All of the Sweetness, None of the Sugar: 10 Creative, Candy-Free Valentines for Your Kids to Give

Vintage Valentines via James Kimberlin

When it comes to holidays, I’m definitely in the “take it down a notch” camp, thinking that the overachieving parents should stop setting an impossible-to-reach bar for the rest of us by leaving bunny footprints on the sidewalk at Easter or hiding a naughty leprechaun around the house around St. Pat’s Day. Let’s just agree to wear green, yes? BUT…Valentine’s Day? It’s about LOVE! And while I think adults should avoid buying life-sized stuffed bears from the gas station on the corner of Memorial and Moreland on Friday afternoon, I do get quite a kick out of elementary school Valentine exchanges, and I think it’s sweet for the kids to show each other love. The best part is that these Valentines don’t have to be fancy, expensive, or sugar laden.

Here are my 10 favorite non-candy Valentines. Many of these are free printables, but you can easily make your own too:

Bubbling with excitement: I bought a 30-pack of tiny bubble tubes for $3 in the Target Valentine section and used the free printable in the link. These were super fun for my son’s 2-year-old class last year. IMG_7259


Just the write kind of friend: I hit up the Target $3 30-pack again and got some V-day themed pencils, but you could use any kind of pencils. They’re cheap, and the K-2 crowd loves them!

You light up our class: Whenever I see glow sticks in the $1 bins, I stock up because I use them all year long. They’re the greatest things to break out at evening barbeques and movies in the park. Because I had a bunch in my closet, this was a no-brainer.

Sip sip hooray!: I haven’t used this one yet, but silly straws are pretty cheap at party supply stores, and I know preschool kids love a good straw so this one is in my future.

I have a ball with you: There are a lot of ball-themed phrases (“I hope your Valentine’s Day is a ball!”) to choose from, and my son’s 3-year-old class loved getting bouncy balls.IMG_7022

Eye heart youEyeHeartYou: This was perfect for my son’s pre-k class because he could glue the eyes on the card himself. It was a fun, different card without too much assembly or extra parts.

Friendship bracelets: This one is awesome for bigger kids — and maybe for a smaller group or cousins rather than a whole class of 22 kids.

Fruit with a message: This fun fruit project is super cute for your kid’s lunch or to give to teachers, bus drivers, etc. The site recommends edible ink for the pears and apples, so make sure you stick to the oranges and bananas if you don’t have edible ink lying around. (BTW, edible ink? You learn something new every day.)

For teachers: BeeingTeachers get a ton of candy, and while some probably do appreciate it, they also appreciate things that are useful and thoughtful (I was a teacher so I know this is true).

You’re my cup of tea: I love giving boxes of chamomile tea to our preschool teachers, because PRESCHOOL. Maybe the middle school teachers need caffeine. Totally customizable.

BEE-ing the best teacher: This is my new favorite because I’m a sucker for Burt’s Bees and I’m easily amused. I made my own, but there are a lot of printables out there to make it quick and easy.