Reader Question: Box Tops/Labels for Education

Reader Carolyn has a question about getting participation in Box Tops/Labels for Education at your school.


It seemed like a no brainer when my son’s school needed a coordinator for box tops/labels for education. I know the value of clipping and saving and thought about asking you/your readers about if they participate in these programs?

Participation at our school is low and I am not sure how to get them excited about clipping. I go out of my way to get the extra deals at Acme/Shoprite and it doesn’t cost anything extra on my end. We use the products and with sales/coupons it is a win/win! It even makes for great donations when the school has their food drives throughout the

Just thought you may have some insight on this and how to get the parents involved (or dare I type) excited about clipping.

Help Carolyn out.  Any suggestions how to get others excited about clipping box tops?  I know that ShopRite has a new Shop Once Give Twice program that allows you do sign up electronically and it automatically adds the boxtops to your school’s account when you make the purchase.

If you have a questions you would like to ask the LRWC readers, you can send it to  Put, “Reader Questions” in the subject line.


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  • Michele

    Our school gives out coloring papers that have spots to glue the box tops on. Also every three months they have a pizza party for the room who brought in the most box tops. I think that you have to get the kids excited and hope they bring that home to their parents. I know my daughters go crazy over box tops. Lucky for them ( and their school) I do too!

  • Ana

    In our school Student council is the one that decides how to spend box tops money…so think kids are the ones interested in clipping those lebels and push the parets.

  • Jess

    My sons school every year sends out a letter detailing where the money goes (mainly after school programs) and also states that without participation how much it would cost us to have our child participate in a after school program (teacher cost, busing, supplies etc). It really puts into perspective how we save ourselves money by just clipping out a box top. They also have a huge poster with their yearly goal on it right by the gym so the kids can see how well the school is doing. Finally, every 3 months the class who collects the most box tops gets a “prize”. Pizza party, extra recess (younger grades), goodies bags etc.
    Good luck! I’m addicted to box tops just sent in 300 we collected over the summer 🙂

  • Karen

    Have a contest at school. The class or grade that collects the most gets an extra recess or something.

  • Christy

    Well first thing, you get special coupons for being a coordinator! We don’t use the sheets, but I think they are a good idea esspecially to help in counting them. I think counting is the worst part of it. We give the kids a popcorn party every month the class turns in 200 boxtops. I get the popcorn at our subway located in my walmart store. I think it’s $1.75 a bag. The teachers are very good about encouraging and rewarding the kids. They might give them free time or other special treats. You should check out he coordintors page and check postings from other coordinators. Our school is small (about 550 kids) and we had about $4000 in boxtops last year.

  • Jackie

    My sons school offers a $.25 credit for every ten sent in with a box top form they have made up. He’s able to use that credit at the school store. =)

  • tara

    We do a monthly contest. The class that brings the most in gets a pizza party. at the end of the year, the class with the most gets tickets to the Riversharks! Many places will donate to “rewards” so it doesn’t cost the PTA extra. Make anything a competition…it seems to work!

  • Melissa

    I do the box tops for my daughters school and what we do is publish that amount of money that we get from box tops in the school paper. I also talk to everyone about it and make a big deal of it. The money that the school gets it a lot when you add it all up. We got a check for over 600.00 last year and we only have about 500 kids. to me that is a big deal. It is free money and very easy to do. Also at your PTA meeting let the parents know how much you have all ready counted during the year. I don’t think that parents understand that all though dimes add up to hundreds of dollars. But my best advise is talk about it.

  • Georgia

    Our school sends flyers home in the back packs. Making sure to show a sample.
    We run a school year long pizza party contest. 1 class in each grade gets a pizza party. Maybe tell the parents what each box top is worth and mention what the box top money is to be used for.
    Our school also collects labels for education which you redeem for items out of a catalog. This year we got playground equipment & some tricky tray prizes.

  • Michelle M

    At my child’s school, the grade that sends in the most box tops, gets a pizza party. This happens 2 or 3 times a year. They also send home the coloring sheets that children can glue the box tops to. I also think it really helps if the school shares with the families what this money “buys” for the school. I think some families think that 10 cents isn’t much so why should I cut it out. But all those 10 cents really add up! We also have a bulletin board outside of the office which keeps the running totals for the week of each grade.

  • Kate

    I’m a teacher and was just at a PTO meeting that said our school earned over $2600 in box tops last year! We’re a K-3 school with 5 classes at each grade level. So not tiny, but not huge. We didn’t even have that great of a participation rate either and we still earned that much. The PTO president is setting a loftier goal for us this year. Oh and FYI my class won the pizza party. Hehe 🙂 I’m very competitive!

