End of the Year Student Gifts on a Budget

6 children of diverse ethnicities running from the school building with backpacks on their backs

Wow! Are we really at the end of the year already?

It has been such an unusual year, hasn’t it? With everything that is going on, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to give end of the year student gifts to my class. At first, I wasn’t sure how they would be able to receive the gift. Then, I thought about whether or not I could actually afford to get anything for my kids this year.

There is a lot that goes into the gifts that we get for our students. First, there is the “What am I going to buy them?” inner conversation. Then, there’s the thought of how much we are willing to spend. After all, a student gift often isn’t just a gift. Usually it’s gifts and then, you need to purchase something to put the gift in. Multiply that by ____ many students and you are spending enough to fill up your gas tank. That’s the part that always stops me in my tracks.

So, I sat down and began to think of items that I could purchase- AFFORDABLE items that I could get for my students. I thought that you might like to take a peak at my list, too! : ). So, I created this list of end of the year student gifts to help our teacher budgets.

Here are my teacher budget-friendly ideas! I’m going to begin with gifts that you likely have considered or purchased before, and then share a few that might be different.

Bubbles

image of a 3-pack of bubbles from Target's Dollar Spot wrapped in plastic

These are an oldie, but always a goodie! I absolutely love the fun and glee that you see in little children (big ones, too) when they are blowing or chasing bubbles. PLUS, you can purchase them in sets of three or four to a pack from the Dollar Tree or Target! I have also seen packs of 6 in Dollar Tree. That cuts your costs down drastically. Another student favorite is the larger bubble wands that come in the individual wands.

Frisbees

purple and green frisbees with an open center layered across each other like a Venn diagram on a deep brown hardwood floor.
These are my Dollar Tree finds. I just paired them with cute gift tags from Teachers Pay Teachers. Did I mention that the tags were a FREEBIE?

This is actually the item that I decided to buy for my students. It’s fun, large (LOL), and usually a lot of fun. Frisbees give you so much bang for your buck! They are easy to transport. You can play alone or with friend(s). Tossing a frisbee around is great exercise, helps to build hand-eye coordination, and helps with crossbody movement, too.

Here is the link to the gift tag freebies that I used. {This is not from my store and it’s not an Affiliate Link. I just thought that they were really nice.}

Hula Hoops

Fun, versatile, portable, and large. If you want to give a “big” gift, a hula hoop certainly fits the bill. LOL

Coloring Books

These can be so much fun for students. We think that they are “so yesterday”, but in these days of technology, kids don’t get to sit and color. I remember just sitting or laying down to color and getting lost in the picture. Even better than that! The smell of a fresh box of crayons! That smell just makes me all kinds of happy, happy! If you have it in your budget or extras in your classroom, add a box of crayons for an added touch.

A Special Treat

Give an end of the year student gift that reminds your students of a special activity that you all did together. This might be a specific candy, brownie, muffins, etc… that you all shared during a special class activity or event that will take them back to that special day the moment that they see it! If Gummy Worms were a special treat that you all shared during that movie that you snuck on a tired Friday afternoon, buy those, and add a special note.

Audio Recording of Your Favorite Read-Aloud

This is one of my favorite ideas. I haven’t done it yet but the idea came to me as I was preparing this list. I’m thinking that you record yourself reading one of your class’ favorite read-aloud. Actually, with all of today’s technology, you could make a video of you reading.

Yes, extra, extra special! Then, they could see your beautiful face any time that they wanted to. At the very end of the video/recording, you could leave a special message directly to them. What about leaving a special message for each student, individually. Call them each by name and then share a special message or memory just for them. LOVE. {As is, this gift is completely free of any costs. Save it to your Google Drive and share the link!}

THEN, you can buy a copy of the book for each student. The book could be optional, but if you had the extra funds, this would make the gift even sweeter. Just picture your students reading along with you any time they wanted to, or just to be close to you. You can check to see if it is one of the “Dollar Deals” from Scholastic. That’s usually how I buy books for my entire class.

Playlist of Favorite Class Songs

How fun would this be! It may take a little time to put it together, but just imagine your sweet students being taken back to that special memory of all of you dancing together in the classroom. If you are feeling a little stumped on this one, think of the songs that your students get most excited about on GoNoodle, Kidz Bop, or from any YouTube videos that you might have watched together.

An Animoto or Slideshow

What about a video presentation of pictures from the year. I believe that you can add music to it, too. I created a slideshow of pictures from throughout the year for my class a few years ago. Honestly, it took hours/days to finish it all, but it came together so nicely in the end. I added songs that they would love and have sweet memories of.

