Valentine’s gifts kids will love that don’t include candy or toys!

I really enjoy Valentine’s Day. I love celebrating love with my family. I tend to be a sentimental person anyway, and Valentine’s Day gives me an excuse to do so!

I start on Feb. 1 with putting hearts on my kids’ bedroom doors each evening of the things I love about them. I do that through Feb. 14. This year I even added in doing hearts for my husband on the back of our closet door of the things I love about him.

While I love loving on my family, I kinda don’t want to break the bank to express that to them. I promise I’m not cheap, but by the time Feb. 14 rolls around, we’ve had Christmas and then my son’s birthday at the end of January. I’m not inclined to buy my kids big gifts or toys.

I’m not all that included to buy them candy either, though, I usually get some small candy for them. I do like to get them each a gift or two I know they will like and will make them feel special but won’t break the bank.

With that in mind, I went in search of good Valentine’s gifts for kids under $20 and figured I’m not alone in my quest to avoid toys, candy and cheap trinkets that will get thrown away, broken or forgotten within hours. I’ve found some good stuff!

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And everything is Amazon Prime eligible, so if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get it within two days with free shipping. If you aren’t an Amazon Prime member, no worries! You can sign up for a free 30-day trial and take advantage of the free, two-day shipping for any of these items. Nice!

For Girls

These Melissa and Doug butterfly and heart stamps are super cute. My daughter loves anything related to crafts like stamps, markers, paints and stickers. We’ve always had great luck with Melissa and Doug products. Even better these stamps are a great price at only $6.99 as an add-on item, but spending $25 at Amazon is pretty easy to do!

I love this grow your own crystals jewelry set from Alex. Combining a science activity of growing crystals with creating pretty jewelry is hitting it out of the park! Educational? Check. Cute and fun? Check. All of that on top of only being $9.99, and I’m pretty sure this is going in my daughter’s Valentine’s Day gift bag this year!

Another great option is hair accessories. Right now my daughter is into scrunchies. We discovered that you can get huge packs of them on Amazon for great prices. My daughter has loved this pack of 52 scrunchies in various textures and colors that are only $5.99 right now on Amazon. They are good quality with elastic that is stretchy but not loose.

If scrunchies aren’t her thing, these coil hair ties work for even my daughter’s incredibly thick hair without getting caught. They are ideal for ponytails and come in all sorts of different colors.

Headbands are another great option for pretty much any girl with any length of hair. My daughter is a big fan of anything with glitter and sparkle and always has been. (She totally gets that from me!) That’s why this 8-piece set of glitter headbands called to me. You can also opt to get them with glitter bows or plain bows if that is more your daughter’s style.

If your daughter likes to draw or write or both, this sketch book is an awesome find for Valentine’s Day! It says “Best Daughter Ever” on the front, which is sweet and I’m sure true. (Though, I will debate that mine is the best daughter ever, but we’ll let that go for now! Hee, hee, hee!) It would also pair well with the Melissa and Doug butterfly and heart stamps above. And for $6.99, it’s a great deal!

Another combo that works well for girls is this Klutz Bath and Body Activity Kit. You get to make your own bath bombs and products to use in the bath, which is great for science skills, and is also fun to use! At 9, my daughter is getting more and more into beauty type products and this fits right in with that while also still being age appropriate. Its price tag of $8.62 makes it that much better!

We really are fans of Melissa and Doug products, which is why I’ve got another one on the list for you! This Decorate-Your-Own Wooden Heart Box craft kit is not only cute and priced well at $6.99, but it’s something that’s can stick around for years. My daughter did this kit when she was 5. Now, four years later, she is still using her wooden heart box. I love stuff that has longevity like that!

If your daughter has her ears pierced, earrings are also a great option for a Valentine’s Day gift she will love but won’t add extra clutter to your house. Stainless steel heart studs are a good option for Valentine’s Day. For $7.99 to $10.99, you can get one, three or five pairs of different metal colors. They are so incredibly cute!

My daughter loves earrings, but we discovered after getting her ears pierced that she is allergic to all metals except gold. So if you want/need gold-plated earrings that are dangly and sparkly (which my kiddo loves!), check out these 18-K gold plated dangling heart earrings for $14.99. They come in four different colors, including a gorgeous purple. (Of course, I love anything purple!)

For Boys

I’ve got to say the first item on my list for my son is an unexpected one. But we were out shopping last evening for new jeans for him and he spied rain boots. His level of excitement over them surprised me. He gave me a whole spiel about how he’s never had rain boots before. So now I’m thinking I need to make this happen for him. Living at the dead end of a street now, we are in a great spot for him to splash in puddles. I found some rain boots that came in all sorts of cute colors and patterns. They average $20 in price. Some are just under and some are a dollar over based on the pattern and size. My son wears a size 3 and would love the dino print, which is $19.90.

We love coloring and crafting at our house. Well, my kids do. I like to color, but crafts aren’t my thing. That comes from their dad. However, my son is hard on markers. Being 6, he likes to color full force with whatever he is using. So new markers are always a good idea and these Crayola Washable Super Tip markers are our favorite. They come in a pack of 50 colors and can both be used for fine line and thick line, which is a great idea! And I love that they are truly washable, because we’ve gotten marker all sorts of places. Add in that they’re only $13.11, and I’m one happy mama!

And if you’re getting markers, you might as well add in a cool coloring book to use them in. I love this Lego Marvel Avengers and Batman super heroes coloring book. First, my son loves anything Lego, including super heroes, yet we don’t have any Lego coloring books, so it’s a total win. Second, he likes super heroes from both comic universes, and this includes both DC (Batman) and Marvel (Spider-man, Ironman, Captain America, etc.). For just $6.99, it would work well with the markers to make a nice gift. Of course, it would also be great solo or with crayons if you prefer.

