10 Fun Children’s Valentine’s Cards to Make

Stuck on You
how to make a photo valentine 3
Every child loves stickers! This is a cute Valentine that avoids candy (their teachers will thank you!) and is highly customizable. Either find ready-made cardboard or foam heart-shaped frames, or cut your own from construction paper using my TEMPLATE. Let your child choose stickers that appeal to him or her. (Your local Dollar Store often has a good selection.) Place the heart frame face down and tape the back of the sticker sheet to the frame, arranging it so the stickers fill the framed area. Trim the outside edges as necessary. You can write a sentiment such as “Stuck on You” or something that fits the specific stickers you choose.

Sweetheart
Rice Krispie Valentine
If you or your child enjoys cooking, you can whip up a batch of these beautiful and delicious heart-shaped Rice Krispie treats for the class! The pink hearts look lovely on their own, or take it up a notch by dipping half in some melted chocolate and then some brightly-colored candy sprinkles. You can find treat bags at your local craft store or dollar store. Tie off the bag with some pretty ribbon, and you are Valentines Day party-ready.

Have a Colorful Valentine’s Day
Rainbow Crayon
Who doesn’t love rainbow crayons? Make this fun craft with your children, then print out the printable cards. Attach the crayons, and Whala! Be sure to make a few extra crayons to keep!

Have a FAN{TACHE}TIC Day
Mustache Valentine
This great printable has everything going for it. It is fast, cheap, and incorporates the mustache trend. (Can anyone tell me why we have a mustache trend??) Best of all, it avoids having your 6 year old tell the entire class that they are the love of his life!

You Make Me Loopy
loopy Valentines
This idea isn’t mine. I really wish it was. It is unique and cute, and little people really love loopy straws. You can buy the straws at Walmart or the Dollar Store. Put them in Wilton pretzel bags (also at Walmart, or your local craft store) and staple folded paper over the ends. This was a photo-only Pinterest pin, so there is no printable, but you can make your own, or just use construction paper and write your sentiment by hand.

Valentine’s Bouquet
Valentine Flower
These pretty flowers are simple to make and don’t require a printer. Older children might enjoy creating them with you. Speed them up by using a die-cut instead of hand-cutting the hearts.

Valentine’s Day
Tic Tac Toe Valentine
This unique idea used M&Ms to create a sweet game of tic-tac-toe. All the printables are on the original site. You just add the sugar.

Swimming in the Same School
Swimming in the Same School
This free printable was just too adorable not to include! This is another idea that doesn’t use the word “love” and you can use goldfish instead of candy fish to the delight of teachers everywhere. The bowl-shaped bags can be hard to find, but you can call Walmart or your local craft store.

Have a Chocolate?
Chocolate Hearts
Once upon a time books and candy were the only gifts a young lady could accept from a gentleman. Times have changed, but these polymer clay chocolate look-alikes can still melt hearts. If you don’t have heart molds, simply shape a ball of clay with your fingers. These are a bit complex for younger children, but teens and tweens would have a wonderful time making these with their besties.

You Make my Heart Glow
Glowstick Valentines
Last, but certainly not least, are these adorable glow-stick Valentines. Head to the Dollar Store for the glow bracelets, and print up some free printable cards. Even young children can help assemble these!

10 Healthy Packed Lunches for Little People

Packing school lunches intimidates me. My mother did not believe in sandwich meat, and her alternatives were less than skillful. I still vividly remember deciding I had had enough, and was not going to eat the hardboiled egg packed in a little ziplock baggie that had been squished into a play-doh like mass- shell and all. As I grew old enough to pack my own lunch, my skill did not improve much on hers. My go-to lunch was a pound of carrots and a pan of cornbread-cut into interesting shapes and packaged “creatively.” Now I pack my lunch every day, but with a fridge and microwave at my disposal all I have to do is repackage some leftovers, or make a salad. At home, lunches are usually leftovovers. When my daughter and I go on picnics I will grab a can of sardines. I do not like sandwiches, and never use a loaf of bread and a package of sandwich meat before they rot. Making my daughter eat lunch meat is almost impossible. (She would literally prefer Brussels sprouts.) Now I have to send lunch for pre-school, and I am determined to do better than my mother. As healthy as sardines are, I’m not about to try to win the peer-pressure battle of sending them to school. So, I need some healthy, easy, and (my) child-friendly school lunches. Here are two weeks worth of ideas!

