Best Back to School Gift Ideas for Students and Teachers

Kids and teachers are heading back to school this year with more excitement than ever. Whether schools are doing in-person classes or a hybrid model, everyone heading back to class will need to stock up on school supplies. There’s truly nothing better than going back to school with personalized gifts for kids that make returning to learning feel more special. Our fresh assortment of school supplies, including kids’ backpacks and kids’ lunchboxes offer students a fun way to prepare for the new year and a connection to home that they’ll need as they go off to a new grade.

Also on the back to school list this year are gifts for teachers — who deserve so much credit for teaching our kids despite the split between in-person learning, remote school, and hybrid classes. For teachers, we recommend some of our custom thank you gifts and personalized office gifts that show how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication. For all teachers and students heading into a new school year this guide is your one-stop-shop for ideas on personalized gifts and school supplies.

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Kids’ Backpacks and Lunchboxes

Kids sitting on bench with backpacks, lunch boxes, and personalized water bottle

Shutterfly’s new kids’ backpacks are so unforgettable, we hope they never wind up in the lost-and-found. (And if they do, they will be easy to spot because they will have your kids’ name, initials, monogram, or even their photo if you choose to add them!)  While all of our backpacks can be customized for boys or girls, they are also all entirely gender neutral. You can choose designs that highlight hobbies and kids’ interests such as space such as our moon and stars blast off backpack or our dinosaur world backpack. Or find gift inspiration from kids’ passions, such as our bright rainbow backpacks and princess heart backpacks.

Designed for students age 6 and up, our new back to school carryalls are a roomy 17″ x 13″ x 6″ and include a laptop pocket for a device up to 15”. You’ll know your gift will fit because it has adjustable, padded straps for comfort. Plus, kids can keep their backpack neat and clean because they can be dry-cleaned or simply spot-cleaned.

To coordinate with personalized backpacks, our personalized kids lunch boxes are another one of Shutterfly’s great gifts for back to school. Available in a rainbow of colors, designs, and personalization options — including messages and photos — these lunch boxes are a sweet taste of home when kids are eating lunch in the cafeteria or on a field trip. Designed for kids 6 and up, our lunch boxes measure 9″ L x 7-1/2″ W x 3-1/2″ D and are insulated.

One of the trendiest items for back to school this year are kids personalized water bottles. Made of insulating white-coated stainless steel with a straw top, our kids’ water bottles hold a hydrating 18oz (532mL) and are safely BPA, PVC and Phthalate-Free. You can personalize them to coordinate with your kids’ backpack and lunch box, or choose a completely fresh design and add your kid’s name, photos, messages, graphics.

Kids’ School Supplies

Orange camo kid's backpack, folders, and other school supplies.

For every kid heading back to school, school supplies are always the most fun part. At Shutterfly, you can create super cool customized school supplies for kids that will motivate them for learning. For starters, our larger-sized, 1-subject notebooks measure 8 ½” x 11” and include pockets to store loose papers, plus a chipboard back for durability. Notebooks can be coordinated with our backpacks, lunchboxes, personalized pencils, and water bottles if you choose. Or, you can simply coordinate them with our kids folders. If you choose not to match all of your kids’ school supplies, you can select unique notebook designs as back to school gifts.

Gifts for Teachers

School teachers deserve major props for all of the work they do for our kids. Show your appreciation for your kids’ teachers this year by making teacher gifts that will be uniquely theirs. In a classroom setting, it’s so easy for things to go missing, but if your child’s teacher’s supplies display their name, photo, and other unique identifiers, it’s much more likely their belongings will not go wandering off.

Teachers, of course, do lots of writing, so paper desk products are a great place to start with your gift giving. We offer a huge assortment of office accessories that will help teachers stay organized and on-track (the better to teach kids with!). You can select monthly planners for your kids’ teachers and personalize them with a photo of the whole class or the school plus add their name, monogram, or initials. Other much appreciated desk accessories for teachers include blank custom notebooks and cute, custom Post-It Notes. These gifts for teachers — just like  almost everything else Shutterfly offers for back to school, including our calendars and notepads — are fully customizable for the ultimate in teacher appreciation.

