15 Smart Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week

iStock.com/Iuliia_Syrotina_28
iStock.com/Iuliia_Syrotina_28

Whether it's a friend with a teaching job, your child's teacher, or your own professor, you probably know at least one person who spends their days at a blackboard. May 6 through May 10 is National Teacher Appreciation Week 2019, so celebrate by getting the perfect gift to thank your favorite educator for all their hard work.

1. RETRO PENS; $10

Five retro-looking pens

Kikkerland, Amazon

From hall passes to report cards, teachers have to do a lot of writing—so help them do it in style. This set of five vintage-looking ballpoint pens come in fun retro colors and write with black ink.

Find it: Amazon

2. WOODEN ANIMAL PENCILS; $9

Pencils with tops that look like animals sitting in a cup

Kikkerland, Amazon

If your teacher prefers pencils to pens, don’t worry—there are plenty of kitsch writing utensils to go around. These painted pencils look just like woodland creatures and are perfect for injecting whimsy into writing notes or completing a crossword puzzle. (For equally great writing utensils with a little less flair, check out our guide to bullet journal supplies.)

Find it: Amazon

3. NOVEL TEAS; $14

'Novel Teas' boxes on a table next to a kettle
Bag Ladies Tea, Amazon

Big readers and English teachers will definitely get a kick out these novel tea bags. As the punny name suggests, each tea bag comes with a famous quote from classic literature. The English Breakfast tea will taste even better when enjoyed with the likes of Jane Austen.

Find it: Amazon

4. NATIONAL PARKS EXPLORER MAP; $55

A map of the U.S. with trees marking the location of every national park
Seth and Maddy Lucas, UncommonGoods

Maps aren't just important teaching tools—they also make for excellent home decor. But instead of focusing on history or geography, this map shows all of the national parks in the United States and includes a handy key that identifies each one. The owner can use included tree stickers to mark off which parks they've visited.

Find it: UncommonGoods

5. BOOK-THEMED CANDLES; $22


You can’t go wrong with one of these amazing candles when you're shopping for librarians, English teachers, or general bibliophiles. Each scent is inspired by literature, whether it be a specific book (the Harry Potter novels) or a place (the Oxford library).

Find it: Amazon

6. BRAIN SPECIMEN COASTERS; $27

Glass coasters that look like they have slices of brain on them

ThinkGeek, Amazon

Each of these glass coasters shows a different slice of the brain; when stacked in the right order (don’t worry; they’re labeled to help you), they look like a full brain. The set comes with 10 coasters and will look great on an office desk.

Find it: Amazon or at one of the retailers below:

7. COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK TOTE; $20

A tote bag that looks like a black-and-white composition notebook

Out of Print, Amazon

Teachers have to haul around a lot of stuff, so give them a fun bag to use when they do it. This tote bag from Out of Print is perfect for teachers with students who still use the classic composition notebooks. (There's also a library card version.) If you’re not crazy about the tote, they also have a ton of literary-inspired pouches.

Find it: Amazon or Out of Print

8. CHAIR SOCKS; $12

Noise-sensitive teachers sometimes put tennis balls on the bottom of chair legs to keep them from making loud, scraping noises. If the teacher you know is also aggravated by screeching chairs (or maybe just concerned about the floor scratching), give them these chair socks. The set comes with four adorable cat paws that can fit on the legs of most chairs and desks. (If your favorite educator isn't into cutesy animals, there are also other more subtle designs available.)

Find it: Urban Outfitters or Amazon

9. CORK GLOBE; $55

A globe made out of cork
Suck UK, Amazon

Lots of teachers have regular globes in their room, but your favorite teacher could use something a little more creative. This special globe is made from cork and comes with its own special set of red markers that can be used to show where they have traveled or what country their students are currently learning about.

Find it: Amazon

10. Stanley Ceramivac Bottle; $35

A green Stanley bottle

Stanley, Amazon

Teachers may not have coffee pots or microwaves in their classrooms, meaning they may be stuck drinking cold coffee (or worse, no coffee at all) throughout the day. So don't give them a punny mug this year; give them the gift of vacuum insulation. Stanley's Ceramivac bottles are designed to keep beverages hot for nine hours and cold for 14, and the ceramic finish is a much-needed upgrade to the stainless steel bottle, making it a more natural drinking feel. It has a spill-proof lid and a lifetime guarantee, and it comes in a number of sizes and colors. The 24-ounce size would be a good bet, but if you know your favorite teacher is a coffee addict, upgrade to the 36-ounce version. And while the standard bottle's screw-top lid is excellent for preventing spills and keeping beverages hot for longer (and can be poured into that punny teacher-themed mug), there's also a Ceramivac sip-through tumbler.

Find it: Amazon or Backcountry.com

11. Modern Moose Wall Clock; $48 to $48

A clock shaped like a shark hangs on the wall above a desk

Modern Moose, The Grommet

Both teachers and students spend a significant amount of the day glancing at the time, so make looking at the clock more fun. Modern Moose's whimsical pendulum clocks come in a fox or a shark design, while the table/wall clocks also come in the shape of a robot, a moose, a sock monkey, or an owl, as well as a cutesy take on the standard cuckoo clock.

Find it: The Grommet

12. Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook; $30

A Rocketbook notebook with drawings in it on a desk

Rocketbook, Amazon

Teachers go through a lot of paper each day, but taking notes doesn't have to add to their carbon footprint. The Rocketbook Everlast notebook works with any Pilot FriXion pen or highlighter and can be used to beam notes to cloud services like Google Drive and Evernote. Once the pages are filled up, the notebook can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and used again.

