Unisex 4th grade valentine's day goodie bags

mtnrdredux_gwFebruary 4, 2013

I volunteered to bring in "goodie" bags for Valentine's Day.

Too bad for the kids, I am very mean when it comes to candy. Our Easter bunny brings books, for example.

So, gimme your ideas. What can I put in these bags? So far all i can think of is sugarless gum. What else? Maybe a tiny toostie roll. After that, no candy.

Pens, pencils, erasers? (told ya' I'm the mean mom). Lucky it isn't hummus.

Ideas? Are instant lottery tickets too weird? They are, aren't they?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

If not junk food, then probably "junk"...head to the dollar store and see what you can find...they have all kinds of toy stuff or I'm sure valentine day's related things... I'm trying to remember where I was that I saw these little jars of bubble makers...I think it was at the craft store as a wedding thing....

Don't even think about celery and carrot sticks!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We're twins almost on this issue, though I would include a healthy non-HFCS chocolate heart and at least one of the following: a small blank-page book to jot their secret dreams and ideas with maybe multi-color pens, something simple like crayons or watercolor paints and a sketch pad in this age of droids, maybe a small book -- ideally one of a series that some would get while the rest would get others in the series with the stated recommedation that the class would swap in the future, or if you could find small kaleidoscopes that would be lovely allowing children to dream and explore their own artistic side. These days creativity seems less the focus than technology so I like fostering simple pleasures when gifting to children. Don't know if these are too costly depending on the size of the class, but it's good to think outside the box since many already suffer from affluenza long before the 4th grade.

Sorry, nix the tix, LOL! -- though in another thread I said I might start the occasional purchase to better fund my wanderlust. Kiddos need to be unencumbered IME unless being taught to save.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Instant lottery tickets? You are too funny! Probably not a good idea.

I just bought some organic/natural Gummy Fruits with no preservatives at Costco. DS said they were OK.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not big on giving candy-- nor did we get much as kids (easter was outdoor activity and art supply gifts in my house growing up). Some of the "trinket" kinds of gifts I've given to neighbor kids or in care packages for the kids include.. cups w/straws, colorful slinkies (found at the dollar store!), smencils, small stuffed animals, decks of cards and card games, silly putty, bubbles, stickers, sketch books.

I am not completely shut off to treats-- we used to make popcorn balls when we were kids.. now I bake cookies, cupcakes or muffins (things that allow me to control the ingredients).

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sadly due to an ever increasing list of allergy causing ingredients, most schools prefer that you bring chemical filled candy from China instead of home baked goods. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much! In our school we are down to one food for class Birthdays ... donuts from a local shop. Luckily the kids seem to love them.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gummy worms or hearts or... anything gummy. They are far better for them than tootsie rolls. They are actually diet candy.

Second the idea to go to the dollar twenty nine store. Junk toys verses junk food. You can even spray paint rocks gold...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are not mean! I LOVE candy and have no problem giving it to my kids, but even I get candy overload pretty much all year, since it is one holiday/birthday after another.

If you do give candy, give just a little, but something good, though sadly I understand that allergies affect so many.

What is your budget? I think pencils are overdone unless they are mechanical. Gel pens are great. The little notebooks are fun, esp. if you can include a note that they are autograph books. (They seem to get used more that way!) Stickers are good, too. Some parents might have a problem with tattoos, though kids love them.

I suggest looking for anything that is consumable and recyclable. Sadly, the junk toys don't get played with for more than 30 seconds, it seems. When we get fast food, I never let them get the meals w/toys for that reason (hate to think of it in the garbage). See, I'm the mean mom!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pretzels. I thought those were a good idea at Halloween. How old is fourth grade?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd vote for the above-mentioned gummies and pretzels and chocolate. Please don't include sugar-free gum; the aspartame and other sweeteners can be sickening. Add an easy-to-peel tangerine to each bag since they're sweet, cute, healthful, and easy to eat!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mom distributes pumpkin shaped pretzels at halloween- that's a great idea! Wonder if they do heart shaped ones too? I believe it is snyders or herrs (one of the PA pretzel makers) who made the pumpkin ones.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, to the gummies. Last year one of my students brought fruit juice gummies in bags decorated with hearts - sorry, I don't know the company.

