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Elementary School Supply lists

Updated on February 25, 2014

The Must Have's for the Elementary Grades

Preparing for school is a great way to get a child excited about the upcoming new school year and also make them feel confident and have something from home with them that very first day of school.

Having your child actively participate in picking out school supplies is essential, especially for a backpack. If there is just one item that trumps all else it is the beloved backpack. It is so very important to make this one purchase a memorable one because this is the one thing a child can express a little about who he or she is with their novelty backpack. I know it sounds crazy but ask around, kids love expressing what they love through what they pick for that backpack. All the other school supplies on the list should be purchased based on what you can afford and what brand is on sale but a school backpack really is an important decision to both girls and boys so help them choose wisely.

I have tried to include the very most important elementary school items and the reasons why they are important but do make sure you ask your class teachers for a more comprehensive list which they are almost always happy to supply you with.

School Supplies for Kindergarten

Sending your child off to kindergarten is a joyous event and a little stressful since your little one is likely to be anxious, excited and a little fearful since they do not know what to expect. One great way to ease their fears is to have a school supply list and go shopping together for the items on that list, being prepared is a great way to add to the excitement of that first day of kindergarten.

Novelty Backpack

First grade students will not likely be bringing home loads of homework or heavy textbooks so you can let them carry a novelty backpack at this point and they will love the opportunity to express their little selves through this item. The backpack should be lightweight, big enough for art and maybe a hardcover library book or two and a packed lunch if they are bringing one from home.


If there is one thing for certain about kindergarten that we all remember it is the love of crayons and making all that refrigerator art for home. You do not need to go overboard on the crayons either one or two boxes will do and they are very inexpensive.

Safety Scissors

Make sure to purchase a pair of safety scissors for your kindergartener, this is important since you do not want their little fingers to get cut. Thankfully today there are even cool "lefty" safety scissors for the left handed children.

Washable Markers

When five or six year olds use markers they have a tendency to get marks on their clothes, hands and just about anything else that is in sight, this is why it is important to buy the washable type.

Water-Soluble Glue Sticks

Kindergarteners often make art using scrap materials such as loose buttons, noodles and even glitter so having their own glue stick is very important. Glue sticks often come in packs of two and usually one or two packs should be sufficient for the entire kindergarten school year.

School Supplies for First Grade

First grade is a little different from kindergarten since your little one knows what to expect at school and they have likely made some friends there, so there is usually more excitement to go back to school. One thing that is usually on their minds is fitting in with the other kids and having their favorite novelty backpack on their back when they walk in to school. The following is a list of the most important school supplies for the average first grade student and one that should have them ready from day one.

Novelty Backpack

First grade students will not likely be bringing home loads of homework or heavy textbooks so you can let them carry a novelty backpack at this point and they will love the opportunity to express themselves through this item. The backpack should be lightweight, big enough for art and maybe a hardcover library book or two and a packed lunch if they are bringing one from home.

Non Marking Gym Shoes for School

The schools have become more and more demanding about students having an extra pair of non-marking gym shoes designated for use only at school. The reason behind the non-marking is so that the shoe bottoms do not leave those dreaded black marks on the nice gymnasium floors. Some elementary schools allow the children to leave this special pair of shoes at school but there are others who ask the parents to return these shoes either daily with the child or on designated gym days.

Safety Scissors

While your child may be good enough at home with regular scissors the school will often ask that their students continue to use the safety scissors since they do not want other students who may not be as good with scissors to have access to regular ones.

Washable Markers

Markers are used much more frequently in first grade art then they were in kindergarten and you will definitely want to stick with the washable type since there is a good chance they will get some on their clothing, hands and anything else near them. Crayons are still used in first grade so make sure to grab a box or two of them also, the good news is crayons are rather inexpensive and usually found for under a dollar a box.

Glue Sticks and Number Two Pencils

I know I snuck in two school supply items in one here but water-soluble glue sticks are still very important for first grade art and since first grade is often the time when writing skill basics are learned it is very important to have a pack of number two pencils.

School Supplies for Second Grade

Second grade is unique because your child is familiar with going back to school by now and is a little more verbal in what they want or think they need to have with them. The following is a list of the most important school supplies for second grade but your child's teacher may also provide you with a more extensive list of back to school supplies for his or her classroom.

A Better School Backpack

You might remember that kindergarten and first grade did not really require a heavy duty backpack since your child was not carrying around heavy textbooks or loads of homework but second grade is a small turning point and your child may start to have more homework or school projects that need to be transported from school to home and back again. It is not necessary to buy an expensive heavy duty backpack but you might want to invest in a better backpack then the novelty ones with cartoon characters on them. Do keep in mind that any backpack needs to be large enough for gym shoes, folders, extra clothing and a lunch from home.

Number 2 Pencils and Pink Erasers

Since second grade is largely focused on reading and writing skills so it is very important for each child to have their own pack of number 2 pencils and a good pink eraser. The good news is that both of these school supplies are relatively inexpensive and usually found for fewer than two dollars.

Washable Markers and Colored Pencils

Second grade students do many more school projects then they did in prior grades and often these projects require a good box of washable markers and a box of colored pencils. Depending on how responsible your child is with their belongings, you should be able to get through the school year with a box or two of each.

