Easy & Free Holiday Student Gifts from the Teacher

Your students are soooo lucky! I mean, you're their teacher!

If anyone knows that it is better to give than receive, it’s teachers!  So, I thought I would take this week and elaborate on ways you can use fun scratch offs in your classroom! Plus, I’ll show you how to make the paint that you can use on all of the free templates!

It’s not too late to grab a free template! Click here to get your own Scratch-off Christmas Gifts!

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Teaching Virtually?

There is nothing more special than a parent receiving a gift from their child!

When I was a little girl, I loved to make coupon books for my parents as gifts.  I’d include thoughtful gifts such as one free hug, doing the dishes, cleaning my room without complaining, and a host of other non-material gifts I thought my parents might like. I remember being so proud when they would open the coupon book.  I felt thoughtful, selfless, and creative.  Most teachers help students make gifts for their parents during special holidays like Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day.  Letting students create their own modernized version of the coupon book is fun, easy, and costs very little! Just turn the coupon into a scratch off!


This week’s freebie has a couple different options for students to use for making parent gifts. One is a sheet of scratch off gifts.  You can print it on card stock, and the students can color it, fill in the gifts they want to give, and then cover their gifts with scratch off paint.  So fun and easy!

The other is a 12 days of Christmas booklet they can make.  The booklet prints on a single sheet of paper (front/back) and folds into booklet form. Each day leading up to Christmas, the parents can scratch off one of the gifts.  

Both activities can be used with home made scratch off paint or scratchable stickers you can pick up from Amazon! 

Students like giving gifts to their friends too!

Friendships formed in school are some of the best gifts on earth.  To this day, my best friend is someone I met in school. Allowing students to give gifts to each other helps them learn the value of kindness and the amazing feeling that comes with giving. By using gift scratch offs with student-to-student gifts, children will learn that a gift doesn’t have to be something material! Encourage them to think about sharing their time and talents with others.

Giving my Students Scratch offs proved to be my most popular gift!

Teachers want to give their students gifts, but it can get expensive really fast!  Even purchasing things from the dollar store would add up!  Making scratch off cards is super fun for the students and doesn’t cost much for the teacher! Plus, you can personalize them for your own students!

You can use scratch offs for more than just gift ideas for students! Another way is to use them for rewards! Just create a sheet of scratch offs and allow students to scratch one space as a reward for finishing their work, being a kind friend, or making a good grade. You can also use them to choose a random winner.  Instead of including prizes, just write a student’s name in each scratch off box.  This is great for whole class incentives. For example, if your students have been talking too much, let them know that for every ten minutes you don’t have to correct someone for inappropriate talking, you’ll choose someone to scratch off a space on the prize sheet! Then, you can have a generic prize or name the prize right before it is scratched!

There is a free printable that you can use to reward students!  Print the sheet, write a prize or a student’s name in each box, and then get it ready for scratching! And remember, the prizes don’t have to cost you a thing!  Here is a list of things I’ve done with my students.

There are tons of gifts and rewards you can give that cost you nothing! Use these on your scratch offs!

  • Tickets or Classroom currency
  • Choose from the treasure box
  • Kick off shoes
  • Bring stuffed animal to class
  • Lunch with a friend
  • Lunch with a teacher
  • Trade classes for the day
  • Sit by a friend
  • Work with a friend
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Email a friend
  • Extra technology time
  • Extra recess time
  • Extra reading time
  • Extra art time
  • Extra music time
  • Sit at the teacher’s desk
  • Teach the small group lesson
  • Be the teacher’s helper
  • Lead the students in the pledge
  • Be the class errand person
  • Take attendance
  • File papers
  • Grade papers
  • Help stamp or put stickers on papers
  • Help pass out flyers for weekly folders
  • Lead class in a “trade and grade” or “grade your own” session
  • Invite your parent to read to the class
  • Invite your parent to play games with the class
  • Choose your own learning station
  • No homework
  • No warm-up
  • Line leader
  • First in cafeteria line
  • First in line to specials
  • First to leave for home
  • Choose your own group
  • Play a game
  • Go to the library
  • Go to Maker Space
  • Go to the Science Lab
  • Sharpen your pencil any time
  • Show and Tell
  • Use a pen for the day
  • Use the teacher’s smelly markers
  • Type your work
  • Sit on a bean bag
  • Work outside of class
  • 5 extra points
  • Ask any question during a test
  • Positive Office trip
  • Positive phone call home
  • Positive note home
  • Help teacher during planning period
  • Bring a soft drink to class and drink it
  • Bring a candy bar to class and eat it
  • Chew gum
  • Read to the class
  • Read to a younger class
  • Go visit your old teachers
  • Help the custodians after lunch
  • Assist the art, music, or PE teachers with younger sutdnets
  • Wear a “Student of the Day” ribbon
  • Help Decorate the class
  • Wear sunglasses in class
  • Wear a hat in class
  • Listen to headphones in class
  • Be a student leader for the day
  • 10 minutes of free time

Make Your Own Scratch off Paint!

To make special paint that can be scratched off, all you’ll need to do is mix equal parts of Dawn dish soap with acrylic paint.  If you use silver paint, it will look like a traditional scratch off.

To remove the paint from the paper, it must be painted over a non-porous surface.  Regular paper won’t really work, so you’ll have to make it non-porous first.  The best way is by placing a piece of packing tape (scotch tape will work too) over the part that will be covered with the paint. If you d on’t have enough tape for everyone, you can also have the students color over the painted portion with a white crayon before applying the scratch off paint. Just know that more coats are required to cover crayon than clear tape. 

Once you have primed the paper, then use a small paint brush to apply the paint to the portion of the page you want to be scatchoffable.  (Is that even a word? LOL)  After it dries, you will probably need to apply another coat so that you can’t see the prize through the paint.

And that’s it! Easy, cheap, and fun!

If you want easier, you could go the scratch off sticker route! I bought these when I helped my daughter make a scratch off present for her boyfriend, and they worked amazingly! It was so much faster than the painting I had always done before.  If you’re the one making the scratch offs, I definitely suggest the stickers.  But if it’s the students making them, use the paint! It will be much more fun (and handmade) for them!

Language Arts teachers, while you’re getting into the holiday spirit, check out our blog post about 5 engaging holiday read alouds and activities that you can use with your students during the month of December! 

Are you stumped for how to keep your kids writing while they day dream about presents? Click on our blog post for 20 Christmas Writing Prompts that will have your students begging to write more!

Do you have any traditional holiday gifts you give to your students or have them make for their parents?  Share them with us!! Just leave it in the comments!

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