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Creative Ideas for Teacher Gifts

What do you do to thank those wonderful teachers who inspire your children on a daily basis?  You have to think outside of the box and be creative to produce something unique that your child's teacher will cherish.  For many years I was a homeroom parent for my two children and I spent time trying to decide what to do for their teachers.  We always did something special for the holidays, teacher appreciation week and the end of the year.  I have accumulated a number of creative ideas that I have shared below. 

Great Ideas for Teacher's Gifts:

  • Create a reading basket:  Purchase a wicker laundry basket and put in big bright letters MRS. X's READING BASKET on the outside. Ask each child in the class to donate his/her favorite book.  Be sure to let parents know that they must be appropriate for the grade level.  Have the child write a simple message to the teacher on the insider cover and sign their name.  Place all of the books into the basket.  This will be a present that the teacher will love and that will be used for many years.  My daughter's teacher loved this present.
  • Thank you Bags:  Create a thank you phrase such as "THANK YOU MRS. SMITH" or "THANKS SO MUCH MRS. SMITH"  or "THANKS FOR A GREAT YEAR MRS. SMITH" that has the number of letters to match the number of kids in class.  Purchase colored bags to match the number of letters.  Place one (large) letter from the phrase on each bag. Give each child in the class one of the bags to take home and fill with items starting with the letter on the bag.  For instance a bag with a T could include a tea bag, tape, tablet, tacks, tambourine, teacup, teddy bear etc. On the chosen day line the bags on the windowsill to spell out the phrase.
  • Make a teacher's reading chair:  Purchase a canvas directors chair.  Based on the number of children in the class evenly divide the canvas by drawing squares using fabric paint or permanent marker.  Have each child put their handprint or a drawing in their square and print their name.  Depending on where you have the room you should add the teacher's name and the year.  We did this for my daughter's first grade teacher and she loved it.
  • Teacher's storage chest:  Purchase a large wooden chest from the craft store. Give each child a square or circle of white paper (size depends on the number of kids in the class), cut the edges with pinking sheers to give it a creative look.  Have them draw a picture, write a poem, create a  message or print their name.  Glue all of the kids creations to the chest and then use decoupage to cover the entire chest to seal it. The teacher will have a memorable storage trunk.
  • Create a night at the movies basket: Start with a plastic popcorn bowl and customize it using permanent markers or puffy paint.  Then fill the bowl with microwave popcorn, large candy bars, and a gift certificate to the local video rental store or movie theatre.
  • Create a memory book:  This is a two part project.  First, have the kids each create a page for the book.  Create a blank page for them to fill in and decorate.  At the top of the page give them a question to answer like:  I love Mrs. X because....  or My favorite thing that we did in 4th grade was....  or Mr. X is the best teacher because....  Have them answer the questions and decorate their page. Make sure they sign their name.  Second, ask parents to donate photos they took on field trips or classroom events and then stop by school at recess and take some candid shots of the class.  Create some photo pages to add to the book.  Be sure to add a cover page with the class and the year.
  •  Create an art memory book: Have each child do a watercolor painting on card stock paper.  Have them add a wallet-sized photo of himself or herself to the middle of the painting and sign their name on the back.  Create a cover page with the class and the year.  Punch holes down the side of each page and thread together with pretty ribbon. 
  • Create a special photo.  Divide the kids into six groups and give each a white poster board.  Then give each group a letter -- T-H-A-N-K-S.  Their job is to decorate the board with their specified letter.  The letter should be as large as the board.   When the project is completer line them up with their posters and take a picture.  End Result a photo of the class with the poster boards spelling out the words THANKS.
  • Gift certificates to local bookstores, restaurants, school supply outlets, movie theatres, or a local coffee shop are always appreciated.  It is always nicer if you can team up with other parents and purchase one large certificate.
  • Create a flower kit:  Purchase a large PLASTIC flower pot at the local craft store.  Have the kids each print their name on the outside back portion of the pot with a permanent marker.  Make a color copy of a class picture and decoupage it on the front of the pot.  Fill the pot with potting soil, gardening gloves, a small trough, and most importantly packets of forget-me-not flower seeds.  Add a plant marker made from a craft stick and paper to say "Forget-me-not from your class of XXX"
  • Italian Dinner Basket:  Create a basket that will allow the teacher to go home that night or the next night and have a complete dinner ready for them.  Include, sauce and pasta -- ask for a parent to volunteer to them make homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs.  Add ingredients for salad (packaged lettuce, cucumbers, croutons, Italian salad dressing, olives).  Include a loaf of Italian bread and dessert.  Remember dessert should keep with the Italian theme.
  • Candy Flower Pot:  Decorate a medium terra cotta pot with hearts and fill it will Styrofoam.  Cover the foam with moss.

