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Unique End-of-Year Teacher Gifts

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The pools are about to open and the books are about to close. The school year is almost done, but before your kids bolt from school without a second glance, remember to thank their teachers for all the hard work they've done throughout the year.

Ask your room parent about the school district’s policy on end-of-year teacher gifts. Some allow parents to collect cash and gift cards, others have a strict dollar limit. Here are a few fun low-cost options involving the whole class:

5 Simple Ideas for Teacher Gifts

Treasure Chest

Provide each child with a small envelope and ask the family to contribute a summer ‘treasure’.  It can be anything – an inspirational quote, a thank you note, a small toy, photo, movie tickets or even a gift certificate to your favorite local book store, restaurant or salon.  Package the sealed envelopes in a toy treasure box (or a box with a photo of a treasure chest) add chocolate coins and present it to the teacher with this note: "We’ve treasured your teaching all year long. Please enjoy these small treasures from all of us."  (Opening one per day this summer takes more patience, but brings more delight!)    

Summer Reading Escape

Ask parents to provide their favorite gently used books and magazines.  Package them in a colorful beach tote with a new beach towel, sunscreen and water bottle.  If your class is the cash-gathering kind, purchase a Kindle or Nook and an online gift certificate. (Use VolunteerSpot’s free online sign up sheet to request your group donation and reminders will be automatic and easy!)

Garden Gadgets

If you’re teacher is a gardener, ask members of the class to donate seed packets, garden tools or small gift certificates to a home and garden supply store.  Package the gifts in a large watering can with a bow and a potted plant.  (Tip: Use this theme idea and replicate with other hobbies—art baskets, cooking supplies, etc.)

Thank You Bouquet

We polled teachers and the thing they appreciated most (over another candle, or school-themed trinket), was a simple thank you note. Send two colorful index cards home with each child. Write one thank you note yourself and have your child write one too—be sure to make it personal (sentence starters below). Gather up all the notecards and assemble them in a colorful basket with a foam bottom.  Use florist note-card holder picks to hold the thank you cards.  (Supplies available at any craft store). Parents may want to include photos or gift cards also. 

  • This year you’ve taught me…
  • I love how you…
  • Thank you for…
  • You’re extra special because…

A Few Hours Off

Things get stressful towards the end of the year with tests and all the kids getting antsy for summer vacation. Ask parents to take turns helping in the classroom. Suggestions might include: organizing a reading circle, hosting an end of the year party (starring parents), or helping with end-of-year packing and moving teacher supplies from the classroom.

Make the end of the school year a celebration, not just because your kids are escaping school! Remember the good times of the past year, and thank their teacher for their hard work.  And for additional great end of the school year ideas including specific ideas for retiring teachers and middle school and high school teachers, please check out our free ebook The Greatest Gifts for Teachers

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