Teacher Appreciation Week feels especially important this year. Educators around the world are learning new systems, changing up lesson plans on the fly, connecting with kids over technology, and taking care of their own families at the same time. Since you can’t exactly send your kid to school with an apple to show your gratitude, we’ve collected ideas for teacher gifts and other cool ways to shout out your thanks safely from a distance. From a prop-filled photoshoot to an appreciation drive by and e-gifts delivered right to their inbox, get ready to thank your favorite teacher today.

Photo Shoot

A picture is worth a thousand words of thanks—especially when your kids hold photo props featuring customized messages of appreciation. Head over to Hello Wonderful for the free word bubble printables, made even more adorable with the Elephant and Piggie props, and then customize them for your favorite teachers. Set up a photo shoot inside, and send those pics to your kids' teachers. Bonus: you can erase the boards and have your kids write messages for their core teacher, art teacher and PE teachers, too!

Delicious Dinner

A gift card to a local restaurant shows your teacher you care and supports small businesses, too. Ask your teacher what she's craving these days, and email a gift card for sushi, burgers or samosas her way. It'll give your child's teacher a night off from cooking and show your appreciation.

Lots of Love

Send your teacher a little love by filling out this free teacher thank-you printable. Simply print it out, and help your child answer each prompt, then scan and email it directly to your kiddo's favorite educator. If you're up for it, you can also share this template with the other parents in the class, so that your child's teacher receives a book full of love. Visit Paper Heart Family to get your free printable.

Movie Night

Your favorite teacher can't go out to the movies—but she can take a relaxing night off and catch a movie at home. Send her a Netflix gift card, which she can use to add more months to an existing account or to subscribe. If you'd like to add a few snacks to go along with her favorite movie, send popcorn to her doorstep.

Groceries Delivered

Keep your teacher's pantry full with an electronic gift card for groceries. Whole Foods will email or text a gift card to your favorite teacher as soon as you order it. Groceries are a tangible gift she'll appreciate, and your show of gratitude will keep your teacher fed, and ready to tackle whatever challenges online teaching throws at her.

Paper Flowers

Flowers are a reliable way to brighten a teacher's day—and these paper flowers, made with pages from Winnie-the-Pooh, are especially fun. They're perfect for honoring reading specialists, librarians and book-loving teachers everywhere. Plus, they last a lot longer than the real version. Order a set from My Cotton Branch ($15 for six roses) to be delivered to your teacher's doorstep.


Artistic Appreciation

For kids who aren't old enough to put their gratitude in words, a custom picture is priceless. Break out the crayons and encourage your child to draw a portrait of his teacher. Then, send the picture to your favorite teacher in the mail or over email. If you want to add a little extra, toss in a gift card to your teacher's favorite art supply store, like Michaels—they make it easy to send gift cards by email.

Drive-By Gratitude

Set up a drive-by parade of gratitude so you can shout out your thanks from a safe distance. Decorate your car—think messages of thanks, homemade posters and balloons. Invite all the families in your child's class to join you in celebrating your teacher. Be sure to let your kiddo's teacher know you're coming (and find out if the time works for her), so she can wave from the porch and see her students' heartfelt appreciation.

Write On

Old-fashioned letters are a great way for kids and teachers to stay connected right now. Why not re-stock your teacher's stationery supply with custom cards? Order a set like this one ($13.13), and have it delivered to your teacher's door.

photo: Gabby Cullen

Social Media Shout Out

Chalk art is all the rage. It keeps kids busy, beautifies the pavement, and it's a great way to express gratitude. Invite your kiddo to scrawl out his thanks underneath his chalk masterpiece, snap a photo, and post it on your favorite social media platform to let the world see how much you appreciate your teacher. Be sure to tag your teacher!

Signs of Appreciation

Put up a yard sign spelling out your appreciation on your favorite teacher's lawn or even in front of the school—just be sure to snap a photo, and send it, so your teacher shows your thinking of him. Seeing these tangible shows of gratitude will brighten your teacher's day.

Basket of Goodies

Most teachers have all the cute mugs that they need—but they can always use more snacks, coffee or wine. You can put together your own teacher appreciation basket customized to your teacher's favorites and deliver it from a safe distance, or order one from Harry and David.

Precious Rocks

Leave a rock decorated with words of appreciation and a colorful picture on your teacher's walkway or front porch. We love that this DIY teacher appreciation gift is affordable and kid-friendly. Smooth rocks are a great backdrop for ladybugs, rainbows or flowers—and thanks too!

Make a Video

Invite all of the kids in your child's class to be part of an epic thank-you video. Parents can take clips of their kiddo expressing their thanks, and when edited all together, the clips will add up to a heartfelt video telling your teacher why she's the best. Be sure to tell her to get out the tissues before she hits play!

Read All About It

Teachers always need more books for their classrooms—and their bedside tables. As a show of appreciation for your favorite teacher's hard work, send her a gift card to your local bookstore or Barnes and Noble. Or, ask your teacher for a list of books he needs and order a copy from Bookshop, which lets you shop online and supports indie bookstores, too!

photo: Oz Spies

Thoughtful Thank-You

A heartfelt thank-you note is what many teachers want most. Your child can write a thank-you card herself, or you can put your thoughts down on the page and let your child's amazing teacher know what a difference she's made. You can even share a copy of this note with your teacher's principal, who might not know about all of the great things you see. Write one knowing your gratitude is especially meaningful now when teachers are doing it all without the benefit of in-person hugs and high-fives from their students. 

—Oz Spies



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