Universal school supplies for every age
Each year, your kids’ teachers will provide you with a class list of the specific school supplies you’ll need to provide. While there’s nothing wrong with waiting to get those lists, it often means making a mad dash to get to a store or order online. And those lists don’t necessarily cover the supplies you’ll need for homework, studying, and keeping schoolwork organized at home. With that in mind, we’ve prepared back-to-school checklists from elementary to college with the best items you can get ahead of time.
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Binders are perhaps the most essential item for back-to-school, and there’s actually a lot that goes into choosing the right one! Of course, you will likely want to check the class list for specifics. However, it’s also important to know which binders can get you through on a budget and what to look for if you want your school binders to last. For that reason, instead of including regular school binders on these lists, we devoted an entire article to breaking down the best school binders for every age and level. You can also use our binder resource page to browse and compare styles as well as get ideas and inspiration for more ways to organize with binders.
Elementary back-to-school checklist
Undoubtedly, elementary-aged kids classes mean a lot of sticky little hands. So it’s always a good idea to get on top of reducing germs as early as possible. With that in mind, our elementary back-to-school list focuses on durable kids’ school supplies that you can wipe down whenever “gunk happens.” In fact, we wrote an entire article about how to label school supplies so that you can still clean them.
Additionally, durable labels are fantastic for identifying school supplies so that they don’t get mixed up or lost. Moreover, sheet protectors are great for creating reusable worksheets you can write on with dry-erase markers. To demonstrate, simply slip any paper into a sheet protector to instantly make activity sheets, checklists, and schedules that are all reusable.
It’s also important to include school supplies that make back-to-school fun, for example, fun binders or glue sticks for crafting. Starting a new grade is a big deal anytime, but especially in elementary school, it’s a great idea to go the extra mile to make the new school year feel special.
1) Durable ID labels for kids gear
We love these 3-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ durable kids labels (41413) that you can write on. The colors are fun and can also be used to color-code school supplies.
2) Versatile no-iron fabric labels
No-iron fabric labels for backpacks and clothing (40720) are indispensable for labeling school supplies for little kids.
4) Cute binders to motivate kids
Our Frenchie Puppy Binder (26836) is a fan favorite, but there are many more cool colors and designs to choose from as well.
5) Glue sticks for crafty school projects
Our favorite glue stick for back-to-school is the regular Glue Stic™ 2-pack (00171). There are also bigger packs, and different formulas to suit different needs.
Middle & junior high back-to-school checklist
Self-expression is important for kids, especially in those crucial middle school and junior high years. For this reason, our back-to-school checklist for tweens is all about mixing the basics with customization. For example, supplies in fun colors and personalized DIY sticker decals make it easy for kids to express themselves.
To begin with, school supplies don’t have to be boring. Your tween will love mixing and matching colorful dividers and Ultra Tabs® in a variety of colors and finishes. Next, consider helping your kids make custom stickers. They’re the perfect way for tweens to decorate their tablet, laptop, or school supplies. Not only are our DIY decal sheets safe for recommended surfaces, but they’re also easy to personalize. In fact, our top 10 sticker templates for making DIY decals are perfect for easily creating personalized stickers.
Finally, think about ways to help your tween stay organized at home. Create laminated, reusable chore lists and weekly calendars they can use to practice managing their own time and tasks. Colorful dry-erase markers allow them to color-code or doodle as needed.
1) DIY decals for tweens
Print these stickers yourself with Avery 61512 decal sheets for laser or inkjet printers. You can also create and order custom stickers online using our WePrint service.
2) Colorful dividers for middle school subjects
We love these durable two-tone plastic dividers (11989) for the colors, because the plastic lasts longer, and because the pockets are convenient.
3) Ultra Tabs for indexing
There are so many eye-catching colors and styles of Ultra Tabs to choose from, but we really love the holographic jewel-tone Ultra Tabs (74147). They’re perfect for studying or journaling.
High school back-to-school checklist
Much like middle school and junior high students, high school students also need school supplies they can personalize. However, the reasons are somewhat different. Personalized school supplies are not only for self-expression. They also support more sophisticated projects and study schedules.
First and foremost, academic planners are a necessity for high school students to hone time-management skills that they will need in college and beyond. Furthermore, highlighters and index tabs facilitate more sophisticated studying, note-taking, and color coding. Not to mention the fact that tougher subjects, college prep, and everything else high school kids are taking on means organization is more important than ever. Durable plastic dividers are ideal for single-subject binders with complex units and assignments.
Of course, that’s not to say there’s no room for fun on your back-to-school checklist. For example, DIY decals work for high school students too. In fact, our Surface Safe® printable decal sticker sheets remove cleanly from metal and painted metal without leaving any residue. This makes them perfect for decorating lockers. In contrast, ultrafine-point permanent markers are perfect for decorating personal items like binders or sneakers while also being useful for school projects.
1) Academic planners for time management
Avery dated planner (29874) covers July to June to follow the school year. Extra pages and a free sticker sheet make it a great value for high school planners.
3) Durable plastic dividers
We love these 5-tab durable plastic dividers (11200) for organizing single-subject binders for high school classes.
Our colorful permanent marker pack (9231) features an ultra-fine tip that makes them useful for doodling or school projects.
5) DIY locker decals
Print this design on Avery 61512 decal sticker sheets for laser or inkjet printers. Or finish customizing, then choose “Let Us Print for You” to order custom-printed Surface Safe decals.
More resources for parents
Is something missing from your back-to-school checklist? Check out more articles just for parents. Or follow us on Pinterest for A+ back-to-school ideas and share your projects for the new school year on Instagram with #averyproducts.