50 Gifts Elementary Kids Can Make for Teachers

04.21.10

Do you have any favorite teacher appreciation gifts you’ve given in the past? Teachers, any favorites you’ve received? Here are a few of my all-time favorites that kids can make for teacher appreciation, many of which can be paired nicely with a gift card for say, a book on tape, a car wash, or bread from a yummy bakery. (Or go in with other class members and give them a night away, which we’re planning to do.)
pictured: handsoap with kids’ art from here, block notepad from HowDoesShe, Pencil Puzzle from MaryJanesGoloshes.

Gifts using pictures of the kids. A few ideas for using photos of the kids themselves, which are an especially great surprise if you can get the class together for a group photo. These photo gifts are helpful for kids too young to write thank you notes to teacher.
1. Thank you portrait. Have the kids spell out “thank you” by laying on the ground and forming the letters with their bodies. Take pictures from overhead.
2. Knee-down portrait. Have the kids line up against a wall and take a photo of the kids from their knees down. Wrap the photo around a can for a pencil holder.
3. Thank you board book or moleskin. On each page put a picture of each child and a reason he or she loves the teacher.
4. Photo beanbags for the classroom.
5. Pencil photo puzzle (found via OnePrettyThing).
6. Photo magazine holders for classroom organization (found via OnePrettyThing).
7. A set of magnets for the classroom.
8. A water bottle.

Gifts using kids’ artwork. And here a few ideas for making gifts from artwork your little one has already created.
9. Handsoap with art inside.
10. Personalized pencil sharpener.
11. Personalized book plates.
12. Stationary for the classroom.
13. A photo desk calendar.

Things kids color directly on
. Self explanatory, right?
14. Rocks and a planter. Have each child paint a small rock. Add these to the top of a plant in a pretty pot for the teacher’s home or classroom.
15. The classroom door. Get students together to decorate the classroom door with loving notes.
16. Cube notepad. Get or make a cube-sized notepad, have the kids color on the sides.
17. Pretty thumb tacks, or try a more rustic set.
18. A good reference book with something pretty stamped on the side.
19. Premium fruit juice with labels drawn by your kids.
20. Cloth Napkins. Use the batik method to decorate a set of cloth napkins. Just drizzle Elmer’s glue over the fabric, let it dry, dye it, and wash it according to the directions on the dye.
21. A notebook with sweet messages hidden throughout.

Things kids can make
22. Handlebar flower.
23. Seed tape.
24. Fabric tissue case (found via OnePrettyThing).
25. Friendly felt-embellished paper clips.
26. Sunprint pencil cup.
27. Pretty pens.
28. Fabric-covered journals (found via OnePrettyThing).
29. Pretty binder clips.
30. Poetry suitcase f
or use in the classroom.
31. Fabric catchall.
32. Corner bookmark.
33. Fabric-covered pots (found via OnePrettyThing).
34. Forced bulbs or an herb garden planted and nurtured by your child.
35. Footwarmer.
36. Lavender drawer sachets.
37. Reusable lunch bag.
38. Yummy bread. If your child has just learned to read, have them use their new skills to read a recipe and make homemade bread.
30. Homemade croutons to go with a salad kit.
40. Homemade pasta cut in fun shapes with a cookie cutter.
41. Chocolate dipped strawberries.
42. Macarons.
43. Waffle mix and real maple syrup with a label drawn by your child.
44. Hot chocolate on a stick (in colder weather).
45. Homemade granola.
46. A caramel-dipped apple.
47. Homemade salsa.
48. Homemade hot sauce.
49. Vanilla sugar.
50. Cookie dough frozen in cookie-sized portions. I like using a bag to pipe out stir and drop cookies.

UPDATE:
Comment from a teacher.
I thought this note from Susan, a real teacher weighing in, was helpful: “These are great ideas!  If you include picutures of your kids, make sure the gift is really for the teacher.  I once got Christmas ornaments with student pictures in them.  While I love your kid and happy to spend all day with them, I don’t want to take them home with me.” Thanks, Susan!

Treats in the teacher’s lounge. I love this idea, found here: “Our school provides the best teacher appreciation week. Each day a different grade level is responsible for providing snacks and goodies for the teachers lounge. We always have a ton of food. One year we all received corsages made from one mom! This year we were surprised with 15 minute massages for each teacher. A therapist came in to our building for 2-days and gave each teacher a 15 minute massage. It was wonderful!!!!”

Teacher favorites survey. I also love this idea found here: “My daughter’s PTO has a form that each teacher fills out at the beginning of the year with their “favorites” (favorite color, soda, candy, scent, etc.). They keep all of the teachers forms in a book in the office [or keep them on the school's website]- that way parents can have easy access and get the teacher something they like or will use.”

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry Cartwright April 21, 2010 at 9:13 am

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for this list! Perfect timing as I was just telling my hubby that I needed to think of teacher gifts for the end of school. It’s coming soon!

Love the knees photo. How cute would that be with a quote that says “[teacher] you’re the bee’s knees!” LOL

One year I decorated a round paper mache box with black paper that I stamped with white ink. The images looked like kid-drawn crayons, flowers, sun and the like. Using the white ink made it appear like a chalk board. I used the same theme on all packaging and filled the box with mints, pencils, office supplies and tea.

