Back to school is such an exciting time! It can also be a time filled with other emotions for little ones like nervousness, worry, and fear. Giving a thoughtful gift to your students is a simple way to help calm unsteady nerves and a first step in creating a caring classroom community. Read on to learn more about why you might consider giving gifts, and for 6 back to school student gift ideas your class family will love!
Why Give Back to School Gifts to Students?
While giving gifts is absolutely not necessary at any point in the school year, if you are someone who naturally enjoys gift-giving, it’s just one simple way of many to show your students that you care.
Kids learn best in an environment where they feel safe, loved, and accepted. Receiving a gift just lets them know their teacher was thinking of them, and can help them already start to feel that right from the start.
And gifts don’t only benefit the recipient, of course! The warm, fuzzy feelings you get from gift-giving can be a bit of a positive mood boost during busy back to school season.
If giving gifts isn’t your preference though or maybe just not possible at this season in your life*, always remember that being a loving, hardworking teacher is more than gift enough to your students!
[*If finances happen to be one of things holding you back from gift-giving this school year, make sure to check out the Our Class is a Family bookmarks (#6 on the list I’ll be sharing). You can get them for free via email!]
Sets a Positive Tone for the Year
Greeting students with a little gift at a Meet the Teacher event or on the first day of school is a great way to help set a positive tone for the new school year.
When starting the year, we often think about setting the stage in regard to effective classroom management. But a positive class culture is just as an important piece of the puzzle.
In fact, strong classroom management is directly correlated with the relationships that students have with their teacher and peers.
And the simple act of gift-giving can be one of the building blocks to help set the foundation for building a classroom community.
Back to School Student Gift Ideas
In need of some simple, meaningful, and affordable options? Here are 6 gift ideas!
- Welcome postcard
- Trinket with a catchy tag
1. Welcome Postcard
Send your students a back to school welcome postcard in the mail. They’ll be so surprised to get something from their teacher before it’s even the first day of school!
Getting mail that is specifically addressed to them is a rare and special occasion in this digital, fast-paced age. The thoughtful gesture of handwritten mail is not lost on parents either. It’s a great way to make a first impression to your students’ families as their new teacher and to welcome them to your class community.
Find several different designs in my shop or on TPT. They’re all available for grades Pre-K through 6th grade and are editable for you to customize with your name, a ready-to-go typed message, or space for a handwritten note.
2. Trinket with a Catchy Tag
Trinkets are a sweet way to welcome students back to school as you get ready to start building positive relationships!
These are often made extra fun when paired with a tag that has a play on words.
Just a few examples:
- An individual bag of Starburst with a tag that says: “I’m BURSTING with excitement to have you in my class”
- Plastic sunglasses with a tag that says: “This year is looking BRIGHT!”
- A pencil with a tag that says: “Let’s start off this year WRITE”
Give your students little keychains on the first day of school. Many kids like to put them on the zippers of their backpacks. These matching class keychains are a great way to introduce (& reinforce) that your class is a community–a family!
I have ready-made templates for all kinds of keychain designs. They go with these plastic keychains from Amazon (*as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases). Or any similar button keychain with a 2.75″ diameter will work. Then just grab the printable to insert the design you like!
Or if printing in color, all you need is white copy paper:
Give the gift of reading
A book with a meaningful message says it all! Here are a couple of go-to books that help build a connection with students right from the start.
A Letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School
A Letter from Your Teacher is a read-aloud to help you warmly welcome your new group of students on the first day of school. Through a letter written from the teacher’s point of view, your students will understand that you are someone they will get to form a special bond with as you cheer them on and provide a caring, safe environment for them to learn and grow.
This picture book is a great starting point for get-to-know-you activities and class community building too.
You can even sign your name in the blank space on the last page so your students know that the letter in the book is coming straight from you!
Our Class is a Family
Our Class is a Family is a book to help build and strengthen a positive class culture.
Throughout the pages, kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. Gifting them with their very own copy will allow them to revisit those messages throughout the whole school year!
That being said, I know that purchasing books may not be as cost effective as some of the other back to school student gift ideas I’ve shared. Many teachers have made book-buying more feasible using platforms such as Donors Choose, and in applicable cases, school funds.
I also provide the best savings possible for teachers and educators who order direct. You can receive special pricing when ordering through the Life Between Summers shop, and an additional bulk discount when purchasing a class set of books!
Love the book, but thinking you might want to give your students something other than their own copy? If you plan to read Our Class is a Family to your students during back to school time, these bracelets go right along with it! Build class unity and classroom community by giving your students matching Our Class is a Family bracelets.
These ready-made bracelets are 100% NO PREP. No need to worry about having to spend any precious summer break time to put student gifts together. Order them here, and you’ll receive them pre-packaged and ready to hand out to your students. Grab a teacher bracelet for yourself too to match your kids!
Grades Pre-K, TK, and K-5 are available.
Our Class is a Family Bookmark
Bookmarks are such a fun treat that simultaneously encourage a love of reading. Gift students with their own special bookmark!
You could even have each classmate sign the back for the members of your class family:
This FREE template makes it super easy to print your own bookmarks! If you wanted, you could also have students “make it their own” by hole punching the top and adding yarn, ribbon, etc. to create a tassel.
Excited to try out one of these back to school student gift ideas this year? If you happen to take any photos and share on social media, I’d love if you tagged me @lifebetweensummers! The photo of the signed bookmark above is actually one that a teacher was kind enough to share with me on Instagram. I always enjoy seeing the wonderful ways that teachers are welcoming their new classes each year- with gift-giving being one of those ways to build classroom community from the start.
While giving back to school student gifts may seem like a small gesture, the return can be worth it in a big way!
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