Earth-Friendly Valentines for Kids

by Guest Writer

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day already! It’s a holiday I have never been terribly fond of (except for when I was a child). It always seemed a wasteful and overly commercialized holiday to me—a “Hallmark Holiday” as many refer to it. My son is very excited for Valentine’s Day, though and I would never crush his excitement. Instead, I’ve opted to find some less wasteful ways to celebrate Saint Valentine with my family. I will not be buying cards or candy—instead we will look for sustainable and earth-friendly ways to celebrate.

My son’s nursery school class will be exchanging Valentines this year and while I could go the simple route and just buy some cards, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to make them with my son. I searched the web and found some great ideas that are earth-friendly. I think the craft I’m leaning toward is a “Plant” Valentine, which will include a seed packet so his friends can all grow a flower or vegetable. It will include a message that says “Let’s Watch Our Friendship Grow.” Another one I like is a Bookmark Valentine—I like this one because the Valentine can be used long after Valentine’s Day, rather than just head for the trash. These crafts will be a great way to help my son with his cutting, pasting and writing skills. Plus, when we make Valentines, we spend more time together and talk about the real importance of the holiday—showing your friends and family that you that you care about them.

Since my kids are still young, I will also be guiding them when it comes to making a gift for their dad (which I will equally cherish). When my son was only two, he made this adorable “Handprint Poem” for me for Mother’s Day (with the help of his teachers at daycare). Since my daughter is now two, I would like to have the same thing from her. I found the poem, and all I need to do is go through our stack of recycled paper, pick a color and drag out the finger paints. If you’re looking for some great all-natural paints for this project, I would recommend Clementine Art Natural Paint. The paints are free of chemical-dyes and additives. Upon reading some reviews, I would definitely recommend putting your kids in play clothes while using the paints (since some folks have had issues with the darker colors staining clothing). We’ll cover her hand in paint and create her handprints. Once it’s all dried, and I’ve glued on the poem, I’ll find a frame for it in my box of picture frames we no longer use. It’s such an easy gift, yet it will be cherished for many years.

The gift I will be giving my children this year is the gift of seeds. Much like the Valentine’s my son will be giving to his friends, I will be teaching my children to grow a plant from the seed, and we will later transplant it to our garden (when the weather permits). I found a great article detailing exactly how to grow plants in this way. I’ve been saving my eggshells for the past week. Then, I purchased seeds for some our favorite vegetables—broccoli, peas and green beans. Since my children love gardening, I know this is something they will love. I will give it the “Valentine’s Touch” by decorating their egg cartons with hearts and other decorations I come up with. I’ll also include a little message “My love for you grows.”

Valentine’s Day is exactly what you make of it. There’s no need for it to be an extravagant holiday with silly themed gifts that will be shoved in a drawer. By setting an early precedent, I hope to teach my children the sentimentality of this holiday so they can embrace it, rather than reject it (the way I have so often done).

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