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Your Ultimate Back to School Guide: Grades K-12

We've rounded up some great school products that will get your kids back on the bus, bags fully stocked.
Your Ultimate Back to School Guide: Grades K-12

As the summer winds down, your family is gearing up to send your children back to school. There are pens and paper and new backpacks to buy on top of your already never-ending parental to-do list.

To give you a hand, we’ve rounded up some great school products that will get your kids back on the bus, bags fully stocked. The best part is, these are all available online, so you don’t have to spend your last few weekends of summer driving around town looking for gluesticks.

Best Planner

1. WWF Keep It Wild Hardcover Weekly Planner by Ziga Media, LLC

Keep your kiddo organized and on top of their assignments with this elephant-print planner.

$11.99 at Amazon

Best Markers

2. Crayola 12ct Fine Washable Markers

Whether for art class or color-coding notes, Crayola fine markers are a must.

$4.30 at Amazon

Best Pencils

3. Dixon Ticonderoga Pre-Sharpened with Erasers Pencils, #2, Yellow, Box of 30

Kids will break and lose pencils all year long, so you might as well get them started with a fresh, full box of their favorite #2s.

$5.99 at Amazon

Best Index Cards

4. Mead Index Cards, Ruled, 3 x 5 Inch, White, 100 Per Pack

There’s no time like the present to start kids’ spongelike minds memorizing facts—make sure they have the tools they need.

$2.86 at Amazon

Best Tissues

5. Kleenex Ultra Soft Tissues, White, 120ct, Pack of 8

Sure, the kids are perfectly healthy now, but come fall, you know there will colds passed around the classroom—tissues will help slow the germ spread.

$13.11 at Amazon

Best Notebook

6. Mead Composition Notebook, College Ruled, 100 Sheets, 5 Pack

These notebooks may be old school, but plenty of grade schools still require the classic composition tool. Buy in bulk and your kid will be covered for the whole year.

$13.41 at Amazon

Best Pencil Box

7. ADVANTUS Polypropylene Pencil Box with Lid

This simple clear pencil box will keep all of the kids’ writing utensils neat and tidy.

$4.35 at Amazon

Best Erasers

8. Paper Mate Pink Pearl Premium Erasers, 3 Pack, Large

We know your little tot is practically perfect in every way, but when mistakes do slip through, it’s best to have an eraser on hand.

$1.99 at Amazon

Best Way to Make a Note

9. Post-it Notes, 3 in x 3 in, Jaipur Collection

Start kids’ organizational obsession off early with brightly colored Post-it Notes that will remind them (and you) of all the after-school activities on their schedule.

$6.59 at Amazon

Best Lunchbox

10. Rubbermaid LunchBlox Medium Lunch Bag, Black Etch,

Inspire their inner artist with this black etch lunch box that comes with an easy water bottle pocket to lessen the chance they’ll leave it behind.

$14.13 at Amazon

Best Pencil Sharpener

11. Yoobi Pencil Sharpener Two Hole – Blue

Your kids will want a pencil sharpener on hand for any mid-test lead breakage, and they can pick their favorite from the selection of bright colors.

$1.49 at Target

Best Scissors

12. Fiskars 5 Inch Classic Blunt Tip Kids Scissors, Color Received May Vary

Think safety first with these blunt-tip scissors.

$4.55 at Amazon

Best Dry Erase Board

13. Locker Cork Framed Dry Erase Board

Your kids’ friends can leave locker notes on this mini corkboard-encased dry erase board.

$4.99 at Target

Best Locker Shelf

14. Five Star Extra Tall Locker Shelf

Avoid a locker avalanche with this metal shelf that’ll keep textbooks stacked neatly.

$14.45 at Amazon

Best way to kill germs

15. Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer

Hook a mini hand sanitizer bottle onto lunchboxes to remind kids to wash up before diving in.

$1.44 at Target

Best Washable Glue

16. Elmer’s Washable All Purpose School Glue Sticks

Prep kids for craft time with these washable glue sticks that won’t make a mess of their clothes.

$3.51 at Walmart

Best tool for geometry

17. Westcott 6-Inch Plastic 180 Degree Protractor, Clear

A protractor will be your kid’s best friend for making it through high school geometry.

$5.70 at Amazon

Best Graph Paper

18. Five Star Reinforced Graph Filler Paper

Graph paper is good for math class—and for taking super-neat notes.

$3.47 at Amazon

Best Backpack

19. Boys’ UA Storm Hall Of Fame Backpack

Under Armour began as a startup at the University of Maryland, and you can show your support for precocious entrepreneurship with this sporty backpack!

