Graduation gifts aren’t limited to just high schoolers anymore. Promotions from elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school means that there are increasingly clever ways to reward your “graduates” with items that prepare them for the next stage of life.

Elementary Promotion Gifts

  • Puzzles & Brain Games: These gifts provide the stimulation necessary to keep brain cells activated over a long summer break. (and attention spans locked over holiday car rides)
  • Summer break attraction (water park, amusement park, etc.): No need to go overboard here, but you can reward their hard work with a day at the park with friends.
  • New Backpack: Middle school will be a crash course in adolescence, and a new backpack will be like a business card to their contemporaries.
  • Locker Supplies: Hooks, folders, and planners will help them re-organize their middle school locker accordingly.

Middle School Promotion Gifts

  • Gear for Tryouts & Clubs (Clothing, equipment, etc.): Team sports and clubs are a thing now, and you will want to encourage participation by providing the supplies they need to succeed.
  • iPad or Amazon Kindle: This is a slippery slope, but with proper oversight and boundaries, these tools can be used for educational purposes beyond recreational/entertainment value.
  • App Store Gift Cards: They’ve got a new device (hopefully with the appropriate parental controls*) and now they need a way to get the apps that you allow. You know, the educational ones!
  • Cell Phone: Although troubling to imagine, it’s that age where they’ll be needing to communicate with you more frequently about every day things such as activities, transportation, etc.
  • New Backpack or Bag: Just like elementary into middle school, this will be time to shed their middle school backpack and re-imagine what they’re using at school everyday.
  • Locker Supplies: As we mentioned previously, hooks, folders, and planners will help them re-organize their high school locker accordingly.

High School Graduation Gifts

  • Gas Cards or Bus/Train Fare Passes: Nothing says “Welcome to the real World” like a reminder that they’ll need to find their own way around it from here on.
  • Coffee Maker: Child, meet coffee. It’s going to help you on those especially hard days and nights, and it’s more affordable than Starbucks every day on the way to class.
  • School spirit gear from their college bookstore: Every college student needs at least one school spirit item in their repertoire.
  • Bookstore gift cards (textbooks, supplies, etc.): Perhaps the best gift you can give an incoming college freshman is the gift of bookstore necessities such as textbooks.
  • Portable Charging Packs (Laptop, phone, tablet, etc.): The second-best gift you can give is the gift of portable power for their handful of devices.
  • How-To” Survival Guides & Cookbooks: Unless you want to be called every time they do laundry or cook, you’ll want to provide the text for them to survive.
  • First Aid Kits: Beyond the aforementioned text survival, this is actually a survival kit to help with the paper cuts and headaches.
  • Magazine, TV, or Streaming Subscriptions: Not that they need any distractions, but there are benefits to providing cost-efficient entertainment such as Netflix or magazine subscriptions.
  • New Bike & Bike Lock: If a car is out of the question, a new bike (and lock!) is vital to navigating campus life and possibly exploring their new town.
  • Voice-Controlled Assistant (Echo by Amazon, Google Home, etc.): When mom and dad aren’t there to answer questions, have a voice controlled surrogate guide them through things.

Don’t see the graduation gifts you imagined or what you got your recent graduate? Share yours in the comments, or on social @the_PTOffice.