Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to show your kids they’re loved (although what holiday isn’t a good time for that?). And while there’s no need for elaborate gifts or baskets bursting with toys, many parents plan to get a trinket or two for their little loves just for fun. I know I do. But sometimes the dollar store aisle sings its siren song or the family care packages arrive, and before you know it, you’ve accumulated far too much red and pink plastic junk — and too many sugary treats. And that’s before the classroom celebrations start.
So, what’s a beleaguered parent to do? Check out our suggestions for sweet (but not sugary) Valentine’s Day treats to pick up or order online this year. All of these options can be used again and again; no disposable gifts here. These picks will last long after the last candy conversation heart is gone. From a photo memory card game to a themed Lego set, these little gifts are sure to please.
1. Woodland retro doll
Give your child a unique toy in Valentine’s colors — these dolls look really cute as room decor too. They’re reproductions of Woodland dolls, straight from 1970s Japan, courtesy of adorable Los Angeles kids boutique Merci Milo. If red and pink aren’t your kid’s jam, don’t fret; there are multiple styles, and they can all be shipped right to your door.
Woodland retro doll, $22 at Merci Milo
2. Memory game
Little ones will love playing this sweet custom game comprised of their favorite photos. Choose 12 of your own pictures, and Pinhole Press will create a custom memory card matching game. The backs of the cards are adorned with tiny hearts in case it wasn’t already adorable enough.
Heart-backed photo memory game, $29.99 at Pinhole Press
3. Gummy bear night-light
This sweet treat won’t give you cavities: a realistic-looking 7-inch gummy bear that glows at night. Just push its belly to turn the light on and off. It’s a festive, fun, yet oddly soothing piece of bedroom decor for any kid. Purple and blue bears are also available in addition to the Valentine’s Day colors pink and red.
Gummy bear night-light, $29 at Land of Nod
4. Puppy Love mugs
Adorable French bulldogs adorn this sweet set of mugs from Target — perfect for some Valentine’s Day hot cocoa.
Valentine dogs glazed stoneware mugs, $9.99 for two at Target
5. Heart-y utensils
This stainless steel fork and spoon set from Pottery Barn Kids’ Peanuts line sports the message, “Be mine.” BPA- and phthalate-free, these sturdy utensils will last for many Valentine’s Days to come.
Peanuts “Be mine” utensils, $5 at Pottery Barn Kids
6. Friendship bracelets
Choose from neon pink or cobalt blue silk cords on these fun friendship bracelets. They feature sterling silver- or gold-tone heart beads, plus two letters. You could get sibling initials for your kids, your and your child’s initials or a best friends set to split with their BFF.
Friendship bracelet, $42 at Mali Beads
7. Lego Valentine’s bee
How fun is this Lego Valentine’s bee? This set is one treat that will last; kids can build this romantic little bee over and over again. The kit also includes Lego chocolates and a pot of honey for that bee’s special someone.
Lego BrickHeadz Valentine’s bee, $9.99 at Lego
8. Heart bag
For the child who loves accessories, this little navy- and white-striped bag has plenty of Valentine’s Day flair — because sequined hearts, of course — but is timeless enough to carry year-round.
Cat & Jack striped cross-body bag, $12.99 at Target