$44.99 at Under Armour

Best Binder

20. Avery Durable Binder with 3-Inch Slant Ring

Help kids keep track of all of their assignments in a three-ring binder.

$5.99 at Amazon

Best Kids’ Water Bottle

21. Contigo 14 oz. Kids Striker Autospout Water Bottle

Hydration is important, so make sure to send kids off to school with a water bottle in hand—especially one that’s unlikely to spill.

$11.95 at Walmart

Best Spiral-Bound Notebook

22. Poppin Pocket Book Medium Spiral Notebook Coral

Spur good note-taking skills early with a spiral-bound notebook with a built-in pocket for handouts.

$5.99 at Staples

Best Mini Stapler

23. Swingline Tot Stapler with Built-In Staple Remover

Make sure no essay pages get left behind with this mini stapler.

$5.93 at Amazon

Best Kindle for Kids

24. All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display

Take their bookshelf to the 21st century and save on extra reading assignments with a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

$119 at Amazon

Best gel Pens

25. Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens

Their spelling quiz corrections will really stand out with these bright red pens.

$3.29 at Amazon

Best Highlighters

26. Staples Hype!™ Gripped Pen-Style Highlighters

These chisel-tip highlighters make for neat note taking, and the six colors will help them stay organized.

$2.99 at Staples

Best Calculator for kids

27. Avalon 8 Digit Dual Powered Desktop Calculator

An essential side-kick for math class, this easy calculator comes in multiple colors so your kids can pick one that won’t cramp their style.

$7.99 at Amazon

Best Two-pocket Folder

28. Avery Translucent Two-Pocket Folder

The translucent sides will help kids grab the right folder on their way to class, and the plastic material will hold up better than paper.

$1.99 at Amazon

Best Colored Pencils

29. Crayola Colored Pencils

For art class or color-coding maps in geography, colored pencils are a necessary addition to any supply box.

$2.97 at Amazon

Best Dry-Erase Markers

30. Expo Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, Black

When kids give a class presentation, these markers will let them add some visual effects.

$5 at Staples

Best Graphing Calculator

31. Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator

An essential side-kick for any math class, the TI-83 is the perfect piece of tech for the high school student.

$88 at Amazon

Best PC Laptop

32. ASUS Zenbook 13.3-Inch Ultra-Slim All-Aluminum Laptop

For the college student who needs a laptop but would rather use Windows, this is a really strong option. It’s lightweight, has a long battery life and has a pretty high resolution screen (not technically hiDPI, which will cost you more).

$712.95 at Amazon

Best Tablet

33. Apple iPad Air 2

For those with a lot of reading on their calendar or taking an on-the-go major, the iPad Air is super light and easy to carry all over campus. Our director of digital products used an iPad in grad school for most of his textbooks. With an iPad Air, you can have all of your reading material with you wherever you go without breaking your back. The iPad Air’s Retina/hiDPI screen is very easy on the eyes. We do not recommend low-resolution laptops for sustained periods of reading.

$439 at Amazon

Best Laptop

34. Apple MacBook 12-Inch Laptop with Retina Display

This laptop has two killer features that make it perfect for students: It’s really lightweight, and it has a very high resolution screen that is easy on the eyes. College students do a lot of reading, writing, and web surfing. Staring at computer monitors all day (and phones and other devices) can lead to eyestrain. Using a Retina/hiDPI screen can help lesson and prevent eye strain. The Macbook is lightweight and has a beautiful Retina screen. The one thing it doesn’t have is tons of power. If you need a more powerful Mac with a Retina screen, the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros are also fantastic.

$1,279 at Amazon

Best Camera for Beginners

35. Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Zoom Lens

If your high schooler has a photography class lined up for this year, or is involved in yearbook, this is the camera to get. It’s easy to hold, simple to use, and can even shoot HD video. Add on this 35mm prime lens to create the perfect combo for learning how photography and videography. That 35mm lens is the best deal in a camera lens anywhere. It works fantastically well in low light situations and can do very shallow depth of field.

$496.95 at Amazon

Best Camera Bag for Students

36. Lowepro Transit Backpack 350 AW

This bag can carry everything. There’s room for your iPad, laptop, DSLR, photography gear, and there’s even space to stash a notebook and some snacks.

Looking for something smaller? The Lowepro Fastpack 250 is a great bag to carry around every day and can fit a laptop and a dslr without any bulkiness. It’s also a comfortable daily laptop bag.

$99.90 at Amazon

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.