30 Free or Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Students

by admin

December is a month filled with the delight of gift-giving, yet for those with a sizable class and limited funds, bestowing presents upon every student can present quite the hurdle.

To help teachers find solutions to this problem, I posed this question to the fans of the Teaching Resources Facebook page:Output: In order to assist educators in finding resolutions for this issue, I presented this query to the followers of the Teaching Resources Facebook page.

Do you give your students any sort of gift before the holidays? Let’s brainstorm some easy options, especially gifts that are inexpensive (or free).

With an overwhelming response from over 250 passionate educators, an abundance of fantastic suggestions poured in! Without further ado, I present to you my handpicked selection of the finest 30 gift ideas, listed in no specific sequence. While a majority of these suggestions do entail a minimal expense, there are a few delightful options that come at no cost. If you’re eager to explore the entire collection of 250+ tips, you’ll find them waiting for you on the Teaching Resources Facebook page.

  • Amanda Flickinger – Let me share with you my ultimate pick: head to the dollar store and grab those adorable elf/Santa hats. Get your hands on some shimmering puff paints to personalize them with their names. Witness the sheer excitement of the children as they receive these marvelous creations. They become instantly attached, unwilling to part ways with their newfound treasures!
  • In the enchanting realm of Amanda Duseberg, a delightful offering unfolds – a dainty box adorned with vibrant hues of crayons. Nestled within, a poetic verse delicately whispers of our harmonious existence, likening us to a kaleidoscope of colors. United, we seamlessly coalesce, weaving a tapestry of wholeness that enthralls the beholder.
  • Kathy Wylie – Encourage the students to jot down the names of their classmates along with one quality or trait they admire or appreciate about each individual. Afterwards, create a vibrant Wordle collage using these words and print it out in full color for each student. To add an extra touch of creativity, consider mounting the collage on construction paper. Discover more at http://www.Wordle.Net.
  • Karen Esdale-Brown – I liquefy the damaged classroom crayons to create Christmas cookie cutter shapes.
  • Kerri Grooby has an enchanting idea for reindeer sustenance. She creates delightful pouches by cutting circles of fabric, roughly the size of a dinner plate. Inside these pouches, she combines a generous handful of bird seed with a sprinkle of glitter. After scrunching up the fabric to form a charming little pouch, she ties it securely with a string. To add an extra touch of Christmas spirit, she attaches festive ribbons and labels, instructing the children to sprinkle this magical concoction on the grass come Christmas Eve. This ensures that the reindeers will make a special stop at their home.
  • Kimberly Price – I purchase a shower board from Home Depot, where they kindly offer to cut it for teachers free of charge. Instead of leaving it as is, I decide to have it cut into smaller squares to create personalized whiteboards. To add an extra touch, I use puff paint to beautifully inscribe each student’s name on their respective board, and I make sure to include a dry erase marker along with it. (As an additional treat, I also gift them a book from Scholastic).
  • As a middle school teacher, Anne Williams delights her students by generously offering coupons that grant them an additional 5 or 10 points on their assignments or tests. The kids absolutely adore this free incentive!
  • Heather Rea, the master of gaming, indulges in the art of bulk dice acquisition, accompanied by the procurement of adorable jewelry pouches. Each of these precious pouches is graced with the presence of six enchanting dice. To enhance the gaming experience, Heather meticulously prints out and laminates comprehensive instructions for the famed game of Farkle, along with an intricate score card. This ingenious approach can be applied to any dice game, serving as a catalyst for the reinforcement of mathematical prowess, all while basking in the sheer joy and exhilaration of gameplay.
  • Karen Richau – I present them with a delightful calendar featuring unique surprises for each month from January to May: January, a day of relaxation in cozy attire; February, a blissful half-day dedicated to reading; March, an afternoon filled with thrilling board games; April, a liberating homework pass; May, a delightful half-hour of recess. I seek the approval of my principal, who typically gives it the green light. I then roll up the calendar, securing it with a candy cane and a cheerful Christmas pencil. The students simply adore this special treat.
  • Tracy Wood – In my classroom, we always indulge in the delightful treat known as snowman soup. Should you choose to explore this concept online, a printable template will be at your disposal. The process involves carefully filling a petite baggie with a delightful concoction of hot chocolate, fluffy marshmallows, and crushed candy cane fragments. When the children bring it home, they joyfully transfer the contents into a cup and pour piping hot water over it. As if by magic, the miniature fragments effortlessly ascend to the surface, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. This delightful experience does not break the bank, yet it never fails to captivate their hearts and taste buds!
