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A Guide to Non-Candy Valentines

Every holiday seems to have its traditions, so many of which revolve around food, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The aisles of every store are littered with heart shaped boxes stuffed with mysterious truffles, and chalky (yet encouraging) candy hearts…

convo hearts

We are not anti-candy in our house. However, I’d like to finish off what’s left of the Trick-or-Treat buckets to make room for the chocolate bunnies and Cadberry Eggs.

If you’re looking for non-candy Valentines, the internet {Pinterest, specifically} is a wealth of knowledge. Seriously, what did we do before search engines? (Enter snide remark about the demise of originality and imagination here.)

Many of the ideas circulating recommended pencils, bracelets, bouncy balls, rulers… similar to a lot of party favors. Add a clever saying, and viola…a Valentine!

Depending on the age of the kids and the amount of time you want to spend, there are all sorts of doable options out there. Here are a few cute ones I found during my own research:

You Rule Valentine
Forceful Valentines
Friendship Bracelet Valentines

Since my son has a relatively small pre-school class, and he’s not really at an age to get super into it yet, I wanted to see if I could get away with making Valentines with materials we already had. Here’s what I came up with.


Materials Needed:

White Cardstock (or Index Cards)
Baker’s Twine or Waxed Cotton…basically anything sturdier than thread but thinner than regular jute twine will work here
Small Toys (I used animals because they are gender neutral and provide good fodder for catchy little phrases.)

I had some odd-shaped cardstock for a bookmark project I never got around to, and I created my template in Word based on those measurements. (Simply add columns if you plan on cutting the card in half like I did.)


I used a variety of phrases, but tried to make sure there were at least two of each so that no one would feel singled out (just in case any of the two or three year olds in my son’s class are actually reading and comparing, of course.)


I’m Bananas Over You
Happy Valentine’s Day, You Animal You
I’m WILD About You
You Make My Heart Roar
{And my personal favorite…} I’m Glad We’re In the Same School for two little orphan fish that I threw into the mix

At any rate, print the cards and cut them to their desired size.

Position the animals on the cardstock and poke a hole on either side.



I started with a t-pin because it has a sharp point, but it wasn’t quite thick enough. I switched to a nail, which was a little bit too large. I’m confident there are specific tools out there for this job, so if you’re a crafty scrapbooker, please feel free to share your wisdom.

Thread the twine around the toy, into the holes and secure around the back. I secured the twine that held the heavier animals with a piece of tape since I’m going to cover it up anyway.


You can either let your kid sign the backs of the cards as they are, or simply glue these cards onto a slightly larger piece of cardstock (I used some patterned scrapbook paper I had leftover from a birthday party).


Let’s be honest. Until kids get a little bit older and get to enjoy the process with us, we’re really doing this for ourselves and the other parents. I constantly have to quiet the voices in my head that are not-so-secretly hoping everyone will think I’m an amazing mom.

The picture-perfect posts on Pinterest can be a bit intimidating and rarely capture the messy parts of the artistic process.

Bottom line, let your kids be kids…they have the whole rest of their lives to worry about impressing others.

What are your ideas for DIY Valentines?

3 Responses to A Guide to Non-Candy Valentines

  1. Isis Hargrave February 12, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Love what you did! I did the tubes of bubbles for Jack and his class. They actually have 11 in their class! But the pack of 4 bubbles was only $1.99 at Target and then I printed the tags from home. Not too shabby.

  2. Emily Strong February 12, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Last year I perused the dollar bins at JoAnn’s with my kid and he found these little mini sweepers and dust pans. We put “You SWEEP me away, Valentine” on them and they were a huge hit. Everyone who knows me and my very methodical child thought it fit us to a tee 🙂 I LOVE non-candy Valentine’s!

  3. Anna February 12, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    I love this, Jody!

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