Are you looking for the perfect teacher gift idea? I've got you covered! Nothing says "thank you" quite as thoughtfully as a handwritten letter (or book, in this case). You can use this idea for teacher appreciation week or a last-day-of-school present. Near the end of each school year, I help my children write an illustrate a book for their teachers. Maybe it's the English teacher in me that values this gift so much. Gift cards and store bought presents are fantastic, but there's something extra-special about taking the time to compose a homemade gift (book or otherwise).
Before you start the book, decide how you will bind it together. My aunt is a former teacher and gave me an amazing binding machine. I can't tell you how many times I've used it for gifts or projects. You can also punch holes on the side of your paper and tie it together with ribbon or string or simply staple the sides together. Next, choose your paper. I like cardstock the best. You can make a special trip to the store and let your kids choose the paper they like or have them choose from what you already have at home.
Once that's complete, decide on the questions you're going to have your child answer. You can easily come up with your own or use the below options to get you started. Adjust the questions according to what's appropriate for your child's age. My kids have made these book during ages four to seven. Fill in the blanks with the teacher's name.
1. What make ____________________ special?
2. What did ___________________ teach you?
3. If _____________________ was an animal what animal would he/she be?
4. If ______________________ was a color, what color would he/she be?
5. If you had all the money in the world, what present would you buy ______________?
6. If you could send _______________________ on a trip, where would he/she go?
7. What is your favorite thing about school?
8. If you had three wishes for _________________, what would you wish for him/her?
9. What does __________________ want to be when he/she grows up?
10. What will you miss most about ____________________?
11. What is your prayer for _______________________?
12. What is your favorite thing you learned this year?
At the end of the book, include a personal hand-written note from you, the parent.
Next, glue your child's picture to the first or last page of the book.
You're almost done! Now, it's time to make the cover page. Make sure your child records their name and the teacher's name on the book, either on the cover or next to their picture.
All of the images above are from a book my daughter made when she was five. Below is a video of this year's books by Adeline and Lincoln. The older they are, the more involved they can be in the creative process and writing. If you have a much older kid, tween to teenager, ask them to write a letter to the teacher that was the most influential teacher to them that year. Teachers live for those letters, especially in the older grades. The impact of a simple letter lasts a lifetime; I say that from personal experience.
Lastly, if you son or daughter is on the younger side, spread this process out over a few days to a week. Illustrate the cover and bind it one day, ask a few questions over the next couple of days and so on. You're teaching your child the art of being grateful and thanking others for their service. This is important job you have as a parent and a fun way to instill these values. I hope you enjoy the process! Leave a comment with any additional questions we could add to our books!