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Best Teacher Gifts from Kids

How do you thank those wonderful teachers who inspire and illuminate, stir and motivate? Here, families (and teachers too) think outside the apple and share their ideas of what teachers really want.

Best Teacher Gifts from Kids

Forget me not Pot

When it comes to thanking their teachers, second grader Ricky Potts and first grader Taylor Rae Potts of Columbia, South Carolina, have an annual tradition. At the end of the school year, each child makes his or her teacher a plant-your-own kit from a small flowerpot, a packet of forget-me-not seeds, and a plastic bag of potting soil. To boost the teacher's memory (in case the forget-me-nots don't quite do the trick), Ricky and Taylor Rae each color-copy a class picture, cut it out, and decoupage it to the sides of their pots. (Be sure to use a plastic pot, since water can seep out of terra-cotta pots and ruin the photos.) The finishing touch is a plant marker made from a craft stick with a message in marker or puffy paint that says, you guessed it, "Forget-me-not from Ricky (or Taylor Rae) Potts." Mom Kim confesses that they make extra Forget-me-not Pots for themselves: "I save them from year to year, lined up on the windowsill like little yearbooks."

Best Teacher Gifts from Kids

Self Portrait T-Shirt

"We can never show enough appreciation to those people who have just as much -- or maybe more -- influence on our children as we parents do," says Julie Walton, a New Providence, Pennsylvania, mom. Still, she, her son, Kenny, and the other parents and kids at their preschool did their best with this one-of-a-kind shirt for their teacher, Lois Davey. All 14 children got a 4- by 6-inch piece of paper, onto which each child drew a colorful self-portrait and signed his or her name ("Or tried to," Julie laughs). Parents then scanned the drawings into a computer and printed them, using a color printer, onto iron-on transfer printer paper (available at office supply stores). They trimmed the drawings and ironed them all over the front and back of a white cotton T-shirt. A simple message ("Thanks for a great year, Mrs. Davey"), which they printed out and ironed onto the front of the shirt, finished the gift. When the kids presented Mrs. Davey with this wearable scrapbook, there were tears in her eyes, Julie says.