Over the years I have assembled a variety of back to school teacher kits to give to my children’s new teachers on the first day of school. I usually make teacher emergency kits. This year I deviated slightly and filled pencil boxes with items for re-stocking a teacher’s desk rather than a little pouch a teacher might keep in his/her teacher bag.
The kits are always a little different, but the contents are based on items I need at school but don’t always have. For this version, I added items I like to have to keep class running smoothly. It’s things I use to grade papers or hang items on the walls or boards. I still included a few personal items like chapstick and Tylenol, but the focus of the kit is classroom supplies that a school might not supply to its teachers.
Back to School Kit Contents
You can use any kind of bag, pouch, or box for the contents. I have used plastic bead boxes from Michael’s crafts or make-up bags from a store like Bed Bath & Beyond. If I am really in a crafty mood, I sew small pouches. This year, I used a type of student pencil box with a tray insert for two layers that I purchased at Staples.
Below is what I included in the kits this time. I wanted to include packing tape and Astrobright paper too, but they wouldn’t fit in the pencil box! You could also consider adding things like a good Flair pen or Sharpie pen, travel sized lotion, Advil or Tylenol, mini Windex wipes for electronics (I have seen these at Target), a Tide to Go pen… I browse the travel-sized aisle at places like CVS and Target for inspiration.
- Expo markers in assorted colors
- Mechanical pencils
- Pilot G-2 ballpoint pens in assorted colors
- Frixion erasable highlighters in assorted colors
- Heavy duty clip magnets
- Wite-out EZcorrect tape
- large paperclips
- Command hanging strips
- Minty gum
- Vaseline (chapstick)
- Disinfectant wipes for cleaning surfaces
- Assorted Post-it notes
- Staples and Starbucks gift cards
To get more inspiration for Back to School Teacher Kits, take a look at some of mine from previous years by clicking the links below. You could also opt for a shared teacher appreciation gift like this SOFT DRINK BAR that I set up in the teacher workroom during teacher appreciation week. To enter this year’s giveaway to win a kit for you and a friend, visit my INSTAGRAM account. Like, follow, and tag a friend on my INSTAGRAM POST to enter! Giveaway ends 7/9/2021.
Teacher Emergency Kit 2015
Teacher Emergency Kit 2016
Teacher Emergency Kit 2017
Teacher Emergency Kit 2020 (COVID Edition)
What teacher won’t need a COVID edition teacher emergency kit when they return to in-person school? When my children were in elementary school, I made little back to school teacher emergency kits for their homeroom teachers on the first day of school. I took a hiatus from the back to school teacher gift for the past few years as my kids entered middle and high school. I switched to shared teacher gifts like this SOFT DRINK BAR that I set up in the teacher workroom during teacher appreciation week.
I decided to resurrect my favorite teacher gift this year and adapt it to be more COVID friendly. The kits are always a little different, but the contents are based on items I need at school but don’t always have. For this version, I added small PPE items like a face mask and alcohol wipes. I will be standing by to give these to my children’s teachers on our first day of in-person school. As of now, we are scheduled to start on campus with social distancing modifications, but I anticipate changes.
Teacher Emergency Kit Contents
You can use any kind of bag, pouch, or box for the contents. I have used plastic bead boxes from Michael’s crafts or make-up bags from a store like Bed Bath & Beyond. If I am really in a crafty mood, I sew small pouches. Below is what I included in the kits this time. I wanted to include gloves as well, but they are hard to locate right now! You could also consider adding things like a good Flair pen or Sharpie pen, travel sized lotion, Advil or Tylenol, mini Windex wipes for electronics (I have seen these at Target), a Tide to Go pen… I browse the travel-sized aisle at places like CVS and Target for inspiration.
- face mask
- pop charger for an iPhone
- hand sanitizer spray
- mini lint roller
- alcohol wipes
- Listerine breath tabs (to help with mask breath)
- Emergen-C packets
- tinted ChapStick (although with the mask, lip color is not necessary!)
- safety pins
- all purpose nail kit (includes tweezers– very handy)
- $10 Amazon gift card (or any gift card– Starbucks, Staples, Target, Shell gas, BP gas)
To get more inspiration for Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits, take a look at some of mine from previous years by clicking the links below. To enter this year’s giveaway to win a kit for you and a friend, visit my INSTAGRAM account. Like, follow, and tag a friend on my INSTAGRAM POST to enter! Giveaway ends 7/20/2020.
Teacher Emergency Kit 2015
Teacher Emergency Kit 2016
Teacher Emergency Kit 2017
Holiday Simmering Spices are the perfect low prep gift to give friends this Christmas season. I used to throw an annual cookie exchange and would put together a little party favor for the guests. One year I gave each friend a bag containing the “Essence of Christmas”. This is something my mom always had simmering on the stovetop at our house during the holiday season; it makes your whole house smell like Christmas.
