At the end of the school year it is of course traditional to show your appreciation of the efforts your child's teacher has made, but thinking of a gift that will be appreciated can be daunting! If you are looking for some inspiration for your teacher gift ideas this year, scroll down and browse!
Group Or Class Gifts
Personalise a camping chair or beach chair. Buy a light coloured fabric chair and some fabric paints or pens. Depending on their age, the children can add a colourful handprint, draw a self-portrait, or sign their name and add a small picture.
Personalise a fabric shopping bag or book bag - as above.
Personalise a golf umbrella - as above.
Personalise a tea towel - as above.
Personalise a tea shirt - as above.
Paint a salad bowl, vase or other large ceramic item. Buy a "blank" ceramic item from a craft supplier or "Paint Your Own" shop, together with a collection of ceramic paints. Some ceramic paints will need to be fired by your local "Paint Your Own" shop; others can be fired in your own oven at low temperature or not fired at all. The children should add their own little picture or design and sign the item. You could suggest a theme such as flowers or houses if you like.
Paint a set of mugs, teapot, bowls or cups and saucers. A young teacher setting up home may appreciate a collection of breakfast items hand painted by her children.
Make a classroom cookbook. Each child produces his or her own page with a favourite recipe, a drawing or photo, and a special message to the teacher. Laminate the pages, punch and put into a pretty binder.
Make a classroom memento book. As above, but each child should produce a page of their favourite memory of the teacher or the year, a drawing and a photo of themselves (with the teacher if possible).
Paint a flower pot. Buy a large terracotta or ceramic flower pot and, using acrylic paints, let the children embellish it. Now either add an appropriate plant or fill it with gardening gifts such as gloves, trowel etc
Paint a watering can. A keen gardener may appreciate a personalized watering can. Buy a good metal can in a pale colour and use acrylic paints to decorate it, perhaps asking each child to paint a flower, ladybug, butterfly or bumble bee. To be safe, add a layer of acrylic gloss varnish.
Make a DVD. If one of the parents has a video camera and basic editing software you can put together a class DVD. Take a snippet of footage of each child (perhaps singing a song, recounting a favourite experience at school, or just saying why they love their teacher). If possible add some class events or shots of the classroom, and package the DVD nicely.
Vouchers. Young teachers may really appreciate some gift vouchers for a good department store, online shop, DVD rental or restaurant. Ask another teacher! If you know there is another teacher at the school with whom your teacher is particularly friendly, ask him or her to suggest a shop or restaurant that your teacher frequents - or would like to!
Wine. If all the parents club together, you can usually buy a nice case of wine, or even two cases of table wine in a big class. Alternatively you could subscribe to a "wine of the month" club for your teacher, who will be thrilled to get a good bottle every month for the next year.
Monthly clubs. In addition to "wine of the month" clubs, you could arrange for chocolate or flowers (or even pizzas!) to be delivered to your teacher on a regular basis.
Make a quilt. With a bit of organization and some parent help, you can make a fabulous quilt for your teacher. Prepare a square or rectangle of pale coloured fabric for each child and ask them to draw their best picture with fabric pens or paints, and sign it. Now stitch them together, add a border, some batting and a backing, and you have made something your teacher will treasure. Alternatively, ask the children to draw round their hands onto colourful cotton fabrics and cut out. Fuse or stitch the handprints to individual squares of contrasting fabric, or arrange in a design on one large piece.
Here's one my son's class made for their (retiring) teacher.
Decoupage a class tray. Ask each child to supply a good close-up photograph of themselves cut out. Paint a wooden tray blank and then, using white glue or decoupage glue, arrange the photos on the tray. You might want to paint the name of the teacher, the class, and the date somewhere in your design. When dry, apply several coats of acrylic glass varnish (you can buy this in spray bottles to speed up the process).
Produce a set of class note cards. Ask each child to draw their best picture of the teacher. Scan them into your computer, reduce in size and print out onto printer card blanks. Alternatively, ask each child to do a self-portrait and reduce in size enough to fit together onto one card. You could also have these printed up by an online print service, which can be very inexpensive.
Here is something similar that we did when we moved schools. My daughter drew a little picture of each of her classmates and her teacher and labelled them. Then I mounted them together, scanned the whole thing in, shrank it, and had it printed onto postcards online. We used them as invitations to a leaving party and gave a box of them to Miss Allen, too.
Fill a gift basket or other container. If your teacher has a hobby he or she may appreciate an appropriate gift basket, packed full of special treats. Gardeners are easy. Film buffs may enjoy a DVD rental voucher, a film critic's guide and a popcorn maker or popcorn supplies. Perhaps she will be travelling in the long vacation? Pack up a really nice travel bag with some travel-sized toiletries, a good guide book and 2 or 3 paperbacks. Is she a beach fan? Give a beach bag stuffed with flip flops, nail varnish, books, sun cream and other toiletries and a luxurious beach towel. With all these suggestions, if you can think of a way for the children to put in something they have personalized, all the better.
Charity donation. Some teachers support a particular charity and would like nothing better than a donation made to it in their name. If you decide to do this, a small additional gift is a nice gesture.
Provide a service. Sometimes the best gift you can give is time. For a busy teacher, a few hours of a cleaning or gardening service, or vouchers for some hand car washing or gourmet prepared dinners could be a real blessing.
Tickets. How about 2 tickets to a sporting event or a musical or play?
Camera. Digital cameras can make an excellent gift for a young teacher, especially if they have plans for the summer vacation.
Individual Teacher Gift Ideas
We also have lots of ideas for gifts that kids can make themselves here:
Gifts Kids Can Make