When it comes to Teacher Appreciation Week, you could say we PTO leaders are a bit obsessed—we’ve probably spent a collective nine bazillion hours combing Pinterest for pun-theme lunch ideas and super cute teacher appreciation printables (gah—it’s so hard to pick just one!). If you’ve thought about making your own teacher appreciation swag bags, too, you’ve certainly come to the right place because we’ve rounded up some fun (and affordable) finds that won’t break the bank (or your treasurer’s heart). As if you needed another reason to hit up the dollar store, right?
First, you’ll want to pick up some inexpensive cellophane or paper gift bags. And don’t worry if they’re not snazzy—you can hack your way to a jazzier bag with our free “Teachers like you make teaching look easy!” bag tags. Once you’ve filled your bags with a steeping dose of thoughtful goodness, don’t just leave them in the teachers lounge. Instead, toss them into a “Woot Woot” wagon and stroll the halls to personally deliver the goods.
Here are a few fun (and easy!) gifts your teachers will love getting.
1. Handwritten notes from students
Set up a teacher appreciation station and give students the prompt “I love my teacher because…” By all means, go farmhouse chic and tie individual notes with twine (Chip and Joanna would totally approve).
2. Superhero masks
Because really, isn’t this what all teachers look like once they finally land couchside to Netflix and grade?
3. The iconic red pen
Speaking of Netflix and grade, every teacher could use a really rad red gel pen to help with all that grading. Just add our free “Netflix and grade” gift tag and boom—you’re awesome.
4. #Teacherlife coloring sheets
Teachers love their gel pens, so you just might want to add a few #teacherlife coloring printables. While this whole set is free, we’re especially loving the “Don’t make me use my teacher voice” one.
5. Packet of seeds or flower bulbs
The only trouble you’ll have is deciding which bloom/grow pun to pair it with. Now if only you could help them grow pencils…
6. Dry-erase marker with pom-pom
By the time May rolls around, those dry-erase markers are feelin’ it. Show teachers you know what’s up by gifting them their very own markers that are topped with a pom-pom—convenient for easy erasing.
7. DIY #teacherlife magnet
Totally nail what goes on in a teacher’s head 24/7 with these fun magnets you can make yourself. The only trouble you’ll have is deciding which meme to use. Trust us—you’ll make your teachers laugh every time they hit up the fridge for their morning creamer.
8. Red apple nail polish
Now this is the kind of apple your teachers will dig. And the best part is, your 3rd grader can totally help (future PTO rock star right there).
9. Teacher coupon book
Another way to a teacher’s heart? Getting her out of recess duty on a cold day (or scoring a free pass to wear jeans…or PJs). Throw in a special parking spot for the day and a “helping hand” coupon from your PTO (hey, those classrooms don’t organize themselves!), and you’ll have pretty much made your teachers’ dreams come true.
10. Scratch ticket
Pair a scratch ticket with a “We won the lottery with you” printable. Besides, you know they’ll come back to work even if they win because teaching is life. (It’s a good idea to check with your district first to find out whether there are any restrictions on gifts that teachers can receive.)
11. Funny DIY pencils
You know what pairs well with catching up on your DVR? Decoupage (hey, we’re only half-kidding). When it comes to choosing a fun, teacher-y saying to pop onto these super cute DIY #teacherlife pencils, it’s hard to pick just one, but here are few of our favorites: “It’s like herding cats,” “Don’t lick the desk,” or, for those who like their pencils promptly returned or unborrowed altogether, there’s always the popular “I want to marry Justin Bieber” option.
12. Student-signed coffee mug
Give teachers a daily dose of happy with this custom, student-signed mug. Have students use oil-based paint Sharpies to sign their names. Then add the year and boom—best teacher gift ever.
13. Superhero lollipops
(WARNING: once you see this super cute idea, you can’t unsee it and will have to proceed with said idea immediately.) Seriously, these superhero lollipops are an adorable, inexpensive way to give a nod to the all sorts of awesome stuff your teachers do on a regular basis. Plus, they’re just so darn cute (sorry, we warned you).
14. Animal crackers
Pair school-safe animal crackers with this “It would be a zoo without you” tag (well, it’s true, isn’t it?).
15. Bubble wrap (yes, really)
Give your teacher a much-needed laugh (and a bit of relief) with their very own piece of bubble wrap…that is, if you can resist popping it all yourself.
Originally posted in 2018 and updated regularly