20 Positive Behavior Rewards That Aren’t Not Food
PBIS Reward-Get Up and Move Your Feet
Class Walk – Have you ever taken a silly walk? How did it make you feel? Pretty awesome right? We love making sure our tennis shoes are extra-tight and putting them to work. We walk around our school in all different kinds of styles – robots, ninjas (low to the ground), bunny (hoping), granny (tiny steps), race car (arms out straight with quick walking feet), gymnast on a tight rope. You name it, we probably have done it. The beauty is that after you’ve modeled a few, you can put a student in charge and see what types of walking-style they can create!
Dance Party – Turn on KidsBop on Pandora and jam. Make a whole-class dance circle and give every friend a moment to showcase their favorite move but do not forget, kids love it when the teacher dances too! You have been warned
Extra Play Centers – Morning Tubs are so much fun and have become a favorite part of our day! Kids love working towards an extra 10-15 minutes of exploratory, play-time! In addition, you get some sensory play.
Extra GoNoodle – Celebrate your class’s accomplishment over the course of the ENTIRE day. Decide on a number of extra GoNoodle breaks and sprinkle them throughout the day. It’s the perfect way to build suspense into your learning!
Bubble Party – A set of 24 mini wedding bubbles can be purchased from hobby Lobby for $3.99 (If you don’t have a Hobby Lobby you can snag them on Amazon using my affiliate link). They are the perfect size, ridiculously fun, and a great excuse to visit outside for an extra 10-15 minutes! In other words, its a perfect way to get outside and have some fun!
PBIS Reward- Grab a Friend!
Guest Readers – From a favorite custodian to a friendly secretary, we love inviting special guests into our classroom.
Stuffed Friends – Stuffed animals make great listeners for beginning readers and they can be the perfect friend to teach the math concept you’ve been practicing; however, make sure that all stuff friends are small enough to fit in a backpack for easy transportation. 😉
Lunch in the Classroom – PBIS is all about building relationships and eating in the classroom is a simple way to do that! For instance, you can eat with the entire class or split the group into boys/girls taking two days to celebrate. This is such a fun, social time just to hang out with the amazing human-beings you learn with each day.
Classroom Partners – Partner with a younger grade and be reading buddies with them for a few minutes. Have each student pick out 2-3 books a younger student would enjoy and visit their classroom. It’s the perfect way to build reading motivating and allows your friends to feel oh-so-big. Plus, the younger kids have fun too!
PBIS Reward-Hidden Learning
Class Read-In – A reward that celebrates and promotes reading is always a win-win. Have students bring in their favorite pillow, a blanket, and a favorite book to share. Camp out on the floor and enjoy lots of extra reading moments! (Read more here.) In addition to being comfortable, your students are learning.
Directed Draws – Art matters and there is never enough time for it! Directed draws are the perfect reward for awesome choices. From turkeys to snowmen to Dr. Seuss, we are all about showcasing our listening and art skills! Plus, kids just love to draw!
Science Experiments – Science just for the sake of science is THE best. From Making Music to the Great Candy Cane Experiment, the magic and joy of science is unstoppable. Plus, experiments are always the perfect chance to revisit how-to/procedural writing.
Library Visit – Find out when the library is empty (typically when the librarian has planning) and take a special class trip. Allow students to lounge in their favorite corners of the library and enjoy some special read-aloud time from the librarian’s chair *gasp*! Most importantly, kids have fun while learning.
Show and Share – Definitely a more time-consuming choice, have students prepare 2-3 facts (to be shared in full sentences) about their show-and-share object. It’s the perfect way to integrate the CCSS – Speaking and Listening Standards into your celebration so students are having fun while learning.
PBIS Reward-Get A Little Silly
The Great Chair Mix-Up – Give students the opportunity to choose their own seats and own spots in lines….no exceptions. From the floor to a spot next a special friend, it will be a great experiment in seeing where your friends love to be! Most importantly, the kids are having fun, getting a change of view, and positive reinforcement.
Stinky Feet – Take off those shoes and rock learning in socks. This is a classic choice that brings out the 5-year old in any student! However, I suggest nose plugs 🙂
Hat Day – Teach the day in style! For example, rock that favorite pilot’s hat!
