The Ultimate Guide to Back-to-School Gift Ideas for Teachers, Students, and Parents

The Ultimate Guide to Back-to-School Gift Ideas for Teachers, Students, and Parents

The Ultimate Guide to Back-to-School Gift Ideas for Teachers, Students, and Parents

As summer winds down and the new school year approaches, it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school preparations. Whether you're a teacher, student, or parent, having the right supplies and gifts can make the transition smoother and more enjoyable. Etsy, with its vast array of unique, handmade items, offers some of the best back-to-school ideas and is my go-to for handmade and unique gifts. This gift guide will explore the best back-to-school gifts, focusing on savings, supplies, and classroom essentials under $50, as well as personalized gift ideas for teachers and students.

10 top gift ideas for back to school from Etsy
*Items from the above gift guide image are linked at the end of this article. 
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Back-to-School Savings

Budget-Friendly Finds on Etsy

Etsy is a treasure trove of budget-friendly back-to-school items. You can find everything from custom notebooks to personalized pencils that won't break the bank. Many shops offer discounts and bundles, making it easy to find quality items at a fraction of the cost. Be on the look out for shops that offer free shipping or discounts for bulk orders, especially useful for teachers looking to stock their classrooms.

Etsy Coupons and Etsy Promo Codes

Many Etsy shops offer promo codes and coupons, especially as the back-to-school season ramps up. Signing up for newsletters from your favorite shops can also give you access to exclusive deals and early bird discounts. Much like our Art 2 the Extreme® newsletter, shops love sharing new products to be released before August. Keep an eye out for Etsy’s seasonal sales events, where you can snag great deals on back-to-school essentials during the months of July,  August, and September.

Child in striped rainbow shirt holding out a name crayon set that spells JAYLA. Shop custom name sets from Art 2 the Extreme.

Back-to-School Ideas and Supplies

Personalized Notebooks and Planners

Teacher planner with a happy face and floral background. This is a weekly planner from Etsy to plan out weekly lessons.

One of the most popular back-to-school gifts on Etsy are personalized notebooks and planners. These make great start of school gifts for students and help keep them organized throughout the year. Choose from a variety of designs, from minimalist to colorful and fun, and add names or motivational quotes to make students feel extra special.

Custom Pencils and Pens

Custom engraved pens for classroom. Shop Etsy back to school gift guide finds.

Custom pencils and pens are practical and thoughtful gifts that students will use daily. You can find pencils engraved with students' names, inspirational messages, or even fun designs. These small yet meaningful items can make a big difference in a student's school day.

Art Supplies

Custom crayon name set that spells out MANNY in rainbow crayon multicolors. Image is styled with school supplies such as pencils, a composition notebook, and paper on a red background.

For the budding artists, Etsy offers a range of unique art supplies. From custom crayon names to hand-painted pencil cases, these items are sure to inspire creativity. Art 2 the Extreme®, for example, provides a fantastic selection of custom crayons that make wonderful back-to-school student gifts. You can find our custom crayon collection on Etsy or shop with quicker savings and quicker shipping by shopping direct on our main crayon shop website.

Personalized Gift Ideas for Teachers

Custom Tote Bags

Lady holding a beige and cream colored tote bag. Teacher name Mrs. Miller is written in black script and a red apple is to the right of the name super small.

Teachers carry a lot of supplies to and from school, and a sturdy tote bag can make this task easier. Etsy offers a variety of custom tote bags that can be personalized with the teacher’s name, a favorite quote, or even a custom illustration. These bags are both practical and stylish, making them a perfect gift.

Personalized Mugs

Custom white mug from Etsy. Test says "your text here" indicating that you can customize this basic white mug for a teacher gift. Text is shown with three cool colors in the green family on one mug and warm colors of mustard yellow, a pale orange, and a more pinkish color on the other mug.

A personalized mug is a classic gift that teachers will appreciate. Whether it’s for their morning coffee or afternoon tea, a custom mug with their name or a heartfelt message will brighten their day. Etsy has a wide selection of mugs, from simple designs to more elaborate ones with hand-painted details. As a former teacher, I personally like to fill my mugs with a gift card and candy for that “above and beyond” gift addition. Mugs are awesome, but an Etsy gift card to pair is even better!

Custom Stamp Sets

Hand-carved stamp from Etsy that says Miss Smith is so PROUD of you. There are three other hand-carved steps displayed that say WOW, Great Job, and Well done that are smaller.

 Teachers often need to mark papers, and a custom stamp set can add a personal touch to their grading process. You can find stamps with phrases like “Great Job!” or “Please Correct and Return,” as well as stamps with the teacher’s name or a custom design. These make grading papers a bit more fun and personalized.

Handmade Jewelry

6 oval initial necklaces on white. Each necklace has one letter displayed. Samples are letter M, H, A, K, B, and Letter K.

For a more personal touch, consider gifting handmade jewelry. Etsy has a plethora of options, from personalized name necklaces to custom bracelets. These pieces can be customized with the teacher’s initials, name, or even the school’s name. It’s a thoughtful way to show appreciation for all they do. My personal favorite go-to shop for jewelry is Jill Makes. I own several pieces including this necklace, these earrings, and this bracelet!

Image of four colorful rainbow crayons that say doodle, create, color, and imagine.

What Are Some Personalized Gift Ideas for Teachers?

Personalized gifts show that you’ve put thought and care into your selection, and Etsy is the perfect place to find these special gifts. Here are a few more personalized gift ideas for teachers:

Personalized Sticky Notes Holder

Two wooden engraved sticky note holders that say thank you for making a difference every day. The teachers name is up top.