This was back when Frozen first came out, so of course, “Let It Go” was one of the songs that I added. It reminded me of us watching the movie together. Everyone was stretched out on the floor in their own space. When that song came on, they sang their little hearts out. It was the most precious moment.

Frosty Coupons from Wendy’s

I’m not certain if they offer these in every area, but I know that Wendy’s sells frosty coupon booklets. One time, I believe that they had Frosty keychains for $1.00. This is a great treat to kick off the summer!

Class Photo in a Frame

This is a lovely memento. Putting it in a frame will make it ready to display. If you have to send it out to be printed it may be a little costlier. However, if you have a good quality printer and photo paper, you can print them yourself. Plus, remember, you can print them in a size like 5 x7 or 4 x 6. This will help to keep your costs lower.

Flip Flops, a Hat, or a Shovel and Bucket

Anything that kicks off the summer is perfect for the end of the year! Of these gifts, the Flip Flops sound like the most fun to me. Think of the great colors and/or prints that you could gift.

Water Bottles

These are fun and extremely practical! Think of all of the time that students may spend being active during the summer. It’s a great way to remind them to stay hydrated, and they will think of their sweet time with you as they take each sip. If you have a Cricut machine, you could personalize them with their names, their favorite sport or activity, or put your class’ name (ex. Mrs. Davis Class 2019-2020).

Class Stationery

This is another one of the best gifts that I gave to my students one year. For this gift, I took a large (11×17 I believe) sheet of white paper and small Post-It-Notes. I cannot recall the size of the sticky notes. Give each student a Post-It. Have them draw a picture of themself (tell them to make it as close to what they actually look like as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfectly drawn, just resemble them- freckles, glasses, AFro-Puffs, all of it! The pictures look best when you make it mostly a facial or shoulders up view. When they are finished, have them write their name at the bottom.

Place the notes around the perimeter of the 11×17 sheet of paper. This is why you need the smaller size sticky notes. Don’t forget to include a picture of you, too. Now, you can draw lines across the page, in the middle. Or, you can leave the center blank. Make a copy (or several copies if you like) for each student and give it to them as a gift. My kids loved this gift!

Personalized Stationary

I love this idea! It doesn’t have to be expensive at all! You can use a site like Canva.com to create a simple design. Depending on the age of your students, you can add lines or not. Choose an amazing font to type their names in and viola, you have a special present for each student. Don’t worry if you are unable to print the stationary out yourself. You can create file for each student or save each set to your computer and email it to them.

Classroom Odds and Ends

Not as bad as it sounds, I promise. Think of all of the special, fancy, decorative pencils that you have in the classroom. What about colorful cap erasers? Do you have any little notebooks or notepads? Extra boxes of crayons? Stickers? These would be great to compile for an affordable end of the year student gift.

School Supplies

School supplies are a student gift that I usually gift on top of the more personalized gift that I give. Some years, the supplies are the gift. It just depends on my budget. My goal is to give students supplies to help get them ready for the next school year. This usually includes a pack of notebook paper, pencils, glue/glue sticks, index cards, scissors, and a bookmark.

To be perfectly honest, I am not gifting any of those items this year. Under the current school climate and state of the world, I am not sure if parents will be able to provide these supplies at the beginning of the year. So, I am keeping what I have this year as my “just in case”. I genuinely hope that this status changes moving forward.

Bonus Tip

Oh, I almost forgot my bonus tip!

Sometimes the gift is affordable, but THEN…. Now, you have to buy a gift bag and tissue paper for the gifts that you get for your students. Well, why not purchase a 50-pack count of WHITE lunch bags?? Yes, you can find a pack of white lunch bags at Dollar Tree for $1.00 for ALL of the bags. They have these lunch bags all over and they are cost effective!

If you are super creative and have the time, you can still decorate the bags with stickers or Washi tape. You can also write your students’ names on each bag in calligraphy or your best “Kindergarten handwriting”. That what I always tell my daughter. She’s usually like, “Mom how do you have such nice handwriting?” Me: “That’s from teaching Kindergarten for 10 years”. Mind you, it has to be on really large sheets of lined chart paper and I have to have the perfectly tipped markers. LOL

Do you have any affordable, student gift ideas to add to this list? If so, share it in the comment section now. We would love to hear them!

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Hi, I'm Tania!

I help creative and time-conscious teachers plan student-centered lessons that interest and motivate student learning so that lesson planning takes less time and is actually enjoyable! 

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