While it’s fun to attach candy to children’s valentine’s, these days it’s a much better idea to include a small toy or novelty item instead. More than ever, food allergies are on the rise, putting some kids at great risk if a candy treat contains an allergen such as eggs, gluten, or even high fructose corn syrup. Furthermore, even parents who aren’t dealing with food allergies affecting their children, may appreciate a non-candy gift to help limit their child’s sugar intake.
Some store bought valentines already come with alternative gifts such as tattoos, stickers or pencils, but for those making homemade valentines, the possibilities are unlimited. Some fun valentine candy alternatives are listed below.
Crayon hearts – melt broken crayons in a heart-shaped muffin pan, then let cool. The result is a heart-shaped crayon that even young children can grip and use to create colorful artwork.
Plastic animals – put these together with valentines that say “I’m wild about you!,” “You moove me, Valentine,” or “You’re beary sweet!”
Play-doh molds or cookie cutters – include a message that says “You’ve made quite an imprint on my heart, Valentine.”
Super balls / bouncy balls – the valentine message could read, “Have a ball on Valentine’s Day!” or “I’m having a ball being your friend.”
Glow sticks, glow necklaces, or highlighter markers – thread them through cardstock valentines that say “You light up my life, Valentine!” or “You make every day brighter, Valentine!”
Mustache-shaped whistles – join the mustache craze with a valentine that says “Because you’re so cool, I mus-tache you to be my valentine.”
Small baggie of Lego – Lego is a big hit with many children. The message can be as simple as “We’re building our friendship one brick at a time, valentine,” or “The friendship we’ve built makes me smile!”
Silly straws – thread silly straws through valentines just below some stick-on googly eyes with a message that reads, “You make me laugh, Valentine” or “The best times are laughing with you.”
Disc shooters – this simple toy is tons of fun because kids love to see how far they fly. Include a message that says “Near or far, we’ll always be friends,” “You’re a far-out friend!,” or “Have a Valentine’s Day that soars!”
Beyond these candy alternatives, paddle balls, stencils, bubbles, small craft kits, quarters, ball and maze puzzles, tiny flashlights, novelty erasers, mini markers, and metal brain teaser puzzles also make great additions to valentines for kids.