Teacher Appreciation Week is always important, but even more so in 2021. For over a year, educators around the world have been 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—it’s time to celebrate all they do! Whether your kids are in-person or still remote, there’s always a way to say “thank you,” so from a prop-filled photoshoot and great gifts you can get at the grocery store to e-gifts delivered right to their inbox, get ready to thank your favorite teacher today.

photo: DonorsChoose

Support the Classroom with DonorsChoose

Public school teachers often need help funding classroom projects and a gift card from DonorsChoose is the perfect way to help educators in need. When you purchase one, you can send to your children's teachers, educators in your local area or colleagues at work. You can purchase a card in any denomination from donorschoose.org and have it delivered via mail, email or print and hand deliver yourself.

photo: iStock

Grab a Last-Minute Gift from the Grocery Store

We get it, we can't all give our favorite teachers a Pinterest-worthy gift basket. Lucky for us, there are plenty of great gift ideas waiting for you at the grocery store. From gift cards to candles and even a good beach read, see our favorite items here

Organize a 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!

Buy Them Dinner at a Local Restaurant

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.

Have Your Child Say Why They Love Their Teacher

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.

photo: iStock

Send Them the Fixings for 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.

Have 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.

Send a Plant

Instead of flowers, use a company like Bloomscape to pick and have a new green plant sent to your kids' teachers. Whether they leave it at home or bring it to class, it's a lasting way to say thank you. 

 

Draw Their Likeness

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. If you want to add a little extra, toss in a gift card to your teacher's favorite art supply store, like Michaels. If you aren't in person yet, mail the picture and a gift card to their house! 

Organize a Drive-By Parade

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 a Letter

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

Give Them a 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!

Make 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.

Make a 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 or order one from Harry and David.

Paint Them 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!

photo: iStock

Add to Their Library

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 they need and order a copy from Bookshop, which lets you shop online and supports indie bookstores, too! If your kiddo is in the classroom, wrap them up and send them in! 

photo: Oz Spies

Send a Thoughtful Thank-You Note

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 with Gabby Cullen

 

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