45 Ideas for Making a Teacher's Survival Kit

Lots of states have tax-free shopping for school supplies and children’s clothes this weekend. We’re taking advantage of the sales and tax break today, getting school supplies and a few clothes for Annalyn (as well school supplies to donate to our church’s school supply drive for our local schools). This weekend is also a great time to get goodies to stick in a teacher appreciation gift!

Annalyn starts kindergarten in a couple weeks, and yesterday we went shopping for items to put into a survival kit for her teacher. I’ve seen examples of this all over Pinterest (and my friend Keri’s Facebook wall!), and you can make your kit as simple or complex as you want.

(Spoiler alert: I vote for simple.)

After all, I’m not Super Mom (Exhibit A: see this week’s Facebook discussion on the insanity of Bento lunches in which I beg fellow parents to tell me what they REALLY pack in their kids’ school lunches). And I don’t think a basket of goodies is going to make up for forgotten permission slips, late drop-off (or pick-up!) or a general lack of PTA paricipation.

But it can’t hurt to be nice to the person tasked with teaching my child to read, write and ‘rithmatic.

Also? A story…

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher was a man that my mom had gone to high school with. Believe it or not, this is not actually a result of small-town living. They graduated from a large high school in “the city,” and it was merely bad luck for me a coincidence that their paths crossed in my school.

I don’t remember a whole lot about fourth grade, but what I do recall is full of The Awkward. Back then I had thick glasses, thick bangs (NOT the cool fluffy kind) and a thick waist. Oh, and a big gap between my front teeth. I had hand-me-downs and frenemies, and if I remember right, this is the year when one particular mean girl actually formed an I Hate Mary club at recess.

Good things probably happened that year, too, but mostly it was Awkward City. You know what doesn’t help? When your mom knows your teacher. And you know what makes that even worse? When she buys a pair of socks (SOCKS!) to give him as a teacher appreciation Christmas gift.

SOCKS. Argyle socks, if you must know. Socks!

I actually don’t know why that was so embarrassing to me back then. Perhaps it was the personal nature of a gift (SOCKS! That’s practically just one step up from underwear!), or maybe it simply was the fact that I thought they were ugly (ARGYLE?). I don’t know.

I just know that I will not torture my daughter by giving her teacher socks. EVER.

Instead, I’m sending her to kindergarten with a Teacher Survival Kit in hand, with hopes of making her teacher smile and feel appreciated as we begin the school year together.

45 Ideas for Making a Teacher's Survival Kit

See, lots of my friends homeschool their kids, and while I admire them and respect their decision, the thought of doing that myself just makes me reach for the bottle of Tylenol. On top of that, dozens of my friends and family members are teachers and principals, so I know from their firsthand experience that teaching kids is HARD. So before we even walk in the door of Annalyn’s new elementary school in 13 days (not that I’m counting!), I am exceedingly grateful to her teacher.

I also suspect she might reach for the bottle of Tylenol a time or two before the semester is over. Hopefully our full little survival kit can ease her burden or lighten her mood when those days come!

Last year, I made Teacher Survival Kits for Annalyn’s preschool teachers. I included a pack of Kleenex, hand lotion, Advil, chapstick, hand sanitizer, a pack of gum, Band-Aids and several pieces of dark chocolate.

This year, I mixed it up a little (but not much. I am a creature of habit, really).

45 Ideas for Making a Teacher's Survival Kit

Here’s what we included this year:

  • A school-themed notepad
  • Several sheets of correction stickers
  • Package of Kleenex
  • Box of Band-Aids
  • Travel bottle of Febreze
  • Two packages of almonds
  • Two packages of Emergen-C
  • Colgate Wisp (mini toothbrushes)
  • Pack of gum
  • Small pack of Wet Wipes
  • Travel bottle of lotion
  • Burt’s Bees chaptstick
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lots of Dove dark chocolates

Most of the items are from the dollar spot at Target or the travel size section at Walmart. Which is good and bad. Because that means each item was pretty cheap by itself, but I really should’ve kept a running tally as I collected items. Some of the items will be used again, though – I only put a couple packages of almonds and Emergen-C in this kit and will keep the others for later. (And let’s be honest, way more of that Dove chocolate will end up in my mouth than in the bottom of that survival kit!)

I tried to find a mini lint roller and travel bottle of Advil, too, but came up empty. I’ll probably find them while we’re out today, but I’m not sure I could fit them into this bucket!

By the way, I originally bought a canvas bin from Walmart for this kit but it ended up being too big. So I ran to Hobby Lobby and found this cute green bucket, which I thought would be perfect. It is great…but is a little too small. Rather than keep searching for the one that’s just right, I decided to go ahead and MAKE THIS WORK. I can only handle so many stores in one day.

Other items you could include in a Teacher Survival Kit:

  • Water bottle or tumbler with lid
  • Mini crate or bin
  • Plastic school box
  • Mini lint roller
  • Advil or Tylenol
  • Granola bars
  • Special tea or hot chocolate
  • Crystal Light on-the-go drink mixes
  • Starbucks VIA coffee packets
  • Bottle of Vitamin Water
  • Travel bottle of hairspray
  • Bobby pins or ponytail holders
  • Safety pins
  • Travel size deodorant
  • Comb or small brush
  • Airborne mix or chewables
  • Cough drops
  • Note cards with envelopes
  • Pens or pencils
  • Paper clips or binder clips
  • Post-Its
  • Homemade gift, such as Homemade Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Are you shopping this weekend? Do you give your kids’ teachers gifts?

And if you ARE a teacher, what kind of gifts do you appreciate most??

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