party for your street. It does not have to be a true date, just choose a date and each year that date becomes your street’s birthday. Celebrate with a children’s style birthday party in the street, in a park or on the front lawn. Invite all of the households on the street. In place of a present, everyone brings a plate. Go all out and decorate, have games etc.
47. Walking school bus: if your street is within walking distance of the local school, allocate a time each morning and afternoon that you will be walking to school. Invite other parents in your street to join you in the walk to school creating a walking school bus.
48. Street tree: decorate a significant tree in your street and dedicate it to be a Street Christmas Tree. Invite your neighbours to also decorate the tree.
49. Roaming morning tea: get together with your neighbours and plan a roaming morning tea for each month. Each month, a different neighbour hosts the morning tea and everyone brings a plate.
50. Car washing Day: set up an area for the children in the street to wash the neighbours’ cars. Invite your neighbours to bring their cars over through a letterbox drop.
51. DIY mud kitchen: children love mud kitchens. Set up a mud kitchen in the front yard and invite the neighbours to bring their children to play in it. Parents can have a cuppa together while the children play. (For suggestions simply google mud kitchen ideas, there are so many examples)
52. Street history: interview your neighbours and put together a street history. Written or verbal. Some residents may even have some photos of the street from times gone by that you could use.
Courtesy Bank of I.D.E.A.S. webpage