Back to School Gifts
2 August 2009
Author: Kara Ward
Move to the head of the class with these one-of-a-kind handmade back to school gifts that will brighten any teacher or student’s day! Create special mementos to applaud personal triumphs or unique ways to just say “thank you” for all you do! Gather your favorite stamps, some ink, and bring your creativity. Let’s get started - the school bell has rung!
Canvas totes come in all colors, sizes, and prices. Many are found in the dollar section of discount stores. A teacher is always carrying papers to grade, books to read, and lesson plans to write. A tote bag is a must have. Create a special gift by stamping the teacher’s name or a favorite quote on the front of the bag using permanent ink. Cut the trunk of an apple tree from brown fabric and iron it to the bag. Stamp apples or circle shapes to create an apple tree. Use a fabric pen and ask each student in the class to write their name on the back of the bag to personalize the gift even more. If you are orchestrating a gift from the entire class, ask each student to donate a favorite book to help build the classroom library, or donate money for a gift card for a teacher store or local book store. Create a matching lunch bag from a smaller size tote. Personalize the lunch sack with the teacher’s initials stamped in the center of the bag surrounded by some decorative flourishes. Add a gift card for a favorite lunch spot, or fill the lunch bag with a “first day of school” store-bought lunch. Make sure to make a coordinate gift card holder or hand-stamped card to go along with the tote bags.
When school begins, there are lists and lists of items needed
for supplies. Create a gift basket for a teacher filled with his/her
own supplies to start the year off right. Design labels with
encouraging sayings or quotes stamped on each item. Include things
like: a box of wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, stain stick and candy.
Create a personal wrapper for a chocolate bar with a stamp that says,
“All you need in life is a friend who has chocolate” or “If you feel
like giving up, eat chocolate!”
A Canvas Apron is a great gift for a teacher of young children. An apron with pockets is a must for a teacher. Stamp quotes, the teacher’s name, or fun school icons like apples, a pencil, or a schoolhouse on the pockets of the apron. Trim the apron with ribbon to add even more texture and color to the gift. Fill the pockets with candy, note pads, and new pencils. Cover the supplies with paper and stamp notes or words of encouragement on the items selected for the pockets. Never underestimate the value of a sincere expression. Items embellished with heartfelt sentiments are the perfect present.
Clipboards are a valuable, mobile organizing tool for the classroom. They hold class lists, dismissal procedures, lesson plans and daily notes from home. Create a clipboard as a “back to school” gift. Cover the clipboard with school patterned paper or create a background using cardstock and alphabet stamps. Randomly stamp alphabet letters in a shade a little darker than the cardstock. Clear stamps work best for creating this unique background. The letters can be placed in alphabetical order or in random order and direction depending on the look you are creating. Once the background paper is secured to the clipboard, cut a small piece of corkboard and place it for removable notes. Stamp the teacher’s name using small alphabet letters on the corkboard or stamp a border around the corkboard. Cover the top and the bottom of clothes pins with paper and stamp words like important, upcoming events or class list. These clothes pins will divide the clipboard papers to help the teacher keep organized. Clipboards are a very practical and very useful gift to give. Create a matching pencil holder using a can covered with alphabet stamped paper and embellished with ribbon. A covered composition book may be a perfect addition to finish this office set. Make sure to personalize everything with the teacher’s initials.
Using a cardboard cutout of a door hanger,
create a classroom sign that tells visitors where the class has gone.
Create stamped image signs to hang on the door that say: We are in
Music, PE, Art, Lunch, or We are at an Assembly. With so many classroom
visitors, from Occupational Therapists to Speech Pathologists, each
classroom teacher values a sign and usually lacks the time to create
their own. Stamping icons for each place in the school helps even the
youngest reader to realize where to find their class. Leave a spot on
the door hanger to spray paint with chalkboard paint. This allows the
teacher to write in chalk where they may be - for example, in Miss H’s
room watching a play.
Random Acts of Kindness
A gift selected for a teacher doesn’t have to be at the beginning or the end of the school year. Random acts of kindness for your child’s teachers helps them shine throughout the entire school year. Make a paper stamped pocket to hang on a water bottle. Add in the pocket: a flavored drink mix packet, a card of thanks, and a pack of gum. Send it on days like Field Day, Field Trips or the first day back from a break! Decorate the pocket with a stamped background and an apple.
Bakery goods are always a nice way to brighten a day! Create unique packaging for a special treat by hand-stamping your gift sack or creating a one-of-a-kind gift bag topper. Stamp fun words like: “You are so SWEET!” or “Yummy Treats” on your gift bag or gift box. Make a fun toothpick topper for a dessert by stamping “Thanks” on a heart shape. Secure the heart to a toothpick and place it in the dessert. Don’t forget a matching stamped napkin to personalize the treat even more.
Teachers are always in need of greeting cards. Many love to give students cards for their birthdays, congratulation cards for completing a hard task or cards of encouragement. Teachers also need “Thank You” cards to thank guest speakers, parents that help with projects or even a staff member who has shared materials. Creating a stamped greeting card set is a precious gift to every teacher. Create a variety of stamped greetings and tie them together with a beautiful ribbon or create a cardstock folder in which to store them. A set of personalized note cards with just the teacher’s initials on it would also be a very useful gift.
We often give teachers special gifts, but it is equally important to encourage and affirm how special your student is no matter their age. From preschool to college, students need to know how much they are loved and appreciated and how proud we are of them. Here are a few ideas for recognizing your child’s achievements.
Care packages are something many parents send to colleges all over the world. A homemade gift basket creates excitement and warmth for the recipient. The student appreciates how much time and effort went into selecting the items, packaging them up, and presenting them in a beautiful display. Whether the gift basket is heading to college or is for a sixth grader getting a locker for the first time, choose a basket that is useful. It may be a basket to hang inside of the locker with a magnet on it, or it may be a container like a backpack or a desk organizer. Something with function and fun! Fill the container with favorite foods, magazines, and a stamped frame with family photos or baby photos. If the frame is hanging in a locker, make sure it has a magnet on the back of it. Stamp messages of pride and encouragement. Make sure to wrap each item with special packaging. Include items like an eraser and stamp a message that says “to make all your mistakes disappear”– a rubber band “to make you stretch beyond your limits”– a crayon in your favorite color that says “to brighten your day” – a candle because “you light up the future” – Hugs and Kisses candy for those times “you need to be reminded you’re special and someone cares.”
Lunch Box Notes
Tying notes to your child’s lunch box is another way to remind them how important they are. Stamp a daily note attached to the lunch box with a decorated luggage tag holder. This note could be stamped in code for example….U R 1 2 Bee (using a bumble bee stamp) LIEVE N. (You are one to believe in!) Leave the back side of the note for the student to write back. Save all the notes from the year and attach them to an office ring. Give the ring to the student at the end of the year, reminding them how special they are.
A Journal Jar works well for a teacher or a student. Create a jar with positive statements in it. Decorate the jar with stamps that personalize it for the recipient. When you are having a bad day, pull out a statement to make your day! It is also a good starter for journal writing.
Whether you are stamping for a teacher’s gift or a special student in you life, creating personal, handmade back to school gifts are the greatest gift you can give of yourself!