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Allergy-Friendly Ideas for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has long been associated with candy and sweets. For children with food allergies, this can mean being excluded or feeling unsafe. Focusing on non-food gifts allows them to safely enjoy the holiday.

Exchanging Valentines is a fun tradition in schools. Most of us have fond memories of exchanging Valentines with our friends and classmates. Talk with your child's teacher in advance about having a safe and inclusive celebration. Many school wellness policies encourage celebrating without sugary, high-fat food and sweets. The CDC and KFA recommend the use of non-food rewards when possible. Food-free celebrations are the easiest way to ensure all children are safely included at school.

Encourage Non-Food Gifts

Ask the teacher to encourage non-food gifts when exchanging Valentines — pencils, stickers, pencil sharpeners, and other small items. Share these ideas with the teacher and the class.



Talk with your child to remind them of your family rules about food. There are many "look alike" candies. Remind your child to not eat any candy until you can read the labels together to make sure it is safe. Assume that any candy without a label is not safe.


Share Classroom Craft and Activity Ideas

Share these fun ideas with the teacher (PDF):

  • Create handmade Valentines. Use construction paper, paper doilies, glitter, glue, stickers, lace and other craft materials.
  • Create thumbprint or handprint Valentines.
  • Make paper flowers from tissue paper and pipe cleaners.
  • Cut out paper hearts and attach to string to make garland for the classroom.
  • Decorate a mailbox or paper bag to use to collect their Valentines.
  • Decorate a bulletin board or the room door for Valentine’s Day.
  • Create origami hearts.
  • Make small heart stamps out of erasers.
  • Make friendship bracelets for classmates to share.
  • Make little critters from pom-poms, felt, pipe cleaner and googly-eyes.
  • Write poems to share with the class and invited guests.
  • Share a favorite quote, poem or reading about love.
  • Pick classroom secret admirers: Pick names out of a bowl. The week of Valentine’s Day, have the children do something nice for that person. On Valentine’s Day, have the children see if they can guess who their secret admirer is.
  • Host a game day: Have children bring in games, puzzles, Legos or other activities from home to share in small groups.

Download and share our Valentine's Day handout!

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Download PDF

Updated February 2017


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