By Teachers, For Teachers
The end of the school year is upon us, and there is nothing like getting a gift to your students as part of your end of the year activities to feel complete. If you have scoured the Internet, then you most likely have found what seems like a million different ideas, some that cost a lot and some that cost under $1. Here are ten of the least expensive, most-popular, end of the year activities for gifts.
You may have seen some students, or your own children, walking around last year or in years past with an inflatable beach ball. These beach balls are a great idea because nothing says get ready for summer like a beach ball does. There are a few ways that you can present this to your students. The first is to have students blow them up and take turns signing one another’s ball as they would a yearbook. Another idea is to give them a list of site words to write on the ball with a sharpie to practice over the summer months. Some teachers give their students the ball not inflated and just attach a message that says, “Have a ball this summer.” You can purchase this end-of-year gift idea at the Dollar Store for only $1.
Sidewalk chalk is another inexpensive gift idea for students. Chalk usually goes over pretty well the female students more so than the males. To help get the male students on board, attach a list of creative ways that they can use the chalk this summer. This idea is a gift that encourages creativity, and is very inexpensive.
If you are a crafty teacher, then you may want to consider making your students a personalized clipboard or chalkboard. You can purchase both of these items at the Dollar Store. If want to personalize a clipboard, you can tie a fancy bow and special pen to the top and attach stickers, decals, or their initials to the body of the board. If you like the idea of a personalized chalkboard, you can use a chalkboard pen to write their initials or a special message to students.
If you are looking for a different end-of-year gift idea for your students, then a simple set of bouncy balls is a cheap, affordable option. It shows your students that you care, while giving them the inspiration to get outside and play in the sun. You can purchase this item at your local Dollar Store as well.
A fun and free end of school gift is to make your students a memory book. All you have to do is photocopy pictures from throughout the school year and create a book for each child. Then when you hand out the books you can have students sign one another’s books like they would a yearbook.
Another way that you can send your students off for the summer is to write them each a goodbye letter. This personalized letter can detail how much of an impact they have made on you and their classmates throughout the school year, as well as how great it was to have them a part of your life. Attach a pencil and eraser and you have yourself an inexpensive gift for your students.
Depending upon what food allergies (if any) that you have in your classroom, another end of year option to give your students is a treat to eat. Popsicles, ice cream, and marshmallow treats are among the favorites. You can even put your baking your skills to the test and make something from scratch.
If you are like many elementary school teachers, then you most likely have racked up some points to cash in for free books from your book club. Use these points to purchase each child an end-of-year book like “Oh the Places You’ll Go” or “Last Day Blues.”
If you are looking for a gift idea that will encourage your students’ imagination and where they will utilize their writing skills, then a summer journal is just the thing. You don’t even have to purchase it, you can make your own right out of paper, cardstock, and a staple gun. You can even add a few summer writing prompts to help get them started.
A unique end-of-year personalized gift is to create a word cloud for each student and frame it. All you have to do to get started is to have each student write one word that describes each student on a piece of paper. Make sure that they use only “Nice” words, and not generic words like great, awesome, cool, etc. Collect the lists and create a document for each student with all of the descriptive words about that student on it. Go on your computer and create a word cloud about each student. You can do this on Tagul.com or on a word document. Next, print out and frame.
If these ideas don’t work for you, then hopefully they will at least inspire you to create something great for your students. Anything that you buy or personally create for your students will be appreciated.
What are you getting your students for an end of year gift? Do you have any creative ideas that you would like to share? Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.