13 Brand-New School Supplies That Kids Will Be Obsessed With

published Aug 6, 2021
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kid working on illustration with pens in front of him
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If it’s wrong to love shopping for school supplies, I don’t want to be right. That’s been mantra ever since the 90s, and I can only hope that my kids adopt the same kind of nerdy, yet endearing zest for back-to-school season. Truthfully, the contents of my various BTS carts are limited to backpacks, lunch boxes, puff paint, safety scissors, and name labels at this point in my kids’ academic careers (I have a toddler and preschooler at home). But the checklist of school supplies will be growing before I know it. 

So, now’s the time to start stocking up — and not just because there are some seriously cool school picks to shop online and in stores right now. With fall 2021 ushering in the first somewhat “normal” (but really, what is that anymore?) school year in over a year and a half, anticipation and anxiety are at an all-time high. To help make sure all of our kiddos are excited to get back to class, we’ve rounded up 13 cool, new A+ school supplies: 

We take the art of writing for granted, but it’s a very important stage in every child’s development and, to be honest, a super tedious process (I’m in it with my 4-year-old, as we speak!). But these non-rolling pencils, which provide control for early writers, were imagined with children in mind! Not only are the bright barrel colors fun and inviting, the No. 2 pencils use 1.3mm black lead that’s prone to a lot less breakage (helpful for little ones who get defeated whenever their pencil “is ruined!”). 

A new pack of markers is always a back-to-school favorite, but this genius one from Crayola colors us totally impressed. The washable and retractable markers feature conical tips designed to create thick and thin lines (for the creative homework projects that require a little more finesse). They’re also loaded with magic ink that supposedly resists drying out. For parents of preschoolers and older kids who are constantly replacing their dried-out markers, these are a game-changer. 

I haven’t snagged a box yet myself, but I have it on good authority (i.e. intel I’ve stalked from Instagram-commenting mamas and teachers) that the easy-click functionality is also sublimely stress relieving …

When homework’s done for the day, let your kids unwind with some open-ended downtime. They can play tic tac toe, sketch something special, or just let their senses call the shots! The wooden laptop is designed with a nifty little compartment to store the chalk, so it’s always on hand when imagination strikes.

Plus, if you have other minis at home — who want to be just like their siblings even when they’re busy with homework — this is the perfect prop to let them pretend when the big kids are at school! 

Anyone else have a super clunky plastic pencil case growing up? Because this fun color-blocked option is infinitely cooler than anything I ever threw my pens and pencils into. It comes in a variety of prints that all somehow throwback to 90s-style “Saved By the Bell” motifs (the nostalgia is real!) — but what we really love is the pouch’s versatility. Your kids can use one to hold their writing utensils and another to hold their snacks: No better homework combination, if you ask us! 

Post-It tabs are great, but Erin Condren, the arbiter of all-things agenda-related, has an asterisk version that is just so much more streamlined and elegant. We love them as a tool to help keep tests, quizzes, and big projects on your student’s radar (oh, yeah, a cool planner/calendar would help there, too!) or to help with outlining and homework processes. Unlike college, middle and high schoolers usually don’t own their textbooks, so highlighting important lessons or passages isn’t permissible. Enter: handy adhesive tags that say “Hey, this is important!” with a simple star.

Trapper Keepers are back, friends (yep, we’re not kidding, look it up!) — but I have to say, they don’t have the same charm that they did in the early-to-mid 1990s. Homework holders, on the other hand, are all kinds of adorable and iconic with their playful prints and personalizable flaps. Like their predecessors, these come with a sturdy Velcro closure, a three-ring binder, two slip pockets, and an all-inclusive zip pouch for pens, pencils, erasers, and more.

Kids aren’t immune to mid-homework slumps or writer’s block — and it can strike anytime (even and especially when a project is nearing its due date). So, being able to take a timeout is key to getting back on track. This all-natural, wooden fidget toy is just the thing to help your child release their anxious energy and regain a sense of concentration. The connected, moveable pieces — made with quality sanded, water-based paint and no harsh varnish or coating — are joined with cotton laces in pastel colors and can be arranged and twisted in tons of different shapes and configurations.

Sure, no one needs to make their own pencil erasers, but can they? Absolutely — with this amazing colored eraser clay kit. Boasting 12 colored eraser clays, the kit lets kids make it, bake it, and make mistakes! Panda bears, flowers, aliens, or monsters? All of them can be done in a single afternoon play session, and you might even get a tiny teaching moment out of it. Mistakes happen, but there’s always a way to clean them up! 

This retro Ellepi Stapler is definitely one that will be shared by everyone in the house, because it’s just so darn cute!! Designed and manufactured in Italy, the powder-coated workhorse features a patented anti-jamming design and can staple up to 16 sheets of paper at a time. Not that anyone needs to staple that many sheets at once, but it’s a pretty impressive threshold. It also looks a little bit like an alligator, a whale, or a dinosaur, which earns bonus points from kids! 

100 college ruled perforated sheets ready for all the homework your little learners will have this year. The holographic foil and celestial pastel print are dreamy, as are the two interior pockets to hold any loose papers, report cards, math formula quick-reference sheets, etc. And the best part? For every Yoobi item you purchase, a Yoobi item is donated to a child in need. 

P.S. If any parents want in on the notebook situation, you can also go with a 3-pack and bargain with your pint-sized pupils! “If mom can have the constellation one, you can have an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner 😉”. 

We had scented markers and stickers way back when, and now our kids have scented glue sticks! Elmer’s new washable, nontoxic set offers a fun way to attach items to paper, poster board, foam board, photos, and much more. And with scents like Apple Pie, Sugar Cookie, Blueberry Muffin, and Watermelon, school projects and homework will smell way better than they ever have before. (Word of caution: reserve these for kids who are way past the putting-everything-in-their-mouths phase!)

Okay, so this electric pencil sharpener looks nothing like the ones we all have at home, but bear with us for a second — especially if you have a creative, future Disney Imagineer in your family. With a few weeks still before school starts, why not make this ever-important school supply a DIY? Follow the step-by-step instructions with your tween or teen to construct the core, add the battery, and get the mechanism up and running. Bonding time, check. Sharp pencils, check. Inspiration for the school year, check!     

Speaking of inspiration and the magic that happens when pencil or pen touches paper, these fountain pens are a wellspring of creativity. Each of the four fine-tip pens in the set comes with a different colored cap and barrel, letting your wordsmiths mix and match colors to fit their moods for the day. Even the ink can be swapped out, black ink for blue, green ink for pink, purple ink for red. Whether it’s run-of-the-mill homework, poetic prose, or daydreaming doodles, your future mountain-movers will do it in style!