Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week – did you know that? It’s a week-long celebration, but Wednesday is the big day, so to speak.
We’re blessed to have a really amazing teacher and assistant, and I am all too eager to thank them at every opportunity. The girls and I have been working on some fun projects for them, and just in case you are lacking for gift ideas, we’re going to share ours for inspiration.
I try really hard to give teachers something a little different, and something that I think they will use. I have 3 big rules that I think must be followed for successful teacher gift-giving.
1) Nothing teacher themed. No apples, no schoolhouses, no pencils. Just because they teach doesn’t mean they want to live and breathe it every moment.
2) No mugs, no Christmas ornaments. Too typical, and they have plenty already.
3) No perfume/cologne. I don’t know how that got to be a common teacher present, but it’s way too personal.
I do not think that a teacher gift needs to be expensive to be appreciated, so don’t fret over buying pricey gift cards. Teachers love your kids, and they love seeing them them use the skills they are developing in school. It’s another way of rewarding them when they see that their hard work is paying off! So here’s what we came up with, a present for each day.
An easy-peasy and fun project. I purchased the following:
2 cobalt blue glasses (to use as vases), $.77 each at Wal-Mart
1 large bunch of silk daisies, $3 at Wal-Mart
1 bag of glass marbles to hold the flowers in place, $1 at Dollar Tree
3 rolls of floral tape (only need part of 1 but it was a 3-pack), $1 at Dollar Tree
12 ball point pens, $1 at Dollar Tree
Total cost: $7.98 for two (could have been less if I’d bought flowers from Dollar Tree also)
Fill the glasses with the marbles. Use wire cutters (or kitchen shears) to cut each individual flower stem off of the base, leaving several inches of stem to work with. Hold the cut flower stem against the pen (writing tip away from the flower) with one hand, and with the other hand wrap tightly with floral tape, covering the entire stem.
wrapping the pen
When you are finished wrapping, just tear off the floral tape and press it down – it sticks to itself. Easy!
A finished pen
Now I know you may be thinking this isn’t your style. I understand. It’s a little cute for me, too. I wouldn’t put it in my house. But work is another story. It’s nice to have a place where pens belong so there’s always one handy, and when they are cute and decorative no one’s going to be walking off with your pen.
Here’s our end result:
The finished project!
Annie was super excited about this one, and can’t wait to take it on the first day! You could use a nice wired or grosgrain ribbon to tie on a bow, too. We’re attaching this note:
Flowers brighten everyone’s day, and we hope these long-lasting blooms will brighten yours for many days to come. (And they’re practical – I dare someone to subtly swipe a flower pen!) Daisies symbolize innocence, a trait that you are well-acquainted with. Thank you for fostering growth in our children while still protecting their innocence. Daisies also symbolize gentleness, a characteristic that you most definitely possess. Thank you for being a kind and caring influence in my daughter’s life. Her world is a better place with you in it!
I bought 2 super cute journals at Dollar Tree (total cost $2.12) and Annie is writing and illustrating her own stories for each of her teachers. This is FUN project for her, and a great chance to show off the writing, spelling, and creative skills that the teachers have helped her further this year. Annie’s chosen to write the adventures of SuperTeacher and her sidekick Mrs. Fabulous. I think these will be a big hit!
Annie's SuperTeacher stories!
This is Teacher Appreciation Day! I wasn’t sure how many of the parents would know about the date, or have the resources to come up with a gift, so I took it upon myself to initiate a class project. First up, I sent a note home to all of the parents, asking them to send in a favorite recipe. Then I went to Wal-Mart and bought two 3-ring binders (on clearance this time of year, $1 each), a package of clear sheet protectors ($3.67 for 50), and a package of card stock ($2.97).
I volunteer at the school every Wednesday, so last week I had the children color pictures on card stock for Ms. Kristen and Ms. Lois. I also snapped a picture of each child.
Teacher Appreciation books with kids' artwork
As the recipes come in, I’m printing them out on card stock and attaching the submitting child’s picture to each. On the reverse side of the recipe will be the picture they colored, so each child has their own page in the class recipe book.
Photo developing will be $2.40 bringing the total cost of this project to $11.70 for two.
The recipe we’re sharing is for homemade pesto sauce, a family favorite. In keeping with that theme, Annie’s taking each of the teachers a small flower pot with a basil plant in it. Flower pots $1 each, and basil $3.48 for two, both from Wal-Mart. Total cost for 2 pots, $5.81.
Chai latte gift basket
This is a basket chock full of David Rio Instant Chai latte mix. We are going to pair it with several dozen cookies and attach the following note:
You know we think you’re the best around, but even the best need a little help sometimes. Here’s a treat to enjoy and share with your ‘support team.’ We appreciate them, too!
Basket from Dollar Tree, tea from Garden Party Teas, cookies have to be store-bought (school policy) so we’ll hit Kroger. Total cost $27.68
I ordered recipe card holder craft kits from Oriental Trading. Ours are like those, but spring flowers instead of fall leaves (they must be sold out now). Annie and Catie worked together with Elmer’s glue on the flowers, and I used a hot glue gun to do the stems and clips so they would be nice and sturdy. We ordered enough of these to give one to the Grandmas for Mother’s Day, as well as one for all of the teachers (library, computers, etc) and the principal, assistant principal, and a few others. Annie made a sign that says, “Thanks for all you do!” and she held it up so I could snap a picture. I’m having copies of the picture printed and we’ll clip it onto each of the teacher’s pots. Total cost for 12 crafts and photo printing, $7.83.
photo/recipe card holders
For her teacher and teacher’s assistant, these are just part of a larger present. We put together ‘teacher survival kits’ which include things like Tylenol, Tums, earplugs, Airborne, hand sanitizer, coffee, some bath products, candles, wine, popcorn, m&m’s, a book, a movie gift card, and it all goes into a large popcorn tub. You really can get a lot of this stuff at Dollar Tree too (including the brand-name Tylenol, Tums, coffee, and more!) . Total cost for 2 baskets, $90. Could be much cheaper if you left out the wine, but really, do you know a teacher who doesn’t need a glass of wine?!?! (I wasn’t quite finished with them when I snapped this picture, but you get the idea)
Teacher survival kits!
A few other ideas I’ve used in the past:
-Buy a jar or vase at Dollar Tree and fill it with scraps of paper on which you’ve written all the various reasons that your teacher rocks. This is cheap, easy, fun, and feels fabulous for both giver and receiver. This idea is great for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and lots of other occasions too!
-Potted plants are always appreciated! This time of year even the blackest of thumbs tries to go green, so get a nice hearty plant like a petunia and some flower pots and get to planting. Even more fun is to let your child paint the pot before you fill it! If you’re gifting a reluctant gardener, give them some Bloom Booster to go with it – a miracle drug for your plants!
-Pictures of your child, or the entire class, are another inexpensive yet thoughtful gift. Teachers love to remember the classes from years past and realistically they can’t keep every trinket and memento they are given. Pictures have staying power! A really cute idea (and one that I’m using for the end of the year!) is to have the children twist their bodies into ‘letters’ and snap pictures. Crop the pictures to spell out a special message like ‘Thanks for a great year!’
So there you have it, my not-so-brief guide to thanking your children’s teachers. I would love to hear some of your ideas as well! I’m done with this year, but I could always use a creative stockpile to draw from in the future!