Wouldn’t it be nice if all students were just intrinsically motivated and loved every math, science and ELA lesson you taught? It really would be ideal, but reality is sometimes that extrinsic motivation of class rewards makes a huge difference in student motivation and therefore student growth! Whole class rewards are such a simple way to keep that motivation high, especially in a tough math concept or when working through a topic that may leave the students feeling a bit overwhelmed. Rewards for the classroom are also just a bunch of fun and worth it! 

Rewards For The Classroom

The students’ hard work leads to you seeing a class full of beaming smiles and that is such a positive reward for you also! So, let’s jump into some of the rewards for the classroom students adore!

netflix home screen for rewards for the classroom

Movie Day!

Don’t you remember being in school realizing it was a movie day and being so excited? Movie days are classic, easy to pull off and students love them! Today, Netflix and other streaming services make it even easier to have a movie day! Pop some popcorn or get individual bags of popcorn to make the movie day even more rewarding! Students can choose the movie by voting and be totally motivated to work for their movie day!

Dance Party!

Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Students can contribute to the playlist, wear their best dancing shoes, you can use YouTube for some strobe lights or mood lighting and get to dancing! Even better, find some YouTube videos with group dances that students can follow along with and really have a good time. 

girls in comfortable clothes clapping and dancing on a floor looking in a mirror

There are some classics like, “The Bunny Hop,” “YMCA,” or “The Macarena.” Of course, there are some current dances that students love and asking them for suggestions is a bonus! Go use the gym, if available, or go outside for more space! Lastly, you can even have a dance contest! This class reward will be a blast!

Lunch Options!

If you are looking for something simple, think lunch! This wouldn’t take away from the class schedule for learning, and students love having lunch with their teacher. You could totally have the students in the classroom for lunch, but why not take the students outside for lunch! Bring an extra special treat to really make it a reward and spend some time just chatting and answering questions students have about your life that they don’t get to ask on a normal day!

Show and Tell with Toys!

Oftentimes show and tell is about something special to the students, a family photo, or a family recipe, not a toy. Students love their toys. This would be a huge incentive for students because they love to show off their cool stuff! Show and tell could be an ongoing reward with a few students each day building the anticipation and excitement even more! 

rewards for the classroom example a little boy playing jenga

Free Time or Technology Time!

Another really simple, but effective class reward is extra free time or extra technology time. Students love playing games, either board games or games on the computer. Bringing in board games for students to relax and play is a great option! 

Did someone say UNO? Even young students love games! “Don’t Break Ice” or other games like it are other great choices for the youngest students! Of course, students love playing on the chrome books and giving that extra time to just play games like “Cool Math” gives that drive to get their math work done! Some of the game sites are free and even educational! Another option for free time is simply giving students time to socialize or read a book or even extra indoor recess activities like coloring! Even better, go outside for extra recess! Early Finisher packs are also a great option for this time! 

Classroom Pet (Stuffed Animals Work Great)

I know a classroom pet may seem like a lot of work for a classroom reward and if you aren’t on board with a real live pet, go the stuffy route! Beanie babies would work or any stuffed animal could become the class pet! Young children would have a blast naming the pet, cuddling and snuggling the pet, even taking the pet home for the weekend! Students could write journals about the class pet and this reward could increase their writing!

Pajama Day

Make a pajama day out of it! Young children love pajamas! Well, adults too! Declare a pajama day in your classroom and show off your bedtime threads! Dress in your jammies too and the students will have so much fun. Again, this is a simple idea but drives huge motivation! Combine this with a movie day and students will be even more pumped!


Games are motivational and enjoyable. Kahoot is a classic game that students love to play so allow them to play a Kahoot! about their favorite topics like video games, or television shows, or even food! 

This could be an end of the day reward and is easy to set up and have students participate as long as they have their own Chromebook or other one-to-one device. There are other game sites similar to Kahoot! like Blooket or Quizizz, and depending on the age of your students, you may choose a different site!

Mystery Bags or Treasure Boxes

Lastly, another super simple, cost-effective way to offer whole class rewards is to use a mystery bag or treasure box and add a bunch of “coupons” that the class could earn. Beanie babies would work or any stuffed animal could become the class pet! Young children would have a blast naming the pet, cuddling and snuggling the pet, even taking the pet home for the weekend! Students could write journals about the class pet and this reward could increase their writing!

Rewards for the classroom are so effective in changing the culture of learning in a classroom. Sometimes our scholars just need a little extra reason for working so hard to learn all of the challenging curriculum set out for them. Enjoy your reward days with your students! Take a break from all your planning and enjoy the well-deserved reward with your students!

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