Free, Homemade, and Low-Cost Teacher Gifts

May 2, 2022 | Articles, Just For Parents, Mass Appeal

From Megan, the founder and owner/operator of The Community Classroom


It’s Megan here! And it’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Though we can’t give teachers the peace of mind and pots of gold that they deserve, we can gift them with kid-created presents that will warm their hearts and give back a little of what they give to each of our kids, each day. I’d like to share a few of the gifts that she and her three-year-old daughter, Cora, created and curated for Cora’s two stellar preschool teachers. 

Free Teacher Gifts

Sometimes the teacher gifts that cost nothing (but time and thoughtfulness) are the best gifts to give. One of the most appreciated gifts that I  received as a teacher was the gift of time! I had parents volunteer in my class to give me time to organize, eat, and breathe! Find a few volunteer ideas below. I’d like to preface that you need to check with your school’s policies before you gift these volunteer ideas—check with the administration. In most states, you’ll need to follow procedures to volunteer and there are things that volunteers can/can’t do within a school. But these ideas can at least get your wheels turning!

  • Volunteer to organize the classroom after school
  • Volunteer to host a class read-aloud/be a mystery reader
  • Volunteer to “cover” the class while the teacher takes a coffee break, etc.

Homemade Teacher Gifts

I have two boxes in my basement that are priceless because they contain homemade teacher gifts from almost 20 years of teaching. I have portraits in crayons from first graders, hand-beaded bracelets from fourth graders, and even handwritten cards from graduate students. To me, there is nothing sweeter than a homemade gift from a student. Find a few ideas below that can end up as prized possessions for years to come.

A Personalized Coupon Book

Teachers love coupon books too! Especially when they are handcrafted by your little second grader. Talk to your child about what “gifts” could be great to include in their teacher’s coupon book. My daughter chose (with some help from me) a mud pie, get a high five, get a “running” hug, a handpicked wildflower, and a snuggle. Some adaptations include a coupon book with dollar bills interspersed and a coupon book with a coupon from each child in the class.

You can download a PDF of our coupon book here.

A Portrait With a Quote

This is an easy one but a precious one! Have your child draw a picture of their teacher. Ask them to tell you or to write a sentence about their teacher. Grab a frame from the local dollar store. Voila! A gift to keep for the years. *Yes, I still have some that are about 15 years old.*

All About My Teacher

You’ve seen these for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These are hysterical and precious to do for teachers as well! We love this copy from Yellow Bliss Road. Adopt this one or adapt it to create your own. Hilarity will follow!

Low-Cost Teacher Gifts

Personalized Clipboards

As a teacher, I really couldn’t have enough clipboards. And they are an easy and budget-friendly gift idea that you can find really at any discount or supply store. We not only found the clipboards at The Dollar Tree, but we also found a unicorn: rhinestone sticker strips. Add a little paint pen personalizing and it’s ready to go!

Personalized Wooden Keychain

Another Dollar Tree find, y’all! Cora and I took a wooden, chalkboard-painted heart and added the initials of her teachers using wooden Scrabble-like letters. Not only will these keychains grace Cora’s teachers’ keys, but they also serve a double purpose: as nametags on the buckets that contain all their gifts. Score!

Photo Gift Card Holder

Gift cards seem to ALWAYS be the right size, fit, texture, and color. Add a little photo of your child holding the card and it’s practically perfection! I had Cora stand and act like she was holding a giant piece of cardboard (in hindsight I should have just given her some cardboard!). Print the photo and cut out the arms to “hold” the gift card. Again, hilarity!

A No-Bake School Supply Cake

Materials: 4 boxes of pencils, 2 12 packs of markers, 2-4 glue bottles, 5-10 glue sticks, 2 boxes of crayons, 3-6 pairs of scissors, 4 large(ish) rubber bands, glue gun with glue sticks, cardboard for the bottom of the cake, 3 round boxes in various sizes (small, medium, large).

And a Few Bonus Gift Ideas


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