Looking for some eco-friendly Valentine’s ideas for your classroom? Or just someone you love to honor on Valentine’s Day? With Valentine’s Day approaching, there will soon be an energy of love in the air! This love typically manifests itself with the giving of material things – candies, cards, dinners, and other gifts. And there is nothing wrong with that! Expressing your emotions by giving physical gifts can be a wonderful and nurturing experience for the giver and receiver alike. But what if you tried something a bit different this year? Why not look at some more eco friendly options that wind up being a planet give during this holiday.
Speaking as a person who has worked as a preschool teacher for many years, I can attest that the little ones get so thrilled with the cards, letters, and notes that they receive during Valentine’s Day. I have bore witness to so much joy and happiness that gift giving can create, and these moments can truly be special. At the same time, I have also bore witness to the amount of garbage these celebrations can create; paper envelopes, plastic candy wrappers, construction paper, and cardboard. My bias is to encourage the families I work with to practice the act of giving gifts with as little waste as possible. It helps the Earth heal, and it’s a wonderful learning tool for the little ones as they grow to create the future we will all be living in. So with that point of view, here are some eco friendly Valentine’s gifts you can give in a classroom.
Is food a love language? Because it should be! There are a number of healthy snacks that you can offer in the classroom: a box of oranges, a bunch of bananas, a veggie tray, and the options are endless. Just be sure to connect with your child’s teacher with regard to dietary restrictions in the classroom, and make your gifts as inclusive as possible.
There isn’t a classroom in the world that would turn down the gift of art supplies for their daily curriculum. You can touch base with your child’s teacher to see what their needs are, whether it is crayons, paint, pencils, and more. Every child in the classroom can enjoy these items and your gift’s impact will last beyond Valentine’s Day.
They say that music soothes the savage beast, and there is nothing more beastly that a room full of preschoolers! So if you sing or play an instrument, consider giving your child’s classroom the gift of your performance. You can also teach them a song or small movements to match the music, and really make a mark on the classroom’s Valentine celebrations.
One year, in my classroom, a child gave us the gift of an orchid for Valentine’s Day. It was such a welcome gift! The entire class took turns to water the plant, take care of the soil, or they simply admired the leaves. Every year, that orchid plant blossomed a few flowers and you can only imagine the thrill, the joy, and the excitement this one moment of gift giving kept on providing.
Once in a while, some classrooms will have a special movie day, and I’m certain that teachers will always welcome the chance to add to the class’ collection. These movies can be expensive, and may exceed the allocated budget for the year. So why not donate some old movies for the children to enjoy? The teachers, the children, and the planet will be very thankful for the redistribution of the resources you have in your home.
In an increasingly digital world, classrooms will always appreciate books. Is there a special story that your child loves? Is there a book that is especially meaningful to them? Consider giving a copy of the book to your child’s class for Valentine’s Day. It can be another source of constant joy for everyone.
Sometimes, it isn’t within our capacity to give physical gifts for Valentine’s Day, and this is okay. This state of being should be normalized because families already feel so much pressure to keep up with the bake sales, fundraisers, and other items in their child’s school that requires a financial contribution. So in the spirit of love and giving, sometimes the gift we give for Valentine’s Day can be empathy, and kindness, and a generosity of our spirit. I tell the families I work with all the time that if all they want to do is enter the classroom and greet us with a joyful “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!” then we are more than happy to receive this gift.
In your experience, have you tried giving any of these gifts for Valentine’s Day? Let us know how they were received! And this eco friendly gift giving for the classroom can be extended to anything else in our lives. For a list of more eco friendly and giving ideas that spread social good, read this blog post for more Valentine’s giving ideas.