I feel like it’s so important to TRY and take the time to make gifts for parents. Yes I understand that you may have some parents that don’t care (I’ve worked in environments where there was little to no support at home). But keep in mind, there ARE parents out there that look forward to their child’s handmade items. I once had a parent that gushed over something that was made from her daughter’s handprint (I can’t remember what it was) and she said her baby’s hand wouldn’t stay that small for long. In addition, lots of teachers just don’t have the time! December is a crazy month! Last year I was so busy that I recruited a parent to come in and help. With that being said, as stressed as I am in December, I make it a point to get the ball rolling with gifts. To make things easier for myself, I buy things I know I’ll need a year in advance. I’ll go shopping right after Christmas and score items at huge discounts.
These canvas boards I’ll sometimes buy a few at a time when I see them on sale. There are MANY occasions when I’ll see them for 60% off and then I can apply my teaching discount on top of it. My students always enjoyed this project. It took a while, but they were always worth it when I saw the pride of the finished project on my students’ faces. My teachers assistant would pull a few friends at a time back during center time since I was always busy with groups. Last year, my room mom did the same thing. After they dried, my students would apply jewels using tacky glue and I found these foam star stickers to place at the top. Then I just used a gold calligraphy marker to write their names and apply a border.
I found the same canvases at 60% off this year and used them to create gifts for my son’s grandparents. I also bought the stands for added fancy!
THESE are always SUPER CHEAP and once again, uses the fingers of your tiny friends. These plastic bulbs are also a great find after Christmas and I load up so I’m not rushing around trying to get them while I’m so busy with everything else I’m doing. The students simply use their fingers to make “bulbs” around the ornament. Make sure you use acrylic paint, otherwise the paint will peel off the plastic. I like to use this paint because its always been effective and it’s less than a dollar. ALSO, when they are applying the paint, make sure they just use a THIN coat when dabbing their fingers into the paint because it will drip and make a mess!
(Don’t forget the date at the bottom of the ornament!)
After they’ve dabbed their fingers all round let it dry…
Then I just used a black paint pen to attach all the “light bulbs.”
Add some glitter inside, attach a bow at the top and you’ve got yourself a pretty little parent gift!
I found these little red cartons RIDICULOUSLY cheap after the holidays and picked up a few boxes. They held our little ornaments beautifully!
The tags I simply made with a scalloped hole punch, printed Merry Christmas and used a round hole punch to make them into circles, glued them together and viola! Gifts were bagged and ready to go! And all I had to do was dig around in my “December box” and drag out all the items I had purchased the year before!
Now keep in mind that I don’t go out and buy all this paint every year. But I’ve also been teaching for long enough that I’ve built up quite a collection and I know which paint to use for what. In addition, I use it for other projects throughout the year. I keep all my paints, paint pens, brushes, etc. in a Sterilite box in my classroom. I took a picture so y’all could see what I’m talking about.
Tips for making parents gifts a little easier:
Buy in ADVANCE. Like, the day after Christmas. For the following year. Personally, I like to get out of the house after Christmas and spend some time alone and I always like to go shopping. At that time, you can still get good stuff before it’s been picked through and it’s 75% off.
Have a game plan. I do these two gifts EVERY year. Boring? Maybe. Do parents love them? Yes. One of the pros of doing the same gifts every year is that you’ll already know what you need. So when I go out shopping for my parents gifts for the FOLLOWING year, it’s brainless. And I don’t have to think about it. And I don’t want to think. Especially in December.
Find the time to do it. I ALWAYS have my room mom or teachers assistant pull students back during center time (as long as they’re not with me during a guided reading group). It only takes a few minutes and they aren’t missing instructional time. My room mom was usually able to get them done within the hour. Then she would come in the following day to add the finishing touches.
Keep your junk ORGANIZED. I have plastic bins in my classroom labeled with the months of the year. When I come back from my shopping spree, I throw all of it in my “December bin.” See below. So then when I dig through the boxes to pull out all my seasonal books, centers, etc. I stumble upon the ornaments I will make with my students 🙂
Don’t throw those paints away! Some schools offer paint or teachers get a stipend to spend on art supplies. Some teachers, such as myself, have had to purchase their town paints. Which is fine, because I’ve been able to TAKE IT WITH ME when I’ve moved schools, counties or states (looking at the positive, my friends). Not only that, you might WANT to get the acrylic paint which you’re probably not able to get through the school (acrylic paint dries shiny and that’s why I’d rather use it).
So hopefully, friends, these tips will make parents gifts go a little smoother. I KNOW how crazy December can be. But keep in mind that some parents just GUSH over their child’s gift and for some children, that’s all they’ll be able to give to their parents.