Eco-friendly thank you teacher gifts
As the school year draws to a close, we’ve got our thinking cap on for what to give teachers as a thank you gift. There is of course the classic ‘thank you’s’ of chocolates, flowers, vouchers etc but how about an eco-friendly gift which your child can get involved with?
Thank You Teacher Gifts
Teachers do a fantastic job and many children and parents want to give a thank you gift at the end of the school year. When I used to drop the children off on the school yard, I frequently saw other parents, so we would all club together by putting some money into a collection to get one larger gift as a thank you. Usually this was vouchers for their favourite store or an afternoon tea treat at a lovely venue.
However, as my children have got older and I’m no longer on the school yard to see other parents, clubbing together isn’t really a possibility. There’s still the classic thank you’s of chocolates, flowers, vouchers etc but how about an eco-friendly gift which the kids can get involved with?
Growing a gift
The idea actually came from my daughter’s old school. Her teacher had a spider plant in the classroom and when her class left the school, the teacher planted the baby spider plants (are they really called spiderettes?!) and gave one to each child.
My daughter has lovingly cared for hers, potting it on and nurturing it. Growing a gift has so many benefits – it’s something which she has to take responsibility and care for (gardening has so many therapeutic benefits in itself), it’s a thoughtful reminder, it’s eco-friendly and has a (hopefully) fairly long lifespan.
So with this in mind, as a small thank you gift to the teachers, my youngest and I decided to take some cuttings from our plants, pot them on and give them to teachers as a small gift of her appreciation – for helping her grow.
What to do
There are so many variations on this theme – from house plant cuttings, garden plant cuttings, to buying packs of seeds to give or sowing the seeds with your children at home. This does need some forward planning as you need to make sure the cuttings take and will grow or the seeds have germinated but there’s still time.
We decided to take cuttings from our money tree plant (it’s the huge one in the photo above!) but cuttings from spider plants and succulents are also ideal. You could also try garden herbs such as rosemary / thyme. If you needed a quick fix you could buy some bulbs or plug plants and pot those on too.
My daughter has become very eco-conscious so wanted to re-use as much as possible so we cleaned old plastic pots but did buy a new ceramic plant pot. You could even recycle an old can such as a soup can. Obviously it would need sterilising, peeling the label off to expose the tin. You’d need to punch some holes in the bottom for drainage, but you could make a wrap to go around the tin and decorate this with a picture or use some ribbon or pretty wrapping paper. If you bought a terracotta pot, you could get crafty and decorate this too. We opted to re-use an old plastic plant pot and buy a ceramic plant pot holder.
Take a Cutting
Once you’ve decided on the plant, take a cutting. We cut several shoots from the plant, took off the bottom few leaves so they wouldn’t sit in the compost and rot and simply put them in a mix of compost and grit. I know some advise to use rooting powder but for the plants I have, they are apparently the easiest ones to take cuttings from, so I didn’t do that and they have worked.
I also had an indoor Wandering Jew plant and had accidentally knocked a huge piece off so I potted it up and it’s growing! Within a few weeks the plant should start to root. Whilst I don’t profess to be an expert, you ought to see new growth and if you gently tug on the plant it will have some resistance which is an indication the plant has started to root.
Once you know it’s definitely growing, you can put it in your chosen pot, make a label with your child to put around the plant with the teacher’s name and a message from your child (such as; thank you for helping me grow) and make a hand made card too.
It does take a little planning and effort but that shines through with the gift. It’s fairly low cost (if you have the funds you could always buy more goodies) but the thought that has gone into it is perhaps the crucial aspect – especially with a hand made card and dedicated message from you and your child. Often it’s the thought and knowing you’re appreciated which is really important.