If we’re being honest (and I’m always being honest), I’ll tell you that I can’t imagine being a teacher. For starters, their job is not just a “get there when school starts, leave when it ends” type of job. They are there well before the first child arrives and stay long after the final child leaves. They spend evenings grading papers, researching activities or cutting out little shapes for tomorrow’s art activity. Talking to my friends who are teachers, it’s emotionally draining. They love all the students in their rooms and worry about them or think about them at night and on weekends. I’ve seen teachers at soccer games and dance recitals to support ‘their kids.’ Teachers have the patience and energy that I will never have and I’m so grateful to them for taking care of my kids for seven hours a day and am utterly amazed because there are days I barely make it three hours before I kick them outside to play. Teacher’s gifts are not only a way to thank them for all these amazing deeds ahead of time, but also a way to apologize for the constant emails you might send explaining the mismatched shoes, the forgotten field trip money, the lost library book or for that outburst in class your son made in which he called the teacher out for a misspelled word on the blackboard and wouldn’t let it go….not that I would have that experience.The best teacher’s gifts are the ones that are simple, small, and cute. Teachers absolutely do not expect a gift on the first day of school which is one of the reasons why I like to do it. Unexpected gifts are just the best, aren’t they? (We’ve included some PDF files for you to print and add to your own gifts! Click on the link and it’ll take you to a new screen where you can download or print each tag)
- Thanks a Latte. I’m almost positive that if you’ve ever logged into Pinterest (a site that allows you to curate your own ‘creativity boards’ with links and pictures off the internet) in August or during Teacher Appreciation Week you’ve seen this. From your favorite coffee shop, purchase a $5 gift card and an empty cup with a lid. Fill the cup with paper shreds (you can find them at any craft store), add the gift card, and before closing the cup, loop curling ribbon through the drinking hole, about seven or eight strands that are each a foot long, tie them off and close the lid. Curl the ribbon and add the card. On the flip side of the card add a personal note. Download the tag here —-> Thanks a ‘latte’ for being my teacher.
- Smart Cookie. I love a good play on words. This sweet little gift requires a miniature sized brown or white paper bag (you can find these at craft stores), ribbon, and a stack of cookies. Stack the cookies in the bag and fold over the top. Hole punch two holes near the top of the fold in the middle of the bag, about ½” apart. String ribbon through, curl it, and attach a cute note. Download the note here —–> smart cookie
- Teacher’s Tote. This requires a blank canvas or cotton tote (you can find it, again, at a craft store) along with fabric paint. Paint your child’s hand red and have him or her stamp the bag along the bottom of the bag palm side down with fingers spread. With brown paint or a fabric marker, add a stem and with green, add a leaf. Voila, an apple! In red paint let your child write his or her teacher’s name in the middle of the bag. Tuck a sweet note in the tote and you’re done!
- Entertainment Box. Fill an empty popcorn box (or bag) with paper shreds. Add a bag of microwave popcorn, a couple candy bars, a soda, and a gift certificate for a Redbox rental (they are just over a dollar!) along with a clever note. Download the card here ——> fun and entertainment
- Custom Thank You Cards. Teachers are forever sending home thank you cards. All of my kids’ teachers have set such great examples of good manners and the proof is in the thank you cards we’ve gathered over the years for something as small as an apple from our apple tree! Have your child create a set of thank you cards for his or her teacher to have on hand throughout the year. Most big box or craft stores have blank card stock greeting cards that come with envelopes that make this a breeze. Giving your child several different scenes to draw and color avoids the possibility of boredom (which usually for us results in brown blobs of paint or markers thanks to color mixing!). Tie them up with a bow and a note.
You can take any of these ideas and make them your own! Using a play on words is always cute and fun and makes theme gifts easy and doable. Enjoy these free printables and let us know how you like them. Happy School Days!
Ruthie Prasil is a Clarkston mom of six. She survives on stale goldfish crackers, spontaneous adventure, Bravo programming and happy hour. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via cell phone at 208-571-2377