Here is a list of free and inexpensive student rewards that will save teachers money. Teachers love to reward their students! Offering classroom rewards however can quickly add up and become quite an expense for teachers. I hope this post helps educators to continue to reward their students without burdening their wallets.
Free Alternative Seating Rewards
A fantastic free and inexpensive way for teachers to both save money and reward students is to permit students to sit somewhere other than their daily designated spots. This incentive can range from simply moving their own seat to allowing them to sit in some of your other seat options that kids would just be tickled to sit in for the day. When I read to students I often sit in a rocking chair. The kiddos just love having an opportunity to sit in it to do some of their work. I also have some cushions I use during our daily 5 activities. I suggest providing students with a clipboard when they choose a seating opportunity that does not have a surface conducive for written work.
Let students sit
- with a friend during class time
- in rocking chair or other special seat you may have for read-alouds or similar
- at teacher’s desk/chair
- with a stuffed buddy
- on floor/rug in a special area (add a pillow or cushion for extra incentive)
Special Lunch Buddy Incentives
Another great free and inexpensive student reward is to permit students to have a special lunch buddy for the day. Be sure to check with your staff before offering to let a student have lunch with them.
Let students have lunch with
- a friend
- a teacher
- the principal
- a custodian
- the cooks
- a relative
- the vice principal
- the class outside (great for a whole class reward)
- in the classroom (great for a whole class reward)
A couple of other inexpensive Lunch Rewards are
- drink a special drink at lunch
- eat a special snack at lunch
Reward Students with Inexpensive Special Supplies
Cheap Special Writing Tool Reward
Out of all my rewards, this is my student’s favorite, they absolutely love these fun writing tools. A definite fan favorite out of all my free and inexpensive student rewards! We as teachers know how excited we get about office supplies especially our ‘writing tools’, the kiddos can be just as excitable with these! This inexpensive reward can be as simple as giving permission to write with a crayon, marker, pen, or colored pencil. My students always tend to gravitate toward this reward the most, so over time I started picking up different writing tools occasionally to keep them interested. I have a bucket of different writing tools that my students pick from when they choose this reward. The Dollar Tree is a fabulous place to start a collection for the reward.
Special Supply Caddy filled with Inexpensive Materials
Set up a small office supply caddy at the beginning of the school year that students can choose to use at their seats for the day as a reward option. I keep the supplies simple, a few stickers, pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters, markers, white-out, scissors, glue dot roller, sticky notes.
Time and Technology Rewards
We ofter structure every moment of time that students are with us in the classroom. A fantastic free student reward is to give them the opportunity to choose how they will spend a bit of this time.
- Extra free time
- Class chat time
- Coloring time – keep a small tub of inexpensive coloring books that students can choose pages from
- Personal Craft time – keep a small tub of art scraps and supplies that students can take to their seats for a desinate time or some small inexpensive all in one crafts from the Dollar Tree
- Game Time – let student chose a particular game for the class to play
- Extra Ipad Time
- Extra Computer
Special Apparrel Incentives
Allow students to wear
- a hat all day
- no shoes at their seat
- slippers at their seat
- a costume – dressup
- a cape
- a crown
- pajamas to school
More Free and Inexpensive Student Rewards
- No Homework Pass
- Half an Assignment Pass
- Teach a lesson to the class
- Read a book to the class
- Show and Tell
- Read to another class
- Choose a brain break – Gonoodle is a fantastic free site for fun brainbreaks that include guided exercises, dances, workouts, and so much more! We also love using Fluency & Fitness+!
- Choose a class job for the week
- Select a class art project – Art for Kids Hub – Is a fun Youtube channel where students follow along drawing age appropriate pictures!
- Pick a game at PE
- Select a whole class game
Organizing Class Rewards
To help keep my rewards organized I use these free printables for coupons. These are helpful when a child might earn a reward that will not be used immediately. So if you only wish to hand out rewards at a particular time of each day, you can just pull out this container and allow students to select their reward and then later produce the coupon to partake in the reward. There are a lot of free printable coupon options on Teachers Pay Teachers. Teacher Trap has a great set of coupons that is very printer-friendly! For a more colorful option check out FlapJack Educational Resources on TPT for some superhero-themed coupons.
Another system I have used by others is to use clear card sleeves. The best thing about the three-ringed binder is that it keeps the coupons visible and less wear and tear when students are choosing their reward.
I hope this helps you to continue to reward your students!
For other money-saving tips for teachers check out my blog post Teachers Save Money at Dollar Tree.