As soon as a candy filled holiday ends, another begins. Such is life. I still have Halloween candy sitting high on a shelf away from little hands – I should probably throw that away. And let’s not mention the Christmas candy that is still hanging out because everyone is truly bored with chocolate Santas. We get a month of candy detox (kind of) and then it’s on to Valentine’s day. Although, I do believe that the Valentine’s day candy was out on the shelves even before the Advent calendar candy ran out. We are on to another holiday that promises gifts of chocolates and sugar filled dreams.
If you have kids in school, it is pretty customary to exchange Valentine’s cards and more often than not, those are accompanied by a treat. If your kids are like my kids, they come home with a stash as big as the Halloween candy heist.
If you are done with being the parent who is leading the competition by sending in the most sugar, take a stand this year and opt for a healthier treat, or even better, give a non-food treat. Parents all over the school will envy your healthy approach to Valentine’s day.
Here are my top 10 choices for non-candy treats this year:
- Oranges: Nowadays, all it takes is a quick search on Pinterest to find a cute little tag to add to your orange gift. My favorite is the “orange you glad we’re friends”. You can’t go wrong with that.
- Play-doh: What kid doesn’t love play-doh? You can make your own, or if you are time deprived, it’s pretty cheap to buy in bulk packages and give out a single tub to each kid.
- Popcorn: There are a ton of allergies in classrooms and it can be hard to find a snack that everyone can eat. If you air pop your own popcorn, jazz it up with some spices and put it in individual bags, your kid will be the class superhero.
- Sidewalk chalk: It’s always sidewalk chalk season and I know most parents buy this every year. Put a few sticks of sidewalk chalk in individuals bags attached to the Valentine note and you have given a child an instant after school activity.
- Rainbow Loom Bracelets: If you have a child who is a master at the loom, start working now to personalize each bracelet for each person in class. Boys and girls alike will appreciate the gift that can be worn right away. Better yet, all the bracelets could be done in class/school colors to give everyone the opportunity to show school spirit.
- Bubbles: Head to the dollar store and pick up some bubbles for each of the kids in class. Sometimes, these are even cheaper than $1, you just need to know where to look. Everyone loves bubbles and you might make the teacher jealous that they didn’t get any.
- Pencils: This one may be a no brainer. We are at the time in the year that teachers may be running low on pencils with good erasers and everyone would probably appreciate a new pencil or two. Pencils are cheaper than candy, so don’t worry about breaking the bank with this one.
- Fun Straws: Probably the biggest hit at every holiday for my kids – cool twisty straws. Even if they only last for one use, they are worth it – because really, you only get to eat a piece of candy once. Makes sense, right?
- Bookmarks: These can either be homemade or bought and are great for older kids who are reading bigger books. Kids always seem to lose their bookmarks, so it is nice to have a few extra hanging around.
- Coloring page and a pack of crayons: Printing out a coloring page at home is economical and fun when you get to personalize the picture to each child. Roll it up and attach a few crayons or an entire pack will give a fun activity right away when the kids return home.
Forgo the stickers, little tiny notepads and stampers that parents loathe and throw away as soon as Junior looks away. There will always be parents that send candy, so don’t feel like Sally will be left out of the traditional customs of Valentine’s Day party. You should never worry about your children not getting enough sugar – they will always find a way to satisfy the sugar fix.
Have a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day.