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20 Gifts your kid's teacher actually wants

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Best gifts for teachers

Show your appreciation to your kid's teacher with these 20 gifts that she actually wants. Regardless of your budget, we have rounded up thoughtful gifts that are not only cute, but practical as well.

Looking for a practical and thoughtful gift for your child's teacher? Put away that polished apple and let us help with these 20 gift ideas for teachers. Before we get started on what teachers want, try to avoid the list of things most of them do not want, including candles, home baked goods, coffee mugs and small trinkets.

Now, what do they really want?

1. Gift card bouquet

Gift card bouquet | Sheknows.com

It is hard to go wrong with getting your child's teacher a gift card; however, I love this idea of a gift card bouquet from The Cul-De-Sac blog. This would be perfect if you are doing a gift from the entire class or if several of you are going in on this together. Pick up gift cards from your teacher's favorite stores and restaurants and glue them onto a paper flower attached to a stick. Insert the sticks into floral foam that is placed in a colorful pail. Paint the words, "Thank you for helping us grow," for a great finishing touch.

If the gift card bouquet would be too expensive, you can never go wrong with a gift card to her favorite restaurant, Target, grocery store or Amazon. For middle school kids who have multiple teachers, buying $5 Starbucks gift cards with a thank-you note attached would also be appreciated.

2. Personalized notepad

Personalized notepad | Sheknows.com

Teachers are always sending notes home for parents… often saying what a model student your child is (wink, wink). She will undoubtedly appreciate having this cute personalized notepad to deliver her notes in style. Pick up this Apple A Day Notepad for around $15 at Shutterfly.

3. Movie gift cards

Movie gift cards | Sheknows.com

Both male and female teachers will appreciate a gift certificate to the local movie theater. You can slip the movie gift cards into a thank-you note — or you can get creative with this idea from Skip to My Lou and put the movie gift cards into this cute striped fry box (she includes a free printable template) as well as a tag that says, "Thanks for making me feel like a Star." Then fill the box with some of his or her favorite goodies to take to the movies.

4. Teacher’s Favorite Moments photo book

Teacher’s Favorite Moments photo book | Sheknows.com

Help your amazing teacher remember all off those special field trips, performances and other special moments by creating a photo book. You can either print out the photos and put them into a photo album, or upload your photos online. Shutterfly allows you to upload photos and add text, as well as incorporate cool backgrounds and layouts. They have five sizes of photo books starting at $13.

5. Grading stamps

Grading stamps | Sheknows.com

Make grading papers a little easier by gifting your teacher with grading stamps. You can pick up generic stamps that say things like, "Good job!" or "A+" or "Needs improvement," or you can personalize them with her name, such as this personalized self-inking stamper (PersonalizationMall.com, $25).

6. Eco-friendly teacher gift

Eco-friendly teacher gift | Sheknows.com

Does your teacher also have a green thumb? She will love this gift idea from SillyPearl.com, in which she gifted her kids' teachers with tomato seedlings from her own garden. Print tags that say, "Thank You for helping me Grow!" Silly Pearl includes a free printable on her website. She simply placed the seedlings in Jiffy Pots and wrapped the pots with fabric. You can get all the details on her website.

7. Walking Robot Pencil Sharpener

Walking Robot Pencil Sharpener | Sheknows.com

An automatic pencil sharpener will get lots of use in the classroom, so why not give your teacher one with a little personality? Kids will love gifting this Walking Robot Pencil Sharpener to their favorite teacher.

8. Monogrammed stationary

Monogrammed stationary | Sheknows.com

Monogrammed stationary is not only a thoughtful gift, it is practical as well. You can choose to just have their initials for a clean and simple look, or have their entire name monogrammed. You can pick up a set of 50 classic monogrammed bordered note cards for just $35 at PaperStyle.com.

