National Teacher’s Day is a great time to really show appreciation for our young children’s teachers and their education. I believe we owe teachers our respect and gratitude by choosing to honor them with thoughtful and eco-friendly gifts. Homemade gifts by you and your children are always fun to make and fun to give, especially when they are practical as well.

Bath Salts. After a long day of teaching, what better than to enjoy a long soak in the tub and wash the stress away. Combine 1/2 cup Epsom or sea salts with 2 tbsp dried herbs or about 20 drops of essential oil in a glass jar and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Sugar Scrub. Help your favorite teacher get ready for summer with a luxurious sugar scrub. Besides the benefit of glowing skin, sugar scrubs are known to remove dry paint from overworked hands. Combine 1 cup of sugar (granulated or brown) with ½ cup oil (olive, sweet almond, jojoba, coconut). Optionally add 1 tsp vitamin E, 1 tsp cocoa butter, 1 tbsp honey, a few drops of essential oil, or a small amount of dried herbs. Put in a lidded glass jar.

Pencil Holder. We all have too many pens and pencils to corral, perhaps teachers more than most. Turn an empty metal coffee or food can into a pretty, useful gift. Make sure it is washed with no jagged edges. Measure and cut out paper of your choice then paste it on the can. Turn the kids loose decorating with whatever materials you have on hand.

Stationary. Using plain cardstock, paint, and a marker for finishing touches, your child can create animals or nature using thumbprints and a bit of imagination. Add envelopes and tie a stack of cards with ribbon for the perfect gift.

Cloth Napkins. For use at home or in the classroom, cloth napkins are always useful and easy to make. All you need is fabric (vintage, scrap, or new), thread, pins, and an iron. A sewing machine makes it easier, but you can hand sew too. There are loads of tutorials for beginning sewers like me!

Educational Foundation. Many school districts and private schools have foundations that rely on community donations. What better way to honor the work our teachers do than to make a donation in their name? Foundations, or parent-teacher associations, provide great opportunities for schools and in some cases are funding teaching positions. If your area doesn’t have such an organization consider starting one!

What do you think is the best way to show teachers our appreciation?