10 Teacher Appreciation Gifts That Don’t Cost Anything

Limited funds? Don't worry. There are lots of ways you can show your thanks for free.

by Rose Hamilton


Teacher appreciation shouldn’t be about spending money. For many groups, there isn’t enough in the budget to pay for all the programs they’d like to provide for the kids. If your group has a limited teacher appreciation budget, try not to sweat it. In fact, there are lots of ways you can say thanks without spending money.

1. Applause parade. Have students line the hallway one morning during Teacher Appreciation Week and clap as the teachers enter the building.

2. Class song. This requires a little rehearsal. Have a class parent work with students to sing a simple song like “You Are My Sunshine.” Rehearse during a recess time shortly before Teacher Appreciation Week. Set up a special surprise performance for the teacher during the week.

3. Thank-you announcements. Have one or two children from each class join the morning announcements (perhaps do five to 10 classes each day) to say one nice thing about their teacher.

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

4. Class cleanup. A class parent can oversee daily classroom cleanups with the children. This could be done after school, or the teacher may allow a few minutes before the end of the day or at the start of the day to help make this happen.

5. Thank-you notes. Have the children each write a handwritten note about what makes their teacher special.

6. Recess coverage. Work with the principal to set up recess coverage with a group of volunteers so teachers can take extended lunch breaks.

7. Lounge cleanup. Bring in a few volunteers to clean the teachers lounge.

8. Social shout-out. Post a thank-you with photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to tell your teachers how much they mean to you.

9. May I carry your books? Line up a few student volunteers to carry the teacher’s books or school bag to their car after school.

10. Kudos from the PTO leaders. Make a point to have your board members say thank-you to teachers. An in-person, sincerely expressed thanks could be the best gift of all.

Originally posted in 2014 and updated regularly.

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