Looking for inexpensive prizes and art projects? (like Oriental Trading)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Em_Catz, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jul 24, 2014

    Hey,

    I teach first grade and I'm looking for websites similar to Oriental Trading. OT is nice, but I ordered some items for my prize box last year and my class didn't seem to really like the prizes. They like the stuff I get from the Dollar Store much better, but I have almost 30 kids some years and it gets expensive. :(

    I'm also looking for simple art projects the kids can do, especially for Thanksgiving. All I saw on Oriental Trading was a "Things I'm Thankful For" tree which I started to get, but the reviews said it was flimsy.

    Anyway, if you all know some sites with good (but inexpensive!) prizes for kids and/or websites that have DIY suggestions for prizes and/or art projects it'd be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 24, 2014

    I've done a thankfulness wreath before. Bought a grapevine wreath at a craft store on sale (super cheap) and kids picked up pretty fallen leaves from the ground. We glued the leaves onto the wreath. And then we wrote on fall-colored thin strips of paper things that we were thankful for. Folded them up in a V and glued the creased part onto the wreath. Looked like ribbons coming out. Super cheap and super easy.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 24, 2014

    I loved having a goodie box, and my kids did, too. It was hard to find inexpensive items that they actually liked, though. I also gave clean desk awards, so I really needed plenty of items. I didn't like to buy from the thrift store because my kids would have turned up their noses. Try these sites for ideas:

    http://www.kipptoys.com/(S(0g1ynghsjfqmbpoq2bngdxtj))/default.aspx?gclid=CNmG94eo3r8CFWho7AodU00AeQ

    http://www.nationalprizeandtoy.com/?gclid=CNOPxsCo3r8CFYMF7Aody0EARA

    http://www.ustoy.com/category/bulk-novelties

    I can't say that I used them, so I'm not recommending the sites. I did used to get these tokens that you put on ball-chain bracelets - I used them as reading incentives and the kids collected them. I'm trying to remember where I got them. They were popular.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 24, 2014

    Ooh, I found it - www.fitnessfinders.net

    I got the little book charms and the feet charms in all colors, including glow-in-the-dark.
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 24, 2014

    Hit social media. Ask friends who are parents with young children to collect small toys (trust me, they have them) to donate. Ask them to save McDonald's toys too. I offer my kids a dollar to NOT take the toy from kids' meals. But I would give them to a teacher (so my kids can bring them home...hmmm...maybe that is not working out so well...). Older people sometimes order kids' meals as well-ask them.

    Speaking of that, I'm not a huge fan of toys in general. I googled odd prize box prizes:

    ◾Kool-aid single serving packets (the kids pour them in their water bottles-and you can make these yourself for CHEAP)

    ◾30 sheets from the massive pile of old cursive handwriting paper we no longer use, rubberbanded together (paper appeals to kids who like to practice cursive and/or play school; rubberband appeals to those who like to craft makeshift slingshots)

    ◾Baggie of 10 colored paperclips (baggie itself holds value, paperclips are a bonus)

    ◾Little readers (small 15 page books) from the reading series we used in the 90′s, bundled into groups of like books so kids can give copies to their friends and read together

    ◾Anything with ‘teacher’ written on it: mug, notepad, pen, etc.; these appear in the teacher’s lounge regularly as goodies from the union, local business donations, and so on

    ◾National Geographic magazines: the teacher who used to be in my classroom left a massive stack (these must first be previewed for nudity; they are popular after the kids learn to make collages, tessellations, and other projects)

    ◾Piece of my stationary that says ‘ONE COPY’; serves as a coupon for one photocopy of any school-appropriate drawing, story, letter, artwork, etc. that the child creates (this is done on my personal copier in the room: if I’m feeling generous, I let the child push the button for a little extra thrill; coupon must be redeemed during morning work time when I’m not teaching)

    Be creative with coupons. I had these:

    Three-for-Free - skip 3 problems in different sections on homework (middle school, so that might have to be modified)

    Half-for-Whole - do half of a homework and count it as a whole

    Trade Chairs - use my chair for the class period (or day)

    Class Pass - one student could buy a night of no homework. I like to offer things that students can do for others, and this was really popular. It was also very "expensive" so didn't happen very often. It also had to be scheduled a week in advance so I could plan (and most often, they would pick a night they had a game or something, which I had already planned to not give homework anyway, but they thought they were getting a huge break!)

    And others...I don't remember them all now. My goal was to NEVER pay for any prize. I started out stocking a prize box for 6th graders...ha. Even cheapo toys was too much for me-plus they don't really like them anyway.
     
  7. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jul 24, 2014

    Thank you for the suggestion for a Thanksgiving Craft 2nd Time and thank you Upsadaisy for the website suggestion. I see a lot of cute stuff already like bubbles and a chicken hat
     
  8. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Jul 24, 2014

    First - graders are easy to please with non - tangible items such as coupons like an above poster said. Some ideas:
    -sit at the teacher's desk during work or instruction
    -do work on a beanbag
    -choose a buddy to sit with
    -lunch with the teacher
    -"star student" crown or similar item to wear
    -a positive note or phone call home
    -homework pass
    -teacher helper for the day
    -computer time
    -read a book to the class
     
  9. chitown

    chitown Companion

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    Jul 24, 2014

    I buy little prizes at Party City. They have packs or individual items. The items probably start at 25 cents each, so that may be too much but I thought I would mention it. I would buy cute pencils and erasers there, they have teeny tiny notebooks, bracelets, bubbles, balls, stickers, etc. They also have little candies if you use that as a reward and if your school allows it.
     
  10. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Jul 24, 2014

    I'd also hit up garage sales and Salvation Army stores for cheap stuff for the prize box.

    As a parent, I actually preferred the simplest of holiday activities because they were more personal and I saved everything. For example, a cornucopia coloring sheet with space to write "I am thankful for...." meant more to me than the turkey made with 2 paper plates, handprint comb, and construction paper legs, beak, and wings. I suppose it wasn't as much fun for the kids though.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 24, 2014

    I tried to check out Walgreens after every holiday to get stuff 75% off. And their coupons for pencils and small items for holidays make them super cheap.
     
  12. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jul 25, 2014

    :thanks: everyone! You all are the best! I appreciate this so much because it gives me a starting point :thumb:
     
  13. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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