A Quick Pick Me Up: Clean Up Games for the Whole Family

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Hey there!

COVID-19 has changed how we do things, and your safety is our priority. Please keep social distancing best practices in mind if you choose to visit parks, trails and green spaces. Thanks, y'all!

While we are all practicing social distancing, we know you and your families will be looking for some outdoor activities that are safe and fun! So, to take a page from the books of our ingenious It’s My Park Day leaders, here are a few ways to make cleaning up your neighborhood or yard a little more competitive and fun.

A couple of notes to get you started: 

1. While playing these games in your own yard is best, if you do choose to take these games to a park or around your neighborhood please remember to practice proper social distancing - staying at least 6ft away from those not in your household.

clean up games fun for everyone

These trash clean up games are fun for everyone!

2. We think prizes make things a little more interesting. Maybe there’s a sweet treat, an extra dollar on their allowance, or the chance to pick the next family movie on the line. Whatever it is, these games are sure to make keeping our city cleaner and greener, a little more interesting.

3. If you have gardening or surgical gloves we highly recommend them! Trash grabbers are also great if you have one, but using kitchen tongs or the bag as an extra layer (like you would with a doggie clean up bag) are also effective methods.

4. Obviously - give your hands a really good scrub afterward!

Pick-Up Party

This one is super simple:

1. Give each person a trash bag

2. Choose the pick-up area

3. The person with the most trash in their bag by the end of the game wins a prize!

picking up trash in austin's parks

Pro tip: use a bucket if you have one!

Refuse Race

Similar to the above, this game simply adds the element of time:

1. Give everyone a trash bag

2. Set the timer for as long as you’d like

3. Whoever fills their bag the fastest wins the prize

Bag O’ Butts

Micro trash is a real problem, but cigarette butts are one of the most common types! This game (even more so than the others) is best with gloves.

1. Give everyone a small bag - ziplock, grocery bag, paper lunch sack, etc.

2. Set the time and area limits (a park or a walk around the neighborhood is probably best for this one)

3. The person with the most cigarette butts in their bag at the end, wins!

Keep Austin Weird

In addition to micro-trash there’s also some very odd pieces of junk that end up in our parks, creeks and green spaces - or maybe your backyard! We’ve seen everything from vintage toys to washing machines.

1. Everyone gets a trash bag

2. Set the time and pick up area, and pick up any trash you see -  keeping a special eye out for weird items

3. When everyone is back together, vote on the weirdest item and award the prize

Scavenger Hunt

For this game you’ll want to keep this list handy, or print out our downloadable worksheet. The winner finds the most or all of these items!

trash pick up games it's my park day

I think we have a winner!

1. Everyone gets a trash bag

2. Find:

  • Soda Can, Juice box or drink gel pack
  • Water bottle
  • Candy or snack wrapper
  • Paper
  • Plastic eating utensil
  • Fast food wrapper or bag
  • Cigarette butt
  • Straw or wrapper
  • Fast food drink cup

3. Feel free to add your own! Add up your points to find a winner! 1 point for each item, 5 bonus points if you find them all!