Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit 2017

Since my children started attending elementary school, I have been cooking up some little back to school teacher emergency kit to give my kids’ homeroom teachers on the first day of school. Each year, the kits are a little different, but the contents are always based on items I need at school but don’t always have. I usually change up the bag or box to hold all of the items, but this fall, I am returning to the plastic bead box with removable divider slots that was the first container I ever used.

The Box: I purchase the bead storage boxes from Michael’s. It has ten slots with removable dividers. I remove a few of the dividers to make sections of the box bigger depending on what I have that needs to go in the box.

The Contents: Below is what I included in the kits this time. You could also consider adding things like mints, 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.

  • cough drops
  • safety pins
  • soda money in quarters
  • Blistex
  • Pepto Bismol chewable tablets
  • tweezers
  • disposable toothbrush and paste (one time use)
  • emery board
  • Band-aids
  • hair bands
  • dental flossers

The Labels: I printed THIS 2″x 4″ label for the lid of the box using a Red Cross style logo to make it look like an emergency kit. I created a table for the inside of the box and printed it on cardstock. Using a paper cutter, I cut it down to fit the inside lid and attached it with clear tape. I wanted the “map” on the inside to look like one of those lists they have in the big chocolate candy boxes, so you know what kind of chocolate you are eating. Here is a copy of the Teacher Emergency Kit Map.

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.

Teacher Emergency Kit 2012

Teacher Emergency Kit 2013

Teacher Emergency Kit 2014

Teacher Emergency Kit 2015

Teacher Emergency Kit 2016

10 Teacher Gift Ideas

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.

  1. Teacher Emergency Kit  (I have a few versions of the kit. Click HERE, HERE, or HERE to see different options.)Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit
  2. Teacher Lunch (You could also make a bento style lunch like THIS ONE.)Teacher Lunch Bag Gift
  3. Freezable Meal sausage artichoke soup
  4. Mason Jar Soup Mixes mason jar soup labels
  5. Flavored Sugar or Dip Mixes vanilla bean flavored sugar
  6. Manicure Kit teacher appreciation gift bag
  7. Lottery Tickets (To see a different type of scrapbook paper envelope, CLICK HERE.)paper pocket w lottery tickets
  8. Ribbon Bookmarks ribbon bookmark with journals
  9. Insulated Drink Cups iced tea kit contents
  10. Monogrammed Umbrellas monogrammed umbrellas khaki

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.

Vanilla Sugar

vanilla bean flavored sugar

I have been agonizing over holiday teacher gifts again. Each year I need at least a dozen small gifts for all of my children’s teachers. It is not something I have to do. It is something I like to do. I know how much I appreciate the gifts my students give me at Christmas, so I like to do the same for the teachers my children have. I spend a lot of time finding something that is affordable yet (hopefully) useful.

This year, I mass produced flavored sugars in small jars. Almost all teachers I know drink coffee on a daily basis, and while they don’t need a coffee mug, I thought they might like a coffee “mixer”. The sugar has a little gourmet twist to it with the vanilla bean flavor, and the gift is consumable. Teachers won’t have to store or care for it once it is used. I made extra jars to use as hostess gifts or little sirsees for neighbors.

vanilla bean sugar jar label

Ingredients

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean

Directions

  • Put 2 cups sugar in a mixing bowl
  • On a cutting board, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from the inside of the bean.

flavored sugar vanilla bean seeds

  • Add the vanilla bean seeds to the sugar and mix well.

flavored sugar mixing

  • Put a piece of the vanilla bean pod in the bottom of the jar and add flavored sugar to the top.

flavored sugar filling jars

  • Store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • I purchased my jars at Hobby Lobby during their 50% off glassware sale this weekend. At full price, the jars are about $2.50. They are 3 1/4″ tall with a flip lid.
  • Two batches of sugar filled 18 jars. The jars hold a little less than 1/3 cup.
  • I printed Flavored Sugar Labels and tied the label to each jar with baker’s twine.
  • For a variation, mix 2 c. sugar with 1/4 c. whole cardamom seeds. Add the cardamom sugar to your daily cup of coffee.

Teacher Emergency Kit 2014

 

teacher emergency kits

Every year I create some sort of back to school gift for my children to give to their new teachers on the first day of school. For the past 3 years it has been a variation on an emergency kit for the teacher.

In case you missed my memo from the past few years, teachers are trapped in the school building until every last student is out the door at the end of the day. There are no quick trips to the grocery store or the gas station for an aspirin or a Coke. If teachers do not bring essentials with them and have a secret stash in the classroom, they are out of luck until the end of the day. Giving an emergency kit to a teacher is a thoughtful gift idea.

teacher emergency kit pouches

The Cloth Wallet

  • This year I found a free pattern for a business card holder with two pockets on Craftsy.com. They weren’t the right size, but I doubled the fabric piece measurements in the pattern to get the size I needed to hold the contents of the teacher emergency kit. I used 11 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ fabric pieces for the outside, lining, and interfacing and 11 1/2″ x 13″ for the pocket. (FYI– You are required to register on the site before downloading the free pattern.)
  • If you are a normal person and don’t have the obsessive need to sew massive amounts of cute little cloth wallets, use a bead box like I did in 2012. If you do like sewing but want a super fast sewing project, make the potholder clutch like the one I made in 2013.