Stickers and tattoos are another option. Kids of any age love those self-stampers and I saw them at the dollar store in heart shaped styles.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's probably too late, but have you checked out Oriental Trading Company? They sell bags of really neat things for kids.

Remember, they're still kids. If they find the bag "yucky" then it will reflect on your child, since his/her mom brought them.

Also, a lot of young kids hate dark chocolate.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What if you did something like chocolate covered pretzels instead? It's still a treat without all of the artificial grossness in candy and gum.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I got a cute valentine chex mix idea off pinterest. Look on Pinterest and see what you come up with.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would ask the teacher for suggestions. I think she would know what is acceptable and what works best. We don't always have to reinvent the wheel or be the one to come up with the unique idea in every instance.
I learned this lesson from being a Girl Scout leader for twelve years. I have to say that although we came up with some amazing original ideas, sometimes it was the parents that had the "aha" idea. In scouts we believe in using "resources wisely." And I think this holds true in every day life.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i would go easy on the junk toys too... goodie bags were kindof fun and cute when my oldest was just getting to school, but are given so often at every party that the kids end up with so much JUNK! such a waste!

maybe comic books? or mad libs? songbooks?

candy is better than junk, imo... but you do have to be careful with allergies... then again, i truly don't believe candy is what is making america obese...

or instead of individual goodie bags, how about something for the classroom??? cds or dvds?? (i just bought brain beats for a kid- cute... like school house rock)

i think the school (and parents!) would have a HUGE issue with giving out lottery tickets!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of the hot items for kids right now, are
"mustaches", they have the peel off ones they can stick on themselves, or I have seen pencils and on the end of it a mustache they can hold up to their face. Weird, I know, but that what's been going around our here.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

GD was a fourth grader last year, so here is what she would love. Stickers, cheesey temporary tattoos, gaudy neon colored plastic bracelets, CHEAP mechanical pencils so they don't have to sharpen (BIC makes a cheap one), those small containers of neon colored slime (looks like a slimy Pla-Do). This stuff is clean I promise. She loves slinky's - I think they are a stress reliever. PLEASE PUT A FEW DOVE CHOCOLATES IN THE BAG!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Also, ask the teacher to make up some Valentine Coupons for the bags: Lunch with a friend, No Homework, etc.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was going to say slinky's too, but I couldn't remember how old a fourth grader is. :) I think most kids love them.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, guys.

A little context. The class will already have a slew of foods provided by other parents. Cupcakes, cookies, pretzels (dipped in choc w red sprinkles), and lots of red fruits (watermelon, grapes, strawbs, apples). I volunteered to bring in goodie bags. Since nothing else on the menu says "candy", I think I am obligated to include a tiny bit. So that I will do. But there is already too much sugar on the menu so I will be a candy miser.

Totally agree that dollar store stuff must be handled gingerly. Too much of it is useless or break immediately; a lot of dollar store stuff is actually OVERpriced.

Tuesday - slime and slinkys, I like it

Ollies - LOL, I got little masks like that from Michael's last year, will look again. Thanks for reminding me, the Michael's masks were very cool and cheap too

Busy - I think a group class gift wouldn't do it (plus they really get everything they want, parents are very generous). Yes, I now the lottery ticket is very odd. Thanks everyone for reigning me in on that. I tend to forget that it is gambling! I have some relatives that are in college and they like that gift. I always think of the NY slogan "all you need is a dollar and a dream". People --- all ages --- enjoy thinking about what they could win and what they'd buy. Cheap thrills.
No allergies thank goodness.

Tina - pinterest, good idea

Ellendi - the teacher, who is superb, pointedly hands off this to parents. I think he is against it. I am too. Way too many parties.
You guys are my resources! Like always for everything. It may seem hard to believe given how often I post, but sometimes I have decisions to make in my life that I actually undertake without asking GW! : ) But most of the time, I seek the collective wisdom of GW reflexively! And who can blame me? I always get great advice and new ideas.

1. Already on the list.
2. I feel as though I really need to deliver a bag, or be attacked by an angry 4th grade mob. They make 4th graders BIG nowadays.

I'm ok with being the Mom who gives out hummus. We are already known as the family that invites the entire class over for swimming in the snow, or kayak races on our pond for the last day of school. I think we have a enough street cred to go a little rogue on the goodie bag.

