May Day, celebrated on May 1st, is an ancient holiday that welcomes the change of seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere it marks the return of spring (it takes awhile for spring to get to the Northern United States) and often involves dances around a maypole, the crowning of a May Queen and the creating of May Baskets. This holiday is still celebrated around the world but it is mostly forgotten in the US. It is my hope that this will change.
May Baskets are my favorite part of May Day. For the past few years, the children and I have left May Day Baskets anonymously on the doorsteps of friends and family. These simple baskets are made out of construction paper and contain spring treasures that we collect (flowers, rocks, pinecones, shells etc.), homemade cards that say, “Happy May Day” and treats that we bake. The kids love ringing the doorbell and running away before being seen.
February is a great time to focus on KINDNESS. When my children were small, my husband and I decided against presents for Valentine’s Day. This has meant that the holiday has always been centered around LOVE and KINDNESS.
We spend the two weeks before Valentine’s Day focusing on kind deeds for one another and the people we care about. Here are some of the things that we do to help keep the focus on kindness and love.
1. Kindness Jar–We made our Kindness Jar about a year ago and it stays out in our dining room as a constant reminder to think of others and to be kind. We plan to pull out a new kind deed from the jar each day for the Kids in Service 5 days of Kindness Challenge.Click HERE for directions on how to make your own Kindness Jar and a FREE printable of kind deeds.
Make sure to join us on Facebook and Instagram on Monday February 8th for a week of Kindness and Prizes!
2. Valentine’s Day Count Down--I started this tradition when the kids were little. We have 14 envelopes to mark the days from February 1st-14th. Each envelope contains a slip of paper with a fun activity or project for us to do on that day. The envelopes include: Make your Valentine’s Today, Movie Night, Outdoor Adventure, Make a treat for the Birds, Good Deed Day, Call Someone You Love, Bake Cookies, Family Game Night etc.
3. Valentine Mailboxes--When my son was four and daughter was one, we made family Valentine Mailboxes (you know like the ones you make at school). Our first mailboxes are pictured above. A few years later I found cute little metal mailboxes in the Target dollar bins. These mailboxes come out of the attic on February 1st and we spend the next two weeks writing each other notes. I love the Target Mailboxes because there is a flag to put up to let the person know that they have mail. Once and a while, I will drop a sweet treat in the mailboxes, that is always a fun mail day.
4. Heart Attack–I saw this idea a few years back on the Skip to my Lou site and had to give it a try. It was so easy to do and made the three people in my house smile every morning when they saw the new heart on their door. I always make enough hearts to add a new one every day for 14 days. You could condense it to 5 or 7 days to make life easier.
5. Extra Valentine’s Day Card Service Project–The Valentine’s Day Card packs that you can buy in most stores come with WAY more than your child needs to send every friend in their class (and their teacher) a card. Instead of recycling those cards, why not have your child sign their name and send them to people who could use some cheer? Cards would be welcome at your local nursing home, homeless shelter, veterans home or halfway house. Consider spreading a little love and kindness with those extra cards this year!
6. Make Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards–My kids and I make our own homemade Valentine’s each year. I have them draw out four designs on one sheet of card stock and then color photocopy the design so that we have enough to send out. I love our original designs and I copy enough so that we can send them to all of our favorite people near and far. We also bring a few homemade cards to cheer up the residents of our local nursing home. The residents always love the homemade cards and gush over the kind gesture. It is such a sweet site to witness.
7. Project Dollar Store–Valentine’s Day is a great time to go on a Project Dollar Store Mission. You can read all about that SECRET MISSION HERE.
8. Winter Sun Catchers–This activity is so fun and easy to do and can be a nice Valentine’s Day treat for the birds and animals in your yard. We used paper for our hearts and did need to go outdoors to collect the paper when the ice melted. This year we are going to try for natural hearts and adding more birdseed. They are so pretty. You can learn how to make there on the Twig and Toadstool site.
Click HERE for a list of Books for Valentine’s Day
This is such a fun project and can be easily prepared while sitting in front of a cozy fire. Both of my kids loved being “ninjas” as they secretly spread out the baggies of love all over our local dollar store. Will you and your family accept this mission of LOVE?
Your Mission: Put together baggies with $1 dollar bills and messages of love. Spread them all over the dollar store with out being detected. Drive away with love in your hearts.
Supplies: ziplock baggies, $1 bills, sticky notes or paper and tape, writing/coloring tools
Procedure: Have your children write some positive messages on the sticky notes or paper (they can also draw simple pictures or color over your notes in crayon if they are not writing yet). Add a note that tells the person to use this dollar to buy something for themselves. Attach one note to each $1 bill and place the bill in the baggie. Zip up the baggie and then get ready for some SECRET FUN! Drive to the local dollar store and hide these baggies all over the store. On the way home you can imagine together how people will react when they find your kind gesture of love.
Did you complete this mission?
Take pictures of the process and email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.