Why Do Candy-Free Valentine’s Matter?
If you have a child with food allergies or who is limited on what they can eat for other medical reasons, you understand how difficult class parties and events can be. I remember the sadness my son felt when he was little and he couldn’t have any of the Valentine’s his classmates passed out because of his Crohn’s disease. Our culture centers most activities around food. This is hard enough for holidays that aren’t entirely centered on candy. Valentine’s Day is an especially difficult holiday because the kids give each other notes and little gifts, that are typically candy. Not only is this hard for the children who can’t participate, but it is also not really healthy for any of the kids to have that much candy. Hence, I am all about finding alternatives that don’t involve food!
Getting Crafty Is Fun
Because of this, we turned making Valentine’s into an event when our kids were little. I would get out the construction paper, scissors, glue, stickers, markers, etc and we would get crafting. Even as preschoolers I had my kids participate in making the Valentine’s they gave their classmates. It became an event they looked forward to each year. You can go basic and print already made cards and have your child help assemble the items and sign their name
(click the words on the list below for links to free printables), or you can start with the basics and craft the cards (see video) or even craft the trinket to go with them (see the video at the end of this blog post on how to make a heart shaped rainbow crayon).
Inexpensive Items You Can Use For Valentine’s
I am a firm believer that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to be festive. Below is a list of Valentine’s ideas you can get from your local Dollar Store. Most of these items come in kits of 8 to 12 items, so you can keep your costs very low to make enough for the class. Again, the blue words are a link to a free printable Valentine card you can use with this item and the words after it are suggested Valentine’s messages you can use if you make your own Valentine’s cards using construction paper or stickers.
- bubbles – Valentine, I’m blown away by your smile OR Be mine before I burst!
- tattoo – Valentine, you left your mark on me.
- playdough – You’re a-DOUGH-able
- sunglasses – You are my sunshine! OR I’ve got my eyes on you! OR You brighten my day!
- top – You’re at the top of my list!
- bouncy ball – Let’s have a BALL Valentine!
- homemade heart crayon – You are the color in my life.
- glowstick – Valentine, let your light shine! OR You light up the world! or YODA best (Star Wars theme)
- crazy straw -You’re ex-STRAW special!
- dinosaur figurine – It feels like you’ve been my friendasaurus forever!
- kazoo or harmonica – You bring music to the world! or You make my heart sing!
- yo-yo – You rolled right into my heart.
- toy snake – Valentine, you’re s-s-s-s-s-s-pecial!
Video Tutorial For Melted Crayon Hearts
Wrapping it Up – Thanks from a mom of a sick kid!
Whether you choose to make the works from scratch or print the cards and assemble the items, I encourage you to consider giving non-food Valentine’s this year. It is important for children to learn that you don’t have to eat junk in order to celebrate and their classmates who have food restrictions will be thrilled to be able to join in the fun!
Dr. Marci Hardy – Ben Bender