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Before we get started, I have 2 disclaimers:

  1. If your child’s teacher has sent home a list, please follow it exactly. If they ask for red folders, please get red folders. Sometimes supplies are communal, and sometimes they are used for specific organizational purposes. There is usually a method to the madness, I promise.
  2. We are using affiliate links in this post.¬† Why are we doing this? Because I am learning that maintaining a website is surprisingly expensive. I want to continue making content (this has been a BLAST!), but I can’t afford to do it without a little support. If you like something on this list- great! If not, No worries! Just want to be as up front and honest as possible.

Onto the list!

First, know that¬† versions of all of these are available at the Dollar Tree. Please don’t feel like you need to spend a fortune on back to school.

Also- if you can afford it- consider buying a second set of supplies. There’s always a child in every class who forgets something. There’s always a child in every class who has a hard time affording supplies. Teachers do their best to provide everything, but it’s so meaningful to feel like someone has your back.

Conversely, if you are feeling like school supplies just are not in your budget – please reach out to your child’s teacher. We can help you find support.

Labels- Labels EVERYWHERE

This is a weird one to start with, but here’s the thing- Kids Lose Everything. They just do. Even the most responsible kid is going to get overexcited at some point and leave something behind. It’s just a part of being a person.

Labels help everyone. Write your child’s name AND your child’s teacher’s name on the label. It helps things get back to the right place.

Then, stick the labels inside their back pack, on the tags of their coat, on their water bottle/lunchbox/ headphones- everything. Put labels on everything. Even inside their shoes.

More Options:

Backpack:

This is a simple one. Your child is going to need a backpack.

Please, no wheels. I know, they’re fun and cute and I desperately wanted one when I was a kid. The problem is they’re difficult to get on and off the bus, they don’t fit in most lockers/cubby spaces, and are just generally hard to manage logistially.

Also- fewer pockets are better. Less to check, less to worry about cleaning. And machine washable is always a plus too.

More of my favs:

Lunch Box

If you plan on sending your child to school with lunch, a lunch box is a great idea. Even if you just plan on sending snack, it’s still a great idea to have anyway.

Everyone has different preferences, but in my experience, the best lunch boxes are easy to cool (I like the option that you just stick in the freezer and it’s all self contained) and easy for kids to open.

Bonus if it has an ice pack that is built in somewhere that kids can’t easily take out. Ice Packs get lost everywhere all the time, and keeping things together helps make things easier.

More ideas:

Lunch Containers that Kids Can Open Themselves

This one is SO IMPORTANT. There are A LOT of kids eating lunch, and they don’t get a lot of time to do it in. As a teacher, I loved these Bento Boxes not because they were cute, but because they were easy to open. Most kids could handle them on their own, which meant lunch was easier on everyone.

Brightly Colored Water Bottle with your child’s name on it

The brighter and more unique, the better. It’s less likely your child will lose it because it’s unique and easy to spot. Also- name and the name of their classroom teacher can SAVE THE DAY in terms of reuniting their child with a lost water bottle. Write it on the water bottle. Use Sharpie or a fancy label. Doesn’t matter, just get it on there.

Everyone seems like they have a type of water bottle they like best. My favorites are Yeti (they keep things cool or hot for a long time) or Camelback (I just like them). But really- any water bottle is going to be fine.

Erasers:

I am weirdly particular about my erasers. I think this is because we spend a lot of time learning to erase in classrooms and some of them are genuinely not very good. (Cute, but ineffective).

I have nothing against having cute erasers, but have a GOOD eraser to back them up. Trust me: it saves everyone a headache.

Some more favorites:

Pencils:

I am also particular about pencils- especially for younger kids. If you can swing it- BUY THE PRE SHARPENED PENCILS. It saves everyone a fair amount of time.

My favorites:

Glue Sticks:

JUMBO or regular- doesn’t matter on my end. Some districts have a preference though, so definitely check the school supply list. Also, sometimes younger kids have an easier time manipulating the larger sized glue sticks.

Side note: glue dots are the best for craft projects and a great thing to have on hand at home if you can swing it.

Favorite Glues:

Scissors:

A good set of kid-friendly scissors is essential to a lot of classroom activities. Really, any set of kid-safe scissors will work pretty well.

One thing to pay attention to is right or left handedness for your kid, but other than that pretty much everything is ok.

Our Recs:

Colored Pencils and Crayons:

Pretty much every school supply list asks for Crayons, Colored Pencils, and markers. For younger kids, thicker crayons are better and for older, thinner crayons are ideal.

Please get the amount your child’s teacher asks for- don’t be tempted by the GIANT BOXES (I mean, get them if you want to, they are FUN, but also get a smaller pack!)

Some of our Recs:

Markers, Pens, and Highlighters

Another school supply standard. You’ll probably be asked to get both regular and dry erase markers, highlighters and a few different color pens.

It is also a place where it’s a nice touch to follow the list exactly if you can swing it. If they ask for 8 markers, get 8 markers. If they ask for green pens, get green pens.

That’s because a lot of activities use specific colors and it saves time if you have the right colors in a way that is easy to find.

Some favorites:

Post It Notes, Notebooks, and Folders

Sticky Notes and Post It Notes are worth their weight in gold in the classroom. We use them for EVERYTHING.

Folders and Notebooks are also old school, but still used in most districts. Again- double check with your child’s teacher about amount and colors.

Some favorites:

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