As the long school year finally draws to a close, its time for kids to say goodbye to fellow classmates and say hello to a lazy summer of doing whatever they want.But before the last bell rings, we offer a friendly reminder to stop and say thanks to the teachers who (hopefully) helped make this year a great learning experience. Teachers’ jobs can be trying at times, and there is no better way for you and your little pupil to show them their hard work is appreciated than with a homemade gift tagged with a thoughtful sentiment.Fun to make and easy to assemble, these teacher gifts are sure to earn children an A+ hug. As a plus for parents, they’re economical for big families with multiple teachers, too; all items were purchased from local Wal-Mart, Michaels and Dollar Tree stores.
Get ready for
Monday: Great new grilling cookbooks; children’s summer safety tips
Tuesday: Poolside reads
Wednesday: Best craft beers of the season
Thursday: A guide to summer events for kids and families
Today: Teacher gifts that elementary students can make
June 2: Summer TV preview
The constant gardener
Like a gardener who carefully tends to the seeds she has planted, teachers help to enrich and grow their students’ young minds. Show your teacher how much you appreciate the way that they’ve helped you grow with a beautiful seasonal plant.
Paper bag or newspaper
Spray paint or craft paint and foam brush
Small plant, potted in dirt
1. To begin, find a flat, clean surface in a well-ventilated area in which to do your project. After placing either a paper grocery bag or newspaper on the surface you are working on, paint the Mason jar your desired color. (Note: We chose to use spray paint, but you can also use craft paint and a foam brush.) Let the jar dry completely.
2. Once the jar is dry, pick up the small plant and carefully remove it from the container that it came in. Replant it inside the jar, patting down the dirt; make sure there’s enough dirt so the plant pops out of the top and make sure the dirt is moist enough to keep the plant looking pretty until you give it to your teacher.
3. With a Sharpie, write “Thanks for helping me GROW” on the gift tag.
4. When the marker has dried, lay the tag face-down and tape a skewer behind it so that it resembles a sign. Stick the sign in the soil of the jar so that the message faces outward.
Give her a hand!
When you spend countless hours writing on a white board and grading homework, it’s fair to say that your hands deserve some major pampering. That’s why we suggest saying thank you to your favorite educator or educators with a fun emery board and a new nail polish in a summer-friendly shade.
1. Center the nail polish on top of the middle section of the emery board. Wrap a piece of decorative tape around the nail polish and the emery board so that they are held together.
2. With a Sharpie, write “Teachers like you paint a bright future” on the gift tag.
3. When the marker has dried, attach the tag to the emery board, positioning it behind the nail polish. Secure to the nail polish with tape, if needed.
Light up the world
Good teachers are known for lighting up the lives of their students with warmth and kindness, which makes this light bulb jar even more appropriate to give. Even better? It’s filled with delicious candy.
Light bulb-shaped jar (colored or clear)
Small bulk-type candies that fit inside the jar
Hole-punched gift tag
1. To begin, take your light bulb-shaped jar, unscrew the top and fill it with your choice of candy. (Note: We used Lemonheads since light bulbs can be yellow, but you can choose whatever candy you like that fits.) Screw the lid back on, making sure to secure it tightly.
2. With a Sharpie, write “You light up our LIVES!” on the gift tag.
3. When the marker has dried, string a fairly long piece of cord through the hole in the gift tag and attach it to the top portion of the light bulb jar. Because of the length of the cord, you will have to wrap it around the top several times before tying.
A sweet sendoff
A gift that will be used long after the school year is over, this colorful craft is initially filled with candy for your teachers to enjoy, but when emptied, can be used as a pencil holder for their desk.
Crayons (enough to fit around the pencil holder)
Adhesive (recommended: glue gun)
Assortment of candy
Clear cellophane bag
Gift tag (optional)
1. Hold one of the crayons upright to your pencil holder to get an idea of where you want your crayon-border to start. (Note: You want to try to keep the crayons as straight as possible. If you’re not careful, they can go crooked.)
2. Once you’ve figured where you want to start, apply adhesive along one side of the crayon. For this craft, we used a glue gun. When the adhesive is applied, press the crayon against the side of the pencil holder. It should stick fairly quickly if you’re using a glue gun. Continue this pattern until you have covered the pencil holder with crayons all the way around.
3. To finish, fill the cup up with your choice of candy. Place inside a cellophane bag, then tie with a decorative ribbon. If you wish, you can attach a gift tag to the gift or adhere it to the bottom.
The “roll” of a lifetime
Role models can be hard to come by. Show your favorite educator just how worthy he or she is of the title “roll” model with this easy-to-make sweet treat. Note: Be sure to wash your hands before you handle the cinnamon rolls, or use paper towels or parchment when you pick them up, like they do at bakeries.
Mini cinnamon roll
Clear cellophane bag
Hole-punched gift tag
Short piece of string
1. Begin by preparing cinnamon rolls; parents should help with this step since the oven is involved. (Note: I chose to use Pillsbury brand cinnamon rolls, but you can make some from scratch or purchase some that are ready-made.)
2. When cinnamon rolls are ready, iced and cool enough to handle, pick one up (see note about handling, above) and press it through the top of one of the skewers so that it resembles a lollipop.
3. Place the cinnamon roll “pop” inside a cellophane bag. Gathering the cellophane bag just below the cinnamon roll, pick up a piece of ribbon and tie a bow. This should hold the cellophane bag in place and prevent your roll from coming out of the bag.
4. With a Sharpie, write “Thanks for being a ‘ROLL’ model” on the gift tag.
5. When the marker has dried, attach the tag to the area where you tied the bow, using a short piece of string.