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PBIS jackpot! 33 tangible rewards for students

Amanda ClarkDecember 6, 2019

Students jumping in the air outside, beside a bus with balloons

You know the value of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), but perhaps you’re hung up on the first tier: PBIS rewards for students.

Sure, you’re familiar with sticker behavioral charts, but when you’re practicing schoolwide PBIS and have to document your progress, you need lots of student rewards ready to go so you’re not just recycling the same ones.

But you’re busy, and you’ve got a lot on your mind with everything else going on (like parent-teacher conferences, turning in lesson plans, recording grades … ). When are you going to come up with all these rewards, too?

Don’t worry — if you’re not sure how to reward your students, we’ve put together a list to help you get started with PBIS. 

We’ve also been hard at work putting together a new comprehensive guide to gamifying PBIS, and it’s now available on our site!

PBIS rewards for students

Little girl holding award
Photo: Francesca Runza/Unsplash

Since the first tier of PBIS focuses on behavioral incentives, teachers and administrators are frequently looking for more PBIS rewards to give to their students. Below are some options you can try out in your classrooms.

1. Trophies

Trophies — kids love them, and they’re budget-friendly! So why not get a few academic trophies that kids can earn for good behavior?

We’re not talking about the Stanley Cup here, your trophies can be super tiny. You might even find some affordable ones at the dollar store.

It’ll surprise you how well trophies can motivate your students to behave well!

2. Activity with a teacher/administrator

Another fun way to reward student’s good behavior is to give them the privilege of participating in an activity with a principal, teacher, or other administrative staff — like having lunch together, attending a sports game or getting rowdy with some go-kart racing.

Believe it or not, kids are interested in your life and would jump at the opportunity to participate in fun activities like these.

Of course, make sure you pick something you enjoy doing, too.

3. Bounce-house party

Bounce houses come in all shapes and sizes. You can rent one for your school or take your students to an amusement center as a field trip. Your kids will quite literally jump at the opportunity.

4. Hat day

Let your kids wear a hat for a quick and small PBIS treat! Offering privileges like wearing hats requires no prep and allows students to express their personalities in creative ways.

5. DJ master

Kids love music — so let them pick a song to listen to in class during independent reading or work time. Now that’s a PBIS reward they’ll eat up. Of course, you need to screen their choices first, but you may find that you’re a Beyoncé fan after all.

6. Icebreaker guru

Start class with daily icebreakers! To help with planning and rewards, you can allow your students to decide what the task should be for the day. This PBIS reward is a simple way to start off the day and get your students excited to learn.

7. Choose your own [X]

With so many rules to obey at school, students absolutely relish the freedom of choice. Allow your students to choose a class project (within reason), the next lesson, or their seating arrangement. Talk about power!

8. Kickball

Recipients of this reward get to participate in a special kickball game. To mix things up, you can add another reward that allows recipients to pick their teams.

Two children playing with balloon
Photo: Alaric Sim/Unsplash

9. Four-square server spot

Going along with the sports theme, think four square. It’s hard to become the four-square server, but what if that were a PBIS reward? Your student could earn the first serving spot for a week. Be sure to emphasize that there should be no slamming 🙂

10. Special bus seat

Get the bus driver involved in the PBIS initiative. How? Kids love picking their own seats, so make that a reward. Have the bus driver label and save a special seat or two.

Our recommendation: reserve the back row. Kids love it!

11. Get down with a BBQ

Host a PBIS reward BBQ that comes complete with hot dogs and s’mores. After all, who doesn’t love a free dinner and extra time with peers and faculty?

*Make sure to put this BBQ on your calendar and give students a warning and time limit for earning their spot.

12. Book fair perk

You’re probably more than familiar with Book Fairs, so why not have a PBIS reward where kids earn a set amount of credits toward purchasing a book from the fair?

This reward strikes inner reading motivation, too. Score!

