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8 Great Last-Minute Teacher Gifts

The end of the school year is once again upon us. Throughout the year, you’ve probably been pinning cute ideas for teacher gifts. But unless you’re one of those highly organized people (that is NOT us!), you’ve probably not even thought about a teacher gift in these last few weeks. Or maybe thinking about it is as far as you’ve gotten.

Have no fear! We’ve come to your rescue!

Here are 8 ideas for last-minute teacher gifts that are inexpensive and not too time consuming to put together:

1. Framed Crayon Initial: This seems like a complicated project, but it’s really not. All you need are crayons (we recommend Crayola, not the cheap kind), glue (the instructions say tacky, but we used hot glue), white cardstock, and a frame. The materials cost less than $10 and it will take about an hour of your time, plus time for the glue to set completely before you frame it.

Photo (c) Frugal Life Project. Check out Carol’s website for more great ideas:

2. Photo Bookmarks: The hardest part of this project was carefully cutting around the photo of the kids. Making the tassel for the bookmark was a little tedious, but all in all, this cost less than $10 to make and less than an hour of time to put together. Have the kids sign the back of the bookmark with their name and year, then tuck inside a journal or a special book. Or attach to a gift card to a local book store. (Tip: Self-adhesive photo laminating sheets, available at Staples and the like, are a little more expensive than a roll of clear contact paper but easier to use.)

3. Freezer Jam: Our friend, Penny, has fresh, home-grown fruit on hand this time of year. Steal her idea and make freezer jam! There are numerous ways you can package it up–include quick-bread mix, tie a spreader to the jar with ribbon, wrap it in a fancy dish towel, or just embellish with tags and ribbon.

4. Plants: Giving plants may seem boring, until you consider the various ways you can give them:

  • Our friend, Brooke, brought terra cotta planters to school and with a little help from the staff to keep it a secret, she had each student put their fingerprint on the pot. She then used a Sharpie to make a thumbprint animal. The result was an adorable and reusable keepsake!

  • Mary found large inexpensive ceramic planters and planted an herb and two flowering plants to create a lovely container garden for her children’s resource teachers.
  • Lynn found a rectangular tub at the dollar store and planted herbs in it for the bus driver. Her children made custom plant stakes to identify the herbs using cardstock and the printer.
  • Cut out the shape of a flower, such as a daisy, using a flower template. Print out a picture of your child, and cut out their face to glue in the center of the flower. Glue the whole flower to a craft stick or 6″ ruler. Attach a tag that says “Thanks for helping me learn and grow!” and stick into a planter.

5. “Relax at the Beach” Tote: Fill an inexpensive canvas tote with sunscreen, a trashy paperback novel or puzzle books, a sun visor or hat, beach towel, and a reusable water bottle. You can vary the items based on cost or teacher’s individual interest.

6. “Relaxing on the Deck” Bucket: Fill an ice bucket (rubber or tin, found at dollar and craft stores) with a carafe, two glasses, lemonade or iced tea mix, ice cube tray in a fun design, a puzzle book or magazine, and a citronella candle. Another idea that is open to creativity based on cost and teacher’s interests.

7. Emergency Kit: This is a fun and clever way that your kids can help put together a gift for their teacher, coach, camp counselor, etc. It simply calls for filling a plastic storage case with mini go-to items. For a classroom kit, you might fill it with pencils, erasers, thumb tacks, stickers, and antibacterials wipes. For her car, you might want to include some first-aid items, a mini flashlight with extra batteries, pen and paper, and healthy snacks. For a camping/beach kit, throw in some insect repellent and sunscreen towelettes. Get creative!

8. Gift Cards: When in doubt, a gift card is always a smart way to go. But there are still many ways you can make this a creative gift idea. Check out the Gift Card Girlfriend for some clever ways to show your appreciation!

What are some of your go-to teacher gift ideas? How about for coaches or other important mentors in your child’s life? Share your ideas with us!



6 thoughts on “8 Great Last-Minute Teacher Gifts

  1. These crafts are so cute! Love the bookmark. I’m thinking about that for a gift anytime of year. Thank you so much!

    Posted by mare ball | June 7, 2012, 17:43
  2. Fantastic ideas. Although I don’t have kids in school any more, I have a couple of “remembrance” birthday gifts for friends coming up this month. Now I know what to do for their unique b’day presents!!! Tks.
    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

    Posted by Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice | June 8, 2012, 19:00
  3. Thanks for the mention. Gift cards really are an EASY way to say thank you. Here’s another one that can be done in 10 minutes:

    1 – Run to the grocery store and grab any gift card
    2 – Go to the office supply aisle…no matter how small, the grocery store WILL have one!
    3 – Grab a pack of Sharpie pens. (Again, they will have them!)
    4 – Tie the gift card to the Sharpie pack and write, “Thanks for turning my son into a Sharpie!”


    It’s easy, it’s fast, and teachers can ALWAYS use another set of Sharpies. So it’s fun and useful – my favorite kind of gift card holder!

    Posted by Gift Card Girlfriend (@gcgirlfriend) | June 11, 2012, 19:20


  1. Pingback: More Last-Minute Teacher Gifts | A Common Sea - June 3, 2014

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