Teacher Appreciation Week 2023 is coming up on May 8th and I surveyed teachers from across the country to find out the gifts they’ve received and loved the most. These teacher appreciation week gift ideas are easy and budget friendly, and great for getting the students themselves involved!
It’s important to not let this week take the place of showing our teachers our real support through our actions and activism every day of the year, but it is fun to give them a little extra love during this fun week, too. Here’s some of the best teacher approved ideas.
Free Teacher Appreciation Week Gift Ideas
Showing extra appreciation for your teacher doesn’t need to cost money. The most appreciated gestures are often the most simple and personal ones. These gift ideas won’t cost you anything but will speak volumes.
Printable Teacher Appreciation Cards via Lovely Indeed
1. Handwritten Letters & Drawings
Without a doubt the most common response from teachers about what gifts they’ve loved the most are handwritten notes and drawings of students and parents appreciation for their work and guidance throughout the year. A simple gesture of sharing what you love most about your teacher goes a long way.
2. Emails to the Principal
Don’t just let the teacher know you love them, let the principal know, too. Many teachers said how much they appreciated when parents took the time to send an email to the head of the school sharing why they appreciated their teacher.
Printable coloring pages from Sketchy Notions
3. Appreciation Bulletin Board
Building on the handwritten notes and drawings idea, set up a bulletin board in the classroom or school for the students to leave notes and drawings throughout the week. Leave a stack of post-its or some printable coloring pages nearby. This allows for students to not just thank their teacher, but the entire school staff that supports them throughout the year!
Consider collecting the notes and drawings and the end of the year and putting them into a book the school can save, or photographing them for a yearbook page.
4. Wear Teacher’s Favorite Color
While I think asking the class to participate in themed activities every day of the week can be a huge strain on parents and caregivers, this one-day activity is a sweet nod to teacher. Have all the children in the class wear the teacher’s favorite color to surprise them.
Teacher Gifts from the Class
Any of these gift ideas can be done individually, but getting the class together allows for all kids to get involve regardless of their budget, and keeps things streamlined for parents, too. Group gifts can make a big impact! These ideas were all submitted by teachers as gifts they’ve loved.
Printable teacher gift card holder from HelloLeahKnick
1. Gift Cards or Cash
The second most common response teachers shared for the Teacher Appreciation week gifts they loved the most were gift cards. To ease the financial burden on parents, I always recommend doing a group collection and purchasing one gift card from the class. This allows parents to contribute what they can, no matter the amount.
The most commonly praised gift cards are to places like Target or Amazon where teachers can purchase whatever they may need across may different categories. However, if you know your teacher a bit better and want to choose a different option here’s a few ideas:
- Local Bakery, Restaurant or Coffee Shop
- Local Spa or Manicure Spot (be sure to include enough for a tip!)
2. Treat or Coffee Cart
Fill a cart or wagon with treats or refreshments to take around to each classroom for the teachers to grab something from. Here’s a few ideas for what to include:
- Coffee cart with coffee and various milks and sugars
- Donuts or breakfast pastries
- Fresh juices or smoothies
- Trail Mix Bar
3. Class Bouquet
Purchase a bouquet for the teacher but instead of giving it to them already in a vase. Let each student pick a flower and bring it to them individually to build the bouquet. I love that this is a sweet way for each student to individually say thank you, while building a beautiful bouquet together!
4. Catered Lunch
Consider getting the class parents together to cater lunch for all the teachers at school, or coordinate with your teacher ahead of time and offer to buy lunch for them one day during Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s important to coordinate this ahead of time so a teacher doesn’t end up with multiple lunches at one time!
5. Purchase Something from their Classroom Wishlist
While our government should be allocating budget appropriately to buy all the supplies our teachers need, that is currently not the case. In addition to fighting for that to change, consider purchasing something that’s still left on the teacher’s wishlist.
This was repeatedly requested in the teacher survey I conducted, as supplies are often running low towards the end of the year and teachers are forced to use their own money to replenish them.
Collaborative Class Art Piece via @almostmakesperfect
6. Create a Collaborative Class Art Piece
Have the class work on a collaborative art piece together that week that teacher can hang in their classroom. Here’s a few ideas:
- Stamp each child’s hand on a canvas and have them write their name
- Have each child do a drawing or painting and cut pieces from each to form a collaborative piece
- Let each student do a drawing of the teacher, their favorite moment in class or something else and take a picture of each. Combine them all into a book using a service like Chatbooks for the teacher to keep!
7. Make a Donation in their Name
Multiple teachers mentioned having families make donations in their names to organizations that support teachers, kids and their collective safety. This can include organizations like Moms Demand Action or Everytown.
One Gift NOT To Get
Resoundingly, teachers responded that they did not need any more mugs. A go-to gift for teachers (and anyone for that matter!) means they have a lot of them and so many kindly asked to avoid this token of appreciation.
If you’re a teacher, what’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received?
I hope these gift ideas hep you show a little extra love for teacher appreciation week, on top of voting and staying vocal to ensure teachers are valued, paid and respected as they should be the rest of the year.
All photos by Studio DIY unless otherwise noted.