BlogTeaching Resources30 Best Classroom Reward Ideas for Elementary Students

30 Best Classroom Reward Ideas for Elementary Students

Ever feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book to keep your students motivated and nothing sticks? You’re not alone! Let’s explore some fresh classroom reward ideas together—simple, creative ways to give your students the boost they need and deserve. Let’s turn those everyday challenges into opportunities!

SplashLearn: Most Comprehensive Learning Program for PreK-5

SplashLearn inspires lifelong curiosity with its game-based PreK-5 learning program loved by over 40 million children. With over 4,000 fun games and activities, it’s the perfect balance of learning and play for your little one.

Try for free

5 Importance of Acknowledging Student Effort

  1. Motivation and Engagement: Rewards help make school more interesting for students. When they know there’s a chance to earn a reward, they’re more likely to take part and stay focused.
  1. Behavior Management: Using rewards can help improve how students behave. When they receive something positive for good behavior, they’re more likely to keep it up.
  1. Positive Reinforcement: This method shows students that good things happen when they do well. It helps them connect learning and good behavior with positive results.
  1. Achievement and Performance: Recognizing students when they do well can motivate them to keep trying and achieve more.
  1. Building Relationships: Giving personal recognition can make students feel valued. This strengthens the bond between teachers and students, creating a supportive classroom environment.

5 Behavior Rewards for Elementary Students

Good behavior sticker board

Creating a supportive and positive learning environment is key for young students. Integrating behavior rewards for elementary students not only promotes good habits but also makes school a fun and rewarding place. Here are five effective classroom reward ideas that can help encourage and recognize positive behaviors in your students:

  1. Extra Recess Time: Who doesn’t love more time to play? Offering extra recess time as a reward encourages the whole class to work together for more fun. This group incentive for students not only boosts morale but also promotes healthy physical activity.
  1. Sticker Charts: Sticker charts are a classic and effective classroom reward idea. Every time a student exhibits good behavior, they earn a sticker. Filling up a chart can lead to a larger reward, making this a fun and visual incentive for students.
  1. Treasure Box: A treasure box filled with small toys and goodies can be a magical source of motivation. Kids earn the chance to pick a prize from the box for their positive behavior, making this one of the most exciting ideas for rewards in the classroom.
  1. Show and Tell Opportunities: Giving students rewards in the form of sharing something special during show and tell helps boost their confidence and speaking skills. It’s a great way for them to connect with classmates over shared interests.
  1. Praise Postcards: Sending home a postcard praising a student’s good behavior is a heartfelt incentive that extends the recognition beyond the classroom. It allows parents to share in the celebration of their child’s achievements, reinforcing positive behaviors at home too.

5 Academic Achievements Rewards

Academic comments

Recognizing academic accomplishments not only encourages students to strive for excellence but also reinforces the importance of educational achievement. Here are five effective academic rewards and incentives for students that celebrate their successes and keep learning exciting:

  1. Certificate of Achievement: Offering Certificates of Achievement is a classic example of teacher rewards for students. It’s a tangible way to acknowledge their hard work at achieving academic milestones and to motivate them to continue excelling.
  1. Homework Pass: A Homework Pass is a cherished free reward for students, especially for those who consistently submit outstanding work. It allows them to skip a single homework assignment, giving them a break as a reward for their diligence.
  1. Educational Games Time: Incorporating extra time for educational games can be one of the fun classroom rewards that make learning engaging. This approach encourages students to associate learning with enjoyable activities, enhancing their educational experience.
  1. Feature on a Classroom Bulletin Board: Publicly celebrating student achievements by featuring their work on a Classroom Bulletin Board is a powerful motivator. This visibility fosters pride and sets a benchmark for other students to aspire to.
  1. Book Club Picks: Allowing high achievers to select books for the class reading list empowers them to actively participate in their education. It’s a rewarding experience that respects their input and encourages a deeper engagement with literature.
Related Reading: Best Report Card Comments Samples

5 Homework Reward Ideas

Homework chart

Getting students excited about homework can be a challenge, but the right incentives can make all the difference. Here are five homework reward ideas that not only encourage timely and consistent completion but also make the process rewarding and fun. These strategies are perfect for fostering a positive learning environment and showing appreciation for students’ efforts.

  1. Free Choice Activity Time: Allowing students to pick their activities is a standout among classroom reward ideas. It gives children the autonomy to choose how they want to use their time, making it a prized reward for diligent homework completion.
  1. Positive Phone Call Home: Making a positive phone call home is one of the most meaningful rewards for students in the classroom. It not only acknowledges their hard work but also involves their parents in the celebration of their academic success.
  1. Fun Stationery Packs: Equipping students with fun and unique stationery packs can be an exciting classroom rewards for elementary students. These packs make homework more enjoyable and show students that their efforts are appreciated.
  1. Breakfast Club: Hosting a Breakfast Club is a delightful incentive and one of the creative rewards for kids in school. It offers a fun and social reward for those who consistently complete their homework, promoting both good habits and community.
  1. Extra Computer Time: Additional computer time is highly valued as it enhances learning through technology. This reward supports educational engagement and is a practical use of classroom resources to motivate students.

