The Best Teacher Gifts That Show Just How Much You Appreciate Their Hard Work

Teachers tell us about some of the best gifts they’ve received from kids and their parents.

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Best Teacher Gifts

Parents / David Hattan

Every teacher will probably tell you the same thing: The best teacher gifts are the things that cost absolutely nothing. That’s a relief to hear, but when it’s time for Teacher Appreciation Week, the end of the school year, or the holidays, we sometimes want to give our kids’ teachers something we can buy too.

“My favorite gift to receive as a teacher is something from the heart,” says Elizabeth Fraley, M.Ed., CEO of Kinder Ready Inc. and Elementary Wise. For instance, a thoughtful thank you note, a picture of a cherished memory together, or a heartfelt picture from a student are heartfelt gift ideas. If you decide to buy your child’s teacher a present, however, Fraley encourages parents not to spend money on anything “outlandish” but to focus on gifts that can be practical in the classroom, personalized, or reflective of the teacher as an individual. “Teachers are very resourceful and appreciate all acts of kindness and gift-giving,” she notes. 

And while a thank-you note may be all your child’s teacher wants, if you would like to show your appreciation for the people who spend so much time and energy educating and caring for your children, we have some suggestions for some of the best teacher gifts that you can buy (for prices ranging from $6 to $100). We based these selections on interviews with teachers, real-life experiences as parents, and practical gifts for the classroom. 

P.S. Just don’t forget to include that thank-you note with your gift too.

Our Favorite Teacher Gifts

Best Overall: 40-Ounce Stanley Quencher H2.0

Stanley 40-Ounce Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler


We all know Stanleys are the VIP of water bottles right now, but here’s the deal: if you’re buying a Stanley for a teacher (and you should because they need their hydration), you’re going to want to choose the H2.0 version, because it has a built-in spill-proof top around the straw. Previous versions may be a few dollars cheaper, but the spill factor makes those far less ideal for teachers who will most likely keep their water bottles out on a desk. 

Price at time of publication: $45

Best Gift Card: Visa $50 Gift Card

Visa $50 Gift Card


Sorry, but you can’t go wrong with cold, hard cash. Or a nice, plastic gift card encased in a lovely handwritten card that you can buy on Amazon—that totally works too.

Price at time of publication: $50

Best for New Teachers: Dry Erase Marker Holder

loukin Magnetic and Adhesive Marker Holder


As the spouse of a teacher, I was not prepared for the number of dry-erase markers that would enter our household from the classroom each and every single day. I have ruined countless loads of laundry as a result of dry-erase markers gone rogue in my dryer. 

So allow me to do the new teacher (and potentially any other household members) a favor with this practical dry erase marker holder that can affix directly to the whiteboard. 

Price at time of publication: $12

Best Practical Gift: Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Lotion

Mrs. Meyer's Hand Lotion


Sure, everyone gives teachers hand sanitizer, but all of that sanitizing has one uncomfortable effect: dry hands. Hand lotion may be the practical gift the teacher in your child’s life appreciates, and if they want, they can keep this gift out and access it any time they need, thanks to the included hand pump. 

Price at time of publication: $5

Best for Daycare: Teacher Tote Bag

THEBUSSA Teacher Tote Bag


This teacher-themed tote bag is useful for a daycare professional because it comes with a zippered top closure to keep all of their crafts and snacks secure and it has a polyester lining to help with inevitable messes from “helping” little hands. 

Price at time of publication: $22

Best for Preschool: Beka’s Deluxe Child Easel

Beka Deluxe Child's Easel


It might be helpful to check with your child’s teacher if they could use new art supplies before purchasing an easel, but many preschools use easels almost daily and they do go through some wear and tear. “Receiving educational tools and toys has been extremely helpful,” notes Fraley, whose company provides kindergarten assessments and private school preparation. “As an educator, you can never have enough equipment and supplies.”

This version works well for preschool rooms because it has a built-in paper holder on top, so it’s always set up for the next masterpiece. There’s also a wooden tray at the bottom to hold paint and brushes. 

