Happy Earth Day!
Thank you to GreenWorks for partnering with us on today’s post!
What’s that, you didn’t know it was a holiday? Well, it is, even if you haven’t remembered to celebrate it since grade school recycled art projects. (For this upcycling Remodelaholic, those recycled milk carton projects have just grown up into using old furniture and reclaimed wood to do projects like these!) Earth Day is a great day to explore and remember all the beautiful things nature has to offer, right in our own backyards. Since this year we have two houses and two adjacent backyards, we are doubly blessed with beautiful trees and garden space in our Eden-esque spaces — and also doubly working hard to clean up the yard from winter and get our outdoor spring cleaning started to prepare for the new spring growth in our yard. Honesty time: thanks to the new growth for our family, I have been SO sick and off my feet while Justin and the girls are doing whatever work needs to be done now that the snow is finally gone. #sorrynotsorry
Our sponsors at Greenworks challenged us to take a Green Pledge and join the Greenworks Generation Facebook group to share a #randomactofgreenworks to commemorate Earth Day (and scroll down to see how they want to reward YOU for pledging and joining, too!). Between our two yards and my aging parents’ yard a couple blocks away, we have a long list of spring yard work projects needing to be done. So we decided to start at home (and grandma’s) and teach our girls more about what they can do to help in the yard, while talking with them about the Green Pledge to be thoughtful of our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. It’s important that we look to the future for this up and coming generation and help them understand the importance both of how we are treating our planet and of learning how to work, so what better way to do both than to work together in the yard. This also helps us in our quest to work *peacefully* together in our home… yeah, a mom can dream!
Making Family Yard Work Fun
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Our girls have been working alongside us, when possible and safe, for years from renovations to yard work, so they have a pretty good foundation in getting dirty to get the work done. At 8 and almost 10, they’ve proven to be more capable than I often expect… especially when given the right motivation! To keep them motivated, we try to keep our spring yard work (just like our spring cleaning) fun while still getting the job done. For us that means…
Er, I mean, “incentives”… A fun activity or reward when we finish the work for the day goes a long way in keeping my kids focused and motivated… and it helps me, too! Sometimes we incorporate fun but simple breaks throughout a long day of yardwork, like popsicles after lunch break or another cool treat after a particular task is done, and sometimes the incentive is bigger, such as getting to go to a movie or the local nickel arcade after all the work is done.
We do our best to reduce, reuse, recycle, but some things just need replaced regularly. At the beginning of the season we like to get new gardening gloves for each member of the family — last year’s gloves have typically been worn through, so a new set of gloves in each person’s favorite color is a great way to start (and also to prevent any fights about whose gloves are whose #sisterproblems). My kids love having kid-sized gloves that actually fit their hands, and I love having colorful gloves that don’t get lost as easily in the garage or garden shed — this year I’m really intrigued by these claw gloves and think I’ll try a pair! For the littler helpers, a kid-sized set of gardening tools makes the job fun and also allows them to work alongside a parent more easily with tools their own size.
…some good tunes.
Can one even work in the yard without some type of music? We grab some fun new upbeat music and a portable bluetooth speaker, and off we go! For jobs requiring ear protection, we’ve really loved our bluetooth headphone ear muffs to keep the beat even with the noise of yard tools.
…mixing it up.
Sometimes my kids prefer working together, and sometimes they prefer working alone, so it’s good to rotate kids working together, alone, and working with adults. Even the novelty of drawing their jobs out of a hat, or drawing a popsicle stick with their next task, can keep the work from getting too mundane. Try our yard work chore bingo card below for the whole family to work together!
Indoor spring cleaning? Get our free spring cleaning checklist and cleaning binder here.
Printable Yard Work Chore BINGO for Kids and Families
To keep things fun as we’re working in our own yard and helping in neighborhood yards, we put together this printable yard work chore bingo for the family to work on together. And, bonus for you, we made 2 different cards so that you can split up and race, or challenge another family in the neighborhood to beat you to a bingo or blackout. Some of the yard work requires an older teen or adult for safe tool use, but the majority can be done by younger children. We included both spring yard chores and some #randomactofgreenworks kindness ideas to help enjoy backyard nature and spread the green cheer to your neighbors, too. (The timing of each of these might vary depending on your location, so be sure to check with a local knowledgeable gardener if you have questions.)
- clean out and weed flower beds or planters
- clean out and weed *a neighbor’s* flower beds or planters
- edge flower beds and lawn — read our guide to trimming and edging like a pro HERE
- mulch flower beds and around trees as needed
- lay in the shade and watch the leaves in the trees and the clouds in the sky
- mow the lawn (which I actually LOVE doing — see our tips for mowing like a pro HERE)
- find and observe a (safe) backyard bug or creature
- plant a new flower, tree, shrub, or vegetable plant
- deliver and plant a new flower, tree, shrub, or vegetable plant *for a neighbor*
- prune or trim trees and hedges (be sure to review our chainsaw safety rules HERE first — the same types of rules apply to any type of bladed electric trimmer!)
- rake dead or damaged grass and overseed
- compost trimmings and other green waste (either your own or by making a delivery to the green waste station in your city/county)
- gather items to take to the recycling center (or see if your community has a curbside recycling program like ours does)
- sweep and/or power wash the deck/patio/porch
- add fresh soil and/or fertilizer to potted plants
- take time to stop and smell the roses (or whatever is blooming)
- rake leaves and sticks from lawn and garden beds
- rake leaves and sticks *in a neighbor’s yard*
- collect 5 different types of leaves and identify the plants they are from
- clean up (and transplant, if needed) perennial plants
- scrub or power wash outdoor furniture
- hook up hoses to outdoor faucets and check for leaks
- sit in your favorite outdoor spot with your eyes closed and just listen to the sounds of your yard
- dewinterize your sprinkler system (we just upgraded to a smart sprinkler control and I’m so excited to test it out soon!)
Greenworks Generation Giveaway
And don’t miss it — Greenworks is inviting everyone to come join the Greenworks Generation by participating in their new Facebook group HERE, and they want to give THREE lucky winners each a $300 gift card to get you started on your Green Pledge and spring yard work.
They’ll also have some great Earth Day tool deals beginning today and continuing for 8 days, so check those out here.
To enter: Join the Facebook group and take the Green Pledge in the group.
Want an extra entry? Share your #randomactofgreenworks story in the Facebook group.
Not sure what to do for your #randomactofgreenworks? See what these other amazing bloggers have done in their homes and communities: