To encourage students to work together harmoniously, implement whole class rewards as part of your classroom management system.
Doing so prompts students to gently help each other in following classroom expectations thus creating a classroom culture that is positive plus collaborative.
The issue for teachers, however, is finding whole class rewards that students will love and won’t cost too much.
While food is a popular choice, there are plenty of creative ideas that teachers can use to motivate students to continue meeting behavior and academic goals.
The following list provides ideas for celebrating your entire class so show appreciation for consistently good classroom behavior.
No matter their preferences, you’re sure to find a good-fit for all types of students.
Fun Whole Class Rewards Teachers Love
1. Administrator Shout Out
The principal drops by the classroom to give a personal congratulations to students.
To make the moment more special, keep the visit a secret from students and/or have the administrator share the message during morning announcements via the school’s intercom.
2. Brain Breaks
While brain breaks are normal components of any teaching day, take a couple of your most popular ones to use as rewards for the entire class.
Use this list of brain breaks to brainstorm ideas.
3. Class Spirit Week
Rev up school spirit! With students, select a week and pick a theme for each day. Everyone dresses according to each day’s theme.
Suggested themes include popular authors, favorite read-alouds, math concepts, and book characters.
4. Coloring Pages
There’s no shortage of fun coloring pages online that you can print. They’re not only enjoyable for students but arguably therapeutic.
5. Comfy Day
This is the time to be ultra comfortable. Students wear pajamas and bring to school a pillow plus blanket if desired.
6. Crazy Hats
For a day, students wear a crazy hat to school. To make the event even more interesting, give each child a minute or two to share something unique about his/her hat.
7. Cup Game
Reminiscent of summer camp days, the “Cup Game” highlights students’ rhythmic and hand skills. Learning the steps is part of the fun!
Ideally, you’ll revisit this whole class reward throughout the year, as students need several opportunities to improve.
8. Dance Party
Choose an appropriate playlist, crank up the music, and let them move to the grooves while working.
9. Eat Lunch in Classroom or Outdoors
Play music, watch a video, and/or allow students to freely socialize during this time.
Make this reward even more special by ordering pizza or bringing a yummy dessert for the whole class.
10. Electronics Day
Students bring to class for a day their favorite technological devices.
Alternatively, allow students to use their favorite devices (cell phone, tablet, etc.) during the day.
11. Extra Computer Lab Time
Schedule a few 30-minute slots in the computer lab throughout the semester.
Compile a list of fun plus student-friendly websites and apps they can access when it’s time to partake in this special whole class reward.
12. Extra Points
Upper elementary kids will appreciate this prize. Gift learners with extra points to count towards a final grade.
Challenge students to see how well they can communicate without speaking.
Decide the class into two teams.
Teams take turns pantomiming ideas that the other team must guess correctly.
14. Free Seat Day
Permit them to sit wherever they want in the classroom, whether it be on the carpet, centers station, kidney table, bare floor, or at a friend’s desk.
15. Free Time
Give students about 30 minutes to an hour of class time to do whatever they wish.
They must keep their voices at appropriate levels and remain respectful of others.
16. Fun Hair Day
Students wear their hair in a crazy style. Alternatively, choose a decades theme (e.g. 50s hair or 70s hair), and they wear their hair in a style from that era.
17. Indoor Recess
Even if it’s sunny outside, let them stay indoors to play their favorite games, draw, chat, etc.
18. Lower Grade Mentors
Similar to reading buddies, mentoring showcases students’ “expertise” by allowing them to teach others (ideally a younger child) a specific skill, strategy, or how to complete a simple project.
This is one of the most impactful whole class rewards.
19. Comedy Hour
Students share their favorite knock-knock jokes with the class. See a list of funny knock-knock jokes.
Show a class-selected, age-appropriate film. Consider making an entire day out of it.
Additionally, you may allow students to wear slippers and pajamas, bring a pillow, and/or eat popcorn.
21. No Homework
They’ll receive no homework for a week or during whichever time you designate.
22. No Uniform
If you work at a school where uniforms are required, make “casual wear day” one of your whole class reward ideas. Be sure to first seek approval from the administration.
This is one of those rewards that captivate and challenge even your quick learners.
Try a few easier origami forms before advancing to more challenging ones.
24. Pajama Day
Students wear their PJs to school.
They can also bring along a blanket and pillow in order to work comfortably at their desks or on the carpet.