I know those gummies. Moms love them. Kids, not so much.

Pretzels is already on the list. I think my job is supposed to be the higher octane stuff: REAL CANDY. : )
PS DO you know I once read in Prevention magazine that if you stop eating one food it should be pretzels, because they have no nutritional value. I happen to really like them though. I think people started to like them because they were popular with low fat dieters. I can see how they are just white flour, but I like the fact that they don't taste sweet or fatty. I think it is good to deemphasize those flavors, but they are salty too...

GOOD point about gum! I don't buy sugarfree for my kids but I thought most parents would want sugarfree for dental health. Hmmm. More than once I have drawn jack o' lantern faces on clementines (really darn cute), arranged them among straw and autumn leaves in a big basket, and brought them to Halloween parties. About 40% of the kids eat them. This time, we have assigned moms to 4 different red fruits already.

Boop - 9,10 yo

Anele -
Great points. Gel pens and autographs books, yes! Maybe post its? They have such cool ones and they need to use them when they read (they are supposed to jot down questions, impression, words as they read, on post its ... at least one every other page! I don't really have a budget but if I, like, got them all ipads people would think we were odd. So it has to at least look like less than 10 bucks, id say.

Golddust - you put it well. That is the choice it seems. Junk toys or junk food. One is bad for us, one is bad for our environment (not to mention the politics). Hmm, gummies are "diet"? In what sense do you mean. I like mini tootise rolls because they are neater but still chocolate. I think, I will have to give them some ACTUAL chocolate though. Maybe, like 3 kisses and a gummy something cool...

Chispa, no allergies. I love the bday celebrations at our kids (quaker) middle school. No treats brought in. You get to light a candle. That's it!
PS DD's and DS also think the healthy gummies are "ok". Too bad i love the portion control on those.

Love the idea of a book series to share. I like it so much I may well do it on top of the goody bags. As far as lottery tickets, which ok i knew was a whacky idea, I have noticed that this is the age where they start to request and give a lot of gift cards. As someone says below, affluenza starts early nowadays...

Even I like bubbles!

Thank you. I think I have many good ideas to go try to execute. It did occur to me that i can make red bags for boys and pink for girls, so that will make it a bit easier. I think the only candy I will give is some interesting gummies and a few chocolate kisses.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Olliesmom is spot on in regards to fake mustaches and that would be a great silly class pic! I have even seen mustache pencil toppers and mustache straws at my daughter's school. I love the mad libs idea! The kids like those scented pencils as well. Have fun!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, I hate goody bags. As a mom of four, we've had our fair share of them over the years and I cringe every time I get the email from the class mom with assignments to to each family as to what they need to contribute to the goody bag. It is almost always just junky stuff that can be found at the Dollar Store or the dollar bins at Target, as well as candy. My 8 y/o just came home from a birthday party this weekend with a goody bag and aside from one or two things (some kind of whistle), the rest ended up in the garbage. The majority of that stuff is probably made in China. Unfortunately, in order to keep costs down when dealing with a class of kids, that's the kind of thing that usually comes home in a goody bag.

One of my dd's favorite things that she brought home last year as part of a goody bag at the end of the year was a CD. One of the moms or aides in the class put together about 10-12 kid songs and burned them onto CDs for everyone. My daughter love to listen to it in her room.

Chalk and bubbles are perhaps the only other thing I can think of that we usually keep and use. And stickers. The tattoos, pencils and erasers either get tossed or put into my "donate" bin. The pencils are usually so cheap that they are impossible to sharpen or the lead constantly breaks - the erasers on the end either pop off right away or don't erase well. Then there are those cutesy erasers in all kinds of shapes, etc - those don't work and I'm not sure what the point is for them - they get immediately tossed at my house. And I hate thinking how much waste we are contributing needlessly to the landfill.

While I'd rather not get a ton of candy, at least the edible things will get used/eaten. I'd much rather my child come home with a goody bag with a couple of sweet treats (which I can dole out at my discretion) and perhaps one neat little doodad, than a bag full of Dollar Store toys. And mtnrdredux, I'm not saying that's what you are planning to do, but that's what we always get here.

For fun, I found this list in my trash email from Halloween. This was the list the room mom sent out for what she wanted donated. I was totally annoyed as I didn't think they needed ANY goody bag for Halloween especially one that contained so much candy, when they were going to be getting a ton of it later that night.

40 small waters
Halloween Pretzels
Halloween Pencils
Halloween Toy (bouncing ball etc...)
Halloween Toy
Tattoos (
Chocolate Candy- NO NUTS
Sprinkles (Halloween colors)
Gummy Worms
Air heads
Halloween rings
Goody Bags

Honestly I don't know where this goody bag thing ever started. I decided early on not to do them when my kids had parties and it drove me nuts how many kids expected them and questioned why they didn't get one. The fun at the party should be enough!

Sorry, off my soap box. When done well, they are fine, but usually, they are just a bunch of dollar store junk (mtnrdredux, I have a feeling you are the type of person who would not be purchasing a bunch of dollar store junk so this isn't aimed at you personally!). I don't mean to insult and hope I didn't offend. I usually don't post negative things but goody bags have always been one of my hot spots.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, so more ideas knowing your budget. You'd have to get some of this stuff through Etsy ASAP. Way easier for girls.

-Beaded bracelets, or even put together your own bracelet kit (in little Ziploc bags), or even easier would be a simple DIY charm necklace with one pendant and some cording
-Bookmarks w/ hearts
-Mini garden kits (some are very small and inexpensive, and come with everything) or just seed packets themselves
-Vintage handkerchiefs
-Barrettes/other hair accessories
-Combs or brushes(this can be for boys and girls); they esp. like the collapsible ones
-Perfume/cologne; we make this ourselves using $1 bottles from Hobby Lobby and essential oils, and sell these at an annual fundraiser. They ALWAYS go fast. We make simple labels for them. (They come with tops so that they don't spill.)

My sister just had a doll party and inc. a "make your own doll" kit as an activity. It was a clothespin, yarn, and some material scraps in a baggie. The kids LOVED this, inc. the older ones (5th and 8th graders). Boys could make this too-- make your own pirate. Just inc. a note and some instructions.

Frankly, if you include a whole candybar, they will be thrilled.

Hmm. Maybe you could do a "five senses" bag.
Taste: Candy, obviously
Smell: Perfume/cologne (homemade-- very cheap)
See: Vintage postcards or v-day cards(can be used!) or maybe a picture frame (you can get these at Hobby Lobby for $1)
Hear: Bell? Necklace with a bell on it?
Touch: Little stuffed animal they can hook on their backpack

plus a little note explaining everything.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like I was busy typing when you posted, Mntn, and looks like you have it covered pretty well at this point! $10 is a pretty good budget for a goody bag so if you limit it to just a few things but spend more on each, then you should be able to do a nice gift bag.

One thing that is very popular where my kids go to school is the fancy hand sanitizer at Bath and Body Works - they have these little holders for the sanitizer with all kinds of yummy scents. My 8 y/o kept talking about them before Christmas and I had no idea what she was talking about until I saw them myself. The one I got her is shaped like a cat and then you slide the sanitizer inside. There is a strap that you can use to hang it from a backpack, etc - she has hers on her lunch bag and the cap peeks through the bottom for easy opening. The "holder" are various price ranges with the most expensive being $5 and then the sanitizers are something like 3 for $5. Just an idea for the girls!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't read any of the above suggestions but I will say that Oriental Trading is your friend in this, and all occasions. The die cut heart bracelets are cheap and cute:


and I always like a ready-to-make craft project like the picture frame pictured here (a bargain at 12 for $5)


And who could resist a quarter pound of heart shaped buttons for just $6.50? (about 400 buttons)


My youngest child is 21 and I occasionally still come across a spider or ghost ring or pencil from Halloween, which is what we gave out to neighborhood kids.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I do goody bags, I put in a pkg of microwave popcorn and other individual packs of non-candy snacks. A lot of the snacks I include aren't necessarily super healthy, but a little more nutritional value than most candy. Crackers, bars of some sort, fruit snacks, etc. The bags that they go in are always decorated nicely according to the holiday, and kids love any kind of food, so I really don't worry about making sure the snacks inside are themed. I really don't like when the kids bring home the dollar store stuff, because they want to hang on to it, but it just sits there and never really gets used. It does seem like such a waste, and I personally just prefer the consumable types of items.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

myfoursquare, my kids had tons of that junk---miniature playing cards, key chains, plastic figures---from both party bags and prizes at places like Chuck E Cheese or other game room party places. I kept it all in a treasure box for each child and eventually made a mirror frame for them out of it all. Just a plain mirror / frame with all that junk hot-glued all over the frame. Made a cute and colorful mirror for their rooms and got rid of all that stuff.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cereal bars, pkg of hot cocoa mix, fruit roll ups, a tangerine(there in season).

