It's not always easy to choose a great gift for a teacher because they get so many throughout the year. Gift cards are always appreciated by teachers because they can use them to choose their own gifts.
Instead of giving a single gift card, use this simple idea for a classroom present. Have each child's parents purchase a gift card and then pick out a small, potted plant. Use florist's picks (available at most craft stores) to insert the cards into the pot. Then attach a card that all the children can sign that says, "Thank you for helping us grow!"
For variety, have parents sign up to bring gift cards from a variety of stores.
School Supply Cake
Due to cuts in funding, most teachers end up spending some of their money to provide extra supplies for their classrooms. Giving a school supply cake like the one pictured here is a fun and festive way to contribute to the classroom, and you can be sure that this is a gift that will be appreciated. Include art supplies that you know your child's teacher uses often.
This makes a great gift for the beginning of the year, and for Christmas when supplies are often running low.
Click on the 'More Details' button on the image to learn how to make this gift.
Board Games for the Classroom
Board games are used often in a classroom both for educational and entertainment purposes. If you get a chance, spend a bit of time in your child's classroom to see which games are missing pieces or getting worn and then replace one or two of them as a gift.
Another option is to pick up a recent game from a "hot toy" list that will excite the kids and keep them focused. Ideal Electronic's A to Z Junior is a great vocabulary-building game for kids ages six and up. It can be played individually for one-on-one work, or in teams so the whole class can play. The game cards are stored right in the base for easy cleanup. This game sells for under $30 and is available at Walmart.com.
Click on the 'More Details' button to purchase.
Charitable donations are always a good idea for a gift, but you can run into problems matching the right charity to the right recipient. With Kiva, your child's teacher can get involved and decide where the money will go. You can opt for a printed certificate, an email notification, or have the card mailed out, and denominations start at $25.
Kiva is a crowd funded, nonprofit organization that allows people to loan money to entrepreneurs in over 70 countries, helping them become self-sufficient. The folks who need the money describe what their businesses are all about, how much they need, and what they will do with the loan. With a Kiva card, the teacher can browse through the potential recipients and chose the one she wants to support. Then the loan is paid back in installments, and eventually your teacher will have the full donation amount back to loan again, to someone else in need.
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The Gift of Your Time
Volunteering in the classroom is good for everyone involved. The teacher gets some much-needed help, you get to interact with your child and the rest of the class, and the kids get to interact with someone new. Giving the gift of your time is a generous and thoughtful present that the teacher will love.
Print out some of these coupons and fill them out with things like assistance with a class project, an hour after school cleaning up the classroom, helping to decorate for a holiday, or bringing lunch for the teacher one day. Put them together in a booklet and include a card with details on how the teacher can best contact you to redeem the coupons.
Click on 'More Details' to download and print the coupons.
A Place for Storage
While you don't want to go overboard and give a teacher a bunch of containers she may not need, a single, cute container will prove to be useful in the classroom (though the teacher may even want to take it home for use there).
This fabric box comes in a variety of animal prints and would be perfect for holding small toys, stray mittens and hats, recyclable paper, or just about anything else in the classroom that needs a home. It retails for about $17 from Amazon.com.
Click on the 'Buy Now' button to purchase.
A Small, Special Treat
Edible gifts can be a good idea if you keep them to something small and special. You don't want to send in a great big basket of candy and chocolate, because chances are that your child's teacher will get quite a lot of sweet treats and not be able to eat them all.
Instead, choose a gourmet treat that the teacher can really savor. A small bag of gourmet popcorn, a single decorated cupcake, or a small box of truffles are all delicious options. Pick up this box of four Godiva truffles for about $10 at Amazon.
Click on the 'Buy Now' button to purchase.
Scrapbook of Thanks
The best gift that you can give a teacher is a heartfelt letter or card that tells her exactly why you value the time she is spending with your child. Have your child add a note or picture as well to express her appreciation.
To make this gift extra-special, give the teacher a small, blank scrapbook to keep her thank you notes in. Choose a scrapbook like this one (under $15 from Amazon) with a slot for a photo in the front, and then add a picture of the school or, if the slot is large enough, a class photo to personalize the gift.
Whether your gift is for the first day of school, the Christmas holidays, or the last day of school, choose something the teacher will truly love and don't forget to add a special note of thanks!
Click on the 'Buy Now' button to purchase this scrapbook.