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This post was originally published in 2016.
And that made me realize that the school year is coming to an end fast!
I cannot believe that my older son is finishing up his Kindergarten year. It feels like just yesterday we were standing outside our house taking these pictures before his first ride on the bus to school.
So that got me thinking about all the ways I have said “thank you” in the past to my son’s wonderful teaches (because even before my son started preschool, we still had plenty of teachers to thank for all the classes and activities we did together).
Now I know that we don’t usually dabble in crafts on this blog (though we have been known to pimp out a pumpkin here and there), but since we spend so much time directing you to all those wonderful classes and activities that would not be possible without the loving effort of a teacher or instructor or coach, we thought it was only fitting that we try to give you some easy gift ideas to say “thank you” to those special people.
Teachers always appreciate sweet notes from their students (and of course I always tell my sons’ teachers how much I love and appreciate them), but since we started giving gifts before my kiddos could even write a word (like age 2), I took to the Internet in search of ideas for small gifts I could create–possibly with the help of my kiddo–to show our appreciation.
And yes, there are TONS of ideas for teacher gifts out there in cyberspace. I think you could literally spend DAYS looking through pins on Pinterest on this subject. And so many of them are cute and creative.
But over the years I’ve found that my go-to standbys are usually flowers (or plants) and gift cards. I just think you can’t go wrong there!
But I still like my gifts to look cute and creative despite the fact that they are not exactly “original.” So I’ve found several ways (for FREE!) to dress them up a bit.
I thought a few of you might be in the same boat as me and would enjoy a couple quick and easy ideas for teacher gifts. Whether they’re for your 2-year-old’s music teacher, your 3-year-old’s preschool teacher or your 5-year-old’s Kindergarten teacher, these ideas will make all of them feel very loved and appreciated.
For those of you with tiny tots, they can definitely “help” you put together these gifts–there is printing, cutting and gluing to be done!
And if your kiddo is old enough to write a note (or even just make a drawing), definitely include that too. I’ve never met a teacher who doesn’t prize those above all else!
Easy Teacher Gift #1: Gift Cards
You can’t go wrong with cash, right? But no one wants to just hand over a $5, $10, $20 bill in an envelope. That’s where gift cards come in!
My go-to gift cards to give are usually for coffee shops or ice cream places (depending on the teacher). It’s always nice to be able to treat yourself to something delicious, and having a gift card to someplace like Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or Ben & Jerry’s gives you the opportunity to do that.
Also, just a few dollars go a long way at places like this. You can get at least two yummy lattes or ice cream cones for just $10, whereas it’s harder to find something really meaningful or useful for just $10 at a department store. Gift cards are not always as welcome when you have to add your own money just to use them.
Whatever you choose, just be sure to purchase gift cards for places that are near where your child’s teacher lives, and not just near the school. I’ve been surprised to find out many times that my sons’ teachers actually live nowhere near the school (or other venue) where they teach!
Here are a few ideas for creating cute gift card holders. You could print these FREE designs out on card stock, or like I do, use a glue stick to affix them to some lightweight poster board (I get big sheets of it at CVS) and cut them out.
I use this one from skiptomylou.org often and pair it with a Starbucks gift card. Just remember to grab one of those coffee sleeves while you’re there picking up the gift card and you can use it later to complete the holder (I turned mine around to show the corrugated inside, but you could also leave it to show the Starbucks logo on it). If you’d rather use a Dunkin Donuts gift card, this FREE printable coordinates well with that color scheme.
This year, I needed to give a whole bunch of these Ben & Jerry’s gift cards to teenage helpers in my son’s religious school, so I simply found this “Thank You” printable, cut out the individual circles and taped one to each of the actual gift card holders.
If you are more prepared than I was, you could even get some of this 8 1/2 x 11 printable label paper and turn them into stickers!
Other ideas that are super cute (I may just have to work these into my rotation!) include this one from landeelu.com for Target gift cards.