9. School supply basket

Gift basket | Sheknows.com

Every teacher will appreciate school supplies, since many times they have to purchase these items out of their own paycheck. Some items that are frequently requested include glue sticks, markers, crayons, notepads, antiseptic wipes, tissues, paper clips, erasers and pencils. Fill these items in a colorful bin or basket (that can also be used in the classroom) so she will be ready for the next year of school.

Find out how to make a school supply bouquet here >>

10. Personalized tote bag

Personalized tote bag | Sheknows.com

From the stacks of papers to grade to planners and more, teachers have a lot of things to tote. Help your favorite teacher tote her stuff in style by gifting her with a personalized tote bag. One great option is the personalized tote bag from Land’s End (starting around $25) where you can choose from various sizes, colors and designs.

11. Charity donation

Charity donation | Sheknows.com

If your teacher has a cause that is near and dear to her heart, perhaps you can consider making a donation to the charity in her honor. Your favorite science teacher may appreciate your child adopting a sea creature in her name, or perhaps the art teacher has a favorite charity that supports arts in the school. Find out what is important to your teacher. Give her the donation slip, letting her know a donation has been made in her name, along with a thank-you note.

12. Class thank-you notes

Thank you note | Sheknows.com

This gift is sure to bring tears to every teacher’s eyes! Slip in during lunch or pick a day when there is a substitute teacher and pass out note cards to the entire class. Have them write a thank-you note that includes their favorite memory of the year or what they love about the teacher. Place the note cards in a photo album, along with a class picture, for a gift she is sure to treasure.

13. Autograph frame

Autograph frame | Sheknows.com

Frame the class picture in an autograph frame and have the entire class sign the photo for a thoughtful and memorable keepsake. Stores like Target, Wal-Mart ($23) and Michaels all have autograph frames for a reasonable price.

14. Teacher-approved water bottle

Teacher approved Water bottle | Sheknows.com

Your teacher already has a million coffee mugs, so gift her with something she can use throughout the day such as a water bottle. She will love the colorful sleeve of this Lifefactory glass water bottle (BackCountry.com, $15) which is BPA-free — and the plastic taste that often goes along with having a plastic water bottle.

15. Personalized clipboards

Personalized clipboards | Sheknows.com

Teachers use clipboards a lot. Add a little pizazz to her boring run-of-the-mill clipboard by giving her one that has her name on it. We love this "Teachers Change the World" personalized clipboard from Script and Scribble ($36).

Find out how to make your own personalized clipboard here >>

16. Flower pot

Flower pot | Sheknows.com

Brighten up her classroom with these adorable flower pots, which you can have personalized with her name or add a sweet quote, such as "Where children bloom" or "A place to grow." Add her favorite flowers or plants for the gift that keeps on giving (PersonalizationMall.com, $28).

17. Personalized key ring

Personalized Key ring | Sheknows.com

Your teacher will surely get lots of use out of this practical and sweet gift. This personalized key ring includes a charm with the teacher's name, as well as a stamped apple with the grade that he or she teaches. You can pick up a personalized key ring for $18 at Lilly Ellen Designs.

18. Books for the classroom

Books for the classroom | Sheknows.com

Is your teacher trying to build up his or her homeroom classroom? Ask the teacher for an idea of what kind of books are needed and have each person in the class buy one book. Place them all in a gift basket for a thoughtful gift that can be used for years to come.

19. Personalized bookmark

Personalized bookmark | Sheknows.com

Help your teacher keep track of his or her lesson plan with this cute and practical Personalized Red Tassel Apple Bookmark (PersonalizationMall.com, $16). This would be a great idea for your child's tutor or classroom helper as well!

20. Teacher appreciation box of chocolates

Teacher appreciation box of chocolates | Sheknows.com

This is the perfect teacher gift for your older child that has multiple teachers. This Teacher Appreciation Box is full of delicious See’s Candies chocolates and features a package that shows your appreciation. For only $6, this is a sweet and budget-friendly way to give thanks for their hard work.

More teacher gift ideas

DIY chalkboard pot
Cute teacher gift craft for the holidays
Handmade teacher gifts

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