Price at time of publication: $90

Best for Kindergarten: LEGO Classic Medium Brick Box

LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box
Image courtesy

Same thought here: It’s a good idea to check with your child’s teacher before adding anything new to their classroom, but a classic set of LEGO bricks can go a long way for everything from building math to motor skills. Plus, this set comes with its own storage box, which is always a plus for any teacher. 

Price at time of publication: $28

Best for Elementary School: MeCids 360-Degree Rotating Desk Organizer

MeCids 360-Degree Rotating Desk Organizer


I am not a teacher, but I’m pretty sure I need this. Just look at all that beautiful organization! Nine multi-colored bins on a 360-degree rotating tray can hold crayons, glue, child-safe scissors, pencils, and more. Plus, each bin is removable, so it can be distributed to individual children or tables as needed. 

Price at time of publication: $28

Best for Middle School: Scotch Brand Pro Thermal Laminator

Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator


My middle school teacher used to send me on laminating runs, and they were the highlight of my young life. Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t every young child secretly dream of owning a laminator? Just think of the possibilities! And as the mother of a middle schooler at the moment, I can attest that organizing and labeling everything you can is a must to help guide these youngsters through life, so your child’s teacher will appreciate this gift. 

Price at time of publication: $53

Best for High School: Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker


Surly attitudes, teenage hormones, and early start times? This gift is a no-brainer to help a high school teacher manage it all. Plus, it comes in a variety of unique colors, like yellow and forest green, to add a pop of color to the classroom.  

Price at time of publication: $70

Best for Retiring Teachers: Audible Membership

Audible app icon
Courtesy of Audible, Inc

Replace the sweet sound of children in the classroom with the blissful sounds of an audiobook recording in the comfort of their own home with a renewable Audible membership. Choose from one-, three-, six-, and 12-month subscriptions when giving a gift membership. 

Price at time of publication: $15/month

Best for Dance Teachers: JBL Flip 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Flip 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker


If your child takes dance lessons, their teacher may appreciate this portable Bluetooth speaker to blast out jams in class—or just to take home to use on their own. Boasting 13 hours of playtime, it comes in a variety of patterns and colors and is waterproof and dustproof. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Best for Music Teachers: OneOdio Wired Over Ear Headphones

OneOdio Wired Over Ear Headphones


I’m sure your kids’ music teacher won’t use these over-the-ear headphones to drown out the sounds of kids in their classroom, but if they needed to, these could help deliver a soothing sound experience instead. They work with any device that has a 3.5 mm or 6.35 mm audio jack.

Price at time of publication: $32

Best Unique: Crave Box Gourmet Specialty Snack Box

Crave Box Gourmet Specialty Snack Box


Bring on the snacks! Whether your child’s teacher keeps these in the room for emergency snack cravings or takes them home to enjoy without the risk of being asked to share, they’ll enjoy snack selections that include fig bars, chips, pretzels, and cookies. Plus, you can choose to have the snack box gift-wrapped at checkout to make this gift even easier to give. 

Price at time of publication: $31

Best Memorable: I Wrote a Book About You Book by M.H. Clark

I Wrote a Book About You Book


How cute would it be to have your child add to this fill-in book to give to a special teacher? All you have to do is follow the prompts, add in your memories and thoughts, and if you have extra mementos, like pictures, there are included envelopes to add those in too. 

Price at time of publication: $13

Best Personalized: Top Design Personalized Initial Canvas Tote Bag

TOPDesign Personalized Initial Canvas Tote Bag


Just about every teacher needs a tote, and this option allows you to personalize it with an initial, a pretty pattern, or an entire word or phrase. There are a total of 55 different designs, and for the last-minute shoppers among us, it’s also available for Amazon Prime one-day shipping. 

This gift also comes teacher-approved, thanks to its personalized touch: “Although all gifts received are appreciated, usually teachers prefer more personalized gifts versus a generic tote bag,” explains Fraley. She was given a personalized tote bag herself and it’s been a huge hit. 

“I love to bring it to teach with me on a daily basis,” she says. “The bag is a great reminder of the student that gifted it to me, and that particular student always brings a smile to my face when I carry this bag.”

