Well, friends, it’s fast approaching the end of the school year. This was Ryland’s first “school” year (if one, 3-hour block a week can really count as school 😉 ), and I am SO happy that we enrolled her last fall. She was only 18 months when we started, and I worried it might be too young, but after some initial tearful drop-offs, she has absolutely fallen in love with the whole school thing.
I already posted this on Instagram, but I have to share her “first day” and “last day” pictures here, because well, it just melts my sentimental mom heart. I know it’s not that big of a before and after (the first picture was in October, only a little more than 6 months ago). But I still feel like she’s changed SO much.
Even more than physically, she’s just a totally different kid now (and I say kid intentionally, her baby-ness is fast melting away). She’s gotten so bold and fearless and interested in everything, the other kids, the toys, the games, the art and music.
But that’s enough of my mama nostalgia. The real reason for this post is because of my recent panicked, oh my God I have to get end-of-the-year teacher gifts moment. I knew this was one of those parenting things you’re supposed to do, and I remember getting gifts for my teachers every year (We always went to the Great Big Greenhouse with my mom to pick out plants for our teachers. I think that’s why still to this day there’s something about the warm, humid, earthy smell of garden stores that makes my heart feel like it’s summertime ), but I had a moment of total cluelessness. Since Ryland is still too little to “pick out” gifts, I knew I had to sort of steer the ship. Luckily I have friends with older kids who I can turn to for guidance and wisdom. One of my best friends told me about how she put together a cute summer tote bag last year for her son’s teachers, and I immediately loved that idea. I did a version of the beach bag pictured below, but strolling through Target I had a million ideas of different, cute teacher “bags” you could do. So, because I love this kind of thing, and in case there are other clueless first time parents out there who need help, here are some ideas I had for end-of-the-year gifts.
(Although really, if you want to simplify your life, you can’t go wrong with a nice plant 😉 )
I love the idea of a relaxing beach bag for an end-of-the-year gift, because it’s such a great way to welcome summer. There are an infinite number of ways to do this one, but I started with a Barnes & Noble gift card and fun, summery magazine like Magnolia Journal for “summer reading” and then went from there. I grabbed a cheap, reusable beach tote from CVS, but I love this mesh one from Walmart in the flamingo print. I picked up this adorable pineapple cup from Target as well as the flamingo frisbee. I found a super cute and cheap drink koozie in the $3-5 section of Target, but I sadly couldn’t find it online. However, I did find this (slightly more expensive) but adorable Vera Bradley one on Amazon. And finally, you can throw in a sweet and inexpensive towel like this adorable Turkish cotton one from Target.
If your child’s teacher has a green thumb, a garden tote is a really sweet idea. This tote and 8-piece garden tool kit is super cheap and cute from Home Depot. Throw in some pretty gardening gloves like these, a fun garden accessory like these Magnolia Home garden pollinator “push pops” and then a gift card to a local garden store (I personally love Strange’s here in RVA)
For a cute idea, you can also do a summer “movie-goer” bag with a gift card to a local theater chain. This canvas tote is adorable and insanely cute (I may snag one for myself) and from Walmart (they have seriously stepped up their game lately). Fun insulated cup is here. And then you can throw in some of your teacher’s favorite candy or movie theater snacks.
If you’re looking for a gift for a teacher who always looks super cute, you could do a fun “beauty” bag. I LOVE this little pineapple clutch (again, Walmart!) You could fill it with a fun pair of earrings like these, a matching shade of nail polish, a summery lip balm, and then a gift card to a local nail place (even better if you do some research and find out where they like to go!)
I also love the idea of a picnic set. Walmart (again!) has super cheap but cute baskets. You could add in one of these awesome insulated tumblers (which just happen to be a great way to keep wine cool in the sun 😉 ) and this absolutely adorable Opal House “Stop and Smell the Rose” picnic blanket (which I may also have to buy for myself, this gift guide is not good for my shopping habits). And then just throw in a few gourmet goodies/food items (maybe a bottle of wine if your school allows it;) ) and you’ve got the perfect present.
So for this one, only go this route if you know your teacher loves working out. Otherwise, it might come off a little impertinent. But if your kids’ teacher is a runner or yogi or Crossfit addict, then this could be a really thoughtful gift. Start with an affordable, gym appropriate tote, a cute water bottle like this one, some deep tissue massage balls, a cute workout headband, and maybe a gift card to her favorite yoga or cycle studio.
Finally, for a gift that would work for any tired, over-worked teacher, you can always go the total relaxation route. I’d start with an inexpensive, cute versatile tote like this Walmart pineapple one (I mean seriously, Walmart has really upped their game right?). Then I’d just fill it with relaxing goodies like this pineapple candle (can you tell I love a pineapple theme?), a fun bath bomb, these ridiculously cute stemless summer wine glasses ($13.60 for a set of 4!), and then maybe a nice lavender scented aromatherapy mask.
K well those are my ideas! I tried to keep most items fairly inexpensive, but obviously, there are much cheaper ways to do end-of-year gifts (like a nice plant), and really it is the thought that counts. I just thought these were some fun starting off points that might get other parents’ creative juices flowing, because I know I was stuck until my friend told me her idea 🙂