16 best school supplies for back to school 2021

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist. Photos: courtesy of the retailer

After the last year and a half of blended and distance learning, it looks like the upcoming school year will be back to normal – mainly: many children will usually wear masks and be properly separated from each other, and they will also need more of their own personal supplies than ever before, as communal school supplies can spread germs. “School supplies this year will definitely be different due to the pandemic. Now, basic things like pencils, markers, crayons and glue may need to be kept separate and personal while the kids are in school, ”says Andy Yung, father and preschool teacher in Flushing, Queens. . “I recommend investing in a sturdy supply bag and labeling everything.”

We talked to ten parents and teachers, including Yung, and a few cool kids about the best and most wanted tips for K-8 students. They told us about the most popular backpacks, restless toys, headphones, markers, and hand sanitizer holders for the coming year, which we’ve included below. It’s already a banner year for back-to-school shopping, with many families getting a jump on the items on their lists. Coupled with the supply chain issues we’ve seen plaguing outdoor furniture and other household items, this could mean shortages of some in-demand back-to-school items, so if you see something your kids will love about this list, you may want to act quickly. And if you want to learn more about all of the coolest things according to high school kids, check out our survey of 100 teens here.

Billabong School's Out Backpack

A mom of three, Ellen Pandey says that among her 9-year-old daughter’s friends, animal prints are very popular, especially on backpacks like this one recommended by her daughter Lily.

HollyHOME Rolling Backpack

According to Pandey and Karen Aronian, an education consultant and mom to an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old, middle school kids love to roll backpacks. “My kids switched to rolling backpacks during COVID, when all of their school essentials had to go with them everywhere throughout the day, and lockers were verboten,” says Aronian, noting that many of their classmates also made the change. Pandey warns that some teachers hate roller backpacks (because students tend to drag them up the stairs instead of picking them up, and they mess up the lines when the class walks together), but the kids LOVE them.

John Deere Boys' Toddler Backpack

When it comes to toddlers, strategist writer and mom Lauren Ro says John Deere toddler backpacks have become a micro-trend, poised to overtake the ubiquitous animal backpack Skip Hop. In fact, the yellow version of this backpack owned by his son and one of his classmates is currently out of print.

Koala Pom PocketBac Holder

Photo: retailer

If you don’t want your child to lose their hand sanitizer, consider giving them a cute and trendy holder that clips onto their backpack. Pandey says the one from Bath & Body Works is a good example of the trend.

HiUnicorn Mini Keychain Unicorn Fidget Toys Pack

Mom-of-two and freelance writer Tia Harris tells us that choppy poppers are really hot right now, which we’ve heard from many other parents as well. “It seems almost every kid I see has one. We keep some in the car and in my bag for when we go out to eat, ”says Harris. They come in tons of shapes and sizes, but this keychain is what she recommends for school.

Hydro Flask 32 oz Water Bottle

Almost everyone we spoke to stressed the importance of having your own water bottle at school to help prevent the spread of germs. Pandey’s son, Brahm, who is entering fifth grade, says that despite their high price tag, Hydro Flasks are king among college kids. He also mentioned that it’s always cool to put stickers on your water bottle. His favorites are anything to do with basketball.

THERMOS FUNTAINER insulated straw bottle for children

Photo: retailer

For the younger ones, Ro says it’s the water bottle her son’s preschool recommends because it doesn’t leak and it has a bendable (and coverable) straw.

Crayola Twist Pencils

Photo: retailer

Several parents, including Harris, whose kids are in Kindergarten and Grade 2, told us their kids love these Crayola Twistable Pencils. “They don’t need to be sharp and are easy to hold,” she says.

Mr. Sketch Chisel Point Marker

Photo: retailer

These markers were the favorites of most adults when they were in school, and they appeal to current students as well. “Last year I had these smelly Mr. Sketch markers and everyone wanted to borrow them all the time,” says Brahm Pandey, who is entering fifth grade.

PJ Masks Soft Insulated School Lunch Box for Boys and Girls

Yung says that during the virtual classroom sharing last year, his students spent a lot of time talking about PJ Masks, a popular superhero show for preschoolers. “At first I didn’t know what it was and thought they were talking about TJ Maxx,” he says. This insulator PJ Masks The lunchbox might hold your child’s attention long enough to finish eating each day.

My Hero Academia pencil case

A lot of college kids really like anime series like Naruto, Haikyuu, The disastrous life of Saiki K, and My hero university. “I have noticed that there has been a huge increase in the love of anime among children,” says Mikaela Walker, editor-in-chief of Orlando Family Fun Magazine and mother of two children. “My daughter, who is 12, got into anime last year. We recently updated her room to have posters, linens and anime wall hangings, ”she says. This My hero university a pencil case would probably be welcome in most college backpacks this year.

Pokémon Notebook

Photo: retailer

We heard from elementary teachers Jacob Cohen and Natasha Harris, as well as school technology administrator Eli Forsythe, that Pokemon is still incredibly popular, especially among first, second and third graders. Thus, all school supplies containing Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Charizard or Ash will delight children. This notebook contains a combination of lined paper for taking notes and coloring pages that budding artists can trace to practice drawing their favorite Pokemon. Plus, Pokemon stickers and temporary tattoos are great rewards for completing tough housework or homework.

Dog Man: From the creator of Captain Underpants

Photo: retailer

Dav Pilkey’s book is also popular among second, third and fourth graders. dog man comic series. Natasha Harris says the series of books is really useful for kids who aren’t yet big readers because “they’re easy and fun to read, so kids want to read them,” she says. Pilkey also has a new series, called Cat kids cartoon club.

Apple AirPods with charging case

Forsythe says AirPods are incredibly popular and that a lot of kids (and New Yorkers in general) have them. In his opinion, this is partly the status and partly that they work very well with other Apple products. “In general, the majority of kids could have a full smartphone by grade six, and I’d be surprised if that didn’t come with a set of AirPods,” he says. Brahm Pandey agrees that they are very popular even in college. “I know a lot of kids in my class who have them,” he says.

Skullcandy Dime True Wireless In-Ear Headphones

If the cost of AirPods seems too high for a fifth-grader, Lisha Dunlap, communications manager at the University of Advanced Technology, recommends her son’s favorite pair of headphones from SkullCandy. “He’s starting grade five and there are only two things that interest him: his pencil case and his headphones. He must have had SkullCandy headphones, ”she said. They come in six different colors and cost about a fifth of what you’d spend on AirPods.

Forest Dream Myra shoulder bag

Photo: retailer

After polling her network of cool west coast kids and teens, Pandey confirmed that this Myra sling phone case is “The summer item for all west coast tweens,” says she. It’s currently sold out in all colors on Amazon, but you can still purchase one from the brand’s website.

[Editor’s note: Myra’s website is under construction until August 17, but you can sign up to be reminded once it’s live again.]

The strategist is designed to bring out the most useful expert recommendations for things to buy in the broad landscape of ecommerce. Some of our latest wins include the best acne treatments, wheeled luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural remedies for anxiety, and bath towels. We update links where possible, but note that offers may expire and all prices are subject to change.


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