From traditional cards to handmade notes to baked treats, there are plenty of sweet ways for kids to express their appreciation for teachers and classmates.
Cookie and cupcake lovers of all ages will treasure something home-baked and decorated by hand, even if it starts with a mix.
- Almost homemade. Cut refrigerator sugar cookie dough into heart shapes and decorate with icing and candy sprinkles; bake as directed. Place each cookie in a plastic bag and tie with red ribbon. Cut out paper hearts for gift tags.
- Love me tender. These Black Bottom Cupcakes come with a gooey cream cheese center, so there's no need for icing. To add a secret message, place a large conversation heart candy in the cream cheese just before baking.
- Sweet heart. It might not come in a box from Tiffany's, but this butter cookie necklace is better than bling! Make it a key chain instead of a necklace by shortening the red licorice strand.
Let the kids take the lead when it comes to choosing or making Valentine's Day cards.
- One and all. Encourage kids to include all classmates on their Valentine's Day list so no one feels left out. Be sure to remember teachers and school staff, too.
- Think inside the box. Allow kids to buy boxed cards if that's their preference, but help them personalize the sentiment by decorating envelopes with stickers, stamps and drawings.
- Get creative. You don't have to spend money on commercial valentines--create something unique instead. Use a cookie cutter to trace heart shapes on red or pink cardstock or construction paper. Cut out pictures from magazines for charming collages. Recycle old valentines: mount fronts of cards on heavy red or pink paper or flattened cupcake liners, and decorate with ribbon bows.
- Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Check out poetry books from the library to help older kids think about messages to put on their valentines.
- Poets who know it. Have younger kids pen poetry using a "Roses are Red, Violets are blue" theme. Or show them how to write a love note that expresses why they appreciate someone: "How do I like you? Let me count the ways…"
Check out these delightful recipes for edible, sharable valentines.