This year though, I have the thought to paint various sizes of terra cotta pots with chalkboard paint. Each will be filled with goodies with the smalleest filled with chalk. The teacher can label them with chalk and use them for a variety of supplies. I thought about them being breakable, so I might consider plastic flowerpots or other containers.

I love to send in crafty supplies year round, so at the end of the year, I try to make it a mix of supplies and goodies.

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Sherry Cartwright April 21, 2010 at 9:15 am

Another idea — kids could make, with the help of an adult, a simple lanyard and then decorate it. Lanyards could be made different ways — sewn, a string of beads, chain with beads and photos.

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Kathryn April 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Great timing! I was just checking the calendar this morning and wondering what we could make. The vanilla almonds sound perfect!

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Carol April 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

It’s just so awesome that you are even thinking of us! In our school most parents don’t do anything for teacher appreciation.

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Michelle April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Wonderful (and thoughtful) list!

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Kelli R. A. April 22, 2010 at 7:42 am

Thank you for this great list!

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Stephanie April 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

A helpful round-up! Thank you. :)

I just tweeted your list out via my local school district’s twitter stream.

P.S. Are you on twitter?

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Susan April 28, 2010 at 9:08 am

These are great ideas! If you incude picutes of your kids, make sure the gift is really for the teacher. I once got Christmas ornaments with student pictures in them. While I love your kid and happy to spend all day with them, I don’t want to take them home with me. :)

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Sarah May 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

What a wonderful list and so many great ideas. One year we made a recipe book. Each child had their own page with a photo of them and then included their favourite recipe and a few thank you words for teacher.

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Amber May 24, 2010 at 11:40 am

I loved this list and blogged about it on my little site.

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mother?lode June 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm

What an AWESOME LIST! This is too great not to share – I featured the link on my blog today, in the post titled Tuesday Tumblr. I know this took time to compile, so thank you, it’s so very appreciated, and I know the teachers will appreciate all the great gifts they’ll be showered with as a result of your hard work and inspiration!

http://www.camilledawn.com/2010/06/tumblr-tuesday.html

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Nicola @ Twisty Noodle March 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

This is a great list… perfect for Teacher Appreciation Week coming up! Thank you! Here’s a teacher appreciation coloring page from TwistyNoodle.com… http://twistynoodle.com/coloring/people/teachers/worlds-best-teacher-coloring-page/
You can personalize the page for your teacher.

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jill June 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

I love receiving homemade gifts, but not for the classroom. The classroom has so much going on, that I don’t need any help decorating it. I have received beautiful stained glass window art, gorgeous beaded necklaces and earrings in colors I wear, ceramic bowls for my kitchen as my students know I love to cook, sewn bags for library books or crafting projects. Each gift demonstrated that I was acknowledged, just as I acknowledge each individual in my room. Crafty, thoughtful parents are AWESOME!

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beckysmith18a August 31, 2011 at 10:34 pm

These are great ideas! If you incude picutes of your kids, make sure the gift is really for the teacher.

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Sammy November 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm

at our school, we got together all sorts of candies and made a poem. It said stuff like you made us have mounds of fun. we replaced the word mound with an empty mounds bar. The teachers love it.

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Ellen April 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Fabulous ideas! tfs

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jenefer March 28, 2012 at 2:58 am

cooking for vacation gifts for the artisan, or maybe a cherished one or associates considering doing art? Purchasing art supplies on the internet and gifts for performers can be rather simple. Many on the internet providers provide Holiday Gift Courses creating it possible for you as to buy the best gift… “Give the Gift of Art this Holiday Period”

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Jenny May 9, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I’m a teacher. The best gift I ever received from a parent was a $200 Walmart gift card. No kidding!!! That was awesome. I used it to buy myself a new DSLR camera that I had been saving for. I’ve also received a $100 bill, which was also completely awesome. That would be a great gift to do as a whole class. For smaller gifts, I like Car Wash gift cards. Our school does a list at the beginning the year that asks for all the teachers’ favorites. I appreciate that, but I wish they would ask, “what’s one thing you don’t want as a teacher gift?” Ha! I would always put bath products and scented candles. I just never use them.

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Steela Castle September 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Hey simply great post. Giving some good and memorable gift to teachers makes some good memories in their heart when your kid left school,college etc. That is a great time to let your teachers know that you are thankful for their hard work.

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Chandra December 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

Having been a teacher for many years, I hate to say that eventually you get “over” all the handmade stuff you have to find a place for. At the end of every year I have each of my kids fill out a “questionnaire” for their teacher. When they were young, simple things like “Your favorite food is ____”, “You live ____” and “When you’re not in class, you ____” turned up hilarious answers. They’re older now, so the questions are more like “I always love it when you ____”, “My favorite thing you did this year was ___” and “I’ll never forget ___”. I’ll print it on pretty paper with a head shot of the child and have them sign it. It’s a simple thing to do, easy for them to keep and always means a lot to their teachers. (And, yes, I’ll add a gift card usually…but it’s the letters they love!)

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