On the last day of school, I always like to send my students off with a special gift. It's a great way to let them know just how much I will miss them after spending an amazing school year together. I'm sure you like to do the same for your own kids. But at the end of the day, we all know that teachers aren't rich. So I'm here to share some of my favorite end of the year student gift ideas that don't cost much money.
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BUCKETS OF FUN
I live on the east coast of Florida, so giving my students a beach themed surprise right before summer break is the perfect gift idea! But even if you live in the middle of Nebraska, your students will appreciate this cute idea. Best of all, you can get everything you need with one trip to your local dollar store. Here's what to get:
Colorful sand buckets
Blue tissue paper
A pack of water bottles or juice boxes
It might look like a lot of stuff to buy, but you can find the bubble wands and kids sunglasses in cheap multi-packs in the party favors aisle. They usually come in packs of 6 or 8.
If you can't find beach buckets at your local Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot, you can buy them in bulk on
Amazon fairly reasonably: Beach Pails & Sand Shovels Pack of 12
Once you have your supplies, assemble the buckets:
Stuff a bit of blue tissue paper in the bottom of each bucket (sort of looks like water)
Put in 1 juice box or water bottle, 1 bubble wand, and 1 pair of sunglasses
Add a cute tag (Here are some free ones - Buckets of Fun Tags)
FUN AND GAMES
Another great end of the year gift idea is to put together a little collection of fun activities to keep kids busy over the summer. Here's what you need:
A pack of sidewalk chalk (the big fat ones)
Little bouncy balls
Small packs of crayons
Deck of cards (playing cards or others like Rummy or Old Maid)
Mini containers of Play-doh
Paper gift bags
Again, most of these things can be bought in multi-packs in the party aisle - even mini decks of cards and coloring books that come with those little 4-packs of crayons. For gift bags, I like to buy the solid color ones that come in larger packs. You can also try Oriental Trading Company for many of these items.
In each bag, put a big piece of chalk, a ball, a coloring book with crayons, a deck of cards, and a little container of Play-doh.
This one is a super cheap gift that is so easy to put together! But you need to plan ahead just a bit. Here's what to do...
Start checking your Scholastic Book Clubs flyer each month for their dollar deals. Whenever you find one that matches your students' interests, add them to your monthly order. When the end of the year rolls around, you'll have enough to give each student a book that they will love.
Bake a batch of your favorite cookies and bag them up for your students (2 or 3 cookies in a little plastic sandwich bag works great).
Attach a cute little tag and now you have a sweet treat and little gift for each child in your whole class. Here are some free gift tags you can print yourself - One Smart Cookie Tags
If you want to add a little something extra, you can also print your own bookmarks. I have a free set of Summer Reading Bookmarks in the Resource Library
DIY SCHOOL MEMORy BooK
One of the most meaningful gifts you can give your students is this DIY idea that costs next to nothing. I happen to think it's also the best gift!
First, you need to take a class picture of your students all together. I like to take two - one regular posed photo and then a silly one where they can make faces and look goofy. Send the file to your local photo shop (Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, wherever) and have enough copies printed for your entire class. There are ALWAYS coupons for photo prints so just look online. This shouldn't cost more than a few dollars.
Then, go to wordart.com and create a word cloud for each student. You can pick your own colors and fonts to really personalize them. (Maybe even use your school colors!) Save each word cloud to your computer and print them out so each one will fit on a half sheet of paper. Here's one I made for my daughter:
Now let's put these little gifts together:
Get a pack of colorful card stock. (You probably already have some.)
Fold two sheets in half to make a little booklet. It works best to have the fold at the top.
Glue the student's name cloud on the front.
Glue the class photos inside.
Write a personal note to the student about how much you will miss them next year.
Leave a blank page or two.
Hole punch the folded edge and tie with ribbon to make it pretty. (You can even use the students favorite color!)
Now you have a personalized memory book for each student! When you hand them out, give students some time to pass them around for their friends to sign and write their own special message as well. I promise your students will love it! It is truly one of my favorite things to do at the end of the school year. If you rather use pre-made memory books, check these out: End of Year Memory Book and Memory Book for Primary Grades
I hope one of these ideas is just what you were looking for. If you have some other low-cost or DIY end of year student gift ideas, please share them in the comments section below!
Grab these free gift tags from the Free Resource Library: