We have many DO-IT-YOURSELF gifts for teacher that won't break the bank! For you non-crafty moms and dads, we also have several store-bought ideas on gifts for teacher. Most of these are from the best source...gifts that my friends who are teachers have received and told me that they cherish!
Gift Cards (overwhelming favorite!) Gift Cards to book stores, coffee shops, teacher supply stores, the spa, movie theater, restuarant, the mall, gas stations, video rental certificates, grocery stores, etc. If you or your student knows what hobbies the teacher enjoys...a gift card to a craft store for the crafty teacher, a garden center gift card for the gardener, a round of golf for the golfer, or a sporting goods store for the athletic teacher.
A Card or Drawing Made by Your Student All handmade drawings make great gifts for teacher!
Flowers from Your Garden We like to give our teachers these during the spring on random days "just because." Include a note of gratitude from you or your student. If you want to purchase flowers, a potted plant or small outdoor bush will outlast fresh flowers, and be enjoyed for years to come.
Add to the Class Library Teachers love to get books for their classroom. You can ask them if there are any particular books they want, or just do your best selecting age appropriate material. If you plan far enough in advance, you can order some books from the Scholastic Book forms that your child brings home with him/her (their prices are really great). Another good place to look is on Ebay or at a thrift store. I've found great books at our Goodwill that are in brand new condition. Also check garage sales throughout the summer, and you can collect some nice books really cheap (especially the hard covered ones that will cost you a fortune in the store). I gather these all year and put them into a box. When I need gifts for teacher, I bundle a bunch of them up with a ribbon and a note.
Volunteer Your Time Volunteer an hour to the teacher (read a book to the class, grade papers, make a bulletin board, take the kids to recess, do some photocopying, etc.).
Letter of Praise to the Principal I love this idea! Whenever I feel that my children have an outstanding teacher, I make sure that the Principal knows it. Teachers love it when you write positive letters to the Principal...it becomes part of their file and often gets forwarded to the Superintendent's office. Great gifts for teacher would be to write a thank you note to your student's teacher, and include a copy of the letter you wrote to the Principal. There isn't a better way to make them feel special and appreciated!
Homemade Consumables Mini loaves of bread, cookies, brownies, fudge, homemade candy, or any other baked good you can think of make great gifts for teacher.
Buy or Make a Vase Buy a bud or regular size vase to hold all of the flowers that her students bring her. If you want to add something extra to a plain clear vase, use glass luster gems attached with glass glue or paint pens (all found at craft stores) to make a custom design.
Supplies for the Classroom Teachers appreciate getting things that they can use in the classroom. A lot of the time, if they need supplies for their room, they have to pay for them out of their own pocket. You may want to ask your child's teacher if he/she has any specific needs. Some ideas are: construction paper, crayons, organizational supplies, stamps and ink pads, high-quality chalkboard chalk, markers, stickers for papers (good job or holiday themes), posters, globes, tape, paperclips, glue sticks, red pens, pencils, post-it notes, and anything else you can think of that they may use.
Give to Charity Donate money to an education-oriented charity in honor of your teacher.
Make a Memory Book Have your child make several pages to create a memory book. Write a title across each page...ie--"The Funniest Thing that Happened in Class this Year", "My Favorite Thing That We Did in Class this Year", "My Teacher is the Best Teacher in the World Because...", etc. You can laminate the book, or just bind it together as is.
Embroider a Shirt The teachers at my children's school dress very casual. One of their favorite gifts for teacher are polo shirts (long or short sleeved) with a small apple and their name (Mrs. Smith) embroidered on the upper left part of the chest. If you know how to embroider...perfect! Otherwise, you can buy the shirt and find someone that does.
Create a "Movie Night" Package Buy a big bowl that can be used for popcorn (or an unpopped popcorn tub if you can get your hands on one), and fill it with drinks, snack items, microwave popcorn, flavored salts, and a certificate for a movie rental. This is a great gift idea for male teachers...they can sometimes be hard to buy for!
Gift for the Five Senses Put something to entice all five senses into a gift basket. Use your imaginiation! For "Hearing" you could use windchimes or a CD (either with relaxing music, or I've heard that a funny one is called Teacher Therapy, Funny Songs for Teachers by Judy Domeny Bowen); For "Smell" you could use pretty smelling lotions/body wash or a scented candle; For "Taste" you could put in some candy, baked goods, or a gift certificate to a restaurant; For "Sight" you could use a picture frame or seed packets for flowers; and for "Touch" you could put in a gift certificate for a massage or anything that is soft--a pair of gloves, a scarf, etc. Label each of the items with the sense (hearing, smell, etc.), and put a notecard on the basket that says "A Gift for Your Senses."
Use Your Imagination! Teachers receive a lot of "teacher" type gifts. Think outside of the box and get them something that they can use and might not normally buy themselves. An umbrella, a set of address labels (you can even make them on your own computer), a bracelet or earrings, a nightgown, a pair of gloves, etc.