Ideas for activities

Take a look at some of the activities you can organise for a #Covid-safe #Sustfest21 below! See our resources page too

Please base your #StaySafe activities on at least one of the Ten Themes for Sustainable Living listed in the rainbow below – did you know they include themes like health & happiness and culture & community?

You could focus on one issue such as going plastic free, saving water, or growing food. Tapping into the interests of the group you’re organising the activities for can be a great way to get people to engage – whether it’s your local residents’ association, women’s group or faith group. Don’t forget to use your imagination for each subject!

If you would like to find out more about how to take part, click here.

Covid-safe Outdoor Activities:

Creative ideas – see Open City website. It’s a london based – but has fantastic #Covid-safe ideas for young people 3-18 years – indoors and outdoors – that you could adapt for your group! Includes techniques such as how to turn household waste into models

Cronkshaw Fold Farm in Lancashire have developed a business doing online tours of their farm, or rent out videos of their goats – see their creative ideas here

Individual Outdoor – Organise any outdoor activity that people can do alone, or with their bubble, and arrange an online video chat (e.g. via zoom) to bring people together afterwards to discuss.

Walks – Organise walks to a local destination. Ask people to do the walks individually or in their bubble over a couple of selected days and share photos to social media with a dedicated hashtag e.g. #HarpendenSustFestWalk. Please also include #SustFest21!

Walk the Walk – for charity – Identify a choice of route of e.g. 1 mile, 3 miles, 5 miles, and ask people to get their own sponsors and walk the walk in their own time to raise money for a specified environmental cause or group e.g. World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, etc..

Guided tours – Create socially distanced guided tours (please check you’re up to date with current government guidelines for whether this could be allowed). Provide paper maps/information sheets to guide people to explore local natural habitats or bats at dusk, or bird-song at 4am!

Pebble Hunt – Paint pebbles and place strategically somewhere in lovely outdoor locations – ask people to take photos of their find – and post on your social media page. This encourages people to go to local valued historic or natural locations.

Photography competition – Choose your age group then ask for submission of photos about a specific theme e.g. Batford Springs, or birds, or pollinating insects. 

Photo story competition – You could set a theme such as #growyourown from seed to fruit, or cooking vegan.

Seed Swaps – Choose a place (or market stall) where people can leave and pick-up seeds they have collected for #growyourown. Provide an information fact-sheet to give tips.

Create and share a local trail or map – Ask people to post photos of their journey, or set a question about the trail and ask people to find the solution and submit their answer. Find a fun and interesting way to motivate your local community to enjoy the fresh air and early summer outdoors.

Art Exhibition – Arrange for people to paint a subject/theme submitted during the festival e.g. people in nature, or birds, or community. Share online or if lockdown allows share in your local community hall. Capture the festival in art!

Organise a stall – If lockdown allows by May/June, you could organise a stall with information about your group – either in your own location or at the SustFest Sustainable Market on Sunday 23 May.

Seed sharing – Leave seeds in one place to encourage people to collect and grow them at home – with online instructions on how to grow them.

Identify Birds/Butterflies/Bees – Organise a day or week for your group to spend an hour in an outdoor space and count and identify the birds, butterflies or bees they see in that one place. Ask people to take photos and submit them online, or arrange a video call after the week is over for people to chat and share their experiences. You could even invite an expert or specialist to talk about it!

Sustainable Market – The Sustainable Market is due to take place on Sunday 23 May, dependent on government guidelines. Keep an eye on our website or sign up to our Sustainability Festival newsletter to follow the progress. Or apply to have a stall or run an activity here.

WhatsApp group activities – Don’t forget your local community or street WhatsApp group. Check out our Playing Out page to find out what you could do with your neighbours!

Covid-safe Indoor Activities:

Model making tips

Creative ideas – see Open City website. It’s a london based – but has fantastic #Covid-safe ideas for young people 3-18 years – indoors and outdoors – that you could adapt for your group! Includes techniques such as how to turn household waste into models

Climate Conversations: hold a Climate Conversation with your family, bubble, or even online with work colleagues, street group or residents group. See Climate Conversations web page with resources here.

Talks about a special interest – This, for example, could be about how to make your community building/church/mosque/school/business/house more environmentally sustainable. Find several speakers to talk for a short session (no more than 5/10 mins each) and host an online event (for example via zoom). You could include a group discussion at the end.

Talks with national speakers – Online events offer us the chance to expand our reach and invite national speakers to talk to us about environmental concerns. Whether this is about improving eco-education for schools, or how we can divest our money from fossil fuels, about reducing energy use in the home, or plastic free initiatives etc.

Music – Create a song about the environment and share it online, publicly or via closed video chat. Gather up several musicians who will play environmentally themed music and have an online music session. If lockdown allows you might be able to do this at a local community venue!

Use the fruits of summer – Supply some good recipes for cooking with summer fruits, and ask your group to send photos of their jams and chutneys – great for gifts!

Plastic Waste at Home event – Organise a group effort to collect all the plastic in your rubbish for one week and get contributors to take photos of what they have collected. Then have an online video chat to bring everyone together to discuss, asking everyone to contact the customer services departments of the brands with the most common products.

Write-in to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference – Organise a write-in to the UK representatives at the conference…think about a particular focus relevant to your interests.

