• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Treasure Box


New Member
Does anyone use a Treasure Box and how do you manage it? The one time I tried it before, I found it a hassle, time consuming and annoying because kids would take forever to choose, then change their minds, and the ones who didn't earn it were upset. I tried wrapping things to make it more potluck which helped but then had to do somewhat boy/girl choices. I want to have some positive reinforcement for following rules. I struggle with with this not wanting to encourage rewarding for what is required anyway (influenced by Alfie Kohn, etc.).
Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.

Cathy G

Treasure Boxes


I use a treasure box in my classroom. I use it for two different things. Every Friday, the children get to pick one item if they bring back their homework, and one item if their row is the row with the most row points.

Yes, it does take a few minutes, However, I usually read a fun story first thing in the morning anyways... So on Fridays, I just skip the story.

Yes, I have the same issues in my class. There are tears from those who don't get anything. My philosophy is "Oh well... there's always next week."...... The times I have had tears ... those children were motivated to get their homework turned in the following week.

I haven't really had any big issues with giving out a prize for the row points thing. For some reason, they realize that the particular row that won that week really deserved it...

Hope this helps.



Thanks yous instead

I do have a treasure box, but the students only get to "go to the treasure box" on their birthday to pick out 1 toy, 1 pencil and 1 book mark. Parents often donate the old McToys and I usually get the pencils and bookmarks with book order points so this doesn't cost any $.

For the other rewards such as turning in homework etc. they can go to the "thank you box". They have a quick choice of a sticker, or a piece of candy (I have 3 candy choices available), or a book drawing ticket. Kids soon realize the concept of instant gratification (candy), year long recognition (another sticker added to their work folder), or probability (the chance to win a book at the end of the month dramatically increases when you have earned more book drawing tickets.) The thank-yous take 10 seconds and the kids feel powerful at making choices. I have a dispenser/drawer system that has 5 sections to hold my 5 different thank you choices. SO EASY!!!

P.S. The candy choices are often leftover Halloween party candy or leftover candy from other special events so I really don't spend that much money. Plus, my principal likes to sneek in and "steal" a thank you and the students enjoy catching him....lots of fun with little fuss or $!


Junior Member
Treasure box

I too have struggle with the treasure box. This year I've tried something that has really worked for me. We use the colored tabs method for management. When you stay on green all day you get a ticket. On Fridays you have the option to spend your tickets. We started out with just "school" related prizes, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, markers, etc... They love it. I still haven't pulled out the toys-McD's and little cheapies, I have many kids that save their tickets and won't buy. It takes about 15mins during our free choice time on Fridays. I put different prices on the prizes. Things that I know they will want, but want to make them work for a little bit or things that were more expensive for me cost more- for example pencil sharpeners are 9 tickets. I love it this way.


Full Member
I use a sticker chart, once they get so many stickers they get to choose, but they only have 60 seconds to choose, no changing after that.


Junior Member
use it very rarely

I only use my treasure box for a few times. Twice a year our curricula has an 'obey right away' chart that goes home for at least a week. When it comes back completely filled and signed by the parent I make a big deal about it and they get to pick a prize. Once one or two see this they get busy 'obeying' at home so they can choose. I do this in front of the class so every one is watching, I encourage them to not take too long, once they turn away from the box they have to keep what they chose.

I have also used this box for times when I have extremely reluctant or crying students. Yep, it's a bribe. I tell them they can pick if they don't cry for 3-4 days straight, or whatever. Or if they are sucessful in doing what needs doing;
in the past that has included;
coming into the room without clinging to mom/dad or extremely long goodbyes etc.
cooperating without 'many' requests, reminders


Jan's Message

When students have what I consider a sufficient amount of time and still haven't decided, I have the class do a countdown (which also meets our Math standards). By the end of the countdown if they don't have a treasure, I choose for them.


Full Member
Sticker Store

Each month I give the students a sticker sheet programmed with their name, phone number, address, or birthday (I change depending on my focus). I give them stickers for certain behaviors as well as when I catch them "being cool".

At the beginning of every new month my students get to go to the sticker store. I have a variety of prizes that I arrange by price - 5 stickers, 10 stickers, etc. The students get to choose what they want to purchase.

As the year progresses I make the students begin counting their own stickers and stop helping them know how many things they can buy. I have parents who volunteer to run the sticker store during a free period.