7 Back-to-School Items Really Worth Buying

  • 01 of 08

    The Stuff Your Kids Really Need to Go Back to School

    Back to school shopping
    Getty/Willie de l'Horme

    Every year as summer winds down parents are inundated by requests from kids for back-to-school items while at the same time they are working though buying the supply lists that are sent out by their child's school. But what do kids really need to head back to school? Is everything on the supply list necessary? (Maybe, maybe not.) Regardless, there are some back-to-school supplies that are truly useful. And most of them won't be found on a supply list!

    Here are 7 items that every parent...MORE should buy to make life a little easier this school year.

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  • 02 of 08

    A Good Pencil Sharpener

    Back to school

    As any parent who has spent time overseeing homework knows, a broken pencil point is one of those distractions that can easily derail homework time. Kids will dive into the backpack looking for a sharpener or an already-sharpened pencil and never get back to what they were doing. And even if your child is not a procrastinator, most kids go through a lot of broken pencil points. Having a good sharpener at home can head off this problem. It doesn’t have to be electric, but it has to be high...MORE quality, so they don't spend all their studying time sharpening.

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  • 03 of 08

    Flash Cards and Learning Aids

    Flash cards

    Equip your home with the things your kids need to learn. Yes, they probably have multiplication tables, addition facts cards and math manipulatives at school, but when your children are learning math facts, they need to practice at home too. Same is true of cards with sight words and letters of the alphabet.

    In this same category, I would add a good homework planner. Though many schools have this item on the supply list, be sure that the one you buy is something your child will use.

    In short,...MORE figure out what works for your child and invest in it.

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  • 04 of 08

    Hand Sanitizer

    hand sanitizer

    While on the one hand you don't want your kids to be germ-a-phobes, on the other, who knows where all those hands have been? It only takes a little while from the time school starts to when kids start missing days due to colds and flu. Buy your kids personal-size hand sanitizer for their lunchboxes and backpacks (and remind them to use it) and donate a larger bottle for their classrooms.

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  • 05 of 08

    Clips, Lanyards and Key Chains

    GettyCheyenne Montgomery

    Kids often lose small items like keys, pencil cases, USB drives, iPods and water bottles. And once lost at school, small items have only a small chance of ever turning up. So attach these things to something larger like backpacks or lunchboxes. Probably most kids won't want to wear a lanyard, but attaching a small item to one makes it more visible and less likely to be misplaced.

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  • 06 of 08

    Protective Covers for Books

    book covers
    Getty/Jonathon Schulte

    A workbook in tatters is useless. Lost pages can mean missed assignments. And you don't want to be charged for a damaged text book. However, kids can be hard on books. So stock up on clear contact paper and cover workbooks and folders with it. It's amazing how much longer they will last. If your child's school requires book covers, most likely they provide paper ones. But if your child’s school doesn’t or you’re tired of redoing ripped book covers, get the stretchy cloth book covers.

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  • 07 of 08

    Labeling Supplies

    Getty/Tim Hall

    School supplies can get expensive so make sure the ones you buy stick with your kids all year. The older kids get the more expensive the supplies are (a $100 graphing calculator, for instance), but older children aren't always any better at keeping track of things. If this is an issue in your family, you may want to  get a labeler so that all items are well marked. And with a label-maker you can always peel off the label with older sibling’s name when you reuse a school item the next year.

    But...MORE you also can mark everything with a permanent marker. However, since even a permanent marker this may wear off, stick a piece of clear tape over your child’s name.

    As for clothes, another item often lost during the school year, iron-on clothes labels can mean the difference between buying a new set of gym clothes mid year and not.

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  • 08 of 08

    A High Quality Lunchbox

    Getty/Blend Images

    Trying buying a new lunchbox in February, it can be done (especially now with online shopping) but you will pay a lot more. So be sure that the lunchbox you buy in August is something that will last all year, and something that your child will want to use all year. These lunchboxes kids like will make parents happy too.