A significant component of any classroom management strategy is to provide fun rewards for students.
These types of positive reinforcement encourage consistency with behavior, procedures, and routines.
While your chosen classroom management plan may have built-in rewards, there’s always room to add a few more.
Following is a big list of fun rewards for students, specifically selected with elementary learners in mind.
Bookmark this page so that it’s handy whenever you need.
Related: If you’re looking to celebrate your entire class all at once, consider including within your classroom management system a couple of prizes from our super list of whole class rewards.
Exciting Rewards for Students
The following list of fun rewards for students highlight prizes for individual students (though many are appropriate as whole class rewards as well).
For entire class recognition ideas, see our full list of whole class rewards.
Quick Tip: Tasks associated with classroom helper jobs serve as fantastic fun rewards for students, especially if you have job titles not currently designated to any particular child.
So consider adding your specific classroom helper jobs (as appropriate) to the following list of fun rewards for students.
Rewards for Students (Free Options)
- Administrator Shout Out – Request that the school’s administrator drop by the classroom to personally congratulate the student on a job well done.
- Bring Stuffed Animal to School – For the day, allow the child to bring a stuffed animal as a friendly companion.
- Choose Classroom Job – Allow the student to choose whichever classroom helper job he’d like to perform. He or she will complete this particular job for a day or a week in lieu of his/her regular classroom helper task, working alongside the child who is currently appointed to fulfill that job duty.
- Compliment – A genuine, heart-felt compliment can mean the world to a kid at the right moment. Please note, however, that not all kids (or people in general) appreciate public praise. So know your students, and compliment wisely. 🙂
- Extra Tech Time – Coordinate with the technology instructor in setting aside a few extra slots in the computer lab during the semester for students to use the time as a fun reward. In preparation, compile a varied list of online games and websites appropriate for the student to explore during this block.
- Go Shoeless – During teaching and learning time, the child is allowed to take off his or her shoes.
- Half Homework Pass – The student completes either the odd or even-numbered problems from the homework assignment.
- King or Queen for the Day – Collect a few paper crowns from Burger King, or create your own using simple art supplies. The child wears the crown all day. Additionally, he or she receives royal treatments such as being first in line or sitting wherever he or she wants during work time.
- Lunch Bunch – What makes this prize different from the other fun rewards for students is that this one consists of a small, exclusive group of 3 to 4 deserving students who eat lunch with you for a day.
More Fun Prizes for Students That Won’t Cost You A Dime
- Lunch in the Classroom – This is a popular reward among elementary students. To make it even more special, allow the child to invite a friend along.
- No Homework Pass – Students have the opportunity to skip the day’s homework assignment.
- Positive Phone Call Home – During your planning period or after school, make a quick phone call to the student’s guardian in order to share a kind message or positive observation about the child.
- Read/Work in School Library – For your brilliant bookworms, this prize is a heavenly treat.
- Reciprocal Teaching – Have the child show off his/her expertise. For one (1) class period, the student teaches the class a targeted reading or math skill/strategy.
- Seat Swap – Two students swap desk locations for an entire school day.
- Sit In Chair During Carpet Time – Make the student feel special by allowing him/her to sit in a chair during floor time.
- Sit Next to Friend at Lunch – The student chooses a friend, from his class or another, to sit next to during lunch period. Ensure this arrangement is okay with the other child’s teacher.
- Star Student of the Week Bulletin Board – Choose a “star” student of the week, and place his/her photo on a special, beautifully-decorated bulletin board (preferably in the hallway for all to see).
- Teacher’s Desk – For one (1) class period, the student has the privilege of working at the teacher’s desk or in his/her chair.
- Text to Parent/Guardian – Send a nice text message to the child’s parent or guardian.
- Write In Pen for the Day– Especially in elementary classrooms, writing with a pen is a special treat.
Rewards for Students (Small Investment)
- Bookmarks – To make this prize even sweeter, include helpful content on the bookmarks such as reader response stems or encouraging phrases.
