Free Classroom Incentives Guaranteed to Double Student Buy In


Reward Your Class Without Spending a Penny!

Having a prize box can be EXPENSIVE! Plus it is hard to keep up with, and to keep fully stocked. Here are some of my favorite rewards that are totally free and very easy to implement. These can be used daily, once a week, or even once a month!

Free Drawing Time

 It is AMAZING how many of my kids beg to do this! They love the time to freely use their crayons, markers and colored pencils to create something new for home or for school.

Go Noodle

Get your kids blood flowing with a GoNoodle DANCE PARTY! These can be as short as one minute or as long as ten minutes. If you have not seen this completely free website, drop everything you are doing right now and go check it out!

Pajama Day

Who doesn’t love being cozy in their jammies all day? This is my favorite reward because then I get to be cozy too!

Extra Indoor or Outdoor Recess

I love this because it is so easy to tack onto any day and perfect for your kids that just need some extra movement and free time learning how to appropriately socialize with their peers!

Classroom Crafts

My kiddos LOVE doing crafts, and as much as I love them, I can never fit as many as I would like into our school day. This would be a perfect incentive for your creative kiddos. Plus, this would be easy to justify with administration if you link it to a standard you are already working on!

Fun Friday

I use this incentive with my kiddos all week. Their clip needs to get on purple or pink one time throughout the week for them to earn Fun Friday. Our activity that we do each week changes, but it is always something highly motivating.

Dance Party

This can be done with GoNoodle, or simply just turn up some Kids Pop, or Disney Radio and let your kids get ALL of their wiggles out. My kids this year LOVE doing this!

Quiet Music

Want to reward your kiddos but have them keep working? Play some quiet music. Classical tunes are great for math, but during writing time, we love our Disney Radio! Hop onto Pandora or Spotify to listen for free (with ads).

Reading Buddies

My kiddos LOVE going upstairs where the big kids are. We love to pair up with classes in higher grade levels to read with reading buddies. I use this as a reward when students are gaining a lot of reading levels, so they can go show off their new skills to their big buddies!


These can be short and sweet, or a longer reward. Our team uses this as a quarter reward, where students have to do really well all quarter and our entire second grade wing gets to watch a movie and eat some snacks! There are so many great Disney movies to pick from. If you are looking for something shorter, YouTube always has episodes of Magic School Bus, Arthur (my kids LOVE this because it is not on TV anymore) and the Peanuts have great short holiday specials!

Lunch with the Teacher

I use this as a highly coveted reward, and it is crazy how much kiddos love it. I don’t bring them lunch, but rather the just come eat with me for one afternoon. It is so interesting to hear what they want to ask you about and tell you about, and it is a great way for you develop stronger relationships, especially with those more difficult kiddos.

Stuffed Animal Day

Spruce it up and let one kid, some kids or all kids bring in their stuffed animals for the day! They will love showing their best, (stuffed), furry friend around the classroom!

Extra Computer Time

Kids these days are SO motivated by screens. Allow them to use educational apps for an extra 10-15 minutes! It is amazing how many kids will want to do this, even if it is Lexia or a reading app.

Write in Pen or Marker

Again, this can be whole group or small group, but kiddos LOVE being able to use markers and pens to write with. Allow students who show fantastic work to use these items instead. I use this as a whole class reward toward the end of the year, and talk about the permanence of these objects, so how it is important to go slow and use our best handwriting. This is SO motivating for my classes, and makes their handwriting and writing come out beautiful!

Sit in the Teacher’s Chair

This is a great individual reward that is again, highly motivating. Who doesn’t want to sit in the teachers’ soft, cozy chair as opposed to a small plastic chair?

Show & Tell

Allow students to bring an object from home in and tell the class about it. This is perfect during snack time or morning meeting, and can be as quick or as long as you need it to be! I have had kids beg me to bring stuff in, so you can easily motivate them by saying they can bring it in as long as they can reach _____ goal.

Positive Note Home


Nothing is more motivating to a child than letting mom and dad know what a great day they’ve had! Snag these easy notes home for FREE in my store, just fill out their name and yours and you are ready to go!

Extra STEM Time

My kiddos LOVE to do various STEM projects, especially Stem Bins from Teach Outside the Box. My kiddos love to work hard for weekly STEM time in which we practice our engineering skills using various tools around the room. These tools can be as complicated or as simple as you want them to be, from simply using math manipulatives, to purchasing more sophisticated building tools.

No Homework Pass

If you are feeling generous, give your whole class, or part of your class, or individuals, the chance to earn no homework for a day/week/however you do it! I always make this a REALLY coveted award that I give to individual students once they hit 100 bubbles on Class Dojo.

Switch Seats for a Day

Again, this can be used with individual students or in a whole group, but let students PICK their seats for a day. Set boundaries that they will move back if they cannot keep working hard, but this is highly motivating for students. I use this as a year end reward in May if the students are working hard all month, I let them switch seats wherever they want for the last week.

Line Leader

Allow this highly coveted position to be a reward for students who are showing marvelous behavior that day or the day before. We use a clip chart system, and any students the end on “pink” the day before, get to be my helpers and leaders the following day. This includes being in the front of the line ALL day!


I hope that you found this blog post helpful for your classroom! Please feel free to leave feedback below, and follow my blog for more tips and tricks. There will be one new post every Monday throughout 2018! Enjoy 🙂 

Emily - The Mountain Teacher

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