These cheap teacher appreciation gifts are perfect for when you want to say “thank you” without breaking the bank. Some are even free! Perfect for National Teacher Day, the holidays, or the end of the school year.

Some years, my son’s IEP team is as large as 15 or 16 people. Sure, they’re not all teachers, but I thank them all simultaneously. I’m good at knowing when Teacher Appreciation Day is (usually the first week of May), but there’s no way I could keep track of OT week, PT week, school nurse week, and so on.

a boy giving his teacher a gift for teacher appreciation week
Teacher Appreciation can happen at any time, not just during teacher appreciation week.

Having an extensive team means a lot of money to thank them all. (I am terribly grateful that he has so many people who care about him!) But, even a $5 or $10 gift, times 15, adds up. Here is a list of fun but cheap Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas.

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Some don’t cost anything but your time.

If your budget is tight and/or your child has a large team, these Cheap Teacher Appreciation Gifts are a great way to give something nice and keep from breaking the bank. Each can be personalized to your child’s ability and the teacher’s individual preferences. 

The greatest thanks you can give any teacher is to continue to encourage your child to grow and learn. These teacher appreciation gifts are just a sampling of the many things you can put together and give to the person who has been there daily working with your child to encourage their emotional and intellectual growth this year.

Teacher Appreciation Week

These ideas are great for National Teacher Day, which is usually the first week in May. Or many parents like to give an end-of-school-year or December holiday gift giving.

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Here are 10 Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week.

  1. Gift Cards or Cash: When in doubt, I get a whole bunch of $5 or $10 gift cards to places that most people enjoy-McDonald’s, Starbucks, Rita’s, or Dunkin Donuts. Even if they do not use the card, they can regift it to one of their kid’s teachers if they want. Lately, some of my parent groups have just been donating to Venmo. Start a class collection via email or social media, and give together!
  2. Supply Basket: Teachers are always spending their own money on supplies. Help a teacher restock their room with a simple supply basket containing red marking pens, post-it notes, tissues, hand sanitizer, a few chocolate bars, and a nice smelling lotion and/or candle.
  3. Volunteer to clean up at the end of the Year: Teachers often have to work after kids get out of school for the year to clean up and pack away their supplies for next year. Offer to come by and help them clean, pack, and ready things so they can begin their vacation earlier.
  4. Fun Magnets or Bulletin Board Pins: Teachers are always pinning things on their walls, filing cabinets, desks, and chalkboards. Grab a few fun, themed magnets at your local craft store, or make your own with glass rocks, pictures, glue, and simple magnets.
  5. Summer Fun Basket: Grab a beach towel, sunscreen, aloe vera gel, a reusable fun water bottle, and a pair of inexpensive flip-flops and throw them together to create a “fun in the sun” themed summer fun basket for them to use while on vacation. (again, go to Dollar Tree!)
  6. A cookie in a Jar: Whip up a simple batch of your favorite cookie mix in a jar and label it with a thank you note, letting them know you are thankful for what they have done for your child. Include a small gift card for a local grocery store to cover the cost of other supplies to make the cookies ($5 is usually enough). If budget allows, put it in a gift bag or basket alongside a colorful oven mitt, whisk, spatula, and a mug for cocoa or tea to accompany the cookie.
  7. A Thank You Note-It doesn’t cost anything to be kind. So send a quick note to school with a “thanks for all you do” or pull the teacher aside and just say thank you. You don’t even have to wait until Teacher Appreciation Day to do this–it’s free, and you can do it anytime!
  8. Self-Care Gift Bag. Teaching is stressful, so why not give them something to help them relax? Find a few cheap self-care products at Dollar Tree, like a face mask, candle, bath bomb, and chocolate, and package them in a cute cellophane bag.
  9. Movie Night Goodie Bag. Grab some hot chocolate, popcorn, and other snacks – maybe even some fuzzy socks – for a “Netflix and relax” gift bag.
  10. Personalized note from the student. Have your kid write a customized message or draw a picture to give to their teacher. If you can, you could have other students write their favorite thing about the teacher on a piece of paper and stick it in a mason jar.

What Can Teachers Accept As A Gift?

This question is one I want to address quickly. While everything on this list is definitely acceptable, you should note that teachers usually cannot accept gifts valued over $50. This includes both gift cards and gifts of that value.

This general rule can vary from school district to school district.

What Should You NOT Give Teachers As a Gift?

The one thing you definitely should not give a teacher is alcohol. While it may seem funny to gift a bottle of wine with a joke about your kid being why you need a glass, it’s not a good idea. Anything you give the teacher should be something school-appropriate.

I also recommend thinking outside the box, as chances are the teacher already has 10 mugs that read “World’s Best Teacher” on them. Try to find something consumable or original if you can.

When Is Teacher Appreciation Day?

National Teacher Day changes yearly but usually falls in the first week of May. Teachers’ Day 2023 is on May 3, 2023.

When Should You Give Teachers A Thank You Gift

As I mentioned above, I thank my son’s entire team on National Teacher Day. However, you can also choose to give gifts around the holidays or at the end of the school year. Or just because!

Sometimes I’ll send in a random “thank you” note throughout the year when I know someone went above and beyond (or I’m just feeling extra grateful) and then a gift on Teachers’ Day.

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