Having been a student and a teacher for most of my life, you could say that I’ve had extensive experience with school supplies. If my years have taught me anything, it’s that function and durability are crucial factors when choosing the best supplies for Back to School.

Facial Tissues | School Supplies

School Supplies Pro Tip: Both of these options rank high in both performance and softness with near perfect absorbency.


Pro Tip: You cannot go wrong with either of these options. For the sanity of your child’s teacher and if you can swing it, opt for pre-sharpened. The best thing about Ticonderoga and USA Gold are that they sharpen easily. Cheaper pencils wrapped in plastic just don’t sharpen nearly as well and the lead usually ends up breaking off in the pencil sharpener so that you’re spending more time sharpening the pencil than actually using it.

Pens | School Supplies

Pro-Tip: These pens are truly the best because they write well AND are sooooo cheap. When in doubt, get these for classroom use. They come in black, blue, and red ink colors.

Crayons, Colored Pencils, and Markers

Pro-Tip: You’re going to want to buy the RoseArt crayons or Jot crayons from the dollar store because they’re cheap, but I’m going to have to slap them out of your hand. Don’t do it. Neither of these options hold up to the quality of Crayola.

Glue Sticks

Pro Tip: Elmer’s is currently touting their scented glue sticks. I caution you against buying them because, honestly, they will most likely be eaten by your young child. Trust me.


  • BEST STARTER SCISSORS: Melissa & Doug Child-Safe Scissor Set
  • BEST FOR OLDER KIDS: Crayola Pointed-Tip Scissors from Crayola

Pro-Tip: If your child is a lefty, consider Fiskars Softgrip Left-Handed Kids Scissors from Amazon $7.76/1-pack

Playdough (for the Kindergarteners and Firsties)

  • BEST OVERALL: Play-Doh from Walmart $0.50/can

Pro Tip: Play-Doh truly is the best brand. Most dollar store playdoughs have a weird smell and are already dry when you get them home. Stick with the best, and go with Play-Doh. Walmart has them for the best value.

Pencil Bag and/or Box

Pro Tip: For a pencil bag, steer clear of plastic pencil bags with plastic zippers. They don’t hold much and the zippers are notorious for breaking, usually within a week or so. Similarly, plastic pencil boxes don’t have near enough room for daily use and break quite easily. Although you’ll save money buying them initially, you’ll end up spending more in the long run on replacements.


Pro Tip: Although it is tempting to purchase the cheap dollar store earbuds for school supplies, they are more trouble than they’re worth. They tangle easily and end up covered in ear gunk. (Insert vomit emoji here.) Additionally, I have found that kids usually prefer over-the-ear headphones to earbuds because of comfort and ease of use…and so do their teachers!

Water Bottle School Supplies

Pro-Tip: For best functionality, go with insulated stainless steel instead of plastic. Also, I would recommend putting some thought into the water bottle’s top. Consider a flip-top for sanitary purposes and a locking lid to avoid leaks and spills.


Pro-Tip: Step away from the cheap plastic backpacks with Disney and Marvel faces on them in the Walmart and Target aisles, and rush online to Pottery Barn or JanSport for functional backpacks in a variety of colors and patterns for this school supplies season.

Optional School Supplies

  • BEST Hand Sanitizer: Germ-X
  • BEST Dry Erase Markers: EXPO
  • BEST Highlighters: Sharpie Tank-Style Chisel-Tip
  • BEST Sticky Notes: Post-Its
  • BEST Binder: Wilson Jones 3-Ring (D-Ring)
  • BEST Quart and Gallon Freezer Bags: Texas Tough Zipper

Remember that school supplies are used on a daily basis. For this reason, it’s best to choose items based on their durableness and performance. So take a moment and consider this when shopping for school supplies this season!

Calling all Room Moms! We all know organizing teacher gifts can be a nightmare. Other parents’ money in your bank account, trying to get everyone to sign the card…and then finding the perfect gift for the teacher. You NEED to try GroupTogether. They take care of everything end-to-end. Just share a link and let parents chip in and sign the card online. Then choose from 150+ eGift Cards or give the AnyCard and let the recipient choose. It’s FREE and ridiculously easy. Used by parents at schools right across the US.


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