Want budget-friendly valentines that are cute and easy to make? Here are 11 non-candy valentine ideas for kids to give to classmates, plus free printable cards to go with each one!
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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re a mom with school-age kids, you know the excitement that comes with preparing for classroom celebrations. Have you figured out what kind of valentines your child will give to his or her classmates this year?
There’s no one right answer to the valentine question. Most years, I’m a store-bought valentines kind of mom, and I’m happy to keep it simple.
Occasionally, I get the itch to do something a little more crafty and homemade. Two years ago, I made “fancy” valentines with my preschooler. It really wasn’t that fancy. We just bought playdough and attached some cute tags to the containers. It was a fun project to work on with him during a time when I had the time and bandwidth for a little extra effort.
I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and it’s okay for you to change from year to year, too.
If you’re in a busy stage of life (or just don’t want to put your energy into valentines), it’s completely OKAY to go simple. Need a reminder? Read this…Why I’m not making cutesy, Pinterest-perfect valentines this year. It’s a post I wrote several years ago when I was in a different stage and did NOT have the time for cute valentine projects.
On the flipside, there’s nothing wrong with getting crafty and making “Pinterest” valentines. Just make sure that if you decide to go that route it’s because it’s fun for you…not because you feel obligated.
Can we all agree that the valentines we send to school are NOT a measure of how devoted we are as parents? I know that seems silly, but I think I’m not the only one who needs the reminder from time to time.
Whatever you decide is best for you this year, I have some great ideas for creative and affordable valentines kids will love. Some involve a little DIY. Others are pre-made and super easy. None of them are overly fussy (because that’s not how I roll) nor are they expensive. I don’t want to spend more than five or ten dollars on valentines (per kid), and I’m guessing you can think of more exciting ways to spend your money, too.
Bonus: All of these valentine ideas are food free, so if you are concerned about being allergy-friendly or you just want to keep things a little healthier, I’ve got you covered!
Ready for the ideas?
Browse the list below, pick one, buy it, and check “valentines for school” off your list for this year.
Done and done, mamas!
Fun & Affordable Non-candy Valentine Ideas for Kids
Heart-shaped pop fidget key-chains
Pop fidget toys are so popular right now, and these heart-shaped keychain ones are perfect for Valentine’s Day (and SUPER affordable for a set of 30). Pair them with a cute free printable note and you’re all set!
Pop fidget bracelets
More pop fidgets, I know, but what can I say? Kids love them! These bracelet-style ones even include pre-printed cards, so they’re just as easy as grocery store, except you don’t have to leave the house. Win!
Playdough is a preschool staple, and it’s what my youngest son and I decided to give his preschool class a couple of years ago. There were only 10 kids in his class, so I splurged a little and got the full size containers. You could also use the mini “party pack” containers, especially if you’re dealing with a larger class size. Get the free printable for this valentine idea here.
We have and love these little mini dinosaur toys. They’re perfect for sensory bins and all kids of imaginative play. There are 60 in the pack, which is enough for two classes if you have two dino-loving kids. And there are a TON of options for free printable dino valentine cards to use with them!
My kids are obsessed with squishies! They’re cute, they’re fun to play with, and there are tons of different kinds to collect. Bonus for us as parents…they’re really inexpensive, so they make a great Valentine’s Day gift. If you have multiple children, you can get a really big pack for under $20. And these free printable cards from Skip to My Lou are a perfect pairing.
Colorful crazy straws are another fun non-candy valentine option. Print these “crazy awesome” cards, punch a couple of holes in each one, and you have a fun and unique gift for your child’s classmates!
For younger kids, crayons make a great valentine gift, especially if you have extra boxes of crayons stashed away because you got a little overly excited about back-to-school sales (like I did). Print a simple free card, and attach 3 crayons of different colors to it using colorful washi tape. Done!
Grab some Valentine’s Day pencils from the dollar store (or Amazon) and attach them to a free printable card that says, “You’re all write!”. I love that pencils are something that kids can actually use, especially at school! These rainbow pencil valentines are also really fun (or these). They’re a little more expensive than buying dollar store pencils, but they include the cards.
Glow sticks are super cheap, and kids love them, which makes them perfect for Valentine’s Day! I love this minimalist free printable valentine that really make the colors of the glow sticks pop! Just print, cut, punch a couple of holes, and thread the glowstick through. Tada!
Are you familiar with wacky tracks? They’re a fun little fidget toy that my boys love to play with in the car or any other time they’re bored. Small packs of them are little more expensive, but if you’re buying a bigger pack to use for multiple kids, it gets really affordable. Last year, I bought enough for all three of my boys’ classes for around twenty dollars. They loved it, and I loved using the same thing for everybody. Simple! Want the free printable I used? Download it here.
Still want more non-candy valentine ideas? Consider these:
Did you find an idea you love? There are so many creative non-candy valentine ideas to choose from!
Happy Valentine’s Day!