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Zero Waste & Free Kids’ Valentine’s Idea For School

Interested in a simple, kids’ DIY Valentine’s Day idea? We made homemade heart crayons from upcycled broken crayons and paired them with DIY Valentine’s cards for the kids’ Valentine’s exchange in school. Read on for more details about this zero-waste kids’ craft.

The candy. The tchotchkes. The cheesy cards. Every year, my boys bring home a bag of Valentine’s Day goodies from their classmates. I know it’s all well-intentioned, and some of the gifts are fun and sweet. But most of it gives me a little feeling of uneasiness, knowing that it’s manufactured, transported, stored, sold, shared, and tossed shortly thereafter. So much resource consumption for so little enjoyment and no lasting impact. There has to be a better way.

In past years, when I was short on time and my boys were not old enough to complete a DIY project independently, I printed out pre-made Valentine’s cards on our home printer and called it a day. I didn’t want the boys to feel excluded by bringing nothing for friends. So I helped them cut out the cards and write each of their classmates’ names on them.

I really didn’t want to participate in the full spectrum of kitschy waste. Just because everyone else was doing it (even if they truly found pleasure in it), didn’t mean we had to follow suit out of obligation. But I didn’t have the time or mental capacity to do anything more robust, so this worked for those years.

DIY Heart Crayon with Printable Valentine’s for Kids

This year, I had a bit more time, so the boys and I took on a small, zero-waste DIY project. Together we made these DIY heart crayons by upcycling old, broken crayons. We also printed out these free Valentine’s cards and will attach them to a small bag with a DIY heart crayon inside.

Using What We Have

We already had the small bags from a birthday party a few years back when we offered a take-home candy bar instead of a goodie bag. I also had a few broken crayons I found in our art supply cabinet that are no longer useful. The boys don’t really color anymore.

Buy Nothing Request

I didn’t have enough crayons for all of the boys’ classmates, and I also didn’t have a silicone heart mold. Instead of buying these things, I posted a request in our Buy Nothing group. I asked for the crayons and borrowed the mold.

Within just a few hours, four neighbors responded with offers. Three offered up broken or old crayons they no longer used and one offered to lend me her heart mold. The power of sharing our abundance with neighbors is immense and so rewarding!

Without spending a penny and sharing a bit of time together with a creative project, our boys had free, zero-waste Valentine’s to bring to school, toys and all. As a mom who doesn’t usually participate in the “extras” of school events, this felt like such a win!

Dispose of the DIY Heart Crayon Waste

We didn’t have much waste from this DIY heart crayon project. Waste was our primary material, after all. But we did have plenty of crayon wrappers. Because these are made of paper, I threw them all in our compost bucket instead of into the trash. The worms and microorganisms in the compost will eat those right up!

If you’d like to borrow our idea, go for it! You can grab the full tutorial for these DIY heart crayons here. I would love to see how your heart crayons turn out. Grab the free kids’ Valentine’s card printable, and let us know how it goes!

How do your kids participate in Valentine’s Day parties at school? Do they bring in small gifts or candy? Or opt to do something else?

Check out more for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day.

Jen Panaro

Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.

You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.

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