What goes great with Valentine's pink? Green, of course!
Unfortunately, Valentine's Day in the classroom can be a mess of over packaging and waste. Here are a few tips to help your kids create Valentine's that not only say "I like you!" to their friends, but also to the Earth!
- Just say no to envelopes! Whether you buy your Valentine cards or make them (see below), envelopes are just a waste of paper when treats can be attached to the card with a tiny piece of tape or dot of glue.
- Made at home is made with heart. Make a half-heart template for children to draw around, then show them how to fold paper in half and cut a half-heart that will open to a whole heart. The recipient's name goes on the outside and a special message and/or treat goes on the inside. By making your own cards, you save resources that go into packaging sets of cards and shipping them to stores, not to mention your own gas and time to get to the store and back! Make your Valentine's extra green by re-using paper you've already got, such as: leftover wrapping paper, unused construction paper, pages from magazines or flower catalogs.
- Choose treats that are better for kids and for the planet. It's not that we don't love a few talking candy hearts, but giving candy treats is tough on the ecosystem and the kids in a couple of ways: the production of sugar and/or corn syrup that sweeten the treats is a high-resource, high-pollution industry, the sugar in all of those treats will send kids on a sugar high (when they will act out and get in trouble) followed by a swift sugar crash (when they will fall apart in tears or anger and ruin their own day). Plus, the candies that are made for distribution with cards are often small, individually-wrapped pieces - all that plastic wrapping takes up valuable energy and oil resources and the wrappers add to the mountains of waste this country generates daily. Some better planet- and kid-friendly alternatives are:
- recycled pencils
- seeds to plant for beautiful spring flowers
- coupons for playdates
- recycled, heart-shaped crayons (instructions here: Make and Takes)
- an ounce or two of home-made playdough (instructions here: Best Play Dough Ever)
and, if you really want to give the kids a sweet treat, try these greener options:
- Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops
- Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks
- Home-made mini heart-shaped cookies
- Go Naturally Hard Candies
- Endangered Species Chocolate
And last, but certainly not least, Valentine's Day is the time to show love, and Mama Earth deserves her fair share, so remind the kiddos to hug a tree!
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