5 Art Rewards for Students

Art award certificate

Encouraging artistic expression is not only about teaching art; it’s about inspiring creativity and recognizing students’ efforts in unique ways. Here are five creative rewards that can help nurture the artistic talents of your students:

  1. Art Supplies: Rewarding students with new art materials is a fantastic way to encourage their creative endeavors. Whether it’s new paints, brushes, or sketchbooks, fresh supplies can spark excitement and motivate students to explore their artistic potential.
  1. Display Art in School: Offering students the opportunity to display their artwork around the school can be incredibly rewarding. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment and enhances the school environment, making it a gallery of student creativity.
  1. Art Class Helper: Allowing a student to assist in organizing art supplies or choosing the next project can be a great incentive. This role not only makes them feel valued but also encourages responsibility and leadership within the art class.
  1. Attend a Workshop: Providing tickets to a local art workshop or event is an enriching reward that can broaden a student’s exposure to the arts. It’s an exciting way for students to learn new techniques and get inspired by professional artists.
  1. Artistic Director for a Day: Let a student be the ‘Artistic Director for a Day’ where they can lead a small art project or activity. This reward fosters leadership and decision-making skills while allowing them to express their creative vision with their classmates.

5 Kindness Rewards for Students

Kindness certificate

Recognizing and rewarding acts of kindness in the classroom not only promotes a positive atmosphere but also encourages students to care for one another. Here are five thoughtful ways to acknowledge and incentivize kindness in students:

1. Kindness Medals: Awarding Kindness Medals for acts of compassion is a visual and memorable way to honor students. These medals serve as a tangible reminder of the value of being kind and encourage others to act similarly.

2. Positive Note Home: Sending a note home to parents about their child’s kind acts is a powerful tool for reinforcing positive behavior. It not only makes the student feel appreciated but also involves parents in the positive culture being cultivated at school.

3. Role Model for a Day: Allowing a student who has demonstrated exceptional kindness to be a classroom leader for a day is a great incentive. This role empowers them to set a positive example for their peers and reinforces leadership qualities.

4. Lunch with the Teacher: Hosting a special lunch with the teacher to celebrate a student’s kindness is a personal and highly valued reward. It provides an opportunity for meaningful connection between teacher and student, reinforcing the positive behavior.

5. Special Recognition at School Assemblies: Publicly acknowledging kind acts during school assemblies gives students a platform for recognition in front of their peers. This not only celebrates their behavior but also sets a community-wide example of the importance of kindness.

5 Teamwork Rewards for Students

Vector image of kids receiving an award

Fostering a culture of teamwork is vital for building collaborative skills among students. Here are five teamwork rewards that can encourage and celebrate effective collaboration:

  1. Team Leader of the Week: Recognizing a student as the ‘Team Leader of the Week’ is a creative reward for students who show exceptional leadership during class projects. This acknowledgment motivates others to strive for similar recognition, enhancing leadership skills across the classroom.
  1. Group Movie Time: Hosting a movie session as a reward for great teamwork is a fun and free reward for students. It allows teams to relax and enjoy their success together, strengthening bonds and encouraging future collaboration.
  1. Team Lunch: Offering a team lunch, like pizza, for the best collaborative group mixes fun with recognition. It’s a tasty way to celebrate the hard work and dedication of a group, making teamwork a rewarding experience.
  1. Collaboration Corner: Creating a ‘Collaboration Corner,’ a dedicated space for team activities, provides a physical reminder of the rewards of working together. This space can be used for brainstorming, project work, or simply a place to gather and share ideas.
  1. Team Trophies: Giving out temporary team trophies that teams can earn weekly is an exciting and visual way to commend groups for their cooperative efforts. These trophies foster a friendly competition and highlight the importance of working together towards common goals.
Related Reading: What is Cooperative Play? Stages, Benefits and Examples


Implementing these classroom reward ideas can significantly enhance student motivation and foster a positive learning environment. By acknowledging individual achievements and collaborative efforts, we create a more engaging and supportive classroom for all students.

Related Reading: Adorable and Affordable "End of Year" Gifts for Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I do instead of rewards in the classroom?

Instead of using rewards, you can focus on intrinsic motivation by setting personal goals for students, providing meaningful feedback, and creating a classroom culture that values curiosity and learning for its own sake.

How do you reward individual students?

You can reward individual students by providing verbal praise, giving personalized feedback, or offering small privileges like choosing a classroom activity or leading a group task. These methods help acknowledge and celebrate their unique contributions and achievements.

What are tangible student rewards?

Tangible student rewards include physical items like stickers, certificates, small toys, or books. These rewards are given to students to recognize their efforts and achievements and can serve as a motivational tool in educational settings.

What is the marble jar reward system?

The marble jar reward system involves adding marbles to a jar as a class earns them for positive behavior or achievements. Once the jar is full, the class earns a collective reward, such as a party or extra recess, encouraging teamwork and positive behavior.

Andrew Scholl
Andrew Scholl is an educational expert with over 15 years of teaching experience in elementary and middle school classrooms. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.