When I was little, every Valentine’s Day morning there was a box of conversation hearts at our place at the table. I loved that, and so I wanted to find something to do for my own kids each year. I tried the conversation hearts, but the kids didn’t really like the taste. I tried making heart-shaped pancakes, but that ended in a temper tantrum. (Mine. It turns out I am more the sort of person who serves cereal in heart-shaped bowls.) I tried small boxes of chocolates (the kind made for kids, with a puppy or a panda or whatever on the heart-shaped front, and 4-6 pieces of chocolate inside), but the chocolates weren’t very yummy even for children.
One year I was out shopping before Valentine’s Day and the couple of kids with me went NUTS over the giant Hershey Kisses at the store. I went back later secretly and bought one for each kid, and they loved them, so that’s what I’ve done every year since—even now that they’re marked “#1 Teacher,” which, if you ask me, and I realize you haven’t, is a silly and limiting thing to do.
But perhaps your child responds to giant Hershey Kisses the way mine did to the boxes of assorted chocolates. Or perhaps your child has allergies, or gets too many candies from the classroom exchange already, or already gets the giant Hershey Kiss from the grandparents. In that case, I have some other, non-food ideas.
Melissa and Doug Heart Beads Set (photo from Amazon.com). (That one looks like it’s about to sell out; here’s another option, and another.)
Human Anatomy Heart (photo from Amazon.com). Ha ha, gross. But for the right child, this would be hilarious and awesome. (Here’s another option.)
A Valentine’s BOOK. This wins you the parenting award for educational/enriching holiday-celebrating! I’d choose this Phineas and Ferb one (photo from Amazon.com).
Clothes (photo from OldNavy.com). Well, clearly this will not be for every child. For some children, this would be like unwrapping a package of plain white underpants on Christmas morning. But for children who like clothes, this is more like opening a package of super-fantastic SUPER-HERO underpants on Christmas morning, except it would be Valentine’s Day morning. Elizabeth likes clothes very much, and would be happy with, for example, the $4 heart tights from Target and a clearance Valentine’s Day shirt bought last year.
Lego Heart Box (photo from Amazon.com). I wish there was a review or two about this, because there’s not much information but it looks kind of awesome.
Heart stickers (photo from Amazon.com). This would have been my second favorite after candy, when I was a child. Stickers! Lots of different ones! (These would be good as a craft supply, too, if your kids are making their valentines this year.) And if you’re mailing a Valentine’s Day card to a child, this sticker booklet would fit well into a greeting card.