13. Fidget spinner

Before you roll your eyes, fidget spinners help some kids zone in, but we know they can also distract others. One reward could be either gifting a fidget spinner or allowing students to use fidget spinner during certain times in class.

If it motivates kids and improves behavior, you may as well let them fidget and spin to their heart’s content.

14. No homework for a night

Don’t assign homework for a night — no explanation needed 🙂

15. Treasure box

Fill a box with small goodies like shaped erasers, stickers, funky pencils, notebooks, and small toys, and let your kiddos pick a reward from the box.

Person holding stickers
Photo: Alexa Williams/Unsplash

16. Stickers

Yeah, reward-based sticker charts may not be your thing, but these manipulatives have survived the ages. You can find smelly or hologram stickers for a simple and quick PBIS reward. We’re hoping the gesture alone will make the good behavior stick!

17. Lunch vote

For schools with a flexible lunch program, offer a reward where kids earn a vote for their next meal. Mac and cheese or chicken nuggets?

18. Let them chew gum

Give students the perk of chewing gum for a day. Go all out by providing it. (You may want to have them ease off blowing bubbles, though).

19. Drop the lowest quiz grade

Kids care about their grades, so this PBIS goal allows students to drop their lowest quiz grade. Make this a sweeter reward for students, and parents, by letting students earn it once or twice a marking period.   

20. Have class outdoors

Kids chomp at the bit to break away from their desks and do schoolwork outside. Offer it up and watch them flock!

21. Water balloon fight

OK, we’re getting a little crazy here, but who doesn’t love water balloons? Talk about a motivator! Reward students with a water balloon fight; you can play, too — as long as you know what you’re getting into.

22. Parachute time

Do you know those huge parachutes that are popular in gyms? Have one on hand for a sweet reward and brain break. Kids will love this unique activity.

People swimming with floats
Photo: Ash Dowie/Unsplash

23. Swim party

Students earn a pool party or trip to a swimming hole. (The waiver you send home could be worth it.)

24. Special field trip

Students who earned a designated amount of PBIS points go on a special field trip — like a sports game, movie, or petting zoo.

*Try scheduling these special field trips at the beginning of each school year to excite kids and dangle it as a motivator.

25. Extra video game time

Many schools integrate video games elements like Classcraft and SpellingCity into their curricula. (You may have rocked the Oregon Trail back in your day … and loved it.)

Have a PBIS reward to earn extra academic game time. This one’s sure to be a hit for all ages.

26. Money toward the school store

Yes, you need a school store for this one — or make the reward a class one. There’s a lot to work with here — candy and treats, fancy pencils, and all sorts of other goodies.

27. Extra dance

Motivate kids to earn PBIS points toward going to a dance. They also get to vote on the theme.

28. Guest speaker

Use your connections. Is one of your parents a former athlete? Do they have ties to a famous YouTuber? Are they willing to do a few cold calls to prospects?

Set up a reward to attend a guest speaker event.

29. Movies

Kids earn a movie day or opt for a movie night. There’s also not much to say here — kids love watching movies!

People ice skating outside
Photo: Marc Ruaix/Unsplash

30. Skating party (on ice or wheels)

Skate it up — let your students earn the privilege to go to an ice rink. Invite parents and teachers for a memorable reward where you can blow off steam while exercising at the same time.

31. Laser tag

Rent the equipment or schedule the ultimate playdate with a game of laser tag. This reward will be the talk during recess.

32. Class breakfast

Offer a class breakfast, and create a sign-up sheet where students bring in anything from pancakes to watermelon balls.

Allow the parents to have the final word so Jonny doesn’t sign his mom up to make a four-hour casserole. It happens!

33. First choice for electives

With electives, it’s sometimes hard to snag those seats; they fill up quickly, especially for classes that have a reputation for being fun. We have a solution: Offer a PBS reward that gives students first dibs at signing up.

Make PBIS rewards happen

We get it, PBIS rewards take serious brainpower. But if you have a plan and loads of options available at your fingertips, you’ll jam out that first tier with style.

Photo: Google Edu