So Valentine’s Day is coming and that means if you have children who leave your house for school, you likely have already started hearing the endless pleas for the cheesy, pricey character valentines or some sort of candy alternative from your kiddo’s. Now I have been known to take the easy way out and pay way too much for inevitably more Valentines than I need (because one box is never enough so you end up being stuck getting a second box for 3 more right? Anyone else’s luck or is it just me?). I don’t like this option though because it’s either wasteful & generic and gets thrown out immediately or it is something made of, coated with or dipped in some sort of sugar as if we need more excuses to give our kids more sugar!
For the most part I try very hard to steer clear of those, but I must rat myself out, between expecting my newest daughter and now I have taken the easy way out each year………so this year I decided to get back to thinking out of the box and attempting some of my favorite ideas that I have Pinned over the years. I put together this list of…
My Top 10 Valentine Alternatives for Kids
So let’s start this list off with 5 healthy & delicious edible non candy alternatives
1.) You’re a “Cutie”
Supplies Needed: easy peel oranges, plastic treat bags, twine or ribbon, a hole punch & a printer with ink and paper or card stock for the tags
Quantity: Easily Flexible, print tags by the dozen.
This is a relatively affordable alternative that will still hit the sweet tooth! It works well for any age and is an easy one for the kids to help assemble not to mention if you have to buy another package of “Cuties” for just 3 more the rest can still be enjoyed instead of shoved in a drawer & forgotten about like the rest of our leftover paper Valentines!
Check this link out for other cute ideas and different colored tag options for the tags above and access to the free template for download! Free Cutie Printable Here!
2.) Goldfish Treats
Supplies Needed: Goldfish snack crackers, plastic treat bags, twine, ribbon or twist tie, hole punch or stapler & a printer with ink and paper or card stock for the card.
Quantity: Easily Flexible, print cards 4 at a time.
This is a relatively affordable alternative that will stand out amidst the sweet choices! It works well for any age, who doesn’t LOVE these things? It is also an easy one for the kids to help assemble not to mention if you have leftovers they are great everyday snacks!
For a cute color graphics template hop over HERE where a talented mommy blogger created a super adorable design, one that can print 4 at a time! This idea allows you to purchase a large box of goldfish for a bulk price instead of prepackaged options if you need to stretch a buck. I just had a 30 oz. box delivered today with my Amazon Prime Pantry box for $7.69 and I didn’t even have to walk into a store!
Here’s another cute option too, with the Link to the original source for access to this printable too in case you prefer prepackaged (or as the case may be required by some schools because of food allergy concerns).
On the off chance that you don’t like either of these beautifully cheesy puns, one simple search on fish-related treat rhymes will turn up too many to choose!
3.) You are my “Main Squeeze”
“Awesomesauce” pouch covers/tags
Supplies Needed: Your favorite Applesauce pouches, twine or ribbon, hole punch & a printer with ink and paper or card stock for the card.
Quantity: Easily Flexible, print cards 6 at a time.
This is a relatively affordable option also and great for all ages, toddlers clear thru grade school age. It is another healthy option that will stand out amidst the sweet choices! It works well for any age and can be purchased in many flavors…
“You’re my main squeeze” is a great gender-neutral printable Main Squeeze tag available for printing by clicking on the link.
Here is an adorable Awesomesauce Printable available for free download Here
and made available here by another blogging mama.
4.) “Let’s Stick Together” String Cheese
Supplies Needed: String cheese sticks, scissors, cardstock for the card, markers & holiday stickers or embellishments.
Quantity: Easily Flexible, makes 6 per standard cardstock sheet.
This is another healthy option that will stand out amidst the sweet choices! String cheese is an outside of the box Valentine idea too and providing your little one doesn’t have a dairy ban due to allergy in their classroom it should be permissible and can double as a healthy no mess morning snack. Again this is another relatively affordable option also and great for all ages, toddlers clear thru grade school age.
How do you make these? Start with basic card stock of your liking. You will need to cut the card stock about 2 inches longer than the cheese stick and about 3 times its width. You should be able to get 6 out of a standard 8 1/2 x 11. Cut two holes, one on either end of the cardstock rectangles, about as big as a quarter and decorate with your choice embellishments. Stick string cheese through & use a marker to sign your message!
5.) Pirate’s Booty
Supplies Needed: Individual Pirate Booty Bags, scissors or paper cutter, cardstock and printer with ink and stapler.
Quantity: Easily Flexible, makes 2 per standard cardstock sheet.
This is another healthy snack, yes but it is not necessarily as affordable, HOWEVER, my 3rd girl LOVES Pirate Booty so when I found this template I just had to include it in my favorites!!!
Click Here to print the template for 2 of these Pirate Booty Bag Toppers.
Phew!!! Ok So now let’s move on to finish off this top 10 list.
Next is 5 of my favorite Usable non candy Valentine alternatives…
6.) Make creative magic while disguising a pencil
Supplies Needed: Pencils from your favorite dollar store, no stick scissors or paper cutter, and either card stock google eyes & colorful pom poms (caterpillars) OR Duct Tape & glittery sticker paper (Cupid’s Arrows).
