What’s your style? Are you a spur-of-the-moment kind of person or a planner? Either way, you can gift your neighbors with the opportunity to get together and meet each other! Promoting a neighborhood get together encourages familiarity, which creates a sense of community and trust. And you never know what friendships might form from a simple interaction!
Don’t let the fear that you have to do a lot of planning and set-up keep you from hosting a neighborhood get together. You can keep this very simple if you want! Two years ago, we opened our home and yard for a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon. I asked neighbors to bring a dessert or snack, and I set out a few yard games to give them something to do. We had a great turnout and a lot of fun! Last spring, another neighbor invited us all to a super easy, spur-of-the-moment get together by providing popsicles in their driveway on a summer evening. They taped this invitation to our door the day before:
Here are some possible ideas to help you plan your own neighborhood get together:
- Be sure the invitation includes important details: the date, time, location (your house address or neighborhood park), and contact information. Our invitation said: Date: Saturday, April 16. Time: stop by between 1-3. RSVP: text or call Kathryn at (phone number).
- Indicate what you want neighbors to bring. Don’t forget to put this on the invitation! Maybe lawn chairs or outdoor games?
- Provide a variety of drinks. A cooler with a bunch of water bottles and sodas is great. Or you could have a spot set up with various drinks easily accessible, disposable cups, and ice. A sharpie maker is nice for writing names on water bottles or plastic cups.
- Set out trash cans. Have extra trash bags on hand.
- Set out lawn chairs, camping chairs, or folding tables.
- Provide name tags and markers. This communicates that you expect new people to come and gives grace to all of us who forget names easily!
- Provide essential disposable items and food. Plates, napkins, straws. I had a couple extra bags of chips and packaged cookies on hand as well.
- Set out fun activities for the kids. Use masking tape to make a four square grid and set out a ball. Sidewalk chalk or scoop ball are easy and fun too.
- Set up yard games: such as badminton, croquet, beanbag toss, or ladder ball. Instead of feeling like you need to buy one of these, ask if any of your neighbors is willing bring them over.
- Is there a neighbor you could co-host with? There’s no need to do it all yourself. If you think someone else is capable and willing, ask them! This will also help you get to know them better.
- Ask neighbors if they have ideas! This invites them to be part of the get together and makes it collaborative. I asked about this when I delivered invitations. One neighbor said he had a bouncy house and that he would be willing to set it up. Another worked in construction and brought large, orange barrels to block off our cul-de-sac. I hadn’t even thought about these great ideas!
It takes a little intentionality and effort to invite our neighbors and plan a get together. But the results are rewarding and well worth it! The sense of community it creates has a positive impact on your neighborhood that won’t be forgotten. If you want to reach out to your neighbors, but aren’t up for planning a neighborhood get together right now, take a look at some other easy ideas for neighboring from last week’s post.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” ~1 Peter 4:9 (ESV)
What will you do this year to bring your neighbors together?
Please comment below to share ideas from neighborhood get togethers you’ve hosted or attended!