Before you shop for back-to-school supplies, it’s best to get a list of what’s required from your child’s school or new teacher. If the school list isn’t available yet, you can still take advantage of back-to-school sales by sticking to the basics that you know your child will need.
Basic writing supplies
No. 2 pencils (Parents should stick to the basics to avoid classroom competition.)
Pencil sharpener (hand held with a top to collect shavings)
Large pink eraser
Box of crayons
Spiral bound or composition notebooks
Loose-leaf notebook paper (Teachers can be picky about paper. Schools usually supply specially ruled handwriting paper to help younger children with letter formation. Older children use wide-ruled paper.)
Basic organizational supplies
Box for storing supplies
Index cards, ruled and unruled (for making flash cards)
A sturdy, supportive backpack (Some schools do not permit rolling backpacks because of space considerations; check with your school before considering this option.)
Basic craft supplies
A ruler with English and metric measurements
4-oz. bottle of white glue
Stapler (A mini stapler is best for last minute stapling emergencies and it usually fits in the supply box.)
Scissors (blunt end for younger kids, pointy for older ones)
Basic supplies for your home computer
Computer printer paper
Printer ink cartridges
Basic supplies to donate to the classroom
Bottle of hand sanitizer
Ask the teacher if it would be helpful to have extras of any of the other basics supplies on hand.
A number of states have “tax-free” days during back-to-school season, when state sales taxes are lifted.
This list is meant as a general guide to get you started. Every teacher’s list is a little different. Some recommend specific brands, such as Fiskars scissors for example, or sizes. Some recommend buying in larger quantities than we’ve listed. Many will give you a shorter list. So check in with the teacher.
See the lists of back-to-school supplies your child will need in kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade and in middle school, too.