60+ Classroom Reward Ideas
Rewards are a fun way to motivate students and celebrate progress, but seeing as we aren't made of money, sometimes we don't know what to give. But no longer - this list includes plenty of fun, creative reward ideas that are free or inexpensive.
Rewards can be a great way to motivate students, but that’s not their only purpose.
When done right, rewards recognize and celebrate success and inspire us to keep working. Just be sure to pair them with intrinsic motivation. For example, instead of just handing a student a piece of candy, say, “Wow, I noticed you worked so hard on ______. Here’s a piece of candy to celebrate.”
Sometimes, however, we teachers are stumped as to what exactly we can use as rewards. I mean, it’s not like we have hundreds of extra dollars lying around to give away. So what can we do?
Fortunately, there are a ton of free or inexpensive rewards you can give your students. I’ve recently been inspired by my son’s 1st grade teacher who has over 40 creative awards he gives when students reach their AR goals.
So, we’ve assembled a list of ideas that can be used incentives or given as surprise rewards. Some work for younger students, some for older, and some regardless of age (you might be surprised how much teens enjoy seemingly “juvenile” rewards ?).
And with Christmas coming, these make great gifts for your class, too! (You can use this template here to make a tangible card to give your students.
ideas for individual student rewards
- A note (or email) of praise (written to the students)
- Positive note/email sent home to parents
- Homework pass (get to skip one assignment)
- Skip the odds pass (get to skip the odd-number questions on an assignment
- Delayed homework pass (get an extra day to complete an assignment)
- Piece of candy
- Dress down pass (get to wear casual clothes instead of school dress code/uniform)
- Jeans day pass (get to wear jeans instead of school uniform)
- Hat day pass (get to wear a hat)
- Bonus points
- Bake sale (buy students an item at the next school bake sale or fundraiser)
- Slippers (get to wear slippers to school)
- Teacher’s chair (students get to use your chair for the day/class)
- Other special chair (any unique/flexible seating chair they get to use instead of their regular one)
- Favorite shirt (students get to wear their favorite shirt instead of dress code/uniform)
- Go first all day (student gets to go first in everything that day)
- Lunch with the teacher
- Treasure chest (pick a prize from a prize bin)
- Favorite chips (you buy them a small bag of their favorite chips)
- Sit with a friend (student gets to sit by their friend of the class/day)
- Soda/juice (you buy them a can of soda or juice)
- Play a game with the teacher (during recess, free time, etc.)
- Stickers (teens enjoy these, too, even if they don’t admit it ?)
- Pizza Hut personal pan pizza (Use their free Book It program to reward reading goals)
- Award Tokens/Charms from Fitness Finders
- Learning buddy (get to bring a stuffed animal as long as they are on task and not playing with it)
- Scatter spots (get to work/read wherever you’d like in the classroom as long as they are focused)
- New pencil
- Invite a friend to eat lunch in your classroom
- Write with a gel pen/special pen for homework
- Get to use your special pen for the class/day
- Classroom store (stocked with items from the dollar store and awarded for a certain number of classroom bucks. Or, ask families to contribute)
- Teacher’s Desk (sit at it for one hour/class)
- Show and Tell
- Gum (either give it to them or simply allow it for one day)
- Play a computer/tablet game
- Go to recess (or be dismissed from class) 2 minutes early
- Listen to music (allow music/headphones during independent work time)
- Decorate a section of the class whiteboard/chalkboard
- Have work displayed in classroom
- Help the librarian/media specialist
- Help one of the specials teacher
- Get to choose which learning activity the class will do (from your list of choices)
- Invite a parent or other adult to join them for a portion of the day
- Go to the library to select a book
- Be a helper in another classroom
- Choose music for the class to listen to together
- Name on marquee outside school (or special spot outside classroom in hallway)
- Read the morning announcements
- Read to a younger class
- Take home a class game for the weekend
- Free entrance to school ball game or event
- Earn chance to assist at sporting event
- Dress up as the school mascot for a game
- Introduce starting line up for a home game
- Special parking pass for the day (reserved spot)
ideas for class rewards
- Free seating day (everyone gets to choose where they sit)
- Have class outside
- Extra recess
- Free time (even 5-10 minutes is appreciated)
- Dance party
- Play a game
- Bring in / make food for the class
- Fun Friday (do something fun together as a class)
- Movie during lunch
give as a christmas gift
Want to give one of these as a Christmas gift? Click the link below to request your free editable template. The default gives students a free homework pass, but you can modify the template to say anything you'd like.
Request your free Christmas gift template
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