Service Projects for Kids: Tips for Cleaning the Creek

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?

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Exercise Kindness Wisely. Adult supervision is recommended for every project and activity featured on this website. Please read the instructions for each activity thoroughly before deciding whether it is appropriate for your child(ren). Pennies of Time is not responsible for any damage or injury while replicating activities described on this website.

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