Sticky notes are a classroom staple, and a personalized way to display and store them with a special touch. Teachers use a sticky note for reminders, notes to students, or marking important pages. You can find personalized sticky note holders in a variety of colors and designs on Etsy, many of which can be personalized with the teacher’s name or a custom message.

Custom Bookmarks

Bookmark from Etsy that says Mrs Smith in a wire-formed design. Bookmark is black and lays across a book.

For teachers who love to read, custom bookmarks make a thoughtful gift. These can be personalized with the teacher’s name, a favorite quote, or even a design that reflects their interests. Etsy offers bookmarks in various materials, including wood, metal, and leather, ensuring you can find one that suits the teacher’s style.

Back to School Student Gifts

Personalized Backpacks

Pink custom backpack for school. Girl about 4th grade is wearing a pink backpack outside with custom patches and letters that say BMG.

A personalized backpack is a fantastic first day of school gift for kids. Etsy offers a wide range of backpacks that can be customized with the student’s name or initials. These backpacks are available in various colors and designs, making it easy to find one that matches the child's personality. Want to be a little more low-key? Custom patches or personalized keychains might be the way to go for a child as well!

Custom Lunchboxes

Four solid colored lunch boxes on a pink background. Colors shown are bluejeans blue, brown, light pink, and mustard yellow. Names are embroidered simply on the front.

Make lunchtime fun with a custom lunchbox. These can be personalized with the student’s name and come in various designs, from superheroes to animals. A personalized lunchbox ensures that their lunch is always easy to identify and adds a touch of excitement to their school day. If you are looking for a more plain, but colorful option, these lunchboxes by WAAMIndustries are my favorite and eco-friendly.

Four neutral colored wax lunch boxes that are eco friendly on a white background.

Personalized Water Bottles

Close up of hand holding a custom white water bottle with a colorful, personalized customization with the name Harper on it.

Staying hydrated is important, and a personalized water bottle is a great way to encourage this. Etsy has a wide selection of water bottles that can be customized with names, favorite colors, or even fun designs. These bottles are durable and perfect for class use. If you have a favorite water bottle already such as a special Stanley brand water bottle or Owala water bottle, custom water bottle stickers will be the way to personalize!

Personalized T-Shirts

Personalized O is for Olivia shirt in black. Little girl raising her arms, wearing a backpack and a custom tee shirt for the first day of school.

Personalized T-shirts make great back-to-school gifts and can be worn on the first day of school to make a statement. These T-shirts can be customized with the student’s name, grade, or a fun design. Etsy offers a variety of options, ensuring you can find the perfect T-shirt for any student.

Art 2 the Extreme’s Back to School Gift Guide

10 back to school gifts you can find on Etsy!

Art 2 the Extreme® has created a comprehensive gift guide featuring some of the best back-to-school gifts available on Etsy and beyond over the past few back-to-school season. This guide includes everything from creating custom crayon names to personalized notebooks and college planners. It’s the perfect resource for finding unique and thoughtful gifts to celebrate the start of school season from the Etsy Gifting Guru herself!


  1. Pencil and Rainbow Ball Garland by WoolJamboree
  2. Personalized Acrylic Name Keychain by JillMakes
  3. Giant Letter K Rainbow Crayon by Art2theExtreme
  4. Pencil Bow Tie by Xoelle
  5. First Day of Pennant Flag by byCamiMonet
  6. First day of School Sign by MapleandBlissCo
  7. Custom Notebooks by BeenThereTaughtThat
  8. Personalized Pens by MReneeArtandDesign
  9. Custom First Day of School Shirt by NKKApparel
  10. Acrylic Monthly Dry Erase Calendar for Wall By GirlFridayAcrylics
*I totally have several wall dry erase calendars and doodle boards from GirlFriday Acrylics and they are SO AWESOME

School Gifts Highlights

In conclusion, back-to-school preparations are made easier and more enjoyable with the unique and personalized gift options available on Etsy. Whether you’re shopping for teachers, students, or parents, you can find thoughtful and practical gifts that will make the first day of school and the entire school year special. With Art 2 the Extreme®’s gift guide, discovering the perfect back-to-school gifts has never been easier.

Learn the colors in Spanish! This Original Rainbow Crayon® gift for kids is perfect for the classroom. Each of the 9 oversized, solid-colored crayons has the color name in Spanish.

Don't forget to leave room to buy a custom name set for Estelle, Leonard, Lou, Chas, or another challenge of unique names to spell! Ready to get started with a custom crayon order? Head on over to our crayon shop for colorful and personalized crayon gifts they will love to gift their friends for the new school year!

Girl in pink dress holds a custom name crayon set that spell LENNIX on a purple background.

We Share More Finds!

Are you a teacher, ready to prepare for the new school year? Check out the Clear the List 2024 post where you can enter your Amazon wish lists, books needed for your classroom, and more fun school gifts for your young students.

Image of school supplies and custom crayons with a. graphic that says Clear the List 2024-2025

If your favorite color is purple and you are an elementary teacher or art teacher, you might like our post about the upcoming Harold and the Purple Crayon movie film. I am a huge fan of the executive producers and the end credits can't be missed. Check out the world of Harold and the Purple Crayon movie and Art 2 the Extreme's purple crayon party page.

Purple birthday party decorations and favors to celebrate the Harold and the Purple Crayon movie.

Looking for more back to school ideas for a student? Check out our additional gift guide!

10 back to school gift ideas for the first day - Rodney Dangerfield, Thornton Melon
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