Cards for Kindness: Spreading Smiles on Valentine's Day!

It's nearly upon us!  That time of year when we want to hear how special we are and how much someone loves us!  Pinks, reds, hearts, flowers and chocolates!  As a teenager I eagerly awaited the arrival of a card from the mail man every year and my Dad never let me down!  It felt so special to think that someone out there was thinking of me!  Every year I couldn't wait to go shopping for a huge, padded Valentine's card! (Remember those cards that were all the rage in the 80s?!)  Oh cringe - covered in verses and sent to the boy I dreamed about - how innocent we all were - lol!   And how times have changed - today we ask our little ones to also reach out to strangers as well as those they know and love, people they have never met - and yes, they rise to the challenge - how sweet they are!
Despite being just little first graders, we had a wonderful discussion about what it might be like to not feel special, to not feel loved - they were so ready and able to empathize!  They understood that it was wonderful to feel special, but that it was equally wonderful to make someone else feel special - to spread the love far and wide and bring a smile to someone who might otherwise not feel appreciated on this feel-good day.  So, I let them in on a plan.......!
First of all I should tell you that I have linked up with The Teaching Tribune for a special linky party: Cards for Kindness!  For this project students everywhere are encouraged to make cards for people in the community or those who might need an extra smile this Valentine's Day. 

Back story:  Some weeks before Christmas my amazing, sweet mother-in-law, Kathleen, passed away.  (Those of you who follow my blog will know the story).  My husband and I discussed not sending Christmas cards this year because he felt that it was just not appropriate for him at that time.  We decided that the money we had saved from buying and mailing Christmas cards should be donated to a charity.  If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you will know all about my rescued fur babies and how passionate we are about animals.  We decided that this money should be donated to our local rescue kennels.  (Of course we got busy and hadn't taken the time to drive out there).  So, light-bulb moment! We should combine the donation with a special card to celebrate the volunteers who run the kennels, people who do not get paid, but give selflessly of their time for love.  My plan was for the children to make the cards and stick £1 coins in each one, so that they felt they were not just thanking those hard-working kind people who make such an amazing difference to animals in need, but also giving something to the animals too - to help feed a dog or cat or buy them a warm blanket to use throughout the snowy months.  Of course the children just loved that idea!!

For craft type projects, I usually like the children to be creative, give them a variety of materials and textures and let their imaginations run wild!  However after much discussion, the children wanted to make a dog or cat card - so we found some templates, with pieces that were all heart-shaped, and when put together formed a dog or cat.  We made up a little verse together, stuck it inside, added some stickers and the coin - all set for a trip to the kennels this weekend!  Here are some photos of the finished cards - don't they look cute?  Dalmation spots seemed to be a particular favorite!  Be prepared for the cuteness overload!

Do you know of an organization in your teaching community or a person who could use some extra smiles and kindness on Friday? This is a super sweet project that does not take a lot of time and leaves a BIG impression on your students! We would love for you to link up with us over at the The Teaching Tribune! Click the button below to head over and learn more!  It will be available until February 23rd. Just snap some pictures of your cards and link up with us! 

Have fun reading round everybody's blogs and finding out what they've been up to!

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