I hope that this post will not give you the impression that I disapprove of candy at Valentine’s Day, or that I avoid it. FAR FROM IT. I give my own kids a candy gift, and I like that they come home with a little assortment of treats from school, too: it’s nice to have a candy holiday in between Christmas and Easter, just to keep the spirits up in the cold sad part of winter.
But I know enough from seeing/hearing OTHER people discuss it that not everyone is of the same mind. For those who are trying to avoid candy for various reasons but still would like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a gift for the kids, here are a few ideas:
Sticky Mosaics heart box (photo from Amazon.com). I have mentioned Sticky Mosaics often enough that you already know we’re fans at my house. This heart box is a fun project we’ve also given as birthday-party gifts.
Hide ‘n’ Peek Chocolates game (photo from Amazon.com). If you look at the reviews, you’ll see that a lot of people thought this was a good Valentine’s Day gift for a child, and that unfortunately there is one main problem with it: the lid doesn’t fit on right. So it kind of depends on how important that feature is for the game to be a success. If you’re going to store it in a bin anyway (if you’re like me and wouldn’t want to assemble the toy every time you put it away, for example), it won’t matter—but it might be disappointing anyway.
ThinkFun Chocolate Fix (photo from Amazon.com) might be a better option. My mom has this set at her house, and it’s gotten a lot of grandchild play time. Grown-ups get sucked into it, too. The pieces are appealing (they look like chocolates), and the little cards give clues about some of the chocolates that are supposed to help you figure out how to place all of the chocolates. It’s similar to puzzles like Sudoku, but cuter.
Aurora Hearts Pet Carrier (photo from Amazon.com). For kids who love stuffed animals, this is a darling set: a stuffed kitty and a little heart-patterned carrier. (You could probably put some surprise sweets or stickers in the carrier, too.)
We bought Elizabeth a Webkinz for Christmas, and it has gone over very well. The gift looks like a stuffed animal but is actually a year of access to a website where kids can care for their virtual pet, play games to earn “money” to buy it food, etc. The heart elephant (photo from Amazon.com) is my favorite of the Valentine’s Day line, but there’s also a lion, a monkey, and a frog. Or I might prefer to avoid the heart-patterned theme but still find something that looked Valentinesy: the pink poodle, for example, or the pink and white cat, the pink platypus, the pink yorkie, the pink dalmation, etc.
Heart Tangrams Puzzle (photo from Amazon.com). This would be good for grown-ups, but also good for 14-year-old boys who are FAR TOO AWESOME to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Just for example.
Also see last year’s list of ideas, which includes beads, a Lego heart box, stickers, an anatomical heart model, etc.