Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stocking Stuffers for Kids & Inexpensive Teacher Gifts

Inexpensive Christmas Gifts for Teachers and Kids
As a former Kindergarten and Special Education teacher, I can promise you that teachers would greatly appreciate your child receiving these stocking stuffers. Of course, keep some at home, but sending a few more supplies to school would certainly help a teacher and her students. Here is my Top Ten List:
 
  1. Crayons and Pencils: I know for a fact that one or two boxes of crayons won't last the entire school year. For a bit of humor, see 10 Crazy Ways Kids Use Crayons. And pencils are chewed on, purposely broken and cut upon, while the fascination of sharpening appears endless.
  2. Markers: Buy washable markers for children and Dry Erase markers for the classroom. Many teachers have small white boards for their students.
  3. Glue bottles and sticks: One or two bottles will not last the entire year due to practically daily gluing activities. Children love to squeeze lots of glue to make anything stick. It must be the squeezing motion they enjoy or they just haven't grasped the concept that a little dab will do ya.
  4. Playdough: Children's favorite malleable teaching tool is playdough. It helps develop fine motor skills and has many other benefits. To read more about the wonders of playdough, and my favorite No Cook Recipe, click here.
  5. Scissors: Odd how they are lost so easily. Sometimes kids sneak them home in their backpack because they can't find their scissors at home - or don't have a pair. Yes, cutting crayons and using them with playdough will make them duller, but still buy child safety scissors and supervise so they don't give themselves a haircut.
  6. Notepads and Index Cards: Little notepads can inspire children to write. They can be used for Blue's Clues, Scavenger Hunts, and I Spy games. White or colorful index cards are great for labeling items around the house like a pet's name on their habitat, Toy Box, Book Shelf, Art Supplies, Collections... This helps your home have a print rich environment, teaches the reading/ writing connection, and helps children learn to read.
  7. Simple Science Tools might include a magnifying glass, bug box, LED Headlamp, flashlight, and bug net. These fun items will encourage your little ones to go outside and explore, discover, and learn about their fascinating world. What child doesn't love to make collections or look at the wonderous activities of small critters?
  8. Jump rope and balls. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel good hormone, helps develop fine and gross muscles, and helps children get a better night's sleep.
  9. Sidewalk Chalk: Children can learn letters, how to print their name, play hopscotch, and develop socialization skills while they are outside in the fresh air with some chalk. Neighborhood children will gather around if you provide chalk and a smile. Variations of hopscotch can teach numbers, letters and words. Your children could lie down on the sidewalk while you trace around them, then encourage them to fill in the area.
  10. Fine Motor Tools might include pipe cleaners, stickers, pom poms for sorting and counting, or a scoop and funnel for pouring sand or rice. You might be amazed at how long a child will pour rice through a funnel. 
Click for my No-Fail Playdough Recipe
It is a good idea to buy extra school supplies during the summer when many stores compete for your business. A mom told me that she buys 30 boxes of crayons during the school sale and her child gives each student in his class a new box for Christmas.

You might also consider buying extra crayon/pencil boxes and fill them with the basic school supplies. Children enrolling or transferring after the school year begins often come with no supplies. It helps ease their anxiety to have a pencil box prepared. Your child's teacher will also be grateful.


Yes, teachers do have a small budget for classroom supplies but it is not nearly enough to cover what they need throughout the year. Every contribution is greatly appreciated.


I was always touched to see a child beam when they received a new box of crayons. We adults sometimes forget that children depend upon us for their teaching tools. These are inexpensive ways of helping children learn, grow and develop through playful activities using their imagination and creativity. "Santa, are you listening? We've been good!"


See my favorite No-Fail and No Cook playdough
recipes on Cure a Kinder Teacher's Pet Peeve.



Great Gift Ideas: For a glimpse into Kindergarten, for parents and teachers, see my book. Would you like inexpensive ideas, activities, and games to teach your child through play? A mom and teacher can help save your sanity, one project at a time, with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The ebooks are only $3.99








18 comments:

  1. I'm adding a magnifying glass to my list for sure. Not sure why we don't have one...

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  2. Trisha - Thank you for visiting. Children are fascinated with a magnifying glass - observing little things made bigger. It's a joy to give a child a simple tool and watch them be entertained while learning. Love your blog!

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  3. What a great list Susan...even my 2 yr olds love many of these and i consider them staples! Great tip about stockin gup in holiday time!

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    1. Thank you Jode. I really enjoy your posts. Lovely blog you have with helpful tips. I especially liked the SPD post about how to feed a child with food issues. My daughter and grandson are very picky eaters. It reminds me of Temple Grandin, an autistic writer, who lives on yogurt and jello.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season!

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  5. Love this list and so helpful as I sneak a Christmas gift to our teachers. We are not supposed to gift ...rule, schmules. I think your list will be acceptable if I am sneaky about delivery.

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    1. Go ahead and be a bit mischievous - the Elf gets away with being naughty. Just act innocent and surprised - like you hadn't ever heard of such a rule. It's Christmas, for goodness sake! If teachers don't deserve a little gift - however small or inexpensive - I don't know who does! Thanks for commenting. I'm with you on this one!

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    2. I should probably add that some of my favorite gifts were Thank You notes from parents and drawings of me by students. They did not need to cost money - but showed appreciation. Helping with supplies shouldn't be considered a gift - it is helping a teacher with supplies for the children. Just smiles and say, "I saw these on sale and thought the teacher might need them." Have a Merry Christmas.

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  6. Our family always did lots of practical gifts like this in our stockings, plus our favorite candy and then hidden money!

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    1. Sounds good to me. Children need to get back to the basics and off the electronics to foster creativity. Let's unplug and communicate. Well, here I am on the computer and going to read on my Kindle soon. But there are so many inexpensive hands-on learning tools that children need need to experience. Thanks for visiting!

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  7. Susan...this is a fantastic list! And the gift guide blog hop looks amazing! Thanks for sharing all of this. :)

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    1. Thank you Vivian. It is a great party! Hope you can join.

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  8. This is the best list EVER! We had this very discussion of what to buy teachers for holiday gifts and there's controversy because we are not supposed to get teachers gifts but we can gift stuff for the classroom! So I am shopping off your list for our teachers and they thank you very much in advance!!!

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    1. Thank you so much. A classroom can never have enough glue, pencils, crayons, etc. Children would really enjoy playdough. So many classrooms are filled to capacity so I know teachers will really appreciate any contributions. Thank you for visiting! Love your amazing blog.

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  9. Great list! This year I'd like Santa to bring me an electric pencil sharpener for my classroom. My school only provides hand crank style sharpeners and they eat my pencils.

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  10. Jan - Surely, Santa will bring you an electric pencil sharpener. Teachers deserve the little "luxuries." I can't believe how much time was wasted with kids sharpening pencils. Grinding them down and down. Kids are funny. Your blog is wonderful. If I had a baby, I'd sure want that juppy giveaway.

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  11. Wonderful list Susan! My daughter loves all the items! of all Notepad and a fancy pen are her favorite!

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