Find it: Amazon or Walmart

13. Cleaning Supplies and Wipes

A child's hand pulls a wet wipe out of a package.
iStock.com/AdamRadosavljevic

Classrooms full of children can be a germaphobe's nightmare. Help your favorite teacher and their students stay clean and germ-free by helping them stock up on wet wipes, hand sanitizer (Touchland's pocket-sized sprays would look great in a gift bag), screen cleaner (this dual-sided gadget would do the trick, as would this spray), and surface cleaning wipes and sprays.

14. Amazon Prime; $39 to $119

A hands holds an open Amazon box
iStock.com/AdrianHancu

Yes, Amazon offers gift memberships to Amazon Prime. Give your favorite teacher access to free shipping, thousands of music playlists, a ton of free e-books, and other Prime perks that would be useful both inside and outside the classroom. All you have to do is enter your favorite teacher's email address. If the recipient already has a Prime membership, your gift doesn't go to waste, either—it converts to a regular Amazon gift card. You can gift a three-month membership for $39 or a full year for $119.

Find it:Amazon

15. Pop Chart Lab's 100 Essential Novels Scratch-Off Chart; $26

Perfect for literature lovers, Pop Chart Lab's 100 Essential Novels scratch-off poster features classic classroom reading like Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Catch 22, and 1984. Your favorite teacher could use it to track their own reading list or incorporate it into their English curriculum—after the class finishes a book, they can scratch away the gold foil to reveal a design inspired by the book. If your favorite teacher covers other subjects, Pop Chart Lab has plenty of great graphic explorations of fields other than literature, too. Hard-core grammar nerds will love its sentence-diagram charts and parts of speech visualizations, while history teachers might be more into the diagrammed Declaration of Independence and science teachers might prefer Pop Chart's take on the Periodic Table of Elements or the Chart of Cosmic Exploration.

Find it: Pop Chart Lab

A version of this post first ran in 2016. It has been updated to reflect current availability as of May 2019.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Turn a Handwritten Family Recipe Into a Touching Kitchen Keepsake

LaserFocusedCrafts, Etsy
LaserFocusedCrafts, Etsy

The yellowing, food-splattered note card on which your grandmother’s secret spaghetti sauce recipe is written will only last so long, and taking a photo or typing it up doesn’t quite have the same effect. Luckily, crafters have come up with creative ways to transform those cherished family recipes into keepsakes that not only last much longer, but also make heartfelt gifts for all your favorite relatives.

The Etsy shop LaserFocusedCrafts, as Simplemost reports, will engrave your recipe onto a bamboo, cherry, or maple cutting board. Prices range from $30 for an 8-inch-by-6-inch board to $75 for a 14-inch-by-11-inch board, and it’s up to the recipient to decide whether they’d like to actually use their gift or hang it on their kitchen wall for guests to admire.

If you feel like you’ve already reached your gift-giving quota for personalized cutting boards at bridal showers and birthday parties in the past, there are plenty of other objects on Etsy waiting to be emblazoned with the evidence of your nana’s culinary prowess. EmmaAndTheBeanHOME will inscribe a recipe on a white tea towel for $24, and BmoreCreative410 will put one on a pot holder for $25.

customized recipe tea towel
EmmaAndTheBeanHOME, Etsy

For $40.50, you can order an apron with the recipe from zoeysattic. The apron itself is white, but you can customize the color of the ink, if, for example, Grandma always wrote her recipes with a special green pen. For an item that’ll withstand many generations’ worth of use, we recommend zehrdesignco’s $66 recipe plate.

customized recipe plate
zehrdesignco, Etsy

If you don’t exactly have a long legacy of delicious family recipes, it’s never too late to get cooking. Start off easy with the world’s best pasta sauce or one-pot chicken noodle soup.

[h/t Simplemost]

Find Your Next Outdoor Adventure With This Scratch-Off National Parks Poster

Newverest
Newverest

Whether you’re a devoted thru-hiker, day-hiker, or a casual nature observer, America’s National Park system has something for everyone to enjoy, from wildlife to natural wonders ripe for exploration. And now one Kickstarter campaign is looking to bring your love of the parks into your home with this unique piece of wall art.

The U.S. National Parks scratch-off poster from Newverest will not only inspire your next hiking endeavor, but can help you keep track of your travels as well. If you pledge now, you can receive a copy of the poster for $25, and for $49, you can get the poster and a frame. 

A scratch-off national parks poster on the wall
Newverest

There are 60 different parks on this poster—which is available in black or white—that are represented by colorful illustrations created by local artists. When the poster arrives, though, the illustrations will be grayed-out. It's up to you to scratch them off as you visit the parks, revealing the full-color art underneath. "Think of the national parks scratch-off poster as your bucket list of National Parks,” the company says on its campaign page.

When you purchase a poster, you’ll also receive a metal mediator scratch-off tool, a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe away any residue, adhesive stickers for easy hanging, and 62 cards that feature a hand-drawn scene of each park, along with interesting facts about them. For instance, on the Sequoia and Kings Canyon card, you’ll learn the park is home to the largest sequoia trees in the world, whereas the Arches National Park card lets the reader know the territory is home to over 2000 arches.

Scratch-off National Parks poster
Newverest

Newverest, founded in 2017, isn’t new to the poster game: The company also makes U.S. and global scratch-off maps. Alongside helping plan trips, the company hopes their newest poster will educate kids and adults alike about the beauty of the parks and why they should be preserved.

With $3257 raised, Newverest is still working to reach its $10,000 goal. But you can help bring the project to life until February 21 by heading here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER