Schools & Money

Ideas for Small Rewards

Keeping students motivated is challenging. Your organization may find it useful to use modest rewards for achievements. This is a comprehensive list of ideas for small rewards to incentivize and reward. Some of these items are well suited to younger students and classroom prize bowls while others are a better fit for older students, clubs, and sports teams.


Some aspects to consider when selecting rewards are:

Prepackaged individually-portioned candy, snacks, and drinks are good options to consider. They are generally well liked and inexpensive, however due to allergies and medical restrictions, it is best to have an non-edible alternative in case someone has an unknown dietary restriction or strong preference.

Students enjoy fun and novel rewards. It is nice to use rewards that relate to the school’s colors, mascot, classroom curriculum, or team focus.

Buying in bulk and using donated items helps to reduce cost. DIY is an option for some items, such as a craft kit or a button pin, however it is often better to avoid handling food. Discount and secondhand stores may have deals on some items, such as notebooks, craft items, or even books. Unfortunately most attempts to decrease cost are offset by logistics. A school wish list1 may help to get some donated rewards.


Prepackaged individually-portioned candy are a popular reward. Here are some ideas on a variety of candy options that are fairly shelf-stable and commonly found in grocery and superstores.

Snacks & Desserts

Portioned packaged snacks and desserts are another popular reward. These tend to be more filling than candy and are commonly found in grocery and superstores.

Perishable Snacks

Perishable snacks are logistically more challenging, however they are generally more nutritious. Here are some good options, many of these require refrigeration.


Drinks are often good rewards, especially on a hot day, however these generally require refrigeration.

Drink Mixes

Drink mixes and similar items can make good rewards under certain circumstances, such as for outdoor activities, however they are a bit more complicated since they require supplies to prepare them.

School Supplies

School supplies are good items for small prizes.

Crafts & Toys

Craft items and toys are fun items to receive as a small prize, especially for younger students.


Here are some other ideas for small prizes. Some of these are better suited for older students.


  1. A few examples of School Wish List registry options: Amazon Charity Wish List, Target Charity Registry, & Walmart Spark Good Registry ↩︎

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