Quantity: Easily Flexible dependent on how many pencils you purchase to use.
Whether you are looking for ideas for preschool age or something more appealing to the tween or teens in your life, pencils can be the framework for a totally adorable & functional Valentine.
Everyone could use an extra pencil to wear out after just returning from Winter Break as they work the rest of the school year away.
7.) “Don’t Burst my Bubble” or “Blowing Kisses Your Way” Valentines
Supplies Needed: Mini party bubbles (available for order online or in most party stores typically under $5 for a 24 ct. box), cardstock, twine or ribbon.
Quantity: Easily Flexible dependent on how many bubbles you purchase to use.
Whether you are looking for ideas for preschool age or something more appealing to the tween or teens in your life, bubbles are not a common choice but they certainly are a FUN Valentine idea!
8.) Crayon Creations!
Supplies Needed: Broken crayons, card stock, twine or glue or a removable adhesive runner.
In theory, you could break new crayons but that seems so sad to me lol, I love a new Crayola! (I hoard our broken crayons, which ends up being most crayons that enter this house, I’m OCD about the crayons my kids have readily available looking newer and being full. Once they snap one time I can’t stand it being in their normal supply)
Quantity: Easily Flexible dependent on how many crayons you have to use and desire to bake & cool.
We made these about 6 years ago before I was a blogger so I have none of my own resources to share because I didn’t document like a blogger then. I have scoured the interwebs though, tirelessly looking for the perfect resources to share for this one because WE HAD A BLAST making these, they were virtually free and they received rave reviews from all the friends & peers that received them so Here and HERE are two whose methods I and templates are personal favorites!
“Color Your Heart Out” Free Template Use this for a Valentine their friends can color!
How To: You enlist the capable kiddos to help you peel the crayon pieces that still have paper while snapping them smaller. If an adult wants to they can use a knife to break them up smaller carefully. You can sort them by color family or just go random rainbow but fill muffin molds shaped in a heart. Preheat the oven to 230* and bake them for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, Let cool and they should pop out of the molds easily.
**Disclaimer, I would encourage keeping a separate set of silicone molds for this project. I had to scrub and scrub to get the film off so that I could use the molds again. Bonus to crayons being non-toxic so if I missed any, it wasn’t harmful LOL**
Now if this all seems like too much work but you love the crayon idea, you can still use either template & attach 4 crayons with washi tape.
9.) Paper Craft & Fun!
Supplies Needed: A heavy printing paper, scissors, optional small stickers or rub on tattoos to put inside the fortune cookies.
Quantity: Easily Flexible dependent on how many you print to use. Fortune cookies print in pairs.
With a teenager and a full-on tween these immediately appealed to my eye. The beauty with the Fortune Cookie idea is that you can print one set as a template and use ANY paper color or print you like and just cut circles of the same size and then proceed using the instructions in the link below.
The cootie catchers are another teen & tween appeal alternative. I’ve included a few options I have come across however much like the fortune cookies, the template can be printed and used as a pattern to create cootie catchers using any paper color or print also so hit the scrapbook aisle and see what your kiddos can come up with!
Visit this very talented fellow mom & blogger here to get the templates and detailed step by step on these cute Fortune Cookie Valentines
Visit this talented fellow blogger and mom here to get the instructions for the Cootie Catchers and to check out her other ideas!
Supplies Needed: 6 oz bottle Elmer’s Classic Glitter Glue, ¼ cup water, ¾ cup warm water, 1 teaspoon Borax, (6) 2 oz disposable containers
Quantity: Each 6 oz. bottle of glue will get you 6 two-ounce containers.
This looks like a fun project and my 2nd girl is a budding scientist so I see this in our future, if not this year definitely soon thereafter! I have not attempted this project yet so again I can offer no personal testament to the ease of recreation, however, it looks legit and super fun & easy and definitely an outside of the boxed Valentine! Be sure to head over to the creator of this Gooed Valentine recipe!!!
Ok, so there you have it! I slaved for hours compiling this list (he he, slaaaaved) and checking and double checking ideas looking for easy to accomplish ideas that most of which can be done quite affordable. Now if you still didn’t find an alternative that made you look twice then swing thru this blog post where there are over 30 more no candy alternatives!!! Plus with a full weekend ahead of you hopefully can sneak in an hour or so to craft these with the kids………Life is about making Memories after all!
BONUS! For those of you that took the time to look through this list thoroughly and maybe even tackled one of these ideas for your child’s class, I am giving you a cute and easy Teacher Valentine!!!
Rolo Pencil Treat for Teachers, these are adorable and easy to do so follow the link for step by step instructions and most of all…
….ENJOY YOUR TIME MAKING THESE VALENTINE’S WITH YOUR KID(S) BECAUSE YOU ARE TEACHING THEM THEY ARE IMPORTANT ENOUGH FOR YOUR TIME AND YOUR TRAIL & ERROR WILL CREATE MEMORIES FOR A LIFETIME!
Now have a wonderful weekend!