Lunch Outside – Sunshine and fresh-air can completely turn a day around and add extra zeal to later learning. Take a trip outside to your school’s picnic tables or a concrete basketball court for a special lunch. (If you are going to have to do a bit of traveling consider inviting a parent to join you for lunch. An extra set of hands is always helpful.)
Special Writing Supplies – Just like Birthday Supplies, special writing supplies make any learner pumped for the day. From colored pencils to scented markers, pull out your most coveted supplies and put them to work! As a result, you have happy students enjoying learning!
Crazy Sock Day – Pull out the craziest socks you own and rock them outside of your pants. Putting silly back into your day is always a win-win. Also, who doesn’t love to show off the crazy socks they own!
Ideas for Choosing PBIS Rewards
Get Free Teaching Resources!
Join me for weekly classroom updates and free resources that are just-right for your guided math classroom!
Hello from Norway 🙂 My students (2nd grade) get to choose between extra reading time, outdoor-maths or playing board-games 🙂 Love your blog!
Vanessa Witherell says
As always, brilliant post! My students have had many of these reward parties in the past, but their favorite every year is a pajama day 🙂 Love the lunch outside idea and special library visit. Will be using the Decide Now app, much easier and less heartbreaking than class voting!
Catherine Reed says
Yes! Class voting definitely tugs on the heartstrings and there is always someone who loses. Using the app makes choosing a reward a perfect win-win!
live laugh love to learn says
FUN ideas! Love it! We cannot give candy or food as a reward. In my class, the BIG reward is my teacher chair (it's soft, has arms, and has WHEELS). They go crazy for it! I also have a 5 minute DJ, where a student gets to choose 2 songs (in advance so I can preview just in case!) for a dance party!
Suzette O'Kennedy says
I have a Magic box which is filled with cheap toys and pretty pens and funny straws and all kinds of novelties. I choose two Super-stars in my Grade R class every day and they may make a selection from the magic box at the end of the day if they win.
One of our whole-class rewards is a 'teacher performance'. The performance depends on the skills of the teacher. I job share and my co-teacher is a dancer. I sing and play guitar. The kids love a three minute song by either of us. I knew another colleague who promised her class a cartwheel which was a big hit. Another male teacher I knew played the harmonica. They enjoy seeing their teacher put themselves out there in that different capacity and it's especially good when there's potential for embarrassment…
Catherine Reed says
Oh my goodness! That is SO much fun. I love the idea of Teacher Performance!!!
As a school we had random acts of kindness where classes were paired up. We pretended to be ninjas and as a class surprised each other. Some classes cleaned desks, some read to each other, mine made cards, and the older kids helped with a craft. Bingo is another class favorite.
Paula Beckerman says
Awesome ideas – I'm so glad I read this post!
This is fantastic! Thanks for giving teachers so many healthy options when it comes to rewards.
Jack Edward says
your site layout is very good
Suzanne Holt - Norwex Independent Sales Consultant says
This is such a great idea, thank you for sharing!
Autumn Brown says
Love these ideas! In my class I've used outside time (my school does not allow recess so my kids are all about this!) and Magic School Bus during lunch in the classroom. I do use classroom voting with 2-3 choices but after an option has been voted on I leave it out of the next vote so those options that did not win now have a chance.
Laura R. says
Seriously – they don’t allow recess? I think I’d have to go to the school board with all of the PILES of research on why kids need recess. That is ridiculous and I’m sorry you have to deal with that. 🙁
Susan Browne says
Students in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade are not allowed to miss recess, by New Jersey Law, as of September, 2019: https://www.nj.gov/education/broadcasts/2019/JUL/05/20303/NJDOE%20Frequently%20Asked%20Questions%20Recess%20Law.pdf – First paragraph: Summary:
Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, public school districts shall provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students in grades kindergarten through five. The recess period shall be held outdoors, if feasible. A student shall not be denied recess for any reason, except as a consequence of a violation of the district’s code of student conduct. If a student is denied recess, the student shall be provided restorative justice activities during the recess period. A student may not be denied recess more than twice per week. (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.31)
While this takes away a possible consequence for misbehavior, or a work make-up time, it honors the students’ need for a break, social time, and physical movement/exercise. GO NEW JERSEY!!
