A Beautiful Day in This Neighborhood

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?” nFred Rogers

It wasn’t too long ago when neighbors were asked to “stay home and stay safe.” This was done for the health of our most vulnerable community members and for the safety of our essential workers. While we stayed home, we found ways of connecting with the people living in proximity: our neighbors. Do you remember?

That spring our neighborhood sidewalks were soon filled with encouraging phrases, lovely designs, and interactive elements. Signs plastered our windows, front doors, and tree lawns with messages of solidarity. In the midst of many uncertainties, our neighborhoods were filled with loveliness. We celebrated the profound but often overlooked beauty of being alive and together in our neighborhoods.

We have the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of our neighborhoods again this spring. March 20 celebrates Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day. It’s a day to honor Fred Rogers, who taught us all that every day is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It’s the perfect day to bring a little more beauty to our neighborhoods in the same way we did while staying home to stay safe. We invite you to beautify your neighborhood again with some simple sidewalk chalk.

Start by picking up some sidewalk chalk at your local shop and consider the following ideas: n

    1. Quotes: Write your favorite inspirational quotes and sayings on the sidewalk. Personally, we love Mr. Rogers’ “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.” The simple power of suggestion will get people in your neighborhood noticing that it really is a beautiful day. Other simple phrases like “I love our neighborhood” and “Our neighborhood rocks!” can touch people’s hearts, too. Enthusiasm is contagious.
    2. Drawings: Doodle simple shapes like flowers or smiles in a variety of colors. The cheerful colors will brighten your neighbors’ day as they pass by. No need to be a professional illustrator. Imperfect drawings are friendly and approachable. However, if you prefer to have a little coaching, try directed drawing. There are plenty of videos available online with simple directions for fun drawings. Many of them are intended for children, making them accessible for anyone. Just search for “directed drawings.” You can practice on scrap paper before taking your drawing to the sidewalk.
    3. Interactive Sidewalk: Trace a squiggling line down the sidewalk for people to follow as they stroll along. Every sidewalk square can feature a fun new way to walk. You can intersperse different activities along the path created by the line: “Walk like a robot,” “Hop on the lily pads,” or “Follow every zig and zag” will help make your sidewalk interactive. Hopefully, it will be right in front of your home, so you can see your neighbors having fun.
    4. DIY Portrait: Sketch some large, empty, rectangular frames with fancy borders. Leave some chalk nearby. Invite neighbors to draw their own self-portrait in a frame to create a beautiful chalk portrait of the neighborhood. How beautiful to have a neighborhood portrait gallery right there on the sidewalk!

*Pro tip: For brighter colors, dip your chalk in water before using it on the sidewalk. Damp chalk will produce more vibrant hues!

Are your sidewalks still chilling under a layer of snow and ice? No problem. Just download our printable Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day poster. You can hang it in your window to add a touch of neighborly warmth to your beautiful neighborhood. Visit www.wontyoubemyneighborday.com for tutorials and to add yourself to the map!

What’s noticeable about your neighborhood? What drew you or your family to your neighborhood in the first place? What draws you out of your four walls and into the shared space of your neighborhood?