Create a personalized summer writing journal for each student. Write a special message to your student inside a spiral bound notebook, then fill the notebook with fun writing prompts. Decorate the pages with scrapbook papers, stickers, drawings, stamps, or whatever craft items you already have in your classroom. This thoughtful gift will encourage writing all summer long!
Visit Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten for instructions, pictures, and examples of a summer writing journal gift for students. To modify this journal for younger students, fill an unlined notebook or sketchbook with drawing prompts.
Use a free online word cloud generator to create a personalized word cloud for each student.
To collect enough words for a word cloud, have students contribute one nice word about each classmate. Ask each student to write his name at the top of a blank piece of paper and pass it around the class, or handout a printable listing every student, like this one from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie. Once you've collected the words, enter them in a word cloud generator, such as Wordle or Tagul. Be sure to add some of your own positive descriptive words about the student. Then, print the result and frame it. This gift will be a memorable keepsake from their year in your class.
Make a different kind of autograph book that encourages outdoor fun this summer. Give each student a beach ball on the last day of school. Hand out markers and let the kids have a little autograph party as they go around the classroom signing the beach balls. Visit Adventures of Room 129 Blog for classroom instructions and photos of an autograph beach ball.
To personalize the beach ball gift, attach a cute message to each ball. Download a free "Have a ball this summer!" printable gift tag from Teachers Pay Teachers.
Board games, dice games, tangrams, puzzle balls, and jigsaw puzzles make fun end-of-the-year-gifts students can play with all summer long.
To make your own game, wrap two dice in a small bag with a ribbon around it. Attach a personalized note and instructions for a fun dice game. Visit Today in First Grade for game instructions, photos, and a "Have a rollin' and shakin' good summer!" printable gift tag.
Sunglasses are a cute and practical end-of-year gift for students. Affordable sunglasses in bright colors and fun patterns can often be found at craft stores and in large retailers' dollar bins.
Pair the sunglasses with a gift tag that says, "My future's so bright I have to wear shades." Download the free printable gift tag from Lessons with Laughter.
Do you have lots of photos and videos of your students and class activities through the year? Compile your favorites on a photo CD or DVD to make a gift that kids and parents will enjoy viewing for years to come. Use free online software, such as Smilebox to design a slideshow of memories from the school year and add music.
Surprise students with a special snack on the last day of school, and congratulate them on moving up to the next grade.
Fill a snack bag with Goldfish crackers and pair it with a cute message (e.g., "Congratulations! It's "o-FISH-ally the last day of school."). Visit Teachers Pay Teachers to download a free gift bag tag that says "You are o-FISH-ally a ____ Grader".
Kids enjoy playing outside with bubbles. Pair a bottle of bubbles with a thoughtful note that expresses your pride in your students' accomplishments. This treat is a fun candy-free gift idea for the last day of school.
Visit Teachers Pay Teachers to download a free "You make me bubble with pride!" printable tag for each gift.
Encourage kids to keep reading every day during the summer. Give each child a new or gently-used book and a bookmark as an end-of-the-year gift.
For a sweet treat, pair each book with a bag of "bookworms" (gummy worms). Visit the Best Day Ever Blog for photos of the treat bags and a free bookworm treat header you can attach to each bag of gummy worms.
Create a summer bucket list as a gift for your rising elementary students. Fill a plastic bucket with goodies. You could include summer fun packets, pencils, summer reading lists, bookmarks, fliers for summer events at the public library, journals, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a plastic shovel, art supplies, coloring books, and snacks or special treats. Be sure to include an envelope that is stamped and addressed to you so your students can write you a letter over the summer!
Download a free Summer Bucket List printable from Teachers Pay Teachers; it's a fully editable Word document. Customize the list for your students, and include it with the goodies in each bucket.
Find more gift ideas for students on our End of Year Resources Pinterest board. These teacher resources will help you celebrate a successful year and keep antsy kids engaged in learning. You'll also find send-home resources to help prevent "summer slide" and tips for packing up your classroom.