Looking to freshen things up in the treasure box, add more items to the class store, or just need fun ideas to praise your students’ positive behavior? Look no further! Purchasing classroom rewards for your kids does not (and should not) have to hurt your budget. Flip your mindset: Think smarter, not more expensive! Your students will love it no matter what. Wrap it all up in one trip to Dollar Tree (or Dollar-ish Tree, as we call it these days), or buy in bulk online.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
This is basically a buy one, get two free deal! Bubbles are a classic for kids of all ages, especially in the spring.
Pop-its, poppers, sensory bubbles—whatever you want to refer to them as—this is what the kids want right now! Plus, they’re great for teaching, too. Check out 12 ways you can teach with pop-its.
3. Sidewalk Chalk
You can use chalk in a wide variety of ways in the classroom! Outside recess toys, chalk writing their spelling words, use in science experiments, or use as a classroom reward. Want to put them in the treasure box? Grab some plastic sandwich bags, put two or three pieces of chalk in each bag, and bam!
4. Motivational Stickers
You are not a teacher if you don’t pass out stickers! Dollar Tree has themed rolls but also generic motivational stickers. Put them on student work or hand out for students to wear. Be prepared, for some reason, stickers always end up on their foreheads!
5. Character Stickers
Encanto is the hot trend right now, but kiddos will also enjoy the Frozen, HotWheel, dinosaur, and Mickey Mouse stickers! Pick up a few sticker books from the coloring book section of the store. You can hand out stickers individually for classroom rewards or tear out a few pages for kids to take home. They will work hard to get their favorite stickers; that’s a guarantee!
6. Assorted Party Favors
My secret to saving money on classroom rewards and treasure box items: go for the party favors! You can find slinkies, whistles, trophies, plastic metals, rings, and so much more in quantities of four, six, and eight!
7. Pom-Pom Pens or Bulk Color Pens
Have you ever noticed students get so excited over the smallest things? My students LOVE using markers, colored pencils, colored pens, and glitter crayons. It is an incentive I use that when students work hard and try their best, they get to use the special writing tools. It works—they work so hard for them!
8. Ring Pops
If your school allows you to give students sweets, check out the candy aisle at Dollar Tree! You can find bags of Ring Pops, Twizzlers, lollipops, chocolates, and so much more! Kids will do anything for candy.
9. Glow in the Dark Sticks
If you haven’t tried a glow day yet , you are missing out! I love glow bracelets and necklaces and use them in a variety of ways in the classroom: Halloween, 100th Day, End-of-Year, and everything in between. I also add them to the treasure box, and kiddos snatch them up quickly! Most bags will have quantities of 4, but sometimes you can find bags that have a quantity of 6 or 8. Get more bang for your buck!
10. Stretch Crush Petz
These little Crush Petz are adorable! They are small, soft, squishy, and stretch to make for a simple, fun, toy for kiddos. They also make perfect desk pets. I currently have these in my treasure box, and the kids want to fight over them. This comes in a two-pack, however, I have seen a few come in a four-pack. Either keep the bag together as a bigger reward or split them up as individual prizes. Either way, they will be a hit!
11. Toy Cars
These may not be Hot Wheels, but the kids will still go crazy over them! You can find Hot Wheels at Dollar Tree, but it is usually just one car or one piece of a track. You can get these off-brand, but still great quality, toy cars in a three-pack for only $1.25!
12. Kids Modeling Dough
Though it is not the name brand, this dough will still do the trick! You can purchase four packs at Dollar Tree. They come in a variety of primary and pastel colors. You can use them as classroom rewards, make them part of a lesson (use as a manipulative in math, roll out the dough to create spelling words, etc.), or add them to the treasure box!
13. Water Bottles
Since COVID, schools have been encouraging students to bring their own water bottles to school. It not only helps decrease the spread of germs, but also saves time from students leaving the room for water breaks. Since they already need a bottle for the classroom, why not make these cute reusable bottles a class reward? You can even personalize them as inexpensive student gifts.
14. Pre-Inflated Foil Balloons
How do you celebrate student birthdays? I like finding reusable items students can use (and keep) in the classroom! You can find these pre-inflated balloons at Dollar Tree in a variety of themes: birthday, congratulations, thank you, etc. Let the birthday kid keep the balloon at their desk for the day, take a quick pic of a student holding the balloon when they reach a milestone to send to parents, or simply give the student the balloon as a reward for their hard work.
15. Door Signs
Dollar Tree is definitely branching out into the home decor department, so let’s embrace it! Every week, I am seeing more cute stuff I want to purchase for my students, like these door signs that come in a variety of designs.
Truth be told, as a parent, I hate slime. As a teacher, I love using slime as an incentive. Students will do anything and everything to get some time with slime or the chance to take their own slime home. Check out these Nickelodeon themed slime tubs for only $1.25!
17. Pencil Sharpeners
If your students are responsible enough to handle them, consider pencil sharpeners as a classroom reward. Add them to the treasure box or hand them out to the entire group. Kids will be excited that they get to sharpen their own pencils on their own time.
18. Motivational Pencils
Did you know Dollar Tree has a whole Teacher/School section? It is AMAZING! You can find so many things, including motivational pencils! These can be a great reward for students and works well with your budget since they come in packs of twelve.
Whether it be for perfect attendance, scoring high on a district assessment, or showing positive character traits, there is a certificate for it! These paper and cardstock certificates come in packs of 20 and are so adorable. You can find certificates in any theme and for any occasion!
20. Reward Cones
These plastic reward cones are cute and fun! When a student is doing a great job, place the cone on their desk. At the end of the day, you can collect the cones and reuse them the next day. Sometimes we forget that kids enjoy praise and recognition even in the simplest ways!
Want more classroom ideas? Learn all about Flashlight Fridays for a fun end-of-the-week activity!
And be sure to join our WeAreTeachers Facebook Deals group for more budget-friendly classroom products.