    Attach the candy bars referred to in the poem below to bamboo skewers (tape to the back so that you do not ruin the candy)

    Place skewers into the pot  at varying heights, like a flower arrangement, and attach the following poem.

    Dear ______:
    We want to thank you for all you do for us. You do "Good and Plenty" around here. You help us by giving us "Mounds" of homework, so we can "Skor" well on all or our tests. We know that the lessons you have taught us will help us both "Now and Later" in life. Sometimes you are a "Hot Tamale", and other times a "Big Red", but we know that you love us to (Reeses) "Pieces". We also know that we make you "Nutrageous" at times. We wish we could give you a "100 Grand" on "Payday" but all we have is "Hugs" and "Kisses" and a"Symphony" of voices saying Thank You....Hope this gift brings a "Bit o Honey" to your day


Ideas for Teacher appreciation week:

For teacher appreciation week we always did a little something each day for our teachers and we asked parents to send in a monetary donation as well as other items.

  • Each child brings a flower to school and hands it to the teacher in the morning with personalized thank you cards.  Be sure to buy a some extra and stand outside of the classroom for those who may forget.
  • Give your teacher something that they really like.  For instance does your teacher like to drink coke, eat granola bars, or love chocolate?  Then have each child bring in just one of the special item.
  • Breakfast at school -- bring in fruit, mini muffins and milk.
  • Have a class party.  Ask parents to donate munchies and drinks and purchase a cake.  One time we had the teachers picture put on the cake.
  • Does your teacher have a special hobby, coach a team or take a dance class.  If so purchase something and have the kids sign it.  For example a soccer coach would love a soccer ball signed by his/her class.
  • Give your teacher a menu from their favorite local restaurant and let them select what they would like for lunch and have it delivered for them the next day.
  • Have the kids write a poem about their teacher.
  • Create one of the memory books listed above.
  • Take a well known kids song and change the words to represent the teacher and the class.  Ask the music teacher to teach it to the kids during their weekly music class.
  • Day five was usually the grand finale day where we would purchase something for the teacher.  We did the Italian dinner basket many times and the teachers always loved it.  We also gave many gift certificates to their favorite stores.
  • Decorate the door to the entrance of the classroom.  Pick a theme and then decorate. 


    Mrs. _____s Class is in Full Bloom -- decorate a spring scene with flowers and trees.

    Mr. _____ is a real sport  -- decorate with baseballs, soccer balls, basketballs etc..

    You Are Out of This World -- decorate with the moon, stars and planets.

    Hats off to Mrs. ______ -- decorate with small black, silver and gold top hats that contain a picture of each student and a large one in the center with the words and the teacher's picture.

    We Are Soaring to New Heights -- decorate with a large hot air balloon or kites, as well as clouds and the sun.

    Thanks For A Picture Perfect Year -- Take a picture of each student and create a paper frame for each.  Put a large camera in the center with the words and then the picture frames all around it.

    Mrs. ___, You Are a Treasure -- Decorate with a large treasure chest with gold coins containing the name of each student.

    Mrs. ____ takes the cake --- Decorate like a birthday party with balloons and a huge birthday cake with candles.

    Mrs. ____ has the recipe for success.  Decorate with a picture of each student in a chef's hat holding utensils. Be sure to include this recipe as well.

    Take ___ boys and ___ girls (enter number in class)
    Mix gently in a classroom
    Marinate with creativity, knowledge and love
    Let simmer for 9 or 10 months
    Sprinkle with laugher and enthusiasm
    This recipe makes _____ students ready for the challenges
    of  _____  grade.  (enter total number of students, and grade children will be in next year).


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