School is coming soon! Ready to shop for school supplies, but not quite sure where to begin? The best idea is to keep that backpack as lean as possible, until you get an official supply list from your child's teacher. But if back-to-school sales are just too tempting to resist, don't be afraid to give in to a few purchases. There are certain things that tend to show up regularly on most school supply lists. Here's our handy, take-it-with-you guide to jog your memory as you troll the back-to-school aisle...

School Supplies for Early Elementary School: Kindergarten- Grade 2

  • At least one full box of Number 2 pencils, sharpened at home, if possible.
  • Two large pink erasers.
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Crayons (a box of 24 or less is usually plenty)
  • Two 4-ounce bottles of Elmer's white glue
  • Glue stick
  • Pocket folders
  • A wide-ruled, hardback black and white composition notebook (some teachers prefer looseleaf paper)
  • An ergonomic backpack that's big enough to fit folders, but small enough for your child to carry comfortably
  • A ruler with centimeters and inches
  • A pencil case and small pencil sharpener

School Supplies for Later Elementary Students: Grades 3-5

  • Two full boxes of Number 2 pencils, sharpened at home, if possible
  • One full box of erasable pens
  • Two large pink erasers.
  • Scissors
  • Colored pencils
  • White glue or glue stick
  • Pocket folders in multiple colors
  • Spiral notebooks in a variety of colors, or a binder with looseleaf paper and multiple dividers
  • An ergonomic backpack that's big enough to fit books and supplies, but made specifically for children
  • A ruler with centimeters and inches
  • A pencil case or small supply box
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards (for flashcards)

Supplies for the Classroom:

What do teachers really want? Involved parents. Engaged kids. But supplies don't hurt either! The average teacher spends several hundred dollars a year of his or her own money on supplies for the classroom. Here are some common things most teachers would love to get from you as a classroom donation:

  • Boxes of tissues
  • Rolls of paper towels
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Art supplies like crayons, markers, colored pencils, and scissors
  • Oak tag or thick poster paper
  • Paper cups
  • Scotch tape
  • Bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Construction paper
  • Copier paper
  • For the younger grades, materials for art projects: paper towel rolls, paper bags, empty baby food jars, yogurt containers...