I geek out on celebrating holidays, and Valentine’s Day is no different! I get all nostalgic about the treats I took to school as a kid, and it’s so fun to re-live that through my own three-year-old.
However, food allergies and more rules around what you can and can’t bring DOES make it a bit trickier to come up with ideas, so I’ve compiled a list of treats to get your creative juices flowing. (Not so into DIY? I’ve linked a couple easy-peasy “add to cart and done” solutions, as well!)
Here are 10 ideas for easy Valentines
Clementines (or other whole fruits)
Fruit is a great way to get away from the traditional candy treats, but still hand out something sweet. There are SO many cute puns you could use in your greeting. Clementines are a hit in our house, but you could do apples (“You’re the APPLE of my eye!”), pears (“we make a great PEAR”), little stems of grapes (“I like you a whole BUNCH!”)…and the list goes on.
I cut out leaves from cardstock, folded them to give them dimension, and attached with washi tape. A great option for nut-free, gluten-free classrooms.
You can find these in three packs at the dollar store, so the investment is minimal. You could tie on or add your own paper labels, or quickly create a sheet of printable labels in Word and give your kiddo the task of sticking them on. (Other message options: “I’m bubbling with love for you!” or “You make my heart pop!”)
Valentine Snack Mix
Some schools, ours included, don’t allow food products that are homemade, and must be in original packaging, so we’ll be saving this idea for our neighbor friends. Still, it’s nut-free and easy enough for even a toddler to participate in making.
I’m personally a “more is more” snacker, but you could whittle it down to a s’mores mix of teddy grahams, marshmallows, and m&ms or chocolate chips, or a personal favorite — the freeze dried strawberries and m&ms only (helloooo chocolate covered strawberry flavor).
I found the X&O pretzels in individual packages at Target in the Valentine section, but otherwise I just raided our pantry for various mix-ins.
You could bag servings of this with a tag or sticker that says something like “Xs, Os, and other sweet stuff!” (Yes, we did sneak a little candy into this one!) Even if you don’t hand this one out, it’s fun to keep on hand at home.
It doesn’t get easier this idea. While string cheese calls for refrigeration, obviously, it could be handed out at the classroom party, or packed into your kiddo’s lunch on the 14th. You could add heart stickers or write on the wrapper, “Not to be cheesy…but Happy VDay!” Done and done.
Tape and Trinkets
You can take this one in a million directions. Blank index cards and some fun washi tape are all you need. We opted for race cars and a road design of tape, but you could do little army men and camo tape, flavored chapsticks and a tape design with lips/XO. The possibilities are endless! I found my washi tape on Etsy, but local craft stores carry zillions of designs as well.
Is DIY not your jam?
I love these minimal-effort Valentine ideas:
- a set of plastic shovels with notes that say “I dig you” included
- if your kid borderline survives on the GoGo applesauce pouches like mine does, grab a box at Costco and wrap them in the brand’s free printable sleeves
- these donut patches are beyond cute, and all the work is done for you
Don’t forget the teachers!
Starbys gift cards are always a winner, or you could do something for them to pamper themselves with — a nice hand lotion and a facial mask is always a great combo. In our classroom, we have male and female teachers, so I try to keep it neutral. (You could use this same greeting with Goldfish crackers, as well.)