Forget ornaments, coffee mugs and scented candles, according to buying trends reviewed by Meijer gift buyers, most elementary school teachers prefer items that keep their classrooms running. Although many teachers still prefer gift cards overall, try these suggestions if you are looking for ideas in the category of usefulness and creativity:
- Classroom Games. Winter in the Midwest means many days of indoor recess. And there are days when a teacher needs to fill the last 10 minutes of a busy day. According to the Meijer gift buyers, many teachers choose games as their preferred indoor activity. These classic favorites promote phonics, expand vocabularies, practice math facts, and help students learn strategy: Scrabble or Apples to Apples; Yahtzee Classic Game or Farkle; and Qwirkle Board Game or Risk.
- School Supplies. According to Money Magazine, a teacher spends, on average, roughly $500 of their own money to outfit their classroom. You would be surprised how quickly quantities diminish by the holiday break. Here are the top school supplies that typically need to be replenished: Ticonderoga #2 Pencils 24 Count; Sharpies Fine Markers 12 Count; Expo Low Odor Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers 8Pk Assorted Colors; and Fiskars 5″ Blunt Kids Scissors.
- Baskets & Bins. Bins are a gift that keeps on giving. According to the Meijer gift buyers, teachers shuffle a volume of material throughout the year from workbooks to supplies to bulletin board materials. Sometimes the sheer volume can be overwhelming – even for the most organized teachers. If practicality is your gift-giving mantra this year, here are some ideas: Room & Retreat Grey Tote with Elephant Liner; Room & Retreat Basket Chalkboard; Sterilite Deep Clip Box; Sterilite Stack & Carry 3 layer Handle Box & Tray in Clear.
- Glass Water Bottle. Classic rooms tend to be very dry in the winter months. Plus, a classroom tends to be a petri dish of viruses; thus staying hydrated becomes a must for teachers. One sustainable solution is to gift your teacher a glass water bottle. Many glass water bottles are outfitted with a protective rubber guard to protect against shattering. Plus, glass won’t degrade or warp over time. Here are some suggestions: Ello Syndicate 20oz Glass Water Bottle; or Camelbak Eddy Glass .7l Aqua Ice Water Bottle.
- Bracelets or Purse Wrislets. If you prefer to gift your teacher an accessory, a bracelet is an option that adds a nice touch of bling that can brighten a teacher’s day, especially during the dark months of winter. Two popular trends this season are layering small bracelets to create a “stacking” look or charm bracelets with longer charms designed to highlight a woman’s hand. A purse wristlet is another option that is portable and functional. Here are some suggestions: Massini Watch and Bracelet Set; Jessica Caryle Watch & Bracelet Set; Charmables Bracelets; Massini Bow Wristlet; or Massini Mini Crossbody.
If you are still convinced that a gift card is still the way to go, consider options that give a teacher the gift of convenience. Many teachers juggle a variety of activities, particularly after school. Some of the most popular gift cards in the convenience category include restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, or movie tickets.