After countless times cleaning the creek, we have the tools and routines down. Remember, our goal is to spend 15-20 minutes cleaning. *Almost* every time, though, the boys spend longer. This has been the case since we started cleaning the creek by the school when they were 6 and 4 years old.
Here is how we have a great experience:
Supplies We Like to Use:
- Rubber boots are helpful.
- Nets. This helps the kids fish out trash from the water and is a handy way to collect a couple of things before tossing in the bag.
- Rubber gloves for the kids.
- Small rakes to reach for trash in the water and for poking the area to check for snakes. (I live in Texas, Ya’ll.)
- Use smaller bags for the kids to fill. This works better than having them drag around big trash bags.
- Wipes and hand cleanser.
- A larger trash bag to collect smaller bags that are filled.
- Bring extra supplies in case others seeing you want to join in on the cleaning action! Yes, this has happened!
- First aid kit. Um, I’ve only had to use it on me.
Tips for a Successful Creek Cleaning:
- Start with a snack. We do this because we are cleaning the creek right after I get my oldest from school.
- Take a “before” and “after” picture of the area. This really helps the boys SEE the impact that they have made on the creek.
- Sort the litter as you collect. One bag for recycling. One bag for trash. One brother takes on the task of sorting.
- Walk just ahead of the kids when cleaning to remove anything that you don’t want them picking up.
- Live and enjoy those moments when they spot a lizard, frog, or a tiny fish. Cleaning is only part of the experience.
- Take your time. You don’t have to clean the ENTIRE creek in one occasion. Clean for as long as it is a successful experience for your kids.
Remember, service doesn’t have to be complicated or long to have meaning for your kids and make a difference to others.
What tips do you have for cleaning projects with your kids?