Wasn't it just yesterday that our kids dragged home their bulging backpacks on the last day of school, shrieking with joy that summer vacation was finally here? Now store shelves are bulging with notebooks, backpacks, and pens, and offering back-to-school deals that are so tempting, you're probably making plans to go shopping in the next day or two. And the fun doesn't stop at your local office supply store. The best deals are probably online, and that's why you need to check out Amazon for back-to-school supplies, because you can stock up without braving the summer heat.
Speaking for myself, as much as I hate to see the beach-and-barbecue days slip away, I have to confess that I still get a kick out of picking out school supplies (maybe more than my kids do!). There's a sense of anticipation and hope that comes with stocking up on writing implements, binders, and pocket folders. I still remember the thrill of going into class on the first day, wondering what interesting essays I'd be writing on all that blank looseleaf and whether I'd ever figure out how to use a protractor, and comparing the cartoon characters on my lunchbox to those of my classmates. I suspect most kids today feel the same way.
Best of all, if you don't feel brave enough to face the crowds at the department stores and office-supply places if you shop online. Just fill up a digital shopping cart with items like these, and your kids will strut back to school with the confidence that comes with knowing they're totally prepped.
Mead Composition Books, 12 Pack
If your school supply list mentions "marble notebooks," this is what they're talking about. Compact and tightly bound, they're good for taking notes and doing homework. (Just be sure to write your child's name on them, since everyone else in the class will have the same ones.) Your child will very likely need one for each subject, so this dozen-book set is an economical buy.
Elmer's All-Purpose Glue Sticks, 12-Pack
If you think that a pack of 12 glue sticks is a little much, then you've never watched a child make a collage or a poster project for math or social studies. If you like, reserve a few of them to give to your child's teacher. Trust us, she could use them, too.
Crayon and Marker Set
Crayola Core Pack for Back to School
Since your school's supply list will no doubt include crayons, markers, and colored pencils, why not go for a packaged set that's cheaper than buying each item separately. The markers are washable, so there's no need to worry about an accidental smudge on your child's arm or shirt.
Safco Products Onyx Mesh Desktop Organizer
Those anguished cries of "Mom, I can't find my homework!" will be less likely to happen if your child has a way to keep school stuff organized. This smart desktop model has a rack for folders, and shelves for papers and binders, and they will definitely help you keep track of their homework too.
Marvel The Avengers Kids' AVG3508 Watch with Black Rubber Band
If your little superhero is learning how to tell time, they'll find it even more fun when wearing this durable watch. The easy-to-read design ensures accuracy and encourages practice, and the rubber wristband is comfortable on a little arm.
Pocket Folder Set
Ticonderoga Wood-Cased My First Pencils
A true school rite of passage: your child's first No. 2 pencil. This set of four is sized just right for small hands (they're a little bit wider), comes with a sharpener, and is such a good bargain that you might want to buy two or three sets, just in case they lose a couple along the way.
High Sierra Elly Backpack
Fun without being too grown-up, this tropical backpack is reasonably priced and offers such features as magnetic closures on the side pockets and front flap, and a special compartment for a personal tablet. The design options include solid lilac or turquoise fabric, if this tropical print is not your kid's thing.
12" Zoo Insulated Toddler Backpack
Entering pre-K? Or transitioning to kindergarten? This fun backpack works equally well for both school stages. It's big enough to hold a blanket for preschool naptime, or a few marble notebooks for kindergarten homework. The front pocket is insulated to keep food or drinks cool till lunch. Or buy the matching lunch box for only $14 extra.
All-in-One Sleep Blanket and Pillow
Olive Kids by Wildkin Children's Original Nap Mat
If your pre-K child's school schedule includes a naptime, you'll need bedding for their mat or cot. Instead of a crib sheet (which can bunch up on a mat) or an old baby blanket (which won't cover your child enough), try a nap mat, which is long enough to cover a cot, and also includes a built-in blanket and pillow for maximum comfort.
Backpack Charm Craft Kit
Klutz BFF Backpack Charms
Your crafty elementary schooler will love this beginner's cross-stitch set, which features all the materials needed to stitch cute backpack charms, plus simple instructions to make six charms. It may not be a requirement on their school supply list, but your little one will love distributing them to their besties.
Sticky Note Set
Post-It Super Sticky Notes
Once your kids start reading, their teachers will want them to keep a sticky-note pad close by to "stop and jot" their thoughts, predictions, and questions about the books they read, then stick their notes onto the pages as they go. You might want to reserve one of the pads for yourself to write down reminders about PTA meetings and book fairs.
Hand Sanitizer Set
Purell ECDECO Advanced Design Series Hand Sanitizer (Set of 4)
Many schools ask parents to contribute supplies such as paper towels, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer bottles. Think of it as insurance against cold and flu season; clean hands, desks and other school surfaces mean less chances of your having to stay home from work to nurse a feverish child. This pack of four should last them a while.