I like these particular gift cards because they are rather generic and most people are happy to have them (just about everyone likes something they can get at a coffee shop and most people can find something to shop for at Target or Amazon). But if you know that there is one place in particular that your child’s teacher really likes to shop at or eat at, etc., then by all means skip all this hoopla and just give them that gift card with a nice note expressing your gratitude. They will surely appreciate that personal touch!
I’ve also found that some teachers enjoy getting gift cards to places like Michaels or AC Moore where they can use them to replenish supplies for their classroom that they would otherwise pay for out of their own pockets.
And don’t forget that these days, you can find many gift cards for popular stores and restaurants at places like Walgreens and Stop & Shop, so you may not even have to make a special trip to pick up a variety of gifts.
Easy Teacher Gift #2: Flowers and Plants
Note: We had a reader comment with a really helpful suggestion that if you are planning to give your teacher a bouquet or a plant, you might want to do that before the end of school, since they can be hard to transport home on the last day of school when teachers are already packing up and carrying home so many other things. Thanks for the great tip, Maureen!
As popular as gift cards are among teachers, they are not always practical for every family. If you have many teachers to thank, even $10 gift cards can add up fast! But a few lovely tulips with a sweet note are not only priceless, they’re cheap. A bouquet of 10 stems is usually less than $10, and small potted flowers or herbs are just a few dollars at home improvement stores.
And really, is there anything as sweet as a little one carrying flowers to his/her teacher? I think not!!! 🙂
I think flowers/small plants are always a great gift idea. They either last just a short time–maybe even just a few days brightening up the classroom–or they can be put in a garden to enjoy for the season or possibly years to come. And if teachers end up with too many, they can always share their botanical booty with friends and relatives. So either way there’s no residual clutter! Just think about how many kids your child’s teacher may receive gifts from–what are they going to do with a dozen personalized coffee mugs? (That, by the way, is on one of the many lists of gifts NOT to get for teachers).
So we like to do flowers around here. And I’ve found a couple cute printables that just add that special touch to a beautiful bouquet or potted flowering plant. Like this adorable tag from Capturing Joy that looks super cute hanging from a little bunch of blooms (see photo of my little guy above).
Or this sweet flower card from crazylittleprojects.com that is easy to stick in a potted plant (you can grab one of those plastic card holder spikes from the floral section of your grocery store to hold the card or even just glue it to a popsicle stick).
You really don’t need to do anything more than just print and cut out, but I like to laminate (I do love my laminator!) these tags because then I worry less about them getting wet or dirty (or crushed or torn or made into a paper airplane) as my little guys teeter-totter along holding the gift. But you could also print them on card stock or just affix them to paperboard for a little extra insurance 🙂
I’ve also found some other sweet ideas for potted herbs like this one from suchthespot.com. This would certainly be a hit if you know your child’s teacher likes to cook! I love to cook and it is always a pleasure to have a fresh herb plant– even if it only lasts a few weeks before I somehow destroy it! And spring is the perfect time to plant herbs out in the garden to enjoy all summer long.
I also like this one from Clumsy Crafter for herbs and this one from Seven Thirty Three (scroll down to the bottom of the post where you’ll see the application with potted plants) which says “grow” instead of “bloom” so you could use it for any non-flowering plant or herb.
You can easily dress up your plant gift even more with a few scraps of burlap and some twine around the plastic pot that most plants come in (like this).
Of course, if you were to do a Pinterest search, you’d come up with roughly a gazillion other versions of all of these projects. But who has time for that? 🙂
The truth is, whatever gesture–big or small–of thanks you present to your child’s teacher will let them know that they are important and that you value their time, effort, compassion, knowledge, creativity, patience and about a million other talents that great teachers possess.
And if all else fails, there’s always this…
Although, we probably want to save that gift for when our kids are teenagers, right? 🙂
Are you a teacher? What are your favorite gifts to receive? (And what do you wish parents would NOT give?)
We’d love to hear from you! Please leave us your advice in the comments section below.
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