‘How-to’ online workshop events – If your group has a special interest such as crafts, making bird boxes, or repairing clothes you can run a short workshop on a video call with one or two people running a demonstration. Remember that it is harder for beginners to pick things up from an online workshop!

Collective activities – You could arrange for people to contribute to a collective effort. For example making blanket squares that can be picked up/or dropped off in order to create blankets. Or contribute other items for people in need such as the homeless, or refugees in need.

Film show – Screen an environmental film online or share a link to a film (see Waterbear for ideas) and hold an online discussion via video call afterwards.

Cooking online – Encourage people to eat sustainably with a range of vegan cookery demos! You’ll need to set up your phone to film this, or ask someone in your household/ bubble to film you.

Quiz – Arrange an environment-themed quiz online. You can charge (e.g. using Eventbrite) and donate the takings to a favourite environmental charity. Or make it harder and keep the focus local.

Organise a ‘Write-in’ – Choose a date to get everyone in your group to write a letter to a bank or pension provider, asking them which fossil fuel companies they invest in – and suggest they divest and re-invest in renewables. Provide a template letter and email it out.

Covid-safe Children’s Activities:

Sustainable Lockdown ideas – Find out more on the Sustainable St Albans website and tag us on social media! Tag us on Instagram with @SustainableStA, Facebook @SustainableStAlbans and Twitter @SustFest21.

Scavenger Hunt – Kids at Home – Create a list of things to find at home – it could be basic ingredients for cooking a carrot cake, or craft items to make an insect house, or implements for sowing some seeds. What might people have at home?

Treasure Hunt – This could work for adults too! Create an outdoor treasure hunt with a theme for kids or adults. Draw a simple map with places to visit and collect (or photograph) natural items e.g. oak tree, bird hide, heron, fish, butterflies, growing veg…what could the treasure be? (think #Covidsafe)

Kids Write-in to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference – Organise a children’s write-in – or pictures – to send to the UK delegation.


Business Activities:

For your customers (public events)

  • Special offer, discount or voucher for a product or consumer behaviour related to sustainability, e.g., offer to take-back and recycle; discount for own takeaway tubs;
  • #ShopLocal – tell people why its good to shop with you and reduce transport costs and increased carbon emissions.
  • SustFest21 menu or dish: that people can order online via click and collect or have dropped off.
  • Competition for customers related to your business and sustainability, such as a photo competition on growing your own food, or art work made out of packaging or poems / stories. Relate it to a theme that is important to you – make it about what you do,
  • Workshops: Offer a kit eg of craft materials to be ordered online and then run a workshop to create items such as beeswax wrap, or soap-savers. Arrange this through click and collect or a drop off service
  • Exhibition or display – Create an environmentally-themed display for all to enjoy. Art, photos, products, crafts, environmental cake (windmills? – trees? Or copy one of our lovely #SustFest21 ‘badges’) – made with organic, sustainable ingredients of course – and sell it during #SustFest21
  • Newsletter to shout out about your sustainability: Are you going #plasticfree? Do you source organic products? Have you changed to a renewable energy provider? There are so many opportunities!

For your business (private events)

  • Schedule a 2-week project in May for staff to explore your business’s sustainability – e.g. policies, supply chains, packaging, electricity consumption
  • Why not run an in-house forum to look at a sustainability framework like Bioregional’s One Planet Living or Count on Us? Or study #Cop26 business information and pledges – Find out more information on this here.

For your colleagues (private events)

An inhouse challenge for teams or individuals – who can save the most xIf most people are working from home, perhaps getting people to post their most challenging sustainability issue due to working from home and / or their greatest success. Encourage people to take part in SustFest and get them to report back on their favourite activities, or which in the programme they are most excited to go to 

Other activities

Keep in mind for the future when we’re all able to join together again:

  • Organise a group walk in nature
  • Get a environmental speaker along to your meeting
  • Sing about nature in your choir
  • Plastic free week in the office
  • Repair event in your local community
  • Second-hand/re-use sale
  • Environmental film showing – with neighbours or for the public
  • Art event or photo exhibition about the environment
  • Music, poetry, story-writing or book group session linked to an eco theme
  • Create a Festival veggie menu for your cafe, pub or restaurant
  • Open up an eco-friendly house or building to inspire others
  • Organise a litter pick in your street/area
  • Organise an evening of board games – NO mobiles allowed – encourage conversations!
  • Take a children’s group on a bug hunt
  • Hold a repair event in your local community
  • Organise an allotment open day
  • Arrange a bike ride – for families or adults
  • Organise a talk on climate change
  • Make a community bug hotel
  • Fashion event using second hand clothes
  • Arrange a car-free day
  • Organise a family-friendly bike ride
  • Hold a meeting to reduce energy in your group’s building/get some energy meters
  • Trip to a nature reserve
  • Arrange vegetarian/vegan cooking demos
  • Solar energy information day
  • Build sculptures out of waste materials
  • Organise a public talk on climate change
  • Hold a seed swap or plant sale
  • Teach others a relevant skill you have through a class or workshop
  • Hold a supermarket “mass unwrap”
  • Hold a Plastic Free picnic
  • Children’s eco crafting session
  • Fashion event using second hand clothes
  • Encourage people to shop local

Don’t forget to share what you’ll be doing on social media with #SustFest21 and tag us on Twitter with @SustFest21, Instagram @SustainableStA and Facebook @SustainableStAlbans.