Target has bins in the front of the store with all sorts of stuff for Valentines day, many only a dollar. I got stickers the other day, but there is so much to choose from, and no food. I saw small bottles of bubble bath~would be nice for the girls.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

kswl, those are cute ways to reuse the junk items. Very fun.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Target also has a Valentine aisle with regular food in holiday theme packaging. I've seen granola bars with red wrappers, rice krispie treats with red bits, valentine tattoos, heart shaped pretzels, goldfish, etc. Plus there are lots of non food items too.

Enjoy the elementary school fun. It will be over in a flash!

This post was edited by deee on Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 19:46

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please no balloons, hard candy like jolly ranchers or jawbreakers, and no sticky stuff like laffy taffy (my boys both have braces).

I throw out hard candy--choking hazard. I heimliched a kid one time choking on a jawbreaker.

Balloons are dangerous too, believe it or not.

With a 10 dollar budget, you could put in some fun stuff like stickers, erasers, yo-yos. Kids love colorful pencils that smell good. At least my boys do.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I Should have read a little closer. See that you already ruled out most candy.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No worries, i am taking a bit from each post! I like yo yos!!!

If it ever stops snowing here, I can go buy this stuff, LOL

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Red lover, I know you mean well, but kids have to experience things to know the dangers and learn. No balloons or hard candy is way overboard to me. I had a third grade kid in art class today who told me about when he stuck his finger in the cigarette lighter of the car. He remembers and won't do it again.

My take on candy is different too, skip the junk and give them really good chocolate. Even when I was young, I didn't like cheap chocolate. Educate the palates early...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you should add a lip chap balm to each bag. The kids like using these thinking it is like lipstick.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427 (zone 7)

Just want to add the caution on hard candy. Avoiding it is not overboard at all, Bumblebeez. Several years ago, one of our students choked on a Jolly Rancher. Needless to say, none of those allowed anymore. Burning a finger is one thing, choking is entirely different and much more dangerous.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks again, everyone. The goodies bags were a hit. I got them really cute little notebooks and mechanical pens, masks, mustaches, glow in the dark necklaces and one, plain Hershey bar.

But I am actually writing to pass along a great idea. One of my daughter's class mates made up Valentines that were so cute. It was a little snack size bag of cereal (I think they are Golden Grahams). Stapled across the top was a label that said ,in script, "I cerealsly hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day". A clear plastic spoon was attached with a pink ribbon, and the child wrote the "to" and "from" names in pink marker. I loved it, and so did my DD.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:05PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What is this called?
I am trying to search out sectionals that have this...
Why do you decorate?
I'm sure this has come up a million times before ....
BM Iced Slate
Hi all. I would appreciate your help. We just completed...
TIGHT Space for Mirrors (Between the Light Fixture and Backsplash) :(
We are coming into the home stretch. Although there...
Monrovia Mom
Speaking of food...Sacher Torte
I recently found out my son's favorite dessert is Sacher...
Sponsored Products
North Port Brushed Nickel One-Light Semi-Flush
$48.51 | Bellacor
Home Decorators Accent Rug: Antoinette Wembley Black/Beige 2' 6" x 4' 6"
Home Depot
Tiffany 4-drawer California King Bed/ Storage Mattress Box
Safavieh Diamonds Taupe Sisal Wool Rug (8' x 11')
Bimbi White Band Pendant by Oggetti Luce
$264.00 | Lumens
Remix Office Chair in White
$309.00 | LexMod
iTouchless IT13HX Trashcan HX Stainless Steel 13 gal. Trash Can - IT13HX
$105.98 | Hayneedle
Gillmore 8Lt Hall / Foyer a Brushed Nickel
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™