Best Back to School Gear

While it may feel as though the summer holidays have only just started, the reality is that they’re almost over – yes, already. As thousands of children prepare to wave goodbye to a lazy summer spent with friends and family, your fellow parents are no doubt rejoicing in the return to routine, and an end to the endless whimpers of those who are ‘bored’ or ‘hungry’. Hooray for September! Of course, the approach of this new year can mean only one thing; it’s time to go shopping for those back to school essentials, and to empty your purse of anything that had been left over following a summer of fun. From new clothes, shoes and stationery, to bags and classroom equipment, no stone shall be left unturned as you kit your child out for the academic year ahead.


Regardless of whether this is your first year as the parent of a school child or your fifth, there’s a chance you’ll still need a little help when it comes to replenishing their gear. How many pencils are too many? How likely is my child to grow out of two sweaters in a term? So many questions, and all them being judged like a second-grader’s homework. We’re here to help, so read on…

Heading back to the schoolyard? Here’s what you need…

Your shopping list will vary greatly depending upon your child’s age and the grade they’re moving into, as well as the school they attend. Some educational establishments will require parents to provide more materials than others, although you should have been informed about these supplies well in advance. Specific resources and clothing aside, here are some of the items you’re going to need to look out for:


Starting school is a daunting time for any little one, so be sure to involve your child as you shop for supplies; allow them to choose their own pencil box, a lunch bag and the stationery that they’d like to use, as well as a special notepad for their work, and encourage them to talk about the approach of school. One of the most exciting aspects of starting or heading back to school is choosing a new bag that will hold those supplies, and there are some truly adorable kid backpacks on the market these days. From colorful cartoon characters and friendly-faced animals, to recognizable television and movie personalities, your little one is bound to find a backpack that will get them excited about school. Other considerations at this point include colored pencils and crayons, washable markers, an eraser, glue sticks, plastic folders for keeping work clean and safe, colored paper and a water bottle. If your child will be expected to wear uniform, now is the time to buy it; if not, you may wish to update their wardrobe with some late summer/early fall fashions, and buy a smart new pair of shoes.

Elementary school

The shopping list for elementary school pupils varies very little from that of a new kindergartener; allow your child to choose a new pencil box, a larger backpack to accommodate the increasing amount of work that they’ll be tackling, a lunch box and water bottle, and a few new items of clothing to start the year with a bang. Again, refer to school guidelines as to whether a uniform is needed, and provide smart new shoes that fit properly. Additionally, you may wish to think about new notepads, ballpoint pens rather than pencils, coloring crayons or pens, project books and folders, subject dividers and index cards, glue, a calculator, a rule and erasers, personal organizer, a sharpener and scissors; everything your child needs to produce A grade work.

Middle and high school

And so, to middle and high-schoolers, whose lists will be more comprehensive than those of their younger counterparts. As the workload intensifies, so too will the equipment that your child no doubt needs, and your shopping list should include a new pencil box or pouch, a collection of pens, pencils and highlighters, an eraser, a math set, a calculator, permanent markers, a hole punch and ring binder, plastic wallets, loose leaf paper or a notepad, graph paper, subject dividers, index cards, post-it notes, white-out, a personal organizer or diary, a new lunch bag and water bottle, and a satchel, backpack or shoulder bag to carry it all in. In addition to school clothing or uniform, your child will need sports kit, including shorts and a T-shirt, and sneakers, as well as more specialized equipment depending upon the sports they’re playing.

Remember… there’s a chance you’ll have been given a list of required clothing, books and equipment prior to the summer holidays starting, or have been asked to source certain items in time for your child’s return to school. Make sure these items are your priority as you begin shopping, and prepare your little one as well as you can. Now is also the time to pose any questions you may have, and to get your family schedule in order – welcome back to the routine.

So, there you have it: an almost-comprehensive list of everything your child will need as they return to school. Whether you’re shopping online, browsing selling sites or visiting stores, be sure to keep an eye out for discounts and offers – you never know what you might find.