Friday, May 2, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Gifts and Printables - Thanks for helping me grow

Teacher Appreciation Week is next week (May 5-9). 
I think teachers most appreciate heartfelt letters of thanks and appreciation from the kids (and their parents).  But that can always be supplemented with something small and fun, and something flexible like gift cards!
The kids helped me make these fun succulent terrariums as a big thanks for all their teachers last year. The reason for the delay? I wanted to make sure the plants survived - they did, I kept one of the fun planters for us, and I see some of the planters on teacher's desks at school!
It was a big hit with the teachers. 

This is a project in which kids can fully participate. Their hands are smaller than mine, so it helped out. They decided on potted succulents. The kids potted their own succulents a while back, and were familiar with the process. 

I had a hard time choosing containers, and decided to go with different kinds of planters, and loved them all.

In the pictures, you see tear shaped glass terrariums (Amazon) that can be hung (they are meant for air plants, but worked out perfect for my purposes), ceramic cups (Home Goods), wine glasses, and some hurricane lanterns (World Market) meant to be used with candles. Once we decided on the planters, I took the kids to Home Depot and got succulents to fit the planters.

Have these ready before you start.

  • Planter - something with wide opening will make it easier for you to plant and it is good for the plants - it won't accumulate moisture.
  • Succulent (or cacti) - the size of the plant will depend on the size of the planter
  • Gravel or small pebbles/stones
  • Sand (optional)
  • Activated Charcoal (Amazon)
  • Succulent or cacti soil mix
  • Glass beads, pretty stones and other accessories to pretty things up
  • Small paintbrush and straw if you want add sand as the top layer
  • Spray bottle

For drainage, I placed both gravel and activated charcoal. I think one or the other by itself will work, but I did not want to take a chance that the plants will rot and die! If it is a glass container, place colored gravel to pretty it up. 
1 to 2 inch of gravel, followed by a layer of the charcoal. Place a layer of the soil. Get your plant, and gently loosen the rootball a little. Place it in the planter, and cover with soil as required. 
After this, you can place colored sand, and create dunes or waves with the straw (blow the sand) and the brush. This will especially go well with cacti!
I figured with the kids, it might be better to skip this. We went for shells, pretty pebbles etc. Have your child write the teacher's name with a sharpie on a cork or a flat colored stone. For example, Ms. Grace's Garden. The surfaces were too small for my then 5 year old, so I wrote them.

Add a ribbon or bow, some pretty tags, and you are all done! 

We used some fun tags like "Thanks for helping me grow" and "You are my cup of tea" for the tea cup planters.

Please feel free to use the tags. Click here to download. 

Some tips - place your terrarium in a place where it gets direct sunlight for at least 3-4 hours. Don't water it often - check to see the moistness of the soil. When you do water, there should be about an inch of water at the bottom (with a glass container, it is easy to check the visible water in the gravel at the bottom!)

What are you planning for the teachers in your life?