25. Cookie Decorating
Bring to class store-bought or homemade sugar cookies along with a variety of sprinkles, icing, and other appropriate toppings.
Students decorate their cookies according to the season or a chosen theme.
26. Musical Chairs
Who doesn’t love this classic, captivating game?
Turn on some music, and let the competition begin. The last man sitting gets bragging rights.
Find one of those 500 or 1,000-piece puzzles, and challenge students to work as a team to complete it within a certain amount of time.
28. Reading or Math Buddies
Do reading and/or math buddies as one of your whole class rewards. To do so, establish a reading or math buddy system with another class.
On designated days, your students will read a book or complete a math or reading activity with their buddies.
29. Reader’s Theater Play
Add a little drama to your list of prizes by having students “act out” these short plays in front of their grade-level peers or parents.
30. Show and Tell
Everyone brings to school a favorite treasure and receives the spotlight for 10 to 15 minutes, sharing with classmates fun facts or an interesting story about his/her item.
31. Special Guest
Invite a parent, community member, the principal, or a special staff member to your class to read a book, create a craft, perform an experiment, or share a project.
32. Arts and Crafts Day
For supplies, gather what objects you already possess.
Round up recycled materials or make requests via a classroom wish list.
Alternatively, purchase a few inexpensive items such as glue, construction paper, glitter, Popsicle sticks, etc.
Now guide students in completing a fun project.
33. Community Service
This prize option requires an investment of time and heart.
Students choose a local charity that they’d like to support by raising money.
A candy gram or flower gram campaign is a great way to start.
34. Virtual Roller Coaster Ride
A quick search on YouTube reveals lots of fun options.
35. Glow Dancing
Purchase from your local dollar store enough glow-in-the-dark bracelets, sticks, necklaces, etc. for each student to have one item. (You might want to add these items to your parent wish list).
Play some student-friendly music, turn off the lights, and let them have fun dancing plus shaking their trinkets to the beat.
36. Living Museum
Though this whole class reward requires a significant investment, it’s well worth it because students love it!
Choose a person-focused topic the class is currently discussing.
Students will select a person to represent in the museum, providing visitors with interesting facts about the individual.
What’s even more fun is that they have the opportunity to “become that person” by dressing in appropriate attire.
37. Open Mic
Get a hold of one of those kid microphones.
Then schedule one day in the week for students to showcase a special song, dance, poem, or another unique talent.
38. Prize Box
Make a visit to your local dollar store, and grab a bunch of erasers, pencils…any small trinkets learners might enjoy.
Store the items in a plastic bin or box, and have each student draw a prize.
39. Science/STEM Mania
Plan a super cool science or STEM- related experiment…one that’s a bit more over-the-top compared to the usual ones performed in class.
Ideas include making a solar oven, a volcano, or a geometric city.
I guarantee gooey slime will be one of your most popular whole class rewards.
You might want to leave this one for the end of the day because it can get a little messy. See how to make kid-friendly slime for very little money.
Navigate to the Oriental Trading Company’s website, and you’ll find a treasure-trove of relatively inexpensive items that make fantastic quirky whole class prizes.
42. Paper Airplane Competition
Model how to create a paper airplane. Then head outdoors, and have everyone stand at a designated starting point. On your signal, the children throw their airplanes forward.
The owner of the plane that flies farthest wins friendly bragging rights.
43. Water Fight
During hot weather, this whole class reward is refreshing just as much as it is fun.
Distribute 1 to 2 balloons to each student, and watch the craziness unleash.
44. Blowing Bubbles
Purchase an inexpensive bottle of bubble soap or make your own batch of bubble soap. Afterward, head outside, and blow bubbles while students run through them.
Even better, help them make a bubble wand (see above link) and then blow their own bubbles.
45. Colored Chalk at Recess
Grab a few boxes of thick, multi-colored chalk.
Students draw and sketch on sidewalks in appropriate places outdoors to their hearts’ delight.
46. Duck Duck Goose
If you’re looking to incorporate physical activity among your whole class rewards, this classic childhood game is a perfect fit.
Also consider other childhood games such as Red Light, Green Light; Red Rover; and Simon Says.
47. Extra Recess
What student doesn’t enjoy an extra 10 or 15 minutes of time to run around and socialize outside?
To make this class party reward even more special, schedule a time when no other classes are using the playground or courts.
Make it feel like a VIP experience.
Play a round or two of this exciting, team-building game.