  • Carol Ann Henthorne – In the previous year, I encouraged my 5th graders to express kind words about their fellow classmates. After transcribing their heartfelt messages, I diligently transformed them into delicate paper scrolls, artfully snipped with scissors, and gently nestled them within delicate glass ornaments. The sheer joy that radiated from their faces as they devoured the affirmations penned by their peers was truly heartwarming! As we embark upon a new academic year, I have decided to enhance this treasured tradition by incorporating a unique vinyl cutout, meticulously crafted using my trusty silhouette machine, to adorn each enchanting ornament.
  • Erin Duarte – I purchase elegant ball ornaments (I prefer the glass ones, although plastic works well for younger children) and with a shimmering silver or golden Sharpie, I inscribe their names accompanied by the year, followed by “With Love, Mrs. Duarte.” Finally, I delicately adorn it with a charming ribbon. These ornaments may appear modest, yet it brings me great joy when kids return to me years later, proudly proclaiming that they still possess their cherished keepsake. As a thoughtful gesture, I usually encase it in a delightful cellophane bag, alongside a festive pencil, a homework pass, and a delightful candy cane.
  • Victoria Schoenly – I currently specialize in serving 750 students, which means I no longer have the opportunity to give presents. However, in the past when I had my own classroom, I used to create captivating grid logic puzzles incorporating my students’ names as clues. Usually, I would make around 5 or 6 puzzles to ensure everyone was included. To enhance the overall presentation, I would design an adorable cover and photocopy the booklets on colored paper, front and back. The students would always exhibit excitement as they eagerly searched for their names in the puzzles. As a bonus, if they completed the booklet and returned it after the holidays, they were rewarded with a homework pass. Apart from my time, the only expense incurred was for some colored photocopy paper.
  • Alona Chastain – purchases $1 books from Scholastics with a candy cane.
  • On a wintry morning before the holiday season, I surprise them with a delectable donut and a steaming cup of cocoa – a delightful way to start their day.
  • Amy Larson – Enchanting vouchers for leisurely moments, cozy up beside a companion, zero assignments, leading the queue, and so on. These delightful little treasures are adored by second graders. I fasten them onto a whimsical pencil or a candy cane with a merry Christmas twist.
  • Joyce Merchant – Gloves from dollar store (request from students themselves).
  • Maureen Chenard – Adding a touch of excitement to the middle school and high school experience, I organize an exhilarating raffle for all three of my blocks. This year, I am delighted to have 84 enthusiastic participants. To ensure their delight, I curate an assortment of goodies, including refreshing Arizona teas, indulgent oversized Hershey bars, generous boxes of skittles, delightful Reese’s pieces, vibrant Mike n Ike’s, and much more. My dedication to each block is evident as I allocate approximately $10 for the delectable candies and teas. Additionally, I purchase three $5 Starbucks cards, one for each block, to add an element of surprise and anticipation. To cater to the needs of every student, I maintain a substantial collection of sour patch or jolly ranchers, along with an array of miscellaneous stationery items such as pencils, pens, erasers, and sharpeners. These treasures have been accumulated over the years through donations and personal efforts. Furthermore, it brings me great joy when the students themselves contribute extra items for the raffle. As I embark on my fourth year in the middle school, this exhilarating tradition continues to be a resounding success, leaving a lasting impression on all involved.
  • Reuben Hks – I have a tradition of gifting every one of my students a Scholastic book. Every month, there is a book in the book club priced at just $1, which I happily purchase for each student. This way, they all have a book to enjoy during the break, fostering a sense of community as we delve into the same literary adventure and engage in discussions upon our return.
  • Throughout the years, I’ve indulged in purchasing sizable bundles of microwave popcorn packets and displaying them in a delightful basket alongside juicy mandarin oranges and other pocket-friendly good-for-you snacks. The students are free to help themselves to their preferred treats. As for my older pupils, I granted them a special homework or project pass. On a separate occasion, I acquired scarves and knit gloves with elastic from Walmart during the season’s end, only to distribute them as delightful surprises the following year.
