Making the Dollar Store Work for Teacher Gifts!

This year, we have seven teacher gifts to give.  SEVEN.  That is one drastic downside of daycare.  There are so many teachers to thank!  Gracie has three alone in her classroom, and then Bean has two in his.  But I’m also giving gifts to Bean previous two teachers since he had them for more than half the year (and since I love them so much!).

Seven gifts adds up to a lot of money.  I would love to be able to spend $20 or even $30 on one significant teacher gift, but we have to spread the money between so many teachers right now.  I knew I wanted to give summer beach baskets to the teachers, but I had to figure out how to do it more affordably.


I went to the Dollar Tree originally to pick up tissue paper to stuff inside the baskets, but I ended up getting just about everything for the baskets there!

Each teacher will get a beach basket ($1.00 at Dollar Tree) stuffed with:

  • A water bottle – $1.00 at Dollar Tree
  • A bottle of flavored “Fruit Water” – $1.00 at Target (strawberry kiwi and lemonade were picked because of their colors)
  • A box of “Lifesaver” gummies – $1.00 at Dollar Tree
  • A pack of 10 freezer pops wrapped in ribbon – $4.99 for 100 at Target
  • A bottle of suntan lotion – $5-7.00 a bottle with coupons at Target
  • A pinwheel for decoration – $1.00 at Target


If I didn’t have to buy for so many teachers, I would have loved to have added a beach towel, magazine, or $5.00 Starbucks gift card.


As a teacher myself, I know that it’s the thought that counts for teacher gifts.  Just the idea that a parent and student appreciates me is enough to make my day and start my summer off right.  As a middle school teacher, I don’t usually get many end of year gifts.  The kids are older, and I’m sure having seven teachers to buy for is not easy for parents.  But even if your kids are older, I would strongly encourage you to have them write a personal note to their teachers this year.  Even if you don’t put it with a gift, just the note itself goes so far with teachers.  A simple, “Thank you for everything I learned this year,” can bring a teacher to tears – trust me.

End of year gifts for teachers are a great way to end the year with a bang!

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9 Thoughts to “Making the Dollar Store Work for Teacher Gifts!”

  1. I don’t give gifts to teachers. I always think I should but time runs out, however I do express my thanks verbally at the end of the year; that seems to mean the most/alot.

    1. Hilary

      In response to the post above, a thank you note is always appreciated, even if you can’t get a gift. I keep all of the notes, letters, and emails of gratitude from my students. It’s a wonderful pick-me-up on days when I need to remember that middle schoolers can show appreciation!

  2. I teach 1st-3rd grade, and I have to say that my favorite gifts are the chocolate candy bars and homemade cards/notes. 🙂

  3. Wendy

    Starbucks mug that my daughter decorated and gift card. She had two teachers this year 🙂

  4. Kathleen

    I’m now going to the Dollar Tree just to get the tote basket so I can keep all my kiddoes outside toys in it (we live in a townhouse and have to schlep them from front to back “yard” (it’s communal).

  5. Nate’s got one primary therapists, four paras, one speech pathologist, one OT, one PT, and one IEP administrator on his primary team. Then there are his integrated “specials” teachers – media (which I still call library), gym, and music. Then there are the staff that we consider team members – the school nurse and the door monitor. That’s 14 people. Nate’s leaving his school at the end of this year to transition to the K-2 contained room, which is held at another school. Fourteen goodbye gifts for therapists that have been with us for more than two years. I’m at a loss for gifts!

    1. Michelle

      My son is 17 months and we also have two PTs, one OT, a Speech Therapist, Dietician, Special Instructor, and a Case Worker who helps keep track of the therapies and his progress. I understand what you say completely on being at a loss! My solution has been a nice card (you can get 99 cent cards at Hallmark still) and some homemade desserts: cookies, brownies- or since it’s summer, something like lemon bars. I already have most of the ingredients around the house, so it doesn’t cost much and it still shows that we took the time out to say thank you. Ben’s therapists have been flustered that we even did that much- they said that most people don’t do that.
      I hope this helps a little!

  6. HeatherM

    We haven’t heard from you for a while. The last few times you disappeared so long you had a stroke and before that your dad passed away, and before that it was the burglary/moving/pregnancy. I hope everything is okay and you are just too busy having fun to blog. Take care. 🙂

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