After years and years of trying to do homemade valentines with my children, I have finally settled on shortcuts. We love making valentines. We love cutting out hearts. We love getting messy with glue and glitter, and I love encouraging my kids to give gifts/cards that are personal and thoughtful. But, HELLLLLLOOOO! There are 30 kids in EACH of my kid’s classes, and my kids lose complete interest after making the first 6 cards (actually…most of the time they lose interest after the first 2)! I have learned over the years that 60 homemade valentines is not feasible (or in any way enjoyable) for my family. I can’t let go though (I blame my super-crafty and creative mother for getting in my head) of my desire to do something a little bit homemade or a little bit personal for this holiday. If done right, it’s also such a fun activity with the kiddos. Enter…the shortcuts.
The Best Shortcuts For Making ‘Homemade’ Valentines
1. Paper Source Valentine Kits: My Personal Favorite Shortcut
I discovered this a couple years ago. Paper Source makes awesome Valentine Kits that are easy and fast, but still give the kids just enough room for creativity that it’s not a chore (and they still feel a little bit personalized.) I’m not usually a fan of kits, but when you’re making 60 Valentines, I think this is the way to go! I make hot chocolate (we try not to spill on the materials), and we have a little family valentine-making party. I put together a few of the valentines, the kids make most of them, and then their dad sits down and spends an hour making just one (he’s the slow, slow, slow creator in our family)….Then the kids write some names on them and we’re done. I especially like the ones that give room to be silly with the designs…makes it super-fun as a family activity. Upside down mouths used as eyebrows, sunglasses used as bowties, one googly eye instead of two to make a one-eyed monster…keeps things interesting.
2. The Photocopier, Stickers & Stamps: My 3 HEROES of the Homemade Valentine
Another way we’ve done homemade valentines is getting out tons of stickers, a few stamps (because stickers and stamps are much faster and easier than drawing, painting, or cutting out a million hearts), pre-folded cards and envelopes, and I let the kids go to town. I have them write a message (ONCE!!!) and then I photocopy their message and signature, and we glue dot it in to the card. Done.
3. A TREAT: What the Kids in the Class REALLY Want
If your school allows it, forget the Valentine’s Day card and send in a treat wrapped in a cute bag instead. It’s really what the kids ACTUALLY want, right? I try to limit the sugar my kids get day-to-day, but I’m a total sucker for sugary holiday treats, sugary special occasion treats, sugary random surprise treats…hmmm…did I really say I try to limit sugar? Rice Krispie Treats or Chocolate Covered Pretzels are my usual go-to because Rice Krispie Treats are fast and easy, and chocolate covered pretzels are fun to make with the kids’ help. Or…have the kids help you put something store bought (maybe something NOT sugary) into a cute bag and call it a day. Use that photo copier again to make a little note with their photocopied handwritten “Happy Valentines Day! ” and photocopied signature. Has been so much easier for us than writing the same exact thing over and over and over and over 30 times! Attach the note to a treat bag with glue dots or punch a hole in the note and tie it with ribbon.
I want to give some serious kudos to those of you who can pull off ACTUAL homemade valentines. I have a good friend who does it, and I SO look forward each year to seeing their card in my little one’s bag. They are adorable and personal and creative, but I do know that they start early and enlist a bit of grandmother help as well. Maybe that’s the key. Mom! Just think of what my kids could be doing if you moved to Philly! Hint, hint, hint.
Happy Valentine’s Day! And PLEASE let me know what other shortcuts you guys have for cute Valentines! Always so happy to hear your ideas.
You just solved my Milwaukee polar vortex snow day dilemma! Going out to buy those Paper Source cuties before hunkering down on Wednesday and Thursday. Great idea, as usual.
Yay! I’m so glad! I love EVERY SINGLE THING from Paper Source…it’s such a dangerous shopping spot for me. Have fun (and hope you stay warm of course…..brrrrr!)
Thank you!! This is outstanding!!
I don’t even have kids and I want to buy this stuff and make valentines. So fun!
Go for it!!! How excited would your friends be to get a little homemade valentine from you. I have actually given out valentines in years past to the dry cleaners, the “fruit store lady”, crossing guards, etc with a little homemade treat and a gift card when I haven’t gotten my act together to give December holiday gifts. I think it can be nice to receive little gifts when you’re not expecting them.
Cute ideas but do you have any options for eco-friendly valentines? Maybe something on recycled paper, no plastic, something plantable maybe? But still just as easy. I’m SO not crafty.
So PaperSource actually has ADORABLE plantable hearts that you could give out. You can also find the same type of thing on Amazon here https://rstyle.me/n/dfi3nccfmv7. I think that would be such a fun environmental gift–if you wanted to push yourself (crafting wise) you could make a little envelope to put them in with a stapler and paper from your recycling bin, but that does require a bit more effort and is definitely not a shortcut. Ha!
We went homemade this year (kindergarten) for the simple reason that my guy could not write his name in those tiny spaces they give you on the store bought valentines. And instead of being a chore, it was actually fun. I used folded cardstock- plenty of room to write his name inside- and had him decorate them with heart stickers and decorative tape plus the hearts I had cut out the night before (in front of the fire with a glass of wine). They weren’t sure fancy but I really liked the way they came out.