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Lots of Fun Teacher Appreciation Ideas From the Trenches

by Rose Hamilton


We asked our community on both Facebook and the Message Boards to tell us what their teachers most enjoy receiving as a teacher appreciation gift. As always, parent group leaders came through when asked for help, and they provided lots of creative ideas. Not surprisingly, many had to do with food (who can resist treats?) and pampering (wouldn’t you love a massage?). Of course, these are just the kinds of gifts hardworking teachers love­—and deserve! Here’s a roundup of what was shared.

50+ teacher appreciation ideas, plus planning tools, flyers, and more

  • Guilt-free fun: Fiesta-theme luncheon with an alcohol-free margarita machine.

  • Time to soothe: Hand lotion with an attached tag that reads, “Thanks for keeping our kids in good hands!”

  • To die for: Chocolate fountain buffet with “anything and everything’’ you could dip in chocolate.

  • Who’s feeling lucky? Weeklong prize giveaways, with one winner announced each day. Winner picks her prize from a selection of gift cards.

  • Our turn: An extended lunchtime for teachers while parents cover for them in the cafeteria.

  • Healthy harvest: A lunchtime salad bar with homemade bread.

  • Kick-start your day: Coffee and smoothie cart provided by a local vendor, set up at school by 7:15 a.m. Teachers pick from a variety of flavors.

  • Comfort food: A homemade breakfast served to the teachers to wrap up teacher appreciation week.

  • How cool: Purchase a fan for each classroom and present it with a tag that says “We are your greatest fans!”

  • Relax: Spa Day at the school with free massages and aromatherapy.

  • Here’s my to do list: Parent volunteers run errands for teachers on a special Valet Day.

  • Have a seat: Renovate the teachers lounge with new items, such as new chairs.

  • Carryall: Duffel bags with the school logo for each teacher.

  • Secret supper: Mystery dinner in the cafeteria. Decorate using a particular theme, and keep it on the down low until the transformed area is revealed to the teachers.

  • Not just for kids: Goody bags with items like pens and post-it notes given at a luncheon.

  • On the run: A “to go” light breakfast of yogurt, granola bars, and bottled water. Teachers can easily bring it back to the classroom.

  • Simply said: Each child gives the teacher a flower and tells her why he or she thinks the teacher is special.

  • I’ll have the turkey club: A $5 gift card to local sandwich shop.

  • Special delivery: Volunteers walk the hallways with a dessert and punch cart, offering sweets to teachers.

  • Flower power: Give “Lunch on Us’’ bouquets, a mix of flowers and gift cards.

  • Money bags: Teachers pick a bag of chocolate coins, not knowing there’s a secret stash of real money mixed among the chocolates (anywhere from $5 to $50).

  • Supply day: Each child is encouraged to bring in one school supply (a glue stick, wipes, a pack of pencils) to the teacher.

  • Working at the car wash: While teachers are treated to a lunch, volunteers secretly wash their cars in the school parking lot.

  • Best memory: Children make drawings for the teacher illustrating their favorite moment of the school year.

  • Thank-you wall: Put up a large piece of paper (poster board would work) on the classroom wall and have children sign it, expressing their thanks.

Originally posted in 2012 and updated regularly.

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