Introduction: Child's Favorites: a Teacher Appreciation Gift

I was looking for a cute and thoughtful way to give a preschool teacher a small amount of money for Christmas.

After a Google search, I was inspired by 150 things we love about you. This project; however, was far too complicated for someone looking to spend $5 and have it ready by the next morning.

I created this relatively fast project that most parents could make with supplies they have in their house leftover from other projects and a few dollar bills.

Step 1: Supplies

Construction paper

Children's book

Cash

Masking tape

The amount of supplies you need will vary by how long your base book is.

Step 2: The Base Book

I had previously bought a box of about 30 little books at Goodwill. You could use any old book that your family doesn't use anymore or buy one at a local thrift shop. Children's books are 59 cents at our local Goodwill.

Simply cut out rectangles of construction paper to cover the images and words on each page of the book.

Make a small piece of masking tape into a circle and apply two pieces to the back of each sheet of construction paper.

Then stick the construction paper onto the book page.

This is a great step for even a small child to help with. They can choose one or many colors of construction paper and help stick the page down.

Step 3: The Thoughtful Part

Ask your child questions such as these:

What do you like about your teacher?

What is your favorite memory from class?

What did he/she teach you to do this year?

What makes you excited to go to class?

What will you most miss about this class?

Write or print out their ideas to add to the base book.

Then apply two similar tape circles to the back of each cutout piece of paper and stick to the construction paper.

Step 4: Start Folding

This would be a great part to have an older child help with as another way they are involved in the gift.

You can make the child's quote related to the origami object. For instance, "Thanks for introducing me to animal sounds!" could be accompanied by a frog.

Here are some instructables for making dollar origami:

Frog

Plane

Bow Tie

Heart or Fancy Heart

I also searched Youtube videos for "origami money" and found all sorts of clever ideas:

Christmas tree

Butterfly

Guitar

Use more rolled masking tape to stick the origami to the book pages. This is great because even if the origami is not "perfect" you can help create the shape you desire by sticking a little extra masking tape in certain places. For instance, the shirt wouldn't stay together quite right so I added a piece of masking tape in between the front and back half of the shirt.

Step 5: Tips and Extra Ideas

  • I've also previously made books which is another reasonable option if you have a little more time and energy.
  • Consider some inspirational education quotes. Clearly, there are lots of these on the internet. I went to the 6000+ education tagged quotes on goodreads.
  • I'd recommend getting some new crisp dollar bills from the bank. My crumpled ones worked, but the crisper bills looked much nicer and were easier to work with.
  • If you want to correlate the origami with the quote, don't feel limited to things you can completely make with origami. See the pumpkin picture with only a dollar stem.
  • You can use larger denominations of bills if you want to give more money.
  • A whole class could do something like this together with each child donating $1 and one quote.
  • The child could draw art on the page that has the money on it so that the teacher is encouraged to remove the money and use it!
  • Glue, glue dots, or a glue stick might work even better for assembling the book.
  • If you want to make a thoughtful gift that is practically free, you can also cut out construction paper in the shape of dollar bills instead of using real money as I did for part of the Christmas tree above.

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