teacher emergency kit contents

The Contents

  • Forehead temperature reader: This is a new addition to the emergency kit. Students love to leave the classroom and take a walk. One way for a student to get out of the classroom is to tell the teacher that he/she does not feel well, so the teacher will send that child to the office for a temperature check. Not anymore. With the forehead temp reader, a teacher can quickly see if a child is in fact a little warm, and the student’s plan to sneak out of the room is foiled. The temp reader is not totally accurate, but it is a good gauge. I found mine at CVS.
  • Advil (I put 5 or 6 in a mini ziploc bead bag I get from Michael’s Crafts)
  • Tums (inserted 5 or 6 in a mini bead bag)
  • Band-aids
  • Blistex (or any kind of chapstick)
  • Dental flossers (in a mini bead bag)
  • Travel size Clorox wipes: Here is another new addition to the kit. I am not a fan of Purell or any of the hand sanitizers. It makes my hands smell and have a funny feel to them. I do like a Clorox wipe. I can quickly clean a surface, desk, spill on a backpack, etc. and then my hands are touching things that are (moderately) clean since I cleaned the item rather than my hands.

teacher emergency kit contents viewAlternate Contents

  • travel size tissues
  • quarters for soda money
  • travel size toothbrush and paste
  • Tampax
  • mints
  • safety pins
  • Sharpie marker
  • travel size sewing kit
  • emery board
  • hair bands or a hair clip
  • travel size lotion– no scent is better

Note

  • If you are a sewer and grab the pattern from Craftsy, the original pattern size is fun to make too and is the perfect wrapper for a gift card. Here is what the two sizes look like.

teacher wallet 2 sizes

teacher gift card 2 pocket wallet

Do you give a back to school gift to your child’s new teacher? What else is a thoughtful sirsee for the beginning of the school year?

Teacher Appreciation Dos and Don’ts

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

I spend way too much time analyzing what makes a good teacher gift, but I see it on both sides since I am a teacher and a parent with school aged children. Are teacher appreciation gifts required? NO. Do many families choose to give their teachers holiday gifts, teacher appreciation gifts, and end of year gifts? YES. Are you required to spend a lot of money? NO. Are teachers thankful for all small gifts and kind gestures from parents and students. YES. But, a cutesy, punny note does not a good teacher gift make.

In my experience, the best gifts for teachers are ones that show consideration for the teacher’s day at school. Remember, teachers have very little free time during the day to run out of the building to grab lunch or pick up some little item at the drug store. We can barely get to the water fountain that is in the school building. Here are a few guidelines and ideas that I believe make good teacher gifts. Based on the comments I get on my Crappy Teacher Gifts Pinterest Board, not everyone agrees with my good/bad teacher gift criteria. So, as a little disclaimer, these suggestions are TheRoomMom’s opinion and may not apply to every teacher or parent.

favorite books bookmark

Gifts that help a teacher remember a specific class are special. For the past several years, I sent an e-mail to the parents in my children’s classes asking for a favorite book name of a book read during the school year. I compiled the list into columns on a Word document and added a class picture. I used the list to make a Favorite Books Bookmark for the teacher and one for each student. Teachers need many bookmarks in the classroom for all of our teacher manuals and read aloud books. The bookmark creates an age appropriate book list for the group. I have also seen or used other ideas that would help teachers clip or mark classroom materials…

mason jar soup labels

Food based gifts can work well too. It is difficult to have food delivered or leave the building to grab a sandwich during the school day. Yes, teachers love chocolate, but if I have not packed a lunch (or eaten breakfast), I would rather have something with a little more substance. The nice thing about food gifts is they can often be made in bulk if you would like to give a gift to multiple teachers. Not only can you bring food items for during the school day, but I think all working families love to have low prep meals for when you get home. This year, I sent Mason Jar Soup Mixes to teachers, and I have also organized a Freezable Meal delivery for my children’s teachers during teacher appreciation week. Here are other food based gifts I have made or am thinking about making…

 

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit

My favorite gifts are the ones that help a teacher with school day emergencies. These gifts include items that are great to have on hand for those little unexpected events. I have two versions– Teacher Emergency Kit 2012 and Teacher Emergency Kit 2013. You might also consider these kit ideas…

gift card wallet giveaway

And finally, you can never go wrong by giving a gift card. Chances are, you do not know your child’s teacher that well outside of the classroom, so a gift card covers a lot of bases. If several families want to contribute, you can pool resources into one gift card. Or, if you are giving a gift by yourself, there are so many gift cards that work well in small increments. Last year, I sewed little Gift Card Wallets, but I also found some non-sewing ideas that included thoughtful student notes…

As a wrap-up, I would just like to say again that families are not obligated to go to great lengths to give teacher gifts. It is always well received to write a note, send an e-mail, or simply say, “thank you” in person if you appreciate the work your child’s teacher has done during the school year.

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!