Ultimate back-to-school shopping list for kids

By Brittany Stuckless

Posted on August 30, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Parents are scrambling to get their kids ready for school, and as newcomers you may feel overwhelmed trying to find the back-to-school basics that your kids will need. To save time, you can check out this detailed list of everything kids need for back to school!

back to school supplies


A backpack is essential for kids heading back to school. Most school subjects have several textbooks and require students to allocate one notebook per class. Therefore, your child will need a place to store their books and easily carry them home. It should be big enough to store books and supplies, but not hurt your child’s back or be challenging to keep in a locker.

Pencil case

Kids need a new pencil case for heading back to school in September. It should fit a lot of pencils, maybe a couple of pens, and some other items. Your best bet is to get a pencil case that has multiple compartments. That way, your child can use it to store rulers and erasers as well.


With the COVID-19 pandemic having a massive impact on learning, many students are now accustomed to technology—even more than they were before 2020. It’s always good to have a decent laptop in the household during the school year. To save money, you don’t have to worry about getting a computer for each of your children. A shared laptop between your kids should be enough.

Notebooks and folders

Students need notebooks and folders to help organize their schoolwork. One notebook and one folder per subject should suffice. It’s important to get notebooks that are big enough, not smaller notebooks that people may use as a journal or diary. Some notebooks have folder compartments built-in. You can also check out multi-subject notebooks for even more efficiency for your kids.

Pencils and sharpener

Young kids should use standard HB 2 pencils when heading back to school. You can easily find lots of these pencils in bundles, and they each have an eraser on the bottom for fixing mistakes. You’ll also need to pick up a sharpener to keep the pencils ready for handwriting practice, math, and all of your child’s favourite subjects.


You might want to consider getting a Kindle reader for your child. Kindle readers help reduce the book load students have to carry and frees up space for other supplies. Kindles also help familiarize kids with simple technology. Buying books for a Kindle is easy; all you have to do is follow this guide from Business Insider.

More essential school supplies

school supplies

Highlighters: A pack of highlighters will help your child study for tests much more efficiently. While looking back on their notes for the year, their highlighter will help them remember critical information for tests.

Lunch bag: If you like to send your child to school with lunch instead of relying on the cafeteria, make sure you get them a suitable lunch bag to keep food from spilling in their backpacks.

Calculator: While young kids don’t require calculators, elementary school kids will likely need one. Kids in elementary school and above will require a scientific calculator for math classes.

Sneakers: Kids need sneakers for gym class and playing during recess. Many kids wear different shoes to school and change into their clean, indoor sneakers before going about their school day.

Protractor: Older kids (Grade 4 and above) will need a protractor to measure angles, along with their scientific calculator, when they start learning more advanced math.

Art supplies: For art class, you should get your kids a sketchbook, coloured led pencils, markers, crayons, scissors and glue. Art supplies may vary for different schools, and you can always check with the teacher or school to make sure you have everything.

Pens: While kids usually use pencils, there is no harm in sending them to school with some pens. Sometimes art classes can incorporate pens, and older kids entering junior high may use pens to take notes.

Rulers: Kids need a ruler for math class. You can get them different sizes, but a 12-inch ruler should be enough.

Eraser: Most pencils come with erasers, but they can be small and wear down easily. Get your kids a couple of extra erasers so they’re more prepared.

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