As a note, I really don't like the little paper cards you can buy at the store - but have used them many times! Here's what I've done and what I've found.
1. The Photo Card
I found this on Pinterest and recreated it last year with Little Miss M. You take a photo of your child holding their hand out, get them printed (I used Shutterfly.com and was able to add a border) and then punch a hole where their hand is. I fed a lollipop through the hole, but you can use a pencil or any other item. The photo card makes it look like your child is holding the item.
2. A Bookmark Valentine
Using cardstock of any color, cut strips of paper. Have your child decorate the cardstock as they like and sign their name on the back. You can then punch a hole at the top and thread some ribbon through. If you want to get super creative, I also found these cute directions for a heart-shaped thumbprint bookmark.
How cute are these? Make flowers from mini Play-Doh containers. I've linked the directions here.
All school kids need pencils, but why not make it fun? This was a cute idea.
5. Mini Bubbles
Bubbles provide a fantastic oral therapy item for kids with low muscle tone, and they are a lot of fun for those who may not need as much work. Purchase a party pack of mini bubbles and attach a tag that could say just about anything. I might write: "I love bubbles and I love you!".
6. Mini Notebooks
Decorate the covers to these notebooks with stickers, permanent markers or paints. You can add a tag: "I'm taking note" or "You're noteworthy" or "Writing it down - you're special." I found some reasonable notebooks on Amazon.
7. Wild Animals
Oriental Trading has so many cute wild animal items. Pick something you can get in bulk and add a tag that says "I'm wild about you".
9.Valentine's Craft kits
Oriental Trading for some affordable ideas. You can either assemble the crafts as your valentines, or for something different, put all the pieces in baggies for the recipient to assemble.
10. Store bought Valentines
Amanda likes to think about being crafty, but with three young kids, sometimes crafty time gets messy!