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Quick and Easy Teacher Gift Ideas

Updated on June 2, 2012

How can you show teacher appreciation?

As a former elementary school teacher I can tell you that I felt most appreciated when my students gave me a gift from the heart. A gift from the heart is one that the child really took the time to think about and prepare. Now, that doesn't mean it was always homemade; done correctly, store bought gifts can be from the heart, too. I have my own children give their classroom teacher as well as physical education, music and art teachers a gift at the end of every school year. We sit down and talk about the teacher and what they might like.

There are a lot of inexpensive ways to show teacher appreciation. You can't give a gift from the heart if you really don't know their likes and dislikes. A teacher with diabetes will surely not enjoy a box of chocolates unless they are sugar free. Plants for a science teacher may be perfect, but not so great for a music teacher that has no windows in their classroom. Involve your children in deciding on a gift for their teacher, they spend over a 150 days with them!

Make Your Teacher a Terrarium

Single Succulent
Single Succulent | Source
Several Succulents
Several Succulents | Source

Homemade Teacher Gifts that Can be Made Quickly

If you have a teacher that teaches science or already has plants in their classroom, consider making a terrarium for your teacher. You can go to a thrift store to get a nice glass container and succulents are usually under $10 including the plant, soil and stones.

Another idea is to have your child decorate a terra cotta pot and put a packet of "forget me not" seeds in the pot. Or if your teacher might have allergies you can still make them a vase of flowers that uses pencils as the stems. For directions on the flower pencils, click here.

Here are some other great homemade items:

  • Homemade jams or salsa with labels decorated by your child
  • Chocolate covered pretzels placed in clear plastic bag and with label decorated by your child
  • Trace your child's hand onto cardstock, cut it out, and then attach it to a hanging car air freshener. Have your child decorate the hand.
  • Fill a mason jar with mints and use a nice fabric as a lid cover. Have your child write "thank you" on a little slip of paper and put it in with the mints.
  • Buy a 4x6 magnetic acrylic photo frame and have your child put a picture in it or a poem that they wrote.

Quick and Easy Teacher Gift Ideas You Can Buy

Gift Cards

I recommend you buy a gift card to a book store or restaurant that you know the teacher likes. You should also find a creative way to present the gift card. I have had my children cut fresh flowers from our garden and tie the flowers and gift card together with ribbon.


If you know for sure your teacher likes a certain kind of candy then this might be a good gift, however some teachers might have food allergies or be diabetic and then this gift would be useless to them. Make sure if you do this type of gift you know for sure that your teacher will like it.

Hanging Plant

Many teachers like hanging plants because they can hang them at home all summer long. It might be nice to get a plant that has flowers with the teacher's favorite colors.

A Jar Candle

Sometimes at the end of the year I would end up with five jar candles. I love to burn candles, so I didn't mind getting this as a gift and candles don't spoil. However, I know some teachers get tired of candles. So if you are going with a jar candle, I suggest you go with a small one and maybe decorate a really neat label of your own to put around it.

Unique Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Write this saying on a heart shaped piece of paper and then tuck it into this cute heart-shaped succulent.

"The best teachers teach from the heart, not a book!"

Teacher Appreciation Cards

When you give your teacher a gift it is nice to have a homemade card. A poem that is written by your child or a quote written in your child's handwriting is a nice touch to any gift. One of my favorite teacher quotes is by William Butler Yeats; "Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire." You can get a little pail at craft stores for $1, fill it with some candy, a gift card, or a plant and then attach a nice handmade card with this quote for a true gift from the heart!

Succulent planted in glass heart shaped container
Succulent planted in glass heart shaped container | Source

Teacher Gifts to Avoid

Which of these teacher gifts have you given?

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    • DrAndrea profile image

      DrAndrea 5 years ago

      Great ideas. I believe teachers like personalized gifts. They want to feel appreciated mostly because they often do not get "thank-yous".

    • profile image

      scribblingdaddy 5 years ago

      Great ideas! I remember getting so many useless gifts from students and parents. They usually were stuffed away in a drawer somewhere and forgotten. I did not do this because I was not appreciative, but because the gifts were clearly clearance rack trinkets that were an afterthought. On the other hand, I cherish the cards and personal notes that I got from students that were actually written "to me" and not just a stock line from hallmark. Those are the special gifts that are timeless. Thanks for the article!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      I love the idea of a terrarium! In my years as a teacher, I've received mugs, pens, homemade jelly, stuffed animals, and plaques. My favorite gifts though were the handwritten letters my students gave me. :)

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 5 years ago

      I have to say, that I love pottery coffee mugs. I have had a few nice ones, all different, and every time I drink from it I think of the child who gave it to me, and wonder where they are now. Eventually the mug breaks, but until it does, I enjoy it.

      I have also had small bowls, sets of saki cups, and a mustard server. Like the coffee mugs, I have enjoyed these gifts for years.

      Nice hub. Lots of great ideas.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I just love this hub. Great topic with some really unique ideas. I love homemade gifts but I agree, they are not the only gift that warms the heart. I also feel that knowing the person, as you said, is key. I get chocolate so much when I am always pretty open about not liking it. Great job! Voting up!