Another great idea for boys is a sticker mosaic art kit. My son grabbed a couple from our craft drawer recently and had such a great time with them. Stickers are always fun and the fine motor skills practice to remove the small stickers and get them in the squares is terrific. If your kiddo is still learning colors or numbers, these are great for that, too. Amazon has a pack of eight sticker mosaic sheets for $12.99 that have dino, animal and space themes. These really come in handy for bad weather days or traveling.

Dinosaurs tend to be a favorite for almost all boys I know in elementary school and younger — my 6-year-old son included. This National Geographic Fossil Dig Kit includes three real fossils (both bones and teeth). It comes with an educational book to help kids learn as they play. And even better to kiddos, it means they get to play in the dirt! We really like the National Geographic sets. They’re made well and priced well. This one is only $9.99.

Depending on who you are, you might consider Legos toys. I guess technically they are, but they are so great for building and engineering skills that I’m on board with them even for Valentine’s Day. My son is super in to Legos right now and can now follow the manuals on his own to put sets together. He got one of these Lego Creator Might Dinosaur 3-in-1 sets for Christmas and loved it. What’s cool about this set is that you can build three different dinosaurs, a T-rex, triceratops and pterodactyl. However, be aware that you can only build one of them at a time. Amazon has the set for $11.99, which is a good deal for Legos.

If your kiddo isn’t so into dinosaurs, the Lego Creator 3-in-1 kits come in other versions as well. There is a Lego Creator 3-in-1 Mythical Creature set, also for $11.99. It builds a dragon, troll and giant spider. If neither of those would be a good fit, there is also a Lego Creator 3-in-1 Deep Sea Creatures set for $12,93 that builds a shark, crab and squid.

Stickers are such a huge hit with kiddos. I love when they come with a book that you need to place the stickers in. Then I don’t have to worry about them getting stuck places they shouldn’t or being left on clothes that go into the washing machine! This Ultimate Sticker Book for the Marvel Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is a great deal with 100 stickers for only $5.82. The sticker book includes information about Miles Morales, the main character in the Spider-verse movie who my son fell in love with, as well as some villains and Spider-man allies.


One of my other favorite gifts for Valentine’s Day for the kids is books. Sometimes I go with holiday themed books and other times just with books they’ll be interested in.

Picture Books

We love Pinkalicious! While my daughter has almost outgrown picture books in general, she still loves Pinkalicious. And a Pinkalicious Valentine’s Day book, “Pinkalicous: Pink of Hearts,” for $6.29 is hard to pass up. Our son enjoys Pinkalicious, too, since most of the books include her little brother, Peter, who has gotten so popular he even has his own series now.

I grew up enjoying the Berenstain Bears books and my kiddos have enjoyed them just as much. I am constantly surprised by how many different ones I find about all sorts of topics. So it makes sense that “The Berenstain Bears’ Funny Valentine” exists. Even better, the book only costs $3.99. It would be a great addition to your kids’ Valentine’s Day gifts without putting much of a dent in your wallet.

If you’re looking for something that isn’t holiday themed, consider “Dinotrux” from Chris Gall. This is the book that inspired the series on Netflix with the same name. My son is in love with this book. While he is generally past the age where he wants to read the same book over and over and over, this is one exception to that. Amazon has it for $6.99.

One of my all-time favorite books we read with our kids is “God Gave us You” from Lisa Tawn Bergren. It is such a sweet story of a mama bear and her cub as the mama recounts the cub being born and what a gift the cub is from God. I totally get choked up when I’m reading it sometimes. It is precious! We have a few other books that are part of this series as well, but “God Gave us You” is our favorite!

Chapter Books

Valentine’s Day can also be a great time to give your kiddo(s) the gift of a new book series to fall in love with. Right now we are currently reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” together as a family. Both my 6- and 9-year-old are enjoying it. My oldest wasn’t sure that she’d like the series. She resisted it for a while, but now that we’re into it, she’s loving it. And I’m enjoying reading the book again for the second time and finding little clues of things yet to come that I missed the first time around. You can buy the paperback versions for $8.87. (If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read this book for free on your Kindle. As an avid reader, I love Kindle Unlimited. I’ve been a member for two years now. I got it as a gift from my husband and am so glad he had me try it. I LOVE it!)

Another favorite series of ours is Geronimo Stilton. This newspaper-writing mouse has all sorts of adventures. The series has even branched into prehistoric times and space! Of course Geronimo Stilton has a Valentine’s Day book. “Geronimo’s Valentine” would be a great way to get into the series. These chapter books are a little bit lighter and work well for kids just starting to read chapter books or younger kids who are beginning to enjoy chapter books being read to them. They have illustrations throughout to break up the text.

The Owl Diaries is another great series for early chapter book readers or listeners. Just like with Geronimo Stilton, the books have some illustrations throughout to break up the text. They follow an owl named Eva and the adventures she has going to school every night. They don’t have to be read in order, but the best place to start really is with the first one, “Eva’s Treetop Festival.” And don’t let the pink on the cover fool you; these books are just as much for boys as for girls. My son has enjoyed them as well as many of my daughter’s male classmates. There was one point in first grade where she and some of her classmates were trading these library books around as they devoured them!

Going a little more advanced, the Goddess Girls series has captured my daughter’s heart. The series starts with “Athena the Brain.” The characters are based on Greek gods, but written from the perspective of them being in school together as they are growing and learning. My daughter loves these books so much. She has enjoyed many passages so much that she comes running to me to read them out loud.

Last updated Feb. 11, 2020.

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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