By Alisa Bangerter – Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Ideas Contributor
Teacher Survey – A great idea would be to have your child’s teacher take a survey of what her favorites are. Ask her questions such as what her favorite restaurants are or her favorite books. Ask a variety of questions such as what is her favorite color, her favorite candy, her favorite sports teams, etc. Have this survey available to parents so they can use it as a resource if needed to find thank you items that the teacher would love.
Handmade Items – Teachers say their number one thing they love to receive as a thank you is a handmade item from a child. What about having an ornament tree and having each student bring a handmade ornament for the teacher. A child could also make a small book for the teacher or write a personalized story that includes the child and the teacher complete with illustrations. What about a special piece of artwork or sculpture…
Class Quilt – This would need a mother to oversee the project. Send home a plain quilt square with each child with a note explaining they need to decorate it somehow for the teacher. (You could also do this in class.) Complete the quilt and present it to the teacher at the end of the year as a thank you from the class.
Class Book – Take a photo of each child in the class and place it on a page for a book. Start each page with the sentence: “My teacher is the best because… let the children fill this out and compile all the pages into a book. Other photos could be included of class activities or field trips.
Video Thanks – Video tape each child in the class saying what has been their favorite part of the year. You could do this reporter style and ask questions such as what they have learned or why they like their teacher so much…
Gift Certificates – Gift certificates to a bookstore, office supply store or craft store are appreciated. Many teachers spend a lot of their own money on supplies needed for the classroom. Gift certificates to movies, dinner or to a spa would also be nice. Find out the hobbies of the teacher and give a gift certificate appropriate to their interests. A gift certificate for breakfast might be appreciated especially if they are running late one morning.
Basket of School Supplies – Fill a basket with school supplies for the teacher to use in their classroom. Purchase items gradually or at back-to-school sales. Teachers also like bulletin board supplies they can decorate with.
Letter of Thanks – Write a letter of thanks and state specific reasons why the teacher has helped your child. Send a copy to the teacher as well as the principal and school board. This will be very appreciated as it gives acknowledgement to their job performance. Teachers often work for years and never know how their teaching has influenced someone. A hand written letter or note thanking a special teaching from years past would be a wonderful gift as well. Have your child write a letter to their teacher why they like them as a teacher. Handwritten letters from students can be a treasure to the teacher. This could also be a class project if someone coordinated it and put all the letters in a binder.
Nominate Teacher for Awards – Nominate your child’s teacher for special teaching awards and recognitions. There are a variety of awards given to teachers. Contact your local school board, PTA or school office for information.
Magazine Subscription – Give a subscription to a magazine that could be used in the classroom or as a resource for the teacher. There are many educational and craft type magazines available.
Flower Bouquet, Plant or Seeds – Decorate a unique pot (or have your child do this) and give a holiday bouquet or plant to the teacher. Each class member could also be asked to bring one flower on a certain day and an entire bouquet could be created for the teacher from the class. Place a tag or sign in the plant or flowers that states: “Thank you for helping us bloom!” Each student could also bring a package of their favorite flower seeds to the teacher with a note as to why they helped the “grow” that year.
Stickers, Stamps, and Scissors – Fill a large basket with craft supplies for the classroom. Depending on the age taught, these types of items can be inexpensive and make a great gift.
Handmade Book – Have your child create a book about why they like the teacher so much. Draw pictures on some pages and write on others. Use photos and other appropriate items. Another option would be to give the teacher a purchased book signed by your child or all of the students in the class.
Framed Picture – Have your child draw a picture for the teacher and frame it. A poem could also be written about the teacher and framed.
Desk Drawer Organizer – Purchase a desk drawer organizer and fill with holiday candies or school supplies. This makes a nice gift and the container (organizer) is very functional.
Personalized Bookmarks – Made for the teacher by a student. Another option would be to give a book to the teacher with the bookmarks.
Unique Apple Items – Teachers probably get tired of apple themed items but you can be creative in this area. Some apple themed items that might make a nice gift would be: apple scented soap, a gift certificate for an apple pie, a gourmet caramel apple, and actual apple tree for them to plant in their yard, etc.