  • Jane Smith – I purchased a delightful trio of personalized pencils for just $1 each. The students are utterly astounded by the enchanting touch of having their names delicately engraved on these writing instruments. This ingenious solution to the perennial problem of misplaced pencils ensures a harmonious classroom atmosphere, free from the vexation of constant pencil hunting, for a generous span of approximately one month. (Procured from the esteemed Forteachersonly.Com).
  • Geneva Goodney – At Geneva Goodney, we have come up with an exciting way to motivate our students. We provide a page of coupons for each subject area (LA, SS, Science, Math), which includes some fantastic rewards such as a free homework pass, a one-day late pass, 15 minutes of computer time, the freedom to take off their shoes, and even the opportunity to add 5 points to a quiz or daily grade. But that’s not all! These coupons can also be used as a 3-point bonus on a test or major grade. Our students absolutely adore this incentive program! In addition to our coupon system, we have also established a book exchange. Students can bring in their favorite new or gently used books and exchange them with their peers. We always make sure to have extra books on hand for those who forget or cannot afford to purchase a book. During the exchange, we gather together and read a delightful story. As the story nears its end, the students pass the wrapped books around on cue. The book they happen to be holding when the story concludes is the one they get to open and keep, unless they decide to find a friend and trade again 🙂.
  • Anna Harageones – Every year, in the aftermath of Christmas, I eagerly make my way to Walmart. There, I hunt for the mini stockings that are generously discounted, originally priced at 4 for $1. Not only that, but I take advantage of the clearance sales to stock up on Christmas stocking stuffers like mini puzzles, pens, and yo-yos. These treasures are carefully saved for the following year’s class. With a touch of creativity, I adorn the stockings with vibrant puffy paint and lovingly hang them on our class Christmas tree. On the eve of Christmas vacation, I joyfully fill each stocking with delightful goodies. Witnessing the sheer excitement and heartfelt appreciation from my students is truly priceless. The best part is, since I had purchased these items on clearance the year before, it doesn’t burden my pocketbook.
  • Vickie Schmidt presents Snowman Soup, a delightful concoction comprising a delightful blend of cocoa mix, dainty marshmallows, and a choice between a mini or regular-sized candy cane. To add a personal touch, a charming tag with unique “instructions” is attached (these instructions are tailored each year to suit the class). For an extra touch of seasonal magic, the Snowman Soup can be beautifully presented in a festive mug, courtesy of Oriental Trading.
  • Stacey Reilly – Affordable earbuds, perfect companions tucked away in kids’ pencil cases, eagerly awaiting their turn to provide audio pleasure during computer time. A wise choice to purchase them in abundance.
  • Tami Terry – Since I engage in pullout sessions with a whopping number of 100 students, it becomes quite challenging. Nevertheless, I make it a point to keep the classroom environment exciting by purchasing new games every year and expanding our assortment. For this year, I opted for Quiddler Junior to captivate the younger ones, while Karma suits the interests of the older ones. As for last year, Fluxx was the chosen gem 🙂.
  • Jennifer Matney – I have crafted decks of cards priced at 4 for $1, along with a charming little compendium of educational card games that I have curated from various sources. Additionally, I have ingeniously designed affordable educational games and engaging activities, like miniature Boggle and mini dominoes packages available for a mere 50 cents each. Not only do I introduce children to the joys of these games, but I also impart upon them the knowledge of numerous gameplay variations and creative methods to reinforce their math skills.
  • Jackie Hatcher – To add a festive touch to a Christmas image, I incorporate clip art and generate a customized homework pass. Astonishingly, their enthusiasm surpasses that for the small presents I typically purchase.
  • Amy Marie – I create candy cane reindeer.
  • Teresa Wilson – Crafting personalized ornaments for my beloved students, adorned with their names, dates, and the giver’s identity! Whipping up salt dough or cinnamon ornaments is an absolute breeze!
  • Question Connection & Advice from Real Teachers

    As a segment of the Advice from Real Teachers series, this post forms an integral part, comprising a compilation of articles stemming from the valuable insights shared by teachers on Facebook. A heartfelt acknowledgement goes out to all those who generously contributed their time and wisdom. Your guidance and firsthand encounters undoubtedly serve as a beacon of support for fellow educators!

    To submit your own teacher question, visit the Teaching Resources Facebook page and locate the “Ask a Question” Google Doc link. And even if you don’t have a question, kindly join me on Facebook and share your valuable advice whenever you come across queries from fellow educators.

    The Question Connection is a source of great inquiries and valuable guidance from actual educators. Enjoy!

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