This article contains affiliate links. If you take action based on any of them, I’ll receive a referral fee, at no mark up to you. Here’s why – and what my son thinks about it.

You know that binder in the front office that contains a list of each teacher and staff members’ favorite things?

Parents that know about these lists love them because we really want to get you what you want. However, we also want you to be specific – and not just when it comes your favorite restaurant. (Don’t worry. We’ll get to that when it’s your birthday or just before Winter Break.)

Help parents help you

You spend too much money out of your own pocket on classroom supplies and learning materials. And back-to-school season is the perfect time to let parents help offset that.

Many of us want to do so, but you need to throw us a bone (and “anything for the classroom” isn’t going to cut it).

Even if you really will appreciate anything, we hesitate to make that choice for you. What if we pick something that isn’t your taste? Or worse yet, that you’ll think we’re telling you what you should teach!

Don’t leave it blank” thought starters

Not even sure to write? Here are some ideas:

Indoor recess toys and activities.  If you’d like to add to your collection (or replace a former class favorite that’s now beyond repair), list a few of your preferences on your Favorite Things form. Here are some quiet 🙂 games and activities:

Indoor recess toy and game ideas
  • Rubik’s Race
  • Blokus
  • UNO
  • origami (paper + book with ideas & instructions)
  • Monopoly Junior
  • checkers
  • chess
  • Extreme Dot-to-Dots
  • Sudoku puzzles
  • anything that involves makerspaces

For students who prefer to read, you also could include a magazine subscription, such as Highlights.

Print subscriptions to supplement lesson plans.  Yes, these can be expensive for one family to buy, but in some cases, a group of parents will purchase a gift together and split the cost. For example, Scholastic magazines aren’t expensive if a parent collects donations.

Gift cards to teacher resource sites.  Many online and bricks-and-mortar stores offer gift cards. And some, like Teachers Pay Teachers, usually have very reasonable prices, so you can get a lot of bang for your buck. I have a lot of TpT items saved on my Pinterest board for educators that relate to STEM units, history units, differentiated learning, back-to-school activities, and other topics.

STEM lessons and challenges with teacher reproducibles
STEM lessons and challenges with teacher reproducibles

Class donation site.  I know. I know. You probably hate asking for contributions, but don’t. You’re doing this for your students; not yourself. And you shouldn’t have to pay for games, differentiated-instruction lesson plans and fast-finisher activities, out of your own pocket. Many teachers set up crowdfunding projects through or (The latter is for public-school educators only.) Simply write down the link (or how to find it) on your Favorite Things form, then add a little note about what subscriptions, STEM challenges or indoor recess activities, their donations will help you provide for their children.

What? Your school doesn’t have a Favorite Things binder in the front office? Let’s change that! Simply click on the Free Download button below. (No strings attached.)

Subscribe to my blog for more great freebies!