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Feb 042014
 February 4, 2014  Posted by  DIY, Family, Features, Holiday, Hot Deals
sample of packaging

Things have changed since I grew up, but at least one thing is still the same — kids passing out Valentines to their classmates. When I was a kid, we went to the drugstore or card store, bought a box of paper Valentines with our favorite cartoon character, addressed and signed them and we were good to go.

Of course, that’s still possible and very common. But considering that Valentine’s Day is my second-favorite holiday (after Christmas) and the fact that I love to make sweet treats, my kids and I usually go a bit more DIY for the holiday of love (or like). And thanks to Pinterest and the Internet in general, there’s no shortage of ideas for what you can create. Some of them are pretty time-consuming, some can be costly and some just don’t turn out like they look on the computer screen. So here are several simple and affordable valentines you and your kiddos can make that their classmates will love.

Some can be given just as is. But others, like the foods, will need packaging. I find a simple fold-over type baggie works great. To seal, I simply take a wide rectangle of construction paper, fold it in half the long way, place the baggie top between the two halves and staple. Then my kids can address, sign, and sticker-up the paper. Check the picture for a better idea.

homemade marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallow Hearts: Believe it or not, these are incredibly easy. You’ll note the recipe makes ghosts, but just swap in small heart-shaped cookie cutters and you’re all set. I originally planned to dip them in chocolate, but it was way too messy and difficult. The chocolate coating on the tops with a few Valentine’s sprinkles, however, were delicious. You could also skip the chocolate and add a wee bit of red food coloring to the mixture for pink hearts. These lasted very well for several days, so you could easily make them in advance.

conversation heart cakes

Conversation Heart Mini Cakes: Again, pretty easy, but you must be patient and let frosting dry well so you can write on them. I was not patient enough, which is why mine have no writing, and you’ll notice some of the frosting on the bags. I also choose to pack them as cake pops by sticking a plastic fork into the bottom of each (made for easy eating too).

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies: This is in the running for what my daughter will pass out this year. I think the puddle of white frosting in the middle would be the perfect place for her to personalize and sign a cookie for each of her classmates.

Valentines Chocolate Pretzels: Package a couple of these up the way I described above and it’ll look like you went all out. Only you’ll know how incredibly easy they really were.

Rice Krispie Hearts: Simple and yummy. You can choose to dip them in milk or white chocolate or leave them plain. You may decide on pops with sticks or just as is. Any way you choose, sure to be a hit.

If you’re looking for a non-food Valentine, here are some adorable ones:

Bouncy Ball Valentine: You could find bags of bouncy balls quite inexpensive at Michaels or other craft supply stores.

Heart-Shaped Crayons: Always a big hit, plus a great way to get rid of all your old, broken bits of crayon. If you don’t have the fancy paper cutter used on this site (I don’t) you could easily use red or pink construction paper decorated with some valentine’s stickers.

Homemade Bookmarks: Think about making some of these, too. The kids would have lots of fun picking out the different patterns of scrapbook paper for the backgrounds and if your kids are anything like mine, they love to use the paper hole puncher. This style is pretty cute, too.

If you’ve got a Rainbow Loomer in your house, here are lots of cute phrases and cards you can use to attach bracelets too, along with some charms and loom heart lollipops that could be a fun extra. I even found a loom valentine necklace.

We’re big into Star Wars lately and I think my son will love these May the Force Be With You valentines using glow sticks. For ones without a picture of your child, check out these  and these. You can usually  find five and 10-pack glow sticks pretty inexpensively at craft supply stores like Michaels and AC Moore, or the Target $1 bins.

If none of these tickle your fancy, here’s a substantial list of cheesy cute sayings along with a coordinating food to go with it. Simply pick a fun font, type up your saying multiple times, print on cardstock, cut out, and attach the food. You know things like “I chews you as my Valentine” on a package of gum, “You rock Valentine” on a package of pop rocks, or “You blow me away Valentine” on bubbles.

If you’re lucky (and crafty) you might just have all, or at least most, of the materials you’ll need to make any of these.  If not, its all fairly inexpensive, so you won’t be spending a fortune.

Heidi McIndoo

is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, author, and bargain hunter. She loves saving money and finding great deals, and can’t help but share the wealth when she does. She also loves all things food: baking, cooking, buying, eating, and more. She’s written about nutrition and healthy eating for Parents, Woman’s Day, All You, Prevention, and more. She enjoys teaching people how to eat both nutritiously and deliciously. And, in her two latest books she does just that — When to Eat What and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 200-300-400 Calorie Meals. She lives with her family in the Metro Boston area.

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