  • Laura

    Put up a decorated box in your local grocery stores asking for participation and explian how it helps the school. I’ve been clipping box tops since it started and my kids are in college now. I save them then drop them off at a grocery store that I know that has a drop box. Unfortunately, our town no longer has one. You can also put up signs on the stores bulliten board letting local people know about the program and where the drop box is located. Back in the day, we also had the local newspaper run a small story on what box tops were, which products had them and where to drop off the tops and how they helped the school with what the school goal was. We have a very large senior community. It worked very well. Good luck!

  • Kim

    My kids school would give a homework pass to the child that brought in the most box tops in each class once a month. My kids wanted that free night of homework so bad they would look for the box tops themselves in our cabinets.

  • Sue

    In the Newsletter, show the math and explain. If every student brought in just one Boxtop or even two every month…..times that by the number of students and the months in the school year and show the numbers, I think most people would be amazed how it adds up. Sometimes it helps to show how every little bit adds up. Im so glad you asked this question because I always thought the same thing. Why don’t the school mention it more? Knowledge is power….

  • I actually don’t have kids in school yet, but I clip the box tops to donate to the school I went to (class 1998!) I can;t seem to get my husband on board with clipping with me. I think a reminder that can be posted on the fridge or cabinet would be awesome to get parents to remember to save the box tops.
    Better yet, perhaps send home envelopes with a Box Top reminder on them. Ask them to be placed on the fridge. My mom just said when I kept a baggy clipped to teh fridge, she remembered to clip them a whole lot more.
    I also think that idea of a coloring sheet to glue the box tops to is an excellent idea. That is a great way to get kids and parents involved.
    Good luck with this project!

    • Julianna

      Kat, you’re in my head! I don’t have school age kids yet, but I keep an envelope on my fridge for Box Tops – it’s right by the recyclables box so that I remember to clip them off before I toss the packaging. When my friends or family with older kids come over they help themselves to whatever I’ve collected. As far as getting better classroom participation, I agree that giving kids a special envelope to keep on the fridge would help a bunch, especially if it had turn in dates/instructions right on it. I think that parents want to help, but that they need a good solid reminder to do something consistently – just like the kids.

      • April S

        My 2 year old son will be going to pre-K at our tiny local school next year (K-6, 90 kids), so like you, even though my kids aren’t in the school yet, I’ve started saving the box tops so he can bring them next year. I also signed up for the two promotions you can associate with your store loyalty card to earn rewards for your school. My 16 year old graduated from our little school, so even though I don’t have kids in it right now, I still feel I need to help out wherever possible.

        Our local GS troop used to trim and count the boxtops for community service hours at their meetings, it was a good way for them to sit and chat for an hour and do some mindless clipping. Just an idea for anyone else with a troop that’s into saving box tops.

    • Anne

      I do not have children either so I send my boxtops to my aunt whose underfunded school is in desperate need of supplies.

      My husband doesn’t know where to look for labels or care about clipping so instead he has agreed to leave *clean* empty boxes, cans, and other containers on the counter instead of throwing them away so that I can look for the box top or label-for-education prior to tossing them. I think he’s a little scared of missing one lol. This is also good for sorting recycling, another area he doesn’t excel in 🙂

    • Michelle

      My SIL is a teacher and this is exactly what her school does..sends home a box top baggie (actually says Box Tops on it!) to be hung on the frig!!

  • Jen From Philly

    3 years ago at my cousin’s school, every student who collected 200 box tops got a free day off, i guess like a personal day, to use whenever he wanted. He was going away on a long weekend and they needed that extra day off. So my aunt went around trying to collect 200 from everyone she knew, until she realized i had a stockpile full of them… by the time she left here I had given her about about 120 box tops. But the best part is, everyone who she asked now collects the box tops for her, and she reaches or well exceeds 200 every year.

  • Kabby

    Our school holds a monthly tally and records on a poster board the top class for the month. That class wins a mini bagel breakfast. The kids love to win so they encourage each other to participate. Our local library in town has a box for collections as well for those individuals that do not have school age children but would like to contribute. I do believe a notice should be sent home to each family to encourage participation…set a goal on what the school would like to redeem the money for.
    Good Luck!!

  • Linda Hughes

    I have 3 kids, my youngest being in high school now…but I still clip my box tops and I send them to a friend who is the coordinator for her son’s school. It seems to me that a lot of people just can’t be bothered but I feel as though I am tossing a dime in the trash if I don’t clip that box top!! To me it’s a no brainer…it is for a good cause!