Not only is this game fun, but it develops stamina, coordination, and balance.
49. Outdoor Reading
Move outside to a grassy area or under a shady tree. Students read independently or with a partner.
Also, consider performing a favorite read-aloud.
50. Soccer with the Teacher
For the first half of recess, you play a game of soccer (or another sport) with students.
Tetherball is another fun option that students love.
51. Work Outside
Spend one or two class periods teaching and learning under a shady tree or in a sunny spot.
Many students enjoy the change in routine, and it may even motivate a few to put forth more effort in their work.
52. Chew Gum
For the entire day, learners chew gum during class time.
With students, create a simple, no-bake recipe they’ll enjoy. Think “ants on a log”, fruit kabobs, ice cream sandwiches, etc.
54. Healthy Snacks
While foods are often frowned upon as whole class rewards, healthy snacks fit in well.
Think vegetable trays with dip, fruit kabobs, air-popped popcorn, yogurt with granola, or cheese with crackers.
55. Popcorn Party
Enjoy buttery or other flavored popcorn treats while working.
To make this whole class reward even more exciting, work with students to make delicious popcorn balls.
If your school has a subscription to this online resource, consider using parts of it as one of your whole class rewards.
Choose an engaging, high-energy activity from the app that students will enjoy.
Head to YouTube.
Search for student-friendly karaoke songs. Now watch as they happily stretch their vocal cords.
To take this up a notch, find one of those kid microphones so students can really get into the groove.
58. Make Pet Rocks.
Showcase students’ creativity by encouraging them to make a pet rock.
These fun art creations serve as a souvenir that students will cherish for a long time.
59. Online Jeopardy
For distance learning whole class rewards, this is one of your best options as it’s free and you have access to a variety of ready-to-use templates.
This reward is also a great idea if you want to keep prizes academic-focused.
60. Open-Book Quiz or Test
Shock students by announcing an open-book test or quiz as a reward option!
61. Social Media Shout Out
If your school has an active social media presence, reach out to the person in charge of managing it.
Request a “shout out” recognizing students’ accomplishments.
62. Class Game
Play a fun classroom game that everyone will enjoy. A good option is minute-to-win-it games.
With these tasks, students compete to determine who can complete a certain number of actions in a minute.
63. Seat Swap
For a day, students get the chance to sit at someone else’s desk.
64. Break a Piñata
If you can get your hands on a pinãta and a stick, this whole class reward is an absolute blast!
Students take turns hitting the piñata until the goodies fall out.
Even more exciting is to make the piñata with students.
65. Egg Racing Contest
Divide the class into two teams.
One by one, everyone on the team carries a raw egg on a spoon to the finish line without dropping it.
66. Potato Sack Race
Incorporate collaboration and humor into your whole class rewards by organizing a fun potato sack race outside.
Find student-appropriate karaoke songs on YouTube, give students a microphone (or just use a pencil!), and let students sing their hearts out.
68. Scavenger Hunt
Create a fun scavenger hunt around the school. This may be academic-related or just fun and silly.
This reward keeps students fully engaged because they will be anticipating each new clue.
69. Mix and Match Socks
Encourage students to wear crazy and/or mix-matched socks for the day.
70. Field Trip
While you may already have a pre-set number of academic field trips etched into the school calendar, add an extra special one as a whole class reward. Let students choose the place.
71. No Homework
Surprise students with a day or even a week of no homework.
72. Make Rice Krispy Treats
Celebrate good behavior with Rice Krispy treats as a whole class reward.
It only takes a few simple ingredients to make these yummy treats.
To make it more fun, allow students to add different food colorings to the mix.
73. Flashlight Frenzy
Grab a flashlight or two, turn off the classroom lights, and then zig-zag the lights around the room.
Students absolutely love it!
74. Virtual Field Trip
Have limited time to take a field trip? If so, no worries.
A quick search online yields numerous virtual field trip options that students may enjoy.
75. International Fair
If you work in an international school or simply want to expose students to different cultures, organize a class party or event where each child brings a dish from a particular country.
Students may even want to dress for the occasion and teach the class a few words in the country’s native language.
76. Board Games
Monopoly™, Sorry™, Candy Land™, and Connect 4™ are just a few of the board games that students may enjoy.
Add in Twister™ for a bit of humor.
You’re all set to highlight the accomplishments of students using ideas from this list of creative whole class rewards.
There’s a prize to fit every personality and preference.