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What To Buy Teachers and Administrators So They Don't Have To

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What do teachers, therapists, and administrators really need for their classrooms and offices? Booze. I’m kidding! It’s primarily things others may have the luxury of getting in a corporate office setting, but they spend their own money on–and spend more than you may realize.

We sent out a short questionnaire asking teachers, speech and occupational therapists, and administrators what resources parents could provide to help keep their classrooms or offices stocked with the supplies they need. You know, small things to give either for the first day of school, teacher appreciation week or to say thank you.

They spend their time, energy, money and let’s be honest, patience–helping our kids, so let’s give them a little something in return. And, as a bonus, what they’d like to receive as a gift for holidays and birthdays. The stuff they want, but not necessarily need.


  • Good, quality Kleenex
  • Clorox wipes
  • Extra school supplies to give to kids who can’t afford them
  • Ziplock baggies
  • Grading/colorful pens
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Donations from local restaurants
  • Post-it notes

And, here are a few specific requests for different occupations and grades:



  • Amazon gift cards
  • Dollar Tree gift card
  • Glue sticks
  • Donations to class projects
  • Gift card to teacher school supply store
  • Incentive/prize book items (such as donations from play places, ice cream places, restaurants, small toys)
  • Extra coloring supplies for centers
  • Indoor recess games/activities
  • Folders
  • Cardstock
  • Snacks
  • Stamps and stamp pads
  • Stickers
  • Foam Shapes
  • Fun markers
  • Art supplies
  • Flexible seating, such as yoga balls or wiggle cushions
  • Fine motor tools, such as pencil grips or scissors
  • Books
  • Sharpened pencils


  • Black Sharpies! (Both fine and extra fine) (Some classroom teachers may get these, but specialists do not, and they need them because so many kids go through their room!)
  • Electric pencil sharpeners
  • Sticky tacks
  • Tape
  • Hanging file folders
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Young adult books
  • Posters and supplies



  • Board games
  • Sticker books
  • Sticky back velcro dots
  • Items for prize boxes, such as small toys from the dollar bin or dollar store
  • Two-sided velcro
  • Books–sometimes people forget therapists use books for teaching, too!
  • Rings (to hole punch for note cards/icons)
  • Note cards
  • Folders (for homework/and social stories)
  • Clear contact paper (to use for lamination)



  • Velcro
  • Paint
  • Timers
  • Clipboards
  • Crayons
  • Puzzles
  • Stringing beads
  • Board games
  • Pens
  • Stickers



  • Volunteer to help during evening events (for grades other than your child’s) For example, enrollment, college and career fairs, and course planning.
  • Calming and fidget tools like kinetic sand and stress balls
  • Snacks for kids who may miss a meal
  • Plants
  • Art supplies
  • Label maker or labels
  • Individually wrapped candies for a jar
  • Thinking putty
  • Natural light lamp
  • “Sign here” post-it stickers


  • Games for students to use during social skills activities, such as Sorry!, Uno and Hedbanz
  • Materials for group projects to encourage teamwork
  • Supplies like folders, notebooks, crayons, and markers
  • Reward charts and sticker charts
  • Toys for a prize box
  • Calm down/sensory toys
  • Gently used toys for social and imaginative play


Gift cards were the number one answer.


  • Target
  • Amazon
  • Starbucks
  • Teachers Pay Teachers
  • Restaurants
  • Salons

A close second was a handwritten note of appreciation–which I could not LOVE more!


  • Summer or themed gift baskets (A respondent said: One of my favorite summer gifts was a tote bag, beach towel, water bottle, and magazines.)
  • Homemade gifts (A respondent said: A parent made an analog clock in our classroom. At our school, we have digital clocks and having an analog clock was great for learning!)
  • Travel mugs
  • Water bottles
  • Candy
  • Spa day items
  • Flowers to plant in the garden (A respondent said: I love flowers I can add to my garden, they’re beautiful and remind me of my students)
  • Subscription to an account they use such as Lesson Pix, Reading A-Z. Ask your teacher what they use!
  • Wine (if you know your teacher/administrator well!)
  • Catered lunch to the classroom
  • A random drop off of my favorite drink

And, that covers it for classroom and office needs (and wants!) Hopefully, this helps give a glimpse into the minds of those who mold our little ones’ minds!

Also, don’t forget about the other school staff! For example, paras, office staff, specialist teachers (like Art, Music), and custodial staff. They are often looked over for classroom and office needs because they don’t have a classroom or homeroom of kids. I know it’s not possible for most families to give something to all roles in the school, but maybe pick out one or two additional staff members who may have had a positive impact on your child.

If you have any questions, let me know! Check out more at

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