PBJ: Alright, so peanut butter isn’t really healthy. It has tons of sugar and oils, both things most Americans get too much of. However, my little one isn’t overweight. Peanut butter is a cold protein I know she will eat. We never eat it at home, and she tends to prefer her sandwich without jelly. I can handle sending peanut butter on whole wheat a couple times a month. Almost any fruit or veggie goes well with PBJ, so sides for this option are easy.

Cheese and Crackers: Move over lunchables! It is not too difficult to break a couple slices of your child’s favorite type of cheese into quarters, layer them between wax paper, and put them into a baggie near a cold pack (or skip the cold-pack). Place a tall stack of crackers of your choice into a small rigid container so they won’t be crumbs by lunch-time. Add some celery sticks and fruit, or a mini salad, and this isn’t a bad option!

Soup: This is such a versatile option, it seems unfair to only give it one entry! You can heat up some soup during breakfast, put it into a kid-friendly thermos, and provide a piping-hot lunch for your little one. Combine chicken noodle soup with apple slices and red pepper, or send a hearty lentil stew with whole-grain crackers, a cheese stick, and some grapes. Be sure to test the thermos for leak-proofness and heat retention before sending it!

Fish: My little one really likes fish. Every so often I’ll bread some fish filets with crushed crackers and fry them. It is hard to get leftovers, since Little Miss will eat two filets on her own, but occasionally some survives. This is one of the few leftovers that are good cold, and I know my child will eat it!

Rice and Stir-fry: This is another versatile option. Most children really enjoy rice. If you steam some rice with a little butter during breakfast, it will still be soft when lunch time comes. Put a small serving in the bottom of your child’s thermos, and top with some sautéed or steamed veggies. (This is a great way to use up leftovers!) Add a protein or not as you prefer. You could even top with a fried egg for a kid-safe take on bi-bim-bop! I’d probably throw in some Terra chips with this for a little crunch.

Hard-boiled Egg: I’m not talking about the squishy mess my mother sent! Eggs are a good source of protein, and the yolk contains cholesterols important for protecting developing nerves. A peeled, sliced egg fits neatly in a little plastic snack-sized container. The slices are fun to peel off and eat. Include some fruit and some whole-wheat pretzel sticks, and you have a nice little snack lunch.

Salad and Cheese: My little one really likes salad. I’m not sure I understand why. However, a handful of fresh spinach, some tomatoes, cucumber slices, and some shredded cheese makes a healthy, complete lunch, and is super-easy too! I’d probably add some carbs to this lunch to make sure she has enough calories to stay fueled until snack. Alternately, you could spread a whole-wheat tortilla with hummus, and wrap the tomato, greens, and shredded cheese in it. If you cut the wrap in slices to make pin-wheels, they will fit neatly into a sandwich container, and make a fun finger food.

Mini Quiche: Most little people get a kick out of little food. A fun-to-make little food is mini quiche. Use pre-made pie dough, or go the extra mile and make your own crust. Bake them in a muffin tin, use a basic quiche base and throw in whatever leftovers happen to be in your fridge. Each quiche can be a different flavor, and you can make as many or as few as you like. You can even pop a few in your own lunch with a salad!

Quesadillas: These are simple to make in the oven during breakfast, and are a great way to combine protein and veg with child-pleasing cheese. Layer cheese and whatever fillings (read: leftovers) you like, then broil quickly to melt cheese. You can make in half or whole tortilla sizes depending on the appetite to which you are catering. Spread a little oil on the outside and broil each side quickly for a crispy finish. Serve with a dipping sauce if you like, and some complimenting sliced fruit or vegetables.

Chicken Cubes: You know those wonderful pre-cooked chickens you buy every once in a while? Leftovers cut into bite-sized chunks in a snack container make a nice base for a child’s lunch. Think of it as a compartmentalized chicken salad. Chicken chunks go in one container, grapes in another, and celery sticks in another. Round it out with some nuts or some cheese cubes, and you have a wonderful finger-food lunch!

My daughter has more mature tastes than many pre-schoolers, but I hope my ideas can help you prepare high-protein, high veg/fruit, and low processed carbs lunches for your little person.

Wishing you joy!
-Ekatrina