If you’d like to say “thank you” to a teacher with the gift of organization, you have a lot to choose from on Shutterfly. You can choose something basic, useful, and thoughtful such as personalized pencil and pen holders. Made of high-quality pressed fiber wood and measuring 4″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″, these rustic catch-alls corral a variety of items neatly and will make any teacher’s desk look so much more organized. Pen and pencil holders are customizable with a range of color options, messages, photos, and of course, the teacher’s name.

Another office organization essential teachers love to get are our neat-and-tidy desk caddies. With one large space and two small ones, our high-quality pressed fiber wood caddies keep stationery and paperwork organized nicely. You can add photos, sentiments, and other personalization options to make the teacher feel special and appreciated. Desk caddies measure 7″ x 5″ x 7″ and can be coordinated with our pencil and pen holders if you choose.

If you really want to show your appreciation with gifts for your kid’s teacher, anything to help them keep their grades, homework, tests, and other paperwork together is a huge help. To stay organized on the go, lots of teachers use clipboards that grip with a strong metal clip. You can say “thank you” to the teacher by personalizing clipboards with photos, names, graphics, and inspirational and motivational quotes.

Another inspired teacher gift idea are glass paperweights that they can use to accessorize and organize their desk at school or at home. Measuring 3” x 3”, our paperweights are glass with a felt bottom. They create a standout addition to any desk and can be personalized with photos and text to dress up the teacher’s work space. Paperweights are thoughtful keepsakes that teachers will use and treasure for years to come.

Photo Gifts for Teachers and Students

Students on first day of school with selfie frame

While school supplies and desk accessories make perfect gifts for teachers and students, first day of school isn’t complete without photos. And Shutterfly truly excels at everything related to photos to capture school memories.

One of the trendiest items for this back to school season are selfie frames that are available in a huge selection of colors and designs. You can personalize the frame with details about the first day of school with our new school adventures selfie frame. Just add your child’s name and other details so that they can pose for photos that preserve memories of the day. Trust us, friends and family will love seeing pics of the kids posing for these selfies and kids will feel so grown up! Selfie frames are made of 4mm white corrugated plastic and measure 24” x 36” with a cut-out of 21.75″ x 21.25″.

No school supplies list is complete without electronic devices, so you can count on Shutterfly to offer stylish tech accessories with a personal twist. For both teachers and students, our mousepads are an especially thoughtful gift because you can add photos, messages, text, and graphics to make homework time feel, well, homey. Made of high-density foam and measuring 7.75″ x 9.25″ our mousepads are available in a wide range of colors and designs. Just click “personalize” when you find your favorite mousepad, upload your photos, and create a sweet gift for your student or a teacher.

If your kids will be heading back to school with their own smartphones, giving them their own custom phone cases is a smart idea. Available for most models of Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones, our phone cases are stylish, cool, and durable. Slim and lightweight, they are made of tough, polycarbonate plastic to protect kids’ phones against damage. To personalize phone cases, you can choose from a range of designs and layouts, and add photos, your kid’s name and even a monogram.

Closing Thoughts

Back to school season is an exciting time for both kids and teachers. Creating personalized school supplies and gifts is a treat that makes everyone feel more motivated and encouraged to do their best. Starting school with a cool new backpack, lunch box, folders, notebooks, and pencils all customized with your name, photos, favorite color, and zippy graphics is the best feeling in the world. And for teachers, receiving a customized gift from parents may just be the thoughtful gesture they need to feel appreciated.

More Resources:

See All Back to School Gifts and Supplies

Shop Best Gifts for Kids

See Personalized Backpacks

Browse Custom Office Accessories

Check Out Kids’ Lunch Boxes