I guess you could say I’m a “seasoned” parent. My oldest daughter is in Junior High and I pretty much have the school shopping thing down. I was thrilled that this year she didn’t have a school supply list. I could get her what I thought she might need instead of sticking to what the teachers thought they might use this year. Over the years I have figured out that some things are good things to buy for kids for back to school no matter how old they are or what classes they are taking.
Now these are just my recommendations. Every child/district/class is different, and you are going to need different things for each one of them. This list is in no particular order and just has some of the items I have seen purchased the most among my parent friends.
(Also, all of these are links to Amazon and the prices were correct at the time of publication. If the price has changed, I apologize.)
Top 10 School Supply Choices
When you get those supply lists at the beginning of the school year, it takes a minute for you to process that you are going to have to buy all of that stuff and still going to have to buy things like backpacks and pencil cases and lunch boxes. When the kids get older, you find that instead of having a list, you get to sit down with your child and decide together the kinds of things that they used in the previous year.
So, I thought about the things I grabbed for my daughters first and wanted to make sure that they had before I started tackling the dreaded list. Here are some of those items as well as some that aren’t necessities but are great for kids for the experience.
Backpack Expanding Folder ($8.99)
OK this is not particularly exciting for anyone except maybe me and like two other people in the world, but I thought this was the coolest thing when I found one for my daughter. This is one of those expanding folders. You know the ones that your grandma kept her coupons and recipes in? Except it sits vertically rather than horizontally.
It sits up in your backpack just like your books do and you don’t even have to pull it out of your backpack to file things in it or to pull paperwork out. Gone are the days of the lost permission form and the dog ate my homework. This nifty little thing will keep the papers you need where they need to be. This particular one even comes with folders that slide in and out so that you can file things in folders and not get the papers all crinkly. My daughter's isn't that fancy.
Lap Desk ($9.99)
Both of my girls have a lap desk and my husband, and I have one that we use at different times for ourselves. These are perfect for families that are always on the go or don’t have a dedicated space to use for doing homework.
I have found several varieties of lap desks. They make them in different colors and sizes and with different features. Some have a place for your phone and some even have a nice little wrist area for when you are typing. This particular one is a great size, especially for younger kids.
Leakproof Lunchbox ($14.99)
No matter how old you are, sometimes you need a good lunch box. Whether your kiddo takes their lunch all the time or they eat in the cafeteria, there are going to be times that you need a good lunch box. School trips are the usual culprits. If you don’t have one ready, your kid is going to end up with the cold, nasty sandwich in the crumpled paper bag.
With a lunch box, you want to look for a couple of things. It should be leak proof and be insulated to keep everything cool. It also helps if it is made from durable fabric and is stain resistant. The one that I’ve used as an example is all of those and comes in lots of patterns.
Fujifilm Instax Camera ($49.95)
OK this is one of those items that is not a need or a necessity, but you may choose to give it to an older child. I know that being able to take pictures and have great memories of the times that we had in school was very important. I know that as parents we want to give our kids the best of what we remembered.
This nifty little camera is the modern Polaroid. It spits out a small picture and gives you the ability to take quick snapshots and preserve the memories. The benefit of having a camera that prints the picture is simple: kids can’t just drive to their local store and print their pictures out. This saves the trip and the hassle and is super fun to use.
Casio Water Resistant Watch ($15.95)
I don’t care what anyone says your phone is not a watch. Every kid should have a watch especially as they get older. I know that most schools won’t allow the kids to have their phones out during the school day, so using their phones to keep track of time is not going to be a good option for them.
Another thing is that sometimes the school is on a different time than their phones are. The school clock may run a little fast or a little slow. This way they can set their watch to school time and not have to worry about being late/early for which ever class they are heading to.
4 Pocket Binder ($9.99)
This is another one of those things that I think only I am excited about. It’s so neat though! It’s like a mini trapper keeper. Remember those things? Where you could literally carry it and leave your backpack at home?
With one of these you can carry everything you need, and you only need a smaller bag. This makes it easy for kids (and adults) to keep up with the paper and supplies that they need. I used one of these for my college days where I only had a few classes that day. It kept my schedule separated and helped me stay organized and less overwhelmed.
Academic Planner ($10.31)
I don’t think I would have made it through high school and college without one of these bad boys. I found one of my old planners the other day and I think I covered nearly every page of it with something. There were even formulas from a Chemistry test written in it!
These are essential. And you don’t necessarily have to get this particular one. Almost every store is going to have some and many of the online stores are going to have several different versions. This one just caught my eye because of the cute pineapple pattern.
A Good Backpack ($28.99)
I realize that this may be one of those things you are going to buy any way. I would like to give a little advice. Depending on the age of your children, they’re backpacks are going to change with them. A preschooler’s – elementary schooler’s backpack is going to be small. They are not going to be lugging home books every night. In fact, my oldest didn’t have homework until she hit 4th grade.
A high school student may or may not need a large backpack. I know that in my daughter’s school, they leave the schoolbooks in the classroom and all of the homework is online. Some places may not have that, and they may need a sturdier bag. A college student, though, will definitely need something with some room and heft to it. They are going to be hauling books and papers all across a campus and not being able to get back to their car or their dorm anytime soon. One of the great things about the one pictured is that it has a built-in charger and lock. This means that it will keep your stuff charged and safer than a normal backpack.
A Good Backpack part 2 ($28.88)
This is a bag with less frills. It doesn’t have the built-in charger or the lock, but this is a good durable bag. It is very similar to the one that my husband carried in college and still uses as a bag when he needs to grab something. It’s great for anyone just needing a good backpack.
Renewable Notebook ($34.00)
You might look at that price and think that I was out of my mind for suggesting you pay $34 for a notebook but let me explain. This is a renewable notebook. You use a page of it, send the contents to a cloud service and then wipe it clean.
Yes, its an infinite notebook. You literally cannot fill it up and you can’t lose your notes. I think the other cool thing is that it doesn’t use some special stylus or anything. It uses a frixion pen which, while they aren’t cheap, are not expensive in the way that apple pens are. You can also share your notes quickly and easily. As someone who learns by writing stuff over and over again, this would have saved me in high school.
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