  • Carolyn C

    THANK YOU Everyone for your great ideas!! I am new to this being that it is in Kindergarten but clipping I LOVE and wanted to get everyone as excited about it too. I used to give them to other schools and never thought I would the one coordinating this effort.

    Our school is small and I have a tiny budget for this and I am sure with all your ideas I can help generate a bit more involvement!! As they like to say, its hip to clip!

  • Jenny

    I am the coordinator for our small school of 8 classes. I have a contest a couple times a year. The grade with the most 25 count sheets turned in gets a free recess!! This year if our school collect 1000.00, which is totally doable, our pricipal is going to kiss a pig! I just make a presentation at back to school night and make sure the sheeets get sent out every couple of months. We are having a be a star for boxtop contest now. For every sheet sent in you get a star on a bulletain board in the cafeteria. The class with the most stars wins! I dont count boxtops. I send them all in on the collection sheets. It is very easy that way. We have gone from 300.00 a year to 1000.00 in the 2 yrs since I have taken over. Good luck..You can do it!

  • Christine

    I have a question about box tops. A friend of mine owns her own daycare. Does box tops work with daycares?

  • Cathy K.

    It seems everyone’s assuming that the box tops are for younger age children (elementary school and some middle schoolers perhaps). If this is the case then I agree that a contest seems to work best. When they were younger, my daughter would gladly bring the box tops in however to get my son to do so was a lost cause (ended up in his backpack). So, for those of us with children who either did not remember to place the bag into the box top box or were too embarassed to do so, I would also recommend an e-mail or flyer reminder to parents. These would serve for those ocassions where parents are in attendance (back-to-school night, concerts, etc.) and could easily drop off a bag full of box tops.

    Good luck!

  • cami

    Our Box Tops coordinator allows each completed sheet of box tops to be an entry into a drawing for a special prize: the latest kids DVD, a Webkins (when they were hot), 4 movie passes, etc. Not only does the class with the most box tops get a special treat, an individual child has a chance to win something too. The principal does the drawing and announces it over the PA. (be sure to ruffle the bag of entries into the microphone to create drama) For our spring collection, a goal to collect 2000 box tops was set and if it was achieved, the principal gave a free homework pass to the entire school. (we achieved it!)

  • Emily

    Hi I used to be the coordinater at school for Campbells and Box Tops. PreK thru 2nd about 200 – 300 kids in boxtops alone we did $5000 or more for the 2 years that I did it. Have you checked out the Boxtops website? There is a great blog and lots of forms and info to help you get the kids/ parents motivated. I used to have a contest every few months and the class with the most would win a treat ie: goody bag, ice cream sundaes, or 15 minutes extra recess. Sometimes we would have the different grade levels compete against each other. You could have a wall of fame and put pictures or names of the kids that brought in the most.
    Be patient it does take time for people to get in the habit of clipping and saving. Although the parents will really get into it for a good contest! I know of some that bought Boxtops on ebay.

  • Dana

    Our school has a Boxtop Blitz is in January for one week and everyone saves for the year as many as they can. Containers are divided up by grade and the grade with the most boxtops in their container wins a pizza party (sponsored by Booster Club), second place – ice cream, third place – casual day, etc. The kids are extremely competitive and the teachers aren’t slackers either.

  • Sherry

    My neighbors’ school (they wear uniforms) allows them to have a day to wear casual clothes rather than a uniform after they turn in 30 box tops. The whole street is helping them out. It’s great!!!

  • Linda

    My children have long graduated college, but I still clip box tops & labels for education. I keep an addressed envelope for their former elementary school and mail them in once the envelope is full. I mail them 2 or 3 times a year. School budgets aren’t being passed as often as they used to be – so I feel every little bit helps. So even if you don’t have children in school why not save the box tops & labels for education and mail them in to your local school of choice. My husband & I always get a nice thank you note at then end of the school year.

  • I am a teacher. Our (high needs, high poverty) school had very little participation in this program until we started giving out prizes. The class that brings in the most gets a party, the student who brings in the most gets a donated prize, and for my own class, I provide ‘fake’ money to use at a class auction that we have once a quarter. Every 5 boxtops gets them a ‘monetary’ reward, that they can use (or save to use) at an auction for prizes I provide! My participation rate is a lot higher than most of the other teachers! LOL

  • Carolyn C

    I have to check out the site this week and come up with my ideas before our first PTA meeting next week. Thank you to all who took the time to reply. Your ideas are awesome! If I can get sister on board (yes, its a catholic school with a nun principal 🙂 ) with a fun incentive I think this will be a fun project to help coordinate!!

  • kim

    I am a teacher and at our school they have a contest and the class that turns in the most gets a popscicle party!