50 Gift Ideas for Teachers 

teacher appreciation gift ideasTeachers do more than just show your kids how to learn English and math. They act as counselors, friends and much more to the students in their classes. Show your child's teachers how much you appreciate their hard work with these easy gift ideas. 

Homemade Gifts

  1. Teachers Are Our Heroes - Have the kids in class draw pictures of their teacher wearing a super hero outfit complete with cape. Ask them to include a sentence of what they love about their teacher. Compile them into a binder or scrapbook.
  2. Photo Finish - Take a photo of your child and his or her teacher, and present the photo in a homemade frame. Help kids get creative with their frame-making skills — use popsicle sticks, construction paper, leaves or anything else.
  3. Acrostic Poem - Get students to create an acrostic poem where each letter of the teacher's name stands for something great about him or her. For example: Mrs. Abe could be Awesome, Bright and Extra sweet.
  4. Movie Night Basket - Help students create a basket with popcorn, candy, sodas and a couple of DVDs or gift cards for the local movie theater.
  5. Handprint Tote Bag - Buy a canvas bag and have students put their handprints on it using fabric paint. Get students to sign their names next to their prints, and give it to teacher to remember this year's class.
  6. Door Wreath - Encourage kids to get creative and make a wreath for the classroom door. No materials are off-limits — crayons, florals, burlap and more. One option: Have kids trace their hands or make handprints with paint, and cut out each print to arrange in a wreath-shape.
  7. "Thank You for Helping Me Grow" - Give your teacher a kit where she can grow her own plant: a pot, seed packet and small bag of top soil. Have your student paint and write a sweet message on the pot.
Volunteer thank you appreciation sign up
  1. Fingerprint Plate - Head to a paint-your-own pottery studio for an unfinished plate and have each student place a finger print around the edge. Then bring the plate back to the studio to be glazed and fired. Write a sweet message about the impression your teacher left on the class this year.
  2. "Smart Cookies" - Help students bake some cookies and write a card telling their teacher what "smart cookies" they're becoming with his or her help.
  3. Color Coordinate - Compile a basket of gifts centered around a color pun. For example: "I'm tickled pink that you're my teacher" could contain pink highlighters, lip balm and erasers, while "Orange you glad it's almost summer" could contain orange nail polish, an orange water bottle and orange gum.
  4. Video Message - Have parents ask their students simple questions about the teacher (What does she do to make you smile? What is her favorite food?) and record their responses on video. Edit the videos together and save them to a DVD or flash drive to give to teacher.
  5. Teacher Survey - Send home a survey with each student and have them answer questions about their teacher such as his or her favorite food and drink, age, song, etc. Be sure to include categories like "What is something your teacher does that makes you smile?"
  6. Class Playlist - Find out each student's favorite song and compile a CD or digital playlist for teacher to listen to at school or at home.

Coordinate a meaningful Teacher Appreciation Week with a sign up. SAMPLE

Group Gifts

  1. Spa Day - Have parents pool their money and treat your child's teacher to a manicure, pedicure or other spa service to relax and recharge.
  2. Fiesta Friday - Order in Mexican food — think taco bar or build-your-own-nachos — for all the teachers in the grade or department on a Friday. Genius Tip: Coordinate parent food donations with a sign up.
  3. Easy Recipe Book - Ask students' parents to send in their recipes for easy dinners or even their child's favorite meal. Combine them into a binder to give your teacher some yummy new meal ideas.
  4. Magazine Subscription - Subscribe the teacher (or classroom) to a magazine that's applicable to his or her special interest: a sports magazine for the football coach, a crafts or art magazine for the art teacher, etc.
  5. Summer Relaxation Bag - Have each family bring in an item to put in a beach bag — sunglasses, beach towel, flip flops, a book to read on the beach — and present it during the last week of school.
  6. Say it with Flowers - Get parents to contribute a few dollars toward buying a large flower arrangement. In the card, say something like, "If teachers were flowers, we'd pick you."
  7. Coffee Kit - Ask parents to bring in items for a "coffee kit" that could include a single-cup coffee maker, coffee pods, a mug and fun creamer or a pour-over starter kit. Include a tag that says, "Thanks a 'latte' for all your hard work."
  8. Art by Future Artists - Have each child draw or paint a self-portrait and then use photo software to put them all together in one picture. (Alternatively, you could include each portrait in an art binder.) Frame it for the teacher to look back on this year's class.
  9. Wine Time - Get parents to pitch in for a nice bottle of wine, a personalized glass and maybe a gift card to the local wine shop. Include a note that says, "An apple for the teacher is fine, but by June, you deserve wine."
  10. Substitute Survival Kit - With assistance from a teacher's assistant, compile a box with the class roll, fire drill instructions, seating charts and other necessary items for a substitute teacher. Include a note encouraging the teacher to take a well-deserved day off.
  11. Grading Kit - Create a kit with red pens, cozy socks, a personalized drink cup, snacks and other essentials for teacher to use when she settles in for an evening of grading.
  12. Gift Card Bouquet - Have each parent bring a gift card in a small denomination ($5 or $10) for different local restaurants, coffee shops and craft stores. Tape the cards to pens or pencils and place them in a flower pot.
  13. Game Day - Get parents to kick in for a pair of tickets to teacher's favorite sporting event. Bonus points if you get the kids to dress up in his team's favorite colors the day you give him the gift.

