Remember when an end-of-year ‘thank you’ gift for your teacher was as simple as plopping a juicy red apple on her desk on the last day of school? Well, in an age filled with Pinterest and do-it-yourself bloggers, a piece of fruit doesn’t quite seem to cut it anymore. And besides, how many apples can a person eat anyway?
All preschool teachers have received their fair share of wrapped candies, scented candles in frosted jars and 12-packs of those pointy No. 2s. And although I’m sure every last one of them would express their appreciation for those simple gestures, there’s always going to be that gift-giver urge to change up the pace, take it a step further and really show that teacher how much he or she has impacted your child.
So how can you reflect your appreciation in a new and creative way? To prepare for National Teacher Day on May 6, we created a list of clever, quirky gift ideas from different bloggers making waves around the web. They’re sure to inspire gift-giving decisions for the exceptional educators in your life.
Tips for Creative Gifts
1. Encourage relaxation
We can all agree that molding young minds while managing the high energy levels and short attention spans that come with them is not for the faint of heart. Preschool teachers work hard to instill the building blocks of learning in the minds of our children. Whether it’s at the cusp of spring break or summer vacation, a great way to show your appreciation for their obvious efforts is to encourage them to relax.
This Landeelu blogger recommends a relaxation-themed gift for that favorite teacher. Follow her lead with a dollar-bin cocktail glass and spa gift card, or branch out on your own and pick up a gift certificate to a nail salon or two tickets to the nearby movie theater. A gift like this will simultaneously say ‘thank you’ while also encouraging those teachers to get into vacation-mode.
2. Explore the crafty potential of school supplies
Anyone who’s walked into a preschool classroom has seen the quirky and creative decorations teachers use to give their classrooms color, energy and character. You may not know these teachers well enough to recall their favorite restaurant or outdoor activity, but you know that they are passionate about what they do.
Find a creative way to alleviate the time and energy of decorating a classroom each year with these do-it-yourself gifts made of classic, low-cost school supplies! Make a wreath out of crayons, a pen-holder out of bright yellow pencils or give them flowers in a vase made of a tin can and a pack of colored pencils.
3. Don’t forget the actual school supplies!
It may sound cliché, but teachers love school supplies! It is both thoughtful and practical to give teachers something they’ll easily be able to put to use. But it’s understandable if you think slapping a ribbon on a stack of Crayolas can look a little lazy.
There are ways, however, to give teachers school supplies as gifts that are visually creative and totally thoughtful. Follow Lil’ Luna’s lead and give that teacher something useful—and also a bit ‘punny’. Fill that jar with pencils and it serves a practical function and provides a trendy addition to the teacher’s desk.
You could also take a note out of Love the Day’s book and throw some highlighters in a simple mason jar with this punny little catchphrase tied around its rim. Or, how about this sleek design from Design.Wash.Rinse.Repeat—all you need is an empty Crystal Light container and a pack of sharpies.
4. Figure out what the teacher likes
At this point, you’ve likely been to a few parent-teacher conferences and had a few chats with your child’s teacher when you’re picking up for carpool duty. Show those teachers how much you appreciate them by paying attention to the little things. Do they often have an aromatic mug of coffee close by when you interact with them? Or maybe they’re tea drinkers.
Either way, play to their interests with a gift chosen specifically for them. Create a coffee gift basket with a cute travel mug, a coffee cozy and a pound of freshly roasted beans, or follow Longing for Home’s example to spruce up a gift card to your local coffee shop. For those tea drinkers out there, PB&J Stories has your answer. Grab a mason jar, a box of tea bags and create a quick, easy tag to tie around it and you’re set!
Maybe you don’t know what kind of hot beverage those teachers like to drink but you’ve noticed an abundance of plants near the windowsills, or signs about health and hygiene posted around the classroom. Create a cute potted plant like the folks at A Nation of Moms or use this free printable to transform an ordinary bottle of hand sanitizer into a totally clever gift.
5. Bringing it back to the apple
Let’s be honest, not everyone is as ultra-crafty as professional do-it-yourself bloggers. If you feel like some of the more craft-centered gifts could be too complicated or time consuming, you still have plenty of options.
We all joke about the apple being an outdated gift for teachers, but because it’s been the ‘classic teacher gift’ for years, there is something sentimental about it. Put a fresh spin on the traditional piece of fruit by presenting it to your favorite teacher in a new way!
If that favorite teacher is a woman who often wears jewelry, maybe something like this necklace idea from KansasCityKreations is the key to letting her know how much her time spent with your son or daughter means to you.
If the necklace doesn’t seem to suit the teacher you have in mind, maybe he or she will find humor in this drinking cup from dreamingdandelions that hails teachers as superheroes! Or you could always opt for a cute framed print from EncorePrints or a spruced up bottle of apple juice from the fickle pickle.
With so many creative do-it-yourselfers out there willing to explore fun gift ideas and share their knowledge on the web, the options for preschool teacher gift ideas are endless! Let these creatives inspire you to find or craft meaningful, personalized gifts for all those amazing teachers in your life.
For more fun early childhood gift, craft and activity ideas, take a look at this list of education-themed Pinterest curators who are always one step ahead of the teaching trends.