Desk Fan – Give a small desk fan – Attach a tag that says: “Thank you teacher from your biggest fan!”
Donations – A monetary donation for classroom supplies or to fun a field trip would be much appreciated. Sometimes a teacher would like to purchase something for their classroom and a donation would be really appreciated toward this. Another option would be to see if businesses in the community or individuals would be willing to help donate the item(s) the teacher needs or wants. Items might be simple such as sports equipment or could be things such as an aquarium or computer. You could also donate to a charity in the teacher’s name. Does your community have a brick/paver – engraving fundraiser or something similar? An engraved brick, plaque, etc. would be a long lasting token of appreciation you could give to the teacher.
Personalized Pencils – Give a set of personalized pencils and/or a personalized notepad.
Food Items – Teachers do not always want or can eat baked goods and candy. Why not give them something they can bake or use later at home. Place a cake mix, canned icing, and some decorating sprinkles in a cute basket with a tag that says: “Teacher, you take the cake!” Think of items that you could correspond a cute saying with, such as a can of nuts, and attach a tag that states: “Teacher, I am nuts about you!” Be creative. Remember to use cute wrapping as that is part of the fun of the gift!
Themed Gift Basket – Fill a basket with items your child’s teacher would like. Think of interests they have such as sports, cooking, gardening, reading, etc. Another cute general basket would be a popcorn/movie basket. Fill with boxes of microwave popcorn, popcorn bags or bowls, soda, theatre candy and a movie or movie tickets.
A Song for Teacher – Have your child (include classmates if desired) write a song or poem (or change the words to a well known song and personalize it) for the teacher. Have them sing it to the teacher.
Red Carpet – Roll out a red carpet (can be red paper from a roll) for the teacher to walk on.
Sunday Dress – Have children dress up in Sunday best for a day to honor the teacher.
Plant a Tree – Plant a tree in honor of your child’s teacher. Place a small plaque at the base of it. You may even be able to do this on school property if you get permission first.
Charming Gift – Give a female teacher a charm bracelet. Send a note home to all the children in the class giving them an option to bring a charm for her bracelet with a note as why they chose the charm.
Business Cards – What teacher would not like a nice set of business cards? Consult with the teacher first for what information they would like added.
Thank You Cards – Give sets of thank you cards with postage included. Teachers often need to send cards and this makes it easy. Handmade cards can be inexpensive and fun to make. Package them in a cellophane bag with a bow or other little container. Another option would be to use artwork on the cards from your child or children in the classroom.
Giant Card – Make a giant card or banner and have the children in the class sign it for the teacher. The banner could be displayed on the teacher’s front lawn or in a place where the public could see. Another fun option would be if you own a business and could place a thank you to the teacher on your marquee.
Certificate of Appreciation – Give the teacher a formal certificate of appreciation. There are downloadable certificates online.
Car Wash – Have students provide a car wash for the teacher.
Quick Meals – Give the teacher a frozen meal for her freezer. I would do this if you knew the teacher well and know their food preferences. Sometimes teachers do not like homemade food items brought in.
Small Gifts of Thanks – Each day for a week, give a small token of thanks with a cute tag to the teacher. Items such as a mirror: “You are looking at someone special,” fortune cookies: “I am fortunate to have you as my teacher,” a can of soup: “You are a souper teacher!” etc.
Class Cookbook – Have class members bring in favorite recipes and compile it for the teacher.
E-Mail – Ask parents to send e-mails thanking the teacher so the teacher receives them all on the same day or the same week. You could even have everyone send a snail mail letter to the teacher so they receive a lot of thank you mail at once.
Service in the Classroom – A great way to thank your child’s teacher might be to help in the classroom for things they need. It may be organizing, helping grade papers or other items. Teachers really appreciate this and all it costs is your time.
Teacher Shower – A current trend is to have a “teacher shower.” This is somewhat like a bridal or baby shower where everyone brings an item for the teacher. It could be organized as a thank you and around a simple them such as classroom supplies, books, etc.
Say Thanks! – Most of all don’t forget to tell teachers you appreciate all they do!