Glue Sticks and a Pencil Box

One or two packs of water-soluble glue sticks are very important for second grade since they will be working on many school projects this year and having a good pencil box is great for keeping all of these items from floating around in their desk or backpack.

Non Marking Gym Shoes for School

The elementary schools have grown more and more conscious about those black marks on their gymnasium floors and may require students to have a secondary non marking pair of sneakers kept only for use in the indoor gym. Some schools allow the children to keep these special shoes at school and other schools ask parents to return the shoes either daily or on specified gym days.

School Supplies for the Third Grade

Third grade is the start of being trendy and your third grader may want a bigger say in what they carry to school with them. Boys are a little more blissfully unaware but girls are often quicker to suggest what all the other girls are wearing or bringing even when it comes to school supplies. The following is a list of the top five essential third grade school supplies but their classroom teacher may have a more extensive list available.

A Quality School Backpack

Third graders will have more homework then in prior years of school and though they may not be carrying heavy textbooks they will likely be carrying more home then you have seen in the past. This is a good school year to invest in a quality backpack and make sure to get one large enough to hold extra clothing, non-marking gym shoes, folders, school projects and even packed lunches from home.

Wide Ruled Paper and Notebooks

Because third grade students do a lot of writing it is important that your child has a pack of wide ruled paper and a binder to hold that paper. Spiral notebooks are great too for third graders but do make sure that they are wide ruled.


During the third grade school year the math will become a harder and there will be many times that your child will be required or asked to use a calculator to perform math tasks. No need to rush out and buy an expensive calculator for second grade, any basic sturdy calculator will do.

Number 2 Pencils and Erasers

Third grade spends a great deal of time working on all areas of improving writing skills and having good number 2 pencils will be vital especially when it comes to tests. Having good erasers is important because students are encouraged to fix their mistakes or correct their spelling.

Colored Pencils and Markers

While crayons and glue sticks are also important for third graders, colored pencils and markers will be used more consistently. Purchasing one box of each of these will be a great way to have your third grader well prepared for that first day of third grade.

School Supplies for Fourth Grade

Fourth grade is met with mixed emotions because it is often the last year of elementary schooling and students quickly realize that they are growing up and will be moving on which can bring some nervous anticipation. Getting prepared to go back to school is almost equally met with mixed emotions by parents of fourth graders because they are caught at that crazy age where school supplies are either geared for the very young or the older kids. This list should aid you in what the most important fourth grade school supplies are but you will still want to check with the class teacher for any additional items needed.

Quality Backpack

Fourth grade will undoubtedly bring more homework and detailed projects which means much more carrying items to and from school; it is wise to invest in a quality backpack at this point. Make sure to buy a backpack that is large enough to carry notebooks, binders, extra clothing and packed lunches.

Calculator and Ruler

Students in fourth grade will definitely need a basic calculator for their math homework and a good ruler. There is no need to invest in an expensive calculator, a basic one will work just fine and a ruler is usually found for around a dollar or less.

Art Supplies

Fourth grade students will have many projects and presentations that will require 3x5 index cards and basic art supplies such as colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, highlighters, washable markers and a pair or pointed scissors.

Notebook Binder and Wide Ruled Paper

With a heavier focus on all subjects in fourth grade it is important to have a notebook binder and a pack or two of filler wide ruled paper for that binder. A fourth grade student should have a pack of number 2 pencils and a few ball point pens also.

The Extras

Having a small pack or two of Kleenex and some hand sanitizer is also important for a fourth grade student to have in their locker or desk. You might find that your fourth grader is interested in having a magnetic locker mirror and this is usually found for fewer than five dollars.

School Supplies for Fifth Grade

Fifth grade is an exciting time because it is often started in a new building and sometimes brings a few different elementary schools together if you live in a large district with multiple elementary schools. This is a chance for your fifth grader to meet new kids and make new friends. This list is the most important fifth grade school supplies for starting the school year off right but do make sure to check with your child's home room teacher to see if they have a more comprehensive list.

Fifth Grade Will Require a Quality Backpack

This year your child is likely to be carrying larger text books, binders and more homework then they have in the prior school years all of which will require a good quality backpack. To save money in the future make sure you invest in a well-constructed backpack now or you will undoubtedly be looking for another one before the end of the school year.

Composition Notebook

Students in fifth grade are usually required to have one if not more composition notebooks. A composition notebook is lined in blue to aid writing and often they come with grammar or punctuation tips on the inside back cover. The most popular type of composition notebooks come with a marbled black-and-white cover and have a generic label on the front in white.

Art Supplies

Fifth graders usually do a lot of projects and presentations that require the use of 3x5 index cards and basic art supplies such as colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, highlighters, fine tip markers, sticky notes, a ruler and a pair of pointed scissors.

A Good 3 Ring Binder with Wide Ruled Paper

During fifth grade students will be focusing on multiple subjects and will need to have a good 3 ring binder with a supply of wide ruled paper to take notes. It is also important to have 5 or 6 Pocket Folders (w/brads) in solid colors for various subjects or special presentations.

Pens and Pencils

Students should have one pack of number two pencils, a pencil sharpener, a few pink erasers and pens in the colors of blue, black and red. Having a pencil pouch, box or carrying case is a great way to keep all of these organized and in one place.

Are You Ready for Back to School?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      think im going to buy some of this stuff


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