I love teacher gift ideas. I won’t lie. It consumes quite a bit of my time around back to school, holidays, Teacher Appreciation Day, and end of the school year. Since I am both a teacher and a parent, I am conscious of both sides of the gift giving process. My goal when choosing teacher gifts are to think of small items that are cost efficient, practical, thoughtful, simple, useful, and I like the gifts to be attractive.
Here is what works:
a thoughtful aspect– there is a personal touch to the gift like a handwritten note (and a handwritten note of thanks is always enough!)
a useful aspect– the gift can be used in the teacher’s daily life
generic– if you do not know the teacher personally, stick with items that most people like (do not get too specific like Red Hot candies because you think your child had a “red hot” year)
Here is what does NOT work:
cute for cute’s sake– a gift that has great packaging but has no purpose
teacher stereotypes– things that fall in the apple or school supply motif arena
Below are links to 10 ideas that have a range of cost and crafty levels. All have been tested and received well by teachers, coaches, school support staff, helpful neighbors, party hosts, friends… Click on the name or image to learn how to make the gift.
I have lots of posts with teacher appreciation gift suggestions. Search Teacher Gifts in the search box on my blog, click on the Teacher Gifts link in the side margin of the blog, or click on the Sirsees tab near my blog header.
I have totally been on a gift kick lately. I have several family member birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Teacher Appreciation in May; all good reasons to hunt around for fun little presents for people. If possible, I try to choose gifts that will work for many individuals, so I can mass produce or buy in bulk.
I recently had coffee with a friend that I met through my children’s swim team. TheSwimFriend has been borrowing an embroidery machine and monogramming almost anything that will fit under the sewing machine foot. During coffee, she showed me a monogrammed umbrella. I had to have one (or five). After a quick trip to Target for travel sized umbrellas, I dropped off my purchases with TheSwimFriend who kindly monogrammed them for me.
I am hoping USPS has already delivered TheRoomMomMom’s Mother’s Day umbrella, so I am not ruining the surprise. Since I used travel size, my mom can leave the umbrella in her car or stuff it in her purse on a rainy day. I had one made for Mr. Star Wars’ teacher for an end of the year gift because the teachers at school have to walk about two blocks from the parking lot to the school, rain or shine. The umbrella is just the right size for a teacher bag. I have a few more ready for upcoming birthday gifts. My favorite combination is the navy and white polka dot umbrella with the kelly green monogram.
TheSwimFriend played around with the monogram size and liked 3 1/2″ tall at the center point. The monogram also needs to have stabilizer on the back in order to keep the umbrella material from puckering.
My SwimFriend did this as a favor for me, and I would like to do something nice back. Any suggestions? TheSwimFriend has seen all of my recent gift ideas.
Aaaah. The end of the school year. It’s the time of year when I start thinking of some little sirsee for my children’s teachers that will 1) remind the teacher of my child’s class in the years to come and 2) be something the teacher might enjoy using.
A few years ago, we created a class cookbook with photos from the school year. My son has aged out of this teacher gift, and my daughter is on the cusp, but if you have nursery school or kindergarten aged children, this is a fun end of year gift.
The year we gave this particular gift, the children were on a snack rotation (a little like Miss Priss’ snack schedule this year). The students had a letter of the week, and families started sending snacks that related to the letter of the week. By the end of the year, the kids had eaten a snack for each letter of the alphabet.
Parents sent me photos from events during the school year and any recipes they had; I compiled the photos and recipes into a Shutterfly photo book. We ordered copies for the teachers, and many of the families ordered copies as well.
I love this little book. I still use it when I need kid snack ideas (like the Worms in dirt or the Veggie dip). The nursery school teachers continue to use it as a resource for their classroom. The book has the class name on the front cover, a picture of the class and class year on the inside cover page, and a student list on the last page.
Here is what the children had for snack that year:
I don’t know if all the snacks fall into the “healthy snack” category, but it is a great kid cookbook. I will mention that we did attach AmEx gift cards for the teachers to the cookbook, but I think they would have appreciated the little memory book anyway!
This is a fun keepsake to help students and teachers remember their class from a specific school year. It could also be used as a back to school activity to generate a reading list of recommended books for the start of the school year. Teachers survey the students for their favorite book title and author from the year. This is also a project your class room parent can handle by sending a Group Email to all of the parents asking them to send one of their child’s favorite book names from the year.
Once all of the book titles are collected, create a list of the student names with their book selections in a Word document (landscape orientation, 3 column set-up). You can also insert a class picture if you have any spare white space. Your list should not exceed two columns in the Word document. After printing, cut the lists into two strips and paste them onto 9×4 inch construction paper strips (front and back). Then, run the assembled bookmark through the laminating machine.
Make enough copies for all the students and the teachers!
Teacher Tip: picture book titles appear in quotes, chapter book titles are underlined. Alternately, all titles could appear in italics.