Price at time of publication: $20

Best Desk Accessory: Acrylic Dry Erase Board

HuLato Acrylic Dry Erase Board


Not only is this adorable, but it’s also affordable, for only $6. And I’m certain students will use this to write kind and thoughtful notes to their teachers and never try to draw anything inappropriate. 

Price at time of publication: $6

Best Under $25: Norwich Portable Mini Voice Amplifier

Norwich Portable Mini Voice Amplifier


Teachers who work in a large classroom, have hearing-impaired students, or are just quiet may appreciate this wearable voice amplifier. If they don’t want to use it to project their own voice, it can also be used to play music from a computer, audio player, or phone. 

Price at time of publication: $21

Best Under $50: Raemao Massage Gun

Raemao Massage Gun


This highly rated massage gun from Amazon comes in under $50 when it’s on sale. It does everything from blast away pain to improve circulation in aching muscles. And I honestly can't think of anyone who deserves some relief more than teachers who spend all day standing in front of kids helping them to learn.

Price at time of publication: $50

Best Under $100: Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet


The Amazon Fire is small but mighty. It can handle pretty much any task you throw its way, from e-reading to gaming to education. And while the teacher in your life could certainly put a new tablet to use in the classroom, it’s also a great gift that they could enjoy in their downtime too. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Teacher’s Gift

Choosing a gift for your child’s teacher is something deeply personal, and you can never go wrong with a heartfelt gesture, but if you want some guidance in buying a gift, there are a few factors you can consider. For instance, you may want to be careful when sending any food gifts or scented products, because of potential allergies in the classroom. Along with your child’s teacher's personal preferences and interests, here are some other things to keep in mind. 

Your Child’s Age and Grade 

The types of gifts you buy a teacher can vary widely based on your child’s age and grade. For instance, an elementary teacher may be downright inundated with coffee mugs and candles, so you could consider picking up something a little different, like surprising them with a Stanley Tumbler or an Amazon Fire tablet as a group gift. 

Gift-giving tends to drop off in the high school grades, so we can almost guarantee that any gesture towards a high school teacher will be appreciated—and yes, gift cards totally count. 

Price Range and Your Budget 

You may want to give your child’s teacher the moon, but your own budget is certainly at the forefront when choosing a gift, especially if you have more than one child who each has multiple teachers. 

But not to worry: Melissa Harrington, an infant room teacher at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon in Maryland says she’s most comfortable receiving gifts in the $5-$10 gift range, like an acrylic dry-erase board, dry-erase marker holder, or a simple gift card

And even more budget-friendly? A thank-you note. “As a teacher, the best gift to receive is a card from the parents,” Harrington explains. “It’s nice to know that I have an impact on their child's life and that the parents are happy with the care I provide.” 


All of the teachers we spoke to said they appreciated any gift that made an effort to demonstrate a personal touch. For instance, Jennifer Holt, M. Ed., an ELA interventionist for second and third-grade students and founder of Happy Teacher Mama, explains that while classroom gifts are always helpful, personalization can be extra meaningful. A personalized tote bag or a massage gun for a teacher training for a race can show you put a little extra thought into your gift. 

“Even though I love getting items for my classroom, the idea that someone gets me something that I want as an individual is even more special,” Holt says. 


Medeia Sharif, a writer and sixth- to eighth-grade language arts teacher of 20 years from Miami, says parents shouldn’t shy away from focusing on purely practical gifts like a laminator, easel, or desk organizer

Sharif says her very favorite useful gift has been basic copy paper, “because I always need that!” Plus, she points out that you just can’t go wrong with school supplies because teachers can always use them and they’re usually affordable. 

Who We Are

Chaunie Brusie is a mom of five aged teen to toddler, so she’s well-versed in the art of teacher gift-giving. And as a bonus, she grew up with a high school math teacher mother and now happens to be married to a teacher. The most memorable teacher gift she has ever experienced was a beautiful caramel apple someone gave her husband that she promptly stole and ate and yes, it was delicious. 

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