Love your website. Thanks, Susan
I am a big fan of yours and this is one of the reasons why! Thank you for this. As a mom of a kiddo who cannot eat standard treats because of food restrictions, I provide alternatives when there are food rewards or parties in class, which really just singles out my kiddo. There are thousands of families in this same boat and they are thrilled when there is a non-treat activity at school. I shared this post with the families who follow the Feingold Diet for ADHD and you are getting big high fives from that community. These moms face daily the snacks and classroom food and it's exhausting! Keep up the great work! I follow you because I'm a teacher and now, am a fan as a mom as well. You are doing great work!
Your blogs are such good reads. Love it!
Neena Manchanda says
Hi,I am Neena and I teach grade three in a school in Mumbai.I have a marble jar reward system in my classroom.Its a medium sized jar drawn a chart.I have colourful paper marbles.Everytime I catch my entire class being good….I reward them with a marble in the jar.When the jar is full we have a class marble jar party.The theme of the parties over the years have been….Puppet day party where everyone gets a puppet to school, bring your favourite toy day,dance party,garden party,animated film party,Riddles party,jokes party games party.These parties are so looked forward that students are willing to be sooo good together as a class to earn the marbles.
Great ideas thank you. I teach Grade 2 in Australia . We have lots of outside learning areas & the children love pavement chalk drawing as well as just playing in the garden with sticks and bits & pieces found there. I also have tubs of Lego, toy food, toy farm animals & dinosaurs, toy cars with street maps, drawing paper & textas as well as scrap material. They go wild for these activities when given the choice & peace reigns!!
Thank you for sharing your list, always good to see other ideas. I have my students agree on a list of 12 rewards and each time they celebrate we role dice to choose the next goal we are working toward. There has been a few occasions when the roll was a duplicate and they decide if there needs to be a re-roll or not.
Another great mystery reward is Mad Libs Junior. Each student completes the same Mad Libs Junior taking nouns, verbs and adjectives from a list provided. Then they read their silly compositions to one another as they finish. They practice their reading, listening, and parts of speech as they giggle through the whole activity.
I also like to direct them through Ed Emberly drawings. They especially like the three penny koala and the space ship, but there are TONS of choices. After mastering the simple drawing they add their own creative background settings.
Pajama Day, of course. They bring stuffed animals too and bedtime stories to share.
Any special visitor – I love to have my husband come for a visit and they have to guess who he is. Then he does a fun activity with them.
Magic tricks are always good–teach them magic tricks.
I’m a music teacher and my schools (I’m a multi-site music teacher) use PBIS! Thank you for sharing these ideas! I’ll definitely start incorporating these into my classroom music classes! Myself and my students are starting to get a little tired of the rewards I’ve been using for them (now the only thing they get excited about is candy -_-).
Teri Houston-Martin says
I teach 8th grade and my students decide upon a goal at the beginning of the six weeks for the class (everyone passing at progress report, class average of 85% at progress report, class average above another classes’ average, etc …) then they decide upon a reward (extra 100 test grade, drop lowest quiz grade, weekly sheets are extra credit for 3 weeks). They come up with high goals and inventive rewards that really motivate the class to do well. They especially like trying to beat another classes’ average. I have a chart in the classroom that I update daily on the class averages (it’s laminated, so I use a dry erase marker) and it has each classes’ goal. The students like to know how their class is doing, how the other classes are doing and the goals other classes are working for (especially if another class is trying to beat their average). Visitors to our class also find it fascinating and often ask the students about the goal and how they are contributing to the classes’ success. After progress report grades come out, and rewards have been distributed, the classes set a new goal and reward for the next three weeks. This reward system has worked very well for middle school students.
Mrs. H says
I did bubbles and blow pops . Also, I have a treasure box with things that usually come in multiples for a $1 like glow bracelets, noise makers, bouncy balls, and other things like paddles and balls, jump ropes, magic writing boards.
Wesley Jackson says
This guide is very helpful for many people. Keep doing Nice work. nextechrepair