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Have a Clean, Green Valentine’s Day: An Afternoon of Family Fun With a Recycling Theme

This year, rather than going to the store to buy items for Valentine gifts, have fun with a family scavenger hunt and craft day. Cluttered rooms can be cleaned while silly gifts are made from items that might otherwise have simply been thrown in the trash.

Taking just a few minutes to “blitz” a room looking for items that can be recycled into creative Valentines will not only help the earth, but it can provide an afternoon of family fun. Adults should be sure to join in on the fun.

A Recycling Scavenger Hunt

Begin in a room that contains an obvious amount of clutter and families should be sure everyone understands the ground rules. While there are many variations, here are some possible guidelines for starters:

  1. All dangerous items (such as chemicals, cleaning fluid containers, glass, etc.) are off limits.
  2. Personal items must get the approval of the owner before being turned into a Valentine gift.
  3. Mom and Dad have the final say on all items found.

Once a room is selected and rules are understood, Mom or Dad should set a timer for five minutes. Everyone then has until the bell rings to locate items for Valentine projects. Before the search begins, parents may wish to discuss the importance of recycling and brainstorm some possible project ideas so that everyone knows what to look for during the search.

Green Ideas for Valentine Projects

The potential projects parents and kids can create from clutter around the house are literally endless. However, here are a few possible ideas:

  • Take old Christmas cards, cut out the messages and place them into a bag. Each family member draws from the bag and then must create a Valentine message using the words drawn. (The words can be cut apart to be re-arranged into new messages.)
  • Grab some old shoes that are about to be thrown away and paint them pink, red, and white. Valentine messages can be painted across them as well. Then place them in a garden or on a porch for decoration.
  • Find old socks, buttons and yarn to make sock puppets for a Valentine’s Day play.
  • Glue old costume jewelry to an old hat, coat or purse to make a Valentine wearable item.
  • Using old boxes, make a Valentine’s Day castle – bigger boxes could be used for children while smaller ones might be best for decoration or dolls.

Families may wish to create a list of people for whom they want to create Valentine’s gifts or possibly plan to create items for one another. A fun way to distribute the gifts is to place a number on each gift then number each project. Beginning with the youngest, each person draws a number from a hat and then is awarded the gift with that number.

Valentine’s Day Impact on the Earth

What is the harm of sending a few colorful Valentine’s cards? According to Green living tips.com, about a billion Valentines are sent each year. If placed end to end these little tokens of affection would stretch around the world five times.

Add to this the amount of trinkets, candy boxes, and stuffed animals purchased for this holiday and one begins to see a much larger problem. In fact, according to GreenMuze.com, Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas when it comes to causing “the most damage to the environment and exploitation of human health and well-being.”

In conclusion, recycling old items for Valentine gifts is not only good for the environment, but will provide inexpensive, family fun. Additionally, cluttered rooms can get a makeover as items are sorted and organized.

Since Valentine’s Day has such a huge impact on the environment, families should think twice about simply buying more items to clutter their homes. A Valentine’s recycling project will create lasting memories for families and teach children an extremely valuable lesson.

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