Giving a group gift is easy when you collect money on a sign up. SAMPLE

Small Gifts 

  1. Crunchy Snacks - Give teachers bags of chips with attached notes that say "You're all that and a bag of chips."
  2. Germs-Be-Gone - A travel-sized hand sanitizer (or two) would be a welcome gift during cold and flu season. For extra points, attach a tag that says, "You're the best teacher, hands down."
  3. Apple of My Eye - An apple for the teacher may seem cliché, but the classics are the classics for a reason. Take it up a notch by attaching a gift card for Apple's app store.
  4. Lip Balm - Glue a stick of beeswax lip balm to a card with a fun pun like, "You're the balm" or "You're the bee's knees."
  5. Reusable Water Bottle - Find a stainless-steel water bottle in the teacher's favorite hue to keep his drink chilled all day.
  6. Candy Crush - Bring in chocolate bars or bags of candy with a note telling the teachers how "sweet" they are.
  7. Coffee Run - Find out teacher's favorite morning beverage and pick up an extra to hand her when you're in the car pool line.
  8. Light Up Their Day - Give your teacher a scented candle with a note explaining how she lights up your student's day.
  9. "Pop" Quiz - Find out teacher's favorite soda and give her a bottle of it with an attached note that says "Pop quiz: who's the best teacher? Answer: You!"
  10. Manicure Kit - Wrap up nail polish, acetone and a nail file with cute notes like "Thanks for helping me polish up my skills, fix my mistakes and shape my future."
  11. Tea for Teacher - A cute tea cup or mug and a variety box of teas can be a sweet way to tell a teacher he's "Tea-riffic."
  12. Ice Cream Social - Give your teacher a pint of her favorite variety of ice cream with a note saying how "cool" she is. You could also add or substitute a gift card for a local ice cream shop.
  13. At-home Movie Night - Write a note telling teacher to trade the red pen for RedBox and put it in a basket with soda, popcorn, candy and a gift card for RedBox or another movie rental service.
  14. Thanks for Giving Us a Hand - Pick a fragrant hand soap and lotion to tell teacher thanks for giving his students a "hand" this year.

Organize an end-of-year celebration with a sign up. SAMPLE

Gifts for the Classroom 

  1. Cleanup Crew - Stock a basket with wipes, spray cleanser, paper towels and the like for teachers to clean and disinfect their classrooms.
  2. Hello Hydration - Head to your nearest warehouse store and pick up a case of bottled water. Teachers are often on their feet all day and don't have time to run to the vending machine or water fountain. As a bonus, teachers can hand out waters to students who forgot their drinks that day.
  3. Green Plant - Brighten up the room (and teach students some biology) with a potted plant.
  4. No More Muddy Footprints - Buy a nice door mat to encourage kids to wipe their feet before they run into the classroom.
  5. Arts & Crafts Refresh - Have each family bring something to re-stock the class arts and crafts box, like construction paper, glue, tape and crayons.
  6. Cold Season Pack - Grab tissues, cold medicine, disinfecting spray, hand sanitizer and other essentials to get teachers ready for sick season.
  7. Marker Basket - Fill a basket with a rainbow of dry erase markers and attach a note telling teacher thanks for a "reMARKable" year.
  8. Rain, Rain, Go Away - Give your teacher several small umbrellas with tags that say, "Rain, shine, sleet or snow, you're the best teacher we know." He can use them to get students to their cars on bad weather days or let students borrow them if they forgot theirs.
  9. Class Library - Ask students to bring in one of their favorite books to create a classroom library.
  10. Stickers - Pick up a variety of different stickers that teachers can use as incentives or fun additions to graded work. Include a note thanking the teachers for "sticking with" your students this year.
Whether your gift is big or small, the point is to let your child's teachers know you appreciate all the hard work they've done this year. 

Sarah Pryor is a journalist, wife, mom and Auburn football fan living in Charlotte, N.C.