Schools might start to reconsider reducing or eliminating their creative programs as more and more studies are released with the premise that a strong presence of art during adolescence instills more positive values than just creativity. This study says that bringing kids on field trips to cultural institutions like art museums helps them build essential life skills and character traits, such as critical-thinking skills, increased historical empathy, higher levels of tolerance, and a greater taste for art and culture.
My son, Jude, goes to a Montessori school, and they have pretty strict rules about what they’re allowed to bring to their classroom holiday parties. Topping that list with a few implied underlines and exclamation points is “no candy.” So when candy-centric holidays roll around, like Valentine’s day for example, I’m usually at a loss for what to send in for Jude to hand out to all 24 of his pals in class.
Now, instead of being able to roll into CVS on the night before the holiday to pick up mini red-and-pink chocolates to hand out with his SpongeBob valentines, I actually have to spend time researching and assembling gifts that don’t involve candy.
If you find yourself in a similar pinch, you’re in luck! I’ve compiled a great list of non-candy valentines that are inexpensive, easy to put together and yet still cool enough to stand out in the sea of Disney princesses and Nickelodeon stars. (Or, I guess, depending on the age of your kids, One Direction and Star Wars?) In fact, most of the ideas I’ve gathered can be assembled with items from the dollar store – super easy and perfect if you’re on a budget, like me.
Melted Crayon DIY
I did this last year with Jude and it was a huge hit. We melted a ton of his old crayons into a silicon heart mold I found at the dollar store. Just pop them in the oven at 250 for about 10 minutes and voila! We used little glue dots (also found at the dollar store) to stick them to hearts we cut out of card stock. Find directions here.
Lightsaber Glow Stick Card
This is awesome for a variety of reasons. I found these super cute printables – and you can get a ton of glow sticks at the dollar store!
Print out or hand write a note and attach it with cute ribbon. This one says, “You blow me away, valentine!”
My daughter, Ripley, is a fan of the unconventional. She dresses her dinosaurs up to look like princesses. She liked the prince in “Beauty and the Beast” better when he was Beast. So, I may just do this cool bug card for her preschool class.
If bugs aren’t your thing, you can always go for the big pack of wild animals and use this awesome print out from Design Mom.
Or send sea creature cards. You can get the print out at Haley’s Daily Blog.
Jude would love these. And I love the pun. Whoopee! It’s Valentine’s Day! Check out the blog to get your print out.
I don’t know what it is about these things, but my kids lose their minds for little bouncy rubber balls – especially if they can get them from the quarter machine at the local diner by our house. So if your kids are like mine, this might be your best valentine choice yet! Dixie Delights has the print out to make this valentine.
If you still want to send a valentine snack, but need to stay away from candy, try goldfish crackers or teddy grahams with these punfully silly valentine messages. Get your print outs for the goldfish at BacklessShirt.blogspot.com
Help your little hipster get a little more hip, unless they were already into mustaches before they were cool. Check ‘em out here.
At first it may seem impossible to think of a Valentine’s Day gift that doesn’t involve candy, but once you dig a little bit, you’ll find there are a ton of really great ideas out there for your kids. I hope these helped you get some ideas! If you went with one of these, or found something else, I’d love to see it.
Post your pictures in the comments!