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simple basic activities
for neighborhood kids

Volunteering in schools and playing with neighborhood kids are some of the ways to help society get in touch with nature and the environment.

Dirt Area
A little yard can provide inexpensive environmental activities for kids.  Kids love dirt.  Allow kids some time to touch dirt, which is an essential part of nature.  Playing in dirt is the basic way for children to explore the earth.   Homes, which have kids and some yard, may have a dirt area, in which kids can dig, play with toy trucks, and have their unstructured, free play.  (Otherwise, a sandbox also provides a similar play experience with nature.)  Below is an image of neighborhood friends playing in a dirt area in the backyard of a private residence (Summer 2007).  Neighborhood kids play in the dirt area at least during several days each week.

kids playing dirt

Yard Work
Again, a little yard can provide inexpensive environmental activities for kids.  Furthermore, sometimes, kids want adult guidance, they love to be helpful, and they want to be part of the adult-world action.  Sometimes kids are looking for ways to help adults and it would be great to have opportunities for kids to be actively helpful.  Allowing kids to help with some yard work provides both an opportunity for kids to participate in the adult-world and an opportunity for kids to touch dirt and nature.  Likely, yard owners want most of the yard work to be done by themselves or by hired professionals in order to have the yard perfectly landscaped to the owner's liking.  Also, some yard work may be too difficult or too dangerous for kids.  However, it might be beneficial to kids and the environment if adults established some yard work that kids are allowed to do.  For instance, kids can rake leaves and shovel snow. 

One resident found a stash of discarded bricks on her property.  The resident decided to reuse the brick.  She decided to install an informal brick edge to divide a planting area from a lawn area.  The resident allowed children to dig in the dirt to and install the bricks.  First, she showed the kids where the bricks were supposed to go and where to put excess dirt.  Following, neighborhood kids eagerly did the work.  Thus, kids engaged in a hands-on project of altering the landscape.  A brick edge may not be considered natural.  However, changing the landscape is a natural thing to do.  Many animals including beavers and some birds alter the landscape to create their homes.  As children directly handle the landscape, they may learn about and understand the land and form values for earth-friendly ways of managing their world.  In the image below, neighborhood kids are installing a brick edge (Summer 2007).

kids yard work

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