It’s almost Valentine’s Day! As I get set to embark on this glitter and sugar-filled adventure with my kids, I’ve been looking for ways to celebrate that go beyond the typical cards and candy (I’ll still eat plenty of candy though, don’t worry!). Because a holiday about love should be about contributing to our communities too, right? Below are some ideas for making Valentine’s Day with your kids more educational, sustainable, and community-driven. It’s easier than you might think to give back and spread love on this heart-filled holiday!
Cards that Contribute
Rosie Riveters STEMentines
Classroom cards are so much fun, and this year, kids can hand out ones that give back! Northern Virginia STEM nonprofit Rosie Riveters has created STEMentines – colorable Valentines cards that tell the stories of real women in STEM like Marie Curie and Katherine Johnson. Representation is one of the key issues that keeps young girls away from the field – when most children are asked to draw a scientist, they draw a man – and STEMentines work to shift stereotypes in a super fun way. (full disclosure: as the External Affairs Director for Rosie Riveters, I helped design these!). Last, but certainly not least, all proceeds from the cards fund Rosie Riveters’ free STEM programs for girls.
2 Paper Sisters Cards
Valentines from the online shop 2 Paper Sisters also support nonprofits. The woman-owned small business run by two sisters donates 5% of all their proceeds to American-based charities. Their Valentines cards are DIY downloads and range from superheroes and donuts to colorable kittens and unicorns.
Botanical Paperworks Sustainable Valentine’s Day Cards
Let’s not forget about sustainability either. According to Hallmark, over 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged on the holiday, and this doesn’t include the ones that are given out in classrooms! That amounts to tons of paper (literally) to reuse and recycle. Make cards more environmentally friendly with zero-waste, seed-paper Valentines instead. Kids will love planting the Valentines and watching the flowers grow, and the benefits for the planet are twofold – less waste and more plants! Botanical Paperworks has three options – animals and pink or blue monsters – which you can personalize, and there are lots of cute seed-paper cards on Etsy, including conversation hearts and rockets.
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue’s Valentine’s Day E-cards
E-cards are another sustainable option, and nonprofit Lucky Dog Animal Rescue based in Arlington, Virginia offers electronic Valentines that are perfect for animal lovers. The organization rescues homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals and works to find them forever homes. Each Valentine and accompanying donation support that mission by providing everything from boarding to vaccines for animals in their care.
Cards for the Community
Cupid’s Kids Valentine’s for Seniors
The current surge of COVID cases has certainly limited the number of in-person Valentine’s Day events. But there are still plenty of things families can do from home to spread love and kindness in their communities!
The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but perhaps none more than seniors. They’ve faced increased vulnerability to COVID-19 as well as long periods of isolation from their loved ones. Washington, DC’s Public Library’s 6th Annual Cupid’s Kids helps build intergenerational connections between school children and seniors; this year they’ve asked the community to contribute to their annual Valentine’s Day campaign. No matter your age, you can write cards to seniors and drop them off at select DC public library locations! If you can’t get to the library, mailing the cards is also an option. The deadline is Friday, February 4th and there is a super helpful guide complete with fun sayings, cut outs, and a list of drop-off locations!
Eliana’s Light Spreading Kindness Cards
Eliana’s Light, a nonprofit that supports the whole health, well-being, and quality of life of DC, Maryland, and Virginia families that include children with medical complexities, is currently organizing their 7th Annual Spreading Kindness program. It’s an excellent way for even the littlest kids to help others! Families can create messages of love and hope for medically-complex children via photos of cards and posters, written poems, or printable coloring sheets for kids to complete. Eliana’s Light is accepting the above items through Thursday, February 10th; you can submit them electronically by emailing [email protected]. The organization encourages donations as well, which they use to purchase art supplies for care packages. Visit the Eliana’s Light website to make a contribution.
Do you have any fun ways for kids and families to give back and spread love on Valentine’s Day? Share them below!