By Cora L. Diekman

Published on January 14, 2016

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Photography by blissbloomblog.com

goldfish bowl valentines

Skip the candy this Valentine’s Day and opt for a clever bowl of Goldfish crackers instead. Big kids will have fun creating these by hand with craft paper and markers, but you can also take a shortcut with an easy printable cut-out version. Place your fish bowl inside a sandwich bag and drop in a handful of Goldfish crackers, making sure they fall in front of the bowl. Then, close the bag with the seal of your choice, like ribbon, decorative tape, or tiny clothespins (all available at craft supply stores). Baby Goldfish crackers work best for this project, but any size will do.

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Photography by relocatedliving.com

“you rule” valentines

Gift classmates with a school-appropriate Valentine this year with these adorably wrapped rulers. For kids who like a DIY, this craft requires red construction paper cut into strips, markers, and either heart stickers or glue, and red glitter for the embellishment. To secure the ruler, either cut slits into construction paper strips with scissors, or simply wrap paper around the rulers and secure with tape or glue. Take a shortcut by printing your Valentine message onto the construction paper before cutting into strips.

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Photography by craftymorning.com

crabby critter valentines

For little ones who enjoy projects with safety scissors, this is a fun way to exercise fine motor skills. The only supplies needed for this DIY are red and white craft paper, scissors, a black marker, and glue. Follow the tutorial above to create the correct shapes for constructing your crabby critter, and consider upgrading paper eyes to stick-on googly eyes for added fun. Shorten cutting time by stacking several pieces of paper together before cutting out your shapes.

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Photography by Agnes Hsu via Hello Wonderful

threaded heart valentines

To create these adorable hearts, kids will need white cardstock, light worsted (aka thin) yarn, a large threading needle, a pencil with eraser, and heart template (like a cookie cutter). Using the cookie cutter, lightly trace the shape of a heart on the center of the card. Then use the threading needle to carefully punch holes along the shape of the heart, and once finished, erase the pencil mark. Thread the needle, and criss-cross yard across the shape of the heart until all of the holes are threaded, and tie off on the back when finished. For a multi-colored heart, tie off yarn after threading only a few holes and then switch to a different color, using as many shades as you like.

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Photography by dandee-designs.com

friendship bracelet valentines

This simple Valentine is another fun candy-free way to share V-Day wishes with classmates. For this project, simply braid embroidery thread or yarn to create the strap, and thread through a piece of cardstock decorated with a personalized Valentine message. A hole punch is needed to create the holes for the strap, and you can avoid all cutting by purchasing an individual die cutter (for any shape you like) from a local craft store to create the large paper charm.

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Photography by createitgirl.com

paint sample bookmark valentines

One of the simplest DIY Valentines you can make, these seriously cute paint sample bookmarks come together in a snap. After collecting enough paint swatches from your local home improvement store, use a heart-shaped hole punch (available at craft stores) to create holes in each color block and then create a round hole for attaching a ribbon at the top.

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Photography by lifewithfingerprints.com

“write” pencil valentines

Kids will have fun creating these simple ‘flags’ for pencil Valentines. Or, if time is limited, they can be printed (link above) and kids can personalize them as they like.

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Photography by catchmyparty.com

monogrammed ombre teacher valentines

These might be a bit too labor intensive for classmates, but teachers will appreciate these thoughtful monogrammed Valentines wrapped in colorful yarn. To create, first head to the craft store for a cardboard or wooden letter large enough to be wrapped, and then select a few colorful skeins of yarn (we’re loving this ombre effect). Then, simply wrap the letter until completely covered and secure the loose ends in the back with glue. 

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Photography by nestofposies.com

fairy wand valentines

This is one Valentine project with serious possibilities. The wand handles can be created with pencils—or, if there is a party taking place—out of paper straws for sipping punch. The heart toppers can be cut out of simple craft paper and attached with glue along with a few strands of ribbon for added ‘fairy wand’ effect. This is an excellent way to use up any ribbon scraps that kids might be keeping around and little ones will have fun personalizing the paper heart toppers.

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Photography by happyhooligans.ca

cut-out heart valentines

Another great way to use up ribbon scraps, this simple craft is perfect for little DIY-ers, as it requires little more than cutting and pasting. For a handmade look, freehand draw a heart on one piece of paper and cut out, leaving a heart-shaped hole in the center. Then have little ones paste strips of ribbon to a second uncut piece of paper, and attach the heart cutout to the top for a peek-a-boo effect. Ribbon strips work well here, but any decorative artwork will do, from glitter to stickers to simple coloring. Encourage kids to be creative and remember that neatness doesn’t matter, as the top sheet will mask everything around the heart shape.