- Brag Tags – With these cute exclamatory notes, students get to positively brag about their good behavior without even saying a word. Placed on a lanyard or necklace of some kind, students collect congratulatory-themed tags throughout the school year as they exhibit expected behaviors. See how to set up and use brag tags.
- Bracelets – Decorative bracelets, appropriate for boys and girls, make fun rewards for students. Oriental Trading Company offers a wide variety from which to choose.
- Caught Being Good Ticket– A type of reward coupon (can also be a name tag or button), Caught Being Good is a ticket given to a student by surprise when the teacher notices him/her demonstrating a desired behavior.
- Fancy Pencil – Kids love writing with pencils that come in crazy designs. So keep a stash on hand. The more sparingly you give this prize as a fun reward for students, the more special it becomes!
- Gold Medal or Trophy – Purchase a small plastic gold medal or trophy. The deserving student has the honor of taking it home for a day or a week.
More Rewards for Students That Cost Very Little
- “I Won” Balloon – Purchase one (1) inflated helium balloon with the phrase “I Won” written on it. Present it to a deserving student. The words “I Won” will prompt others in the school community to ask the child about what he/she has won. At that moment, the student has the opportunity to share what good thing he or she did to deserve recognition.
- Reward Cards (with Hole Punches) – Distribute a reward card to each student. As you observe a desired behavior, punch a hole in the child’s respective card. On the tenth hole punch, he or she receives whichever reward is designated on the card.
- Stickers – Keep a healthy stash of themed stickers in your prize box to give as fun rewards for students.
- Themed Pencils – Add a little pizzazz to writer’s workshop with seasonal and themed pencils.
- Trinkets – Oriental Trading Company offers a generous selection of inexpensive prizes that can serve as fun rewards for students. Store the items in a prize box or bin from which students can draw.
- Chew Bubblegum – Allow the student to chew bubble gum while working.
- Pop Rocks™ – Your elementary students will go nuts over these “explosive” candies. Watch them enjoy the sizzle and pop of these fun edibles.
- Yummy Jar – Take a medium-sized mason jar, and fill it with small treats such as Gummy Life Savers, Dum Dums, Now and Laters, bubblegum, etc. Students choose one (1) treat from the jar as a reward.
Outdoor Rewards for Students
- Tether Ball with the Teacher – If you’re fortunate to work in a school that has tether ball equipment on its playground, use it as a fun reward for students. What makes this high-energy prize so much fun is that the honored student will play a round or two against you! Classmates will be excited spectators.
Digital Options for Rewarding Students
The following fun prizes serve well as both physical and digital rewards.
- Brain Breaks – Though these mental rests are normally part of daily instruction, grab a few of the more popular ones to use as fun rewards for students. See our list of brain breaks for elementary kids.
- Certificate Rewards – Hand out a certificate of recognition award to your little ones whenever the moment is well-deserved.
- Dress Up Day – Everyone dresses as a character from a favorite book.
- Extra Credit Coupons – Upper elementary teachers may find this reward useful. Designate a set point value to each extra credit coupon (e.g. an extra 5 or 10 points).
- Kind Note Home – Send a note or email to parents with a celebratory message about the child.
- Lunch With Teacher – You eat in the cafeteria with the student. Or choose a spot in an outdoor eating area.
- Read Aloud – The student chooses a favorite book to read aloud to the class during a designated time, preferably reader’s workshop.
- Reward Coupons – Whenever you observe great behavior, distribute or allow students to choose a reward coupon . Be sure to maintain a variety of coupons so that prizes remain interesting and fresh.
- Show & Tell – The student shares with the class a special treasure or souvenir. It may be wise to exclude toys from the list of options.
- Wild Card – Allow a student to choose any fun reward his or her heart desires. To reduce selection paralysis, consider utilizing a choice board filled with a variety of fun rewards for students.
You’re All Set With These Fun Rewards for Students
An essential element of any decent classroom management plan is celebrating students’ behavioral achievements.
Recognize their efforts, progress, and wins with these fun rewards for students.
You’re sure to find a prize to fit every preference and situation.
Do you have in mind additional rewards for kids?
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.