It is easy to make in big batches, and if you are already in cocoa kit or rosemary nut production, you should have a large supply of clear bags and labels– perfect for packaging these goodies. Share with neighbors, teachers, co-workers, or bring as a hostess gift to parties.
Simmering Spice Ingredients
- 1 t. cloves
- 4-5 juniper berries (can be hard to find, Whole Foods usually has these with the bulk spices from Thanksgiving to Christmas)
- 1 whole orange (OPTIONAL, navel oranges– cannot use clementines or tangerines)
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- Slice orange and add slices with spices to a pot with 4-5 cups of water. Simmer on the stove to emit a wonderful Christmas fragrance. Refill water as necessary.
Simmering Spice Notes
- You can make bags with our without the orange. The bags last almost forever if you do not include the fresh orange.
- CLICK HERE to download a sheet of printable labels. Print on cardstock and cut apart to make nice tags to attach to the simmering spice bags.
I abandoned my traditional Teacher Emergency Kit back to school gift this year for a teacher snack bar that all the teachers at my school could enjoy. My children attend the school where I teach, and traditionally, I have made THESE KITS for my kid’s homeroom teachers. Well, my son and daughter are in middle school now (*sniff*), and they see multiple teachers throughout the day. I thought setting up a snack bar in the teacher kitchen for everybody to enjoy would be a great way to thank all the teachers.
Last spring during Teacher Appreciation Week, I put together a BEVERAGE BAR, and I used that same idea but with snacks. The interesting thing is that everyone commented on loving the salty snacks. I think when people bring treats for teachers, it is often cookies, cakes, muffins… I made a mental note to provide salty teacher treats more often.
Setting up a Teacher Snack Bar
I made Spicy Ritz Crackers, Tijuana Tidbit Snack Mix (CLICK HERE), and my daughter baked brownies. We put the mixes in cookie tins, the brownies on a platter, and set out napkins, small plates, and small 5-oz plastic tumbler cups to hold the snack mix. All the snacks were on the counter in the common teacher kitchen, and people walked by throughout the day and grabbed a little bite. The seasoned Ritz crackers were the crowd favorite. I was worried they would be too spicy but that is why everyone loved them.
- 1/2 c. melted butter (one stick)
- 1 packet Ranch dressing mix
- 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 T. red pepper flakes
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1 box original Ritz crackers
- Let melted butter cool slightly. Mix butter, Ranch dressing mix, grated Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.
- Put Ritz crackers in a mixing bowl.
- Pour butter mixture over the Ritz crackers and gently stir to coat crackers.
- Put crackers on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Let cool and store in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.
All the snacks were gone before lunchtime! It was an easy teacher appreciation gift, and I will definitely set up something similar again.
The first full week of May is National Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States. It is no secret that I love putting together small gifts or gestures of appreciation for my children’s teachers. Many people work with my kids, so I am always trying to find a gift idea that I can mass produce and is cost effective. When we start counting the various core teachers, special area teachers, and support staff who interact with my 5th and 7th grader on a daily basis, it is over 25 people.
To make sure I do not leave anyone out, I am setting up a beverage bar tomorrow for the entire faculty. I bought 16-oz. Solo cups in a fun color, pretty straws, and a selection of individual sized drinks. My school has an ice machine, but if this is something you are considering for teachers, don’t forget bags of ice too. People can drop in all day to the teacher break area and fix a cold drink to take back to the classroom.
- Provide a variety of sizes and options. I purchased Coke and Diet Coke in 12-oz and 8-oz cans, sparkly flavored waters, Snapples, and a few sodas in bottles with twist off lids. A twist off lid is great if you don’t want to finish the drink in one sitting (or students return and you have to start teaching again). The smaller soda cans work well if you need a little refreshment but don’t have time for a larger drink.
- In place of a beverage bar where people go to a common location and serve themselves, you could print a fun, individual label and attach to the Solo cup. THESE LABELS are Avery 5263, 2″ x 4″. Put a can of soda and straw in the cup and deliver to individual teachers.
- If this is something your school’s PTA or parents’ group is considering for the faculty and staff, they could order Personalized Can Coozies with the school logo to give to teachers. There are many sites that sell party items like this in bulk for groups.
- Depending on how well you know the teachers, you could kick the beverage idea up a level and give individual gift bags with cocktail kits. There are so many airplane sized liquor options at liquor stores now, it can be fun to give a small bottle of alcohol, a mixer, and a lime. This may not be appropriate for your school community– you be the judge. I did put together a little gift like this for the teachers returning from multi-day field trip with my daughter to Williamsburg, VA. I knew the group of teacher chaperones, and I was pretty confident they would love the gift!
I have many great teacher gift ideas. CLICK HERE for more inspiration.