As holidays go, Valentine's Day has one of the smaller footprints. Yes, there is the chocolate (consumable), the flowers (biodegradable) and the cards (also biodegradable). If you think Valentine's Day is green, though, you don't have school aged kids.
Last year, my boys brought home quite a haul in their heart stamped "mailboxes". Valentines with plastic wrapped gummi hearts. Valentines with decorative pencils and erasers (for my then 2 year old!). Valentines with stickers. Heart shaped lollipops wrapped in plastic. Valentines with tongue tattoos (huh!). Cellophane bags bursting with individually wrapped chocolate hearts or plastic trinkets. In preschool at least, Valentine's Day is big business beyond hearts and flowers.
How then do you ask a class mate, "Will You Be Mine, Green Valentine?" Make your own and make it with stuff you already own.
Last year, I read this article about making crayon heart Valentines to pass out. The project hit on everything I wanted to accomplish this holiday. Reusing or recycling (broken crayons), making instead of buying, involving the children and avoiding commercial Valentines.
Through out the year, we keep a plastic cup in the pantry for broken crayon bits. For me, organization is the key to reusing. Taking our bucket of busted crayons, we peeled the remaining paper and melted them in a glass jar in the microwave.
We then poured the molten wax into an old heart shaped ice cube tray and let it cool. Melting in the oven gives more control over which colors go into each heart but ovens use more electricity than microwaves and, more importantly, my ice cube tray would have been toast in the oven. I could have bought an oven safe heart mold, muffin tray or such but that would have defeated the purpose of the project.
Gathering thicker paper from around the house - poster board, leftover paper for cards, we cut out circles. My oldest neatly printed his friends' names and his name on one side. I printed a Valentine saying on the front and we hot glued the crayons to the paper.
Ta da! A low impact Valentine made from completely reused and repurposed items involving the kids. Hey Re-Think It girls, eat your heart out!