The Best School Supplies for In-Person Learning

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The summer is coming to an end and the new school year is about to begin, so it’s time to start shopping for back-to-school supplies. Whether you’re buying for children or teens, stocking up on the right products now can help you avoid headaches later. To find just what you need, check out this list of 10 must-have items that will help your kids start the school year off right.

1. Editor's Pick: Champion Unisex Munch Backpack & Lunch Kit Combo

Every student needs a good quality backpack that’s easy to carry and will hold everything they need. This one from Champion is black, but it’s also available in various colors. Features include mesh pockets on the sides, a padded back and padded straps, and a laptop pocket. But what really helps it stand out is the fact that it comes with a matching, insulated lunch box that you can conveniently clip onto the backpack, so that’s one less thing you’ll need to worry about buying for this coming school year.

2. Runner Up: Five Star Spiral Notebooks, 1 Subject, College Ruled Paper, 100 Sheets, 11 x 8-1/2 inches, Assorted Colors, 6 Pack

Buying enough notebooks for every class is necessary at the start of a new school year. These colourful, durable spiral notebooks from Five Star come in a pack of six, so even if you don’t need all of them right away, you’ll have extras later on if any fill up with notes. Each one is a one-subject notebook with 100 perforated, college ruled, double-sided pages that are resistant to ink bleed. Plus, the storage pockets will certainly come in handy for keeping important papers organized and easy to find.

3. Best Colourful Pens Set: Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Medium Point, Assorted Colours, 14 Count

Between taking a lot of notes, writing essays, and completing various assignments and tests, students go through a lot of pens every year. But, in addition to getting your usual blue and black ink pens, sometimes using a variety of colours can help you keep your notes more organized. That’s why we recommend checking out this set of 14 pens from Paper Mate. They write smoothly, dry quickly to prevent smearing, and you get all the colours of the rainbow for schoolwork and creative projects.

4. Best Pencils Set: BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil, Medium Point (0.7 mm), 24-Count, Refillable Design for Long-Lasting Use

Another necessary writing utensil is the pencil. This pack of 24 from BIC will help ensure you won’t run out in the middle of the year, and because they are designed to be long-lasting, you might even have leftovers by the time the school year ends. These easy-to-use mechanical pencils don’t need to be sharpened, they can be clipped to notebooks, and they feature bright colours so they aren’t boring.

5. Best Pencil Case: ProCase Big Capacity Pencil Case

What’s the best way to carry all of the pens, pencils, erasers, markers, correction tape, and other small accessories you need throughout the school day? A pencil case, of course! This one is small and lightweight, yet it can hold a lot. It has multiple sections so you can organize your items as you see fit, from your smartphone and calculator to your mini stapler and more.

6. Best Index Cards: AmazonBasics Ruled Index Flash Cards, Assorted Neon Colored, 3x5 Inch, 300-Count

Index cards can come in handy when studying for a big exam, and they might also be necessary for completing certain assignments, so buying a pack at the start of the school year is a smart move. This set from AmazonBasics features four neon colors to further help with organization or simply to add extra color to your school supplies. You get 300 3” x 5” cards, so there are plenty to go around. Plus, if you want larger cards, 4” x 6” is also available.

7. Best Loose Leaf Paper: Mead Filler Paper, Loose Leaf Paper, College Ruled, 200 Sheets/Pack

Many times, teachers will tell their students to take out a piece of loose leaf for an in-class assignment or pop quiz. Rather than tearing pages out of a notebook, having loose leaf in a folder or binder can help ensure you don’t lose valuable notebook space. This one-pack of loose leaf provides you with 200 college ruled sheets that are double-sided and three-hole punched. Multi-packs are also available if you think you’ll need more.

8. Best Folders Set: JAM PAPER Heavy Duty Plastic 3 Hole Punch Folders with Pockets - Assorted Fashion Colors - 6/Pack

Students need folders to stay organized, but the problem with folders is they can tear easily or become worn out as they’re used throughout the year. With these plastic folders, you can reduce the odds that you’ll need to replace them midyear. You get a pack of six with one purchase, so you’ll likely have a folder for every class. And because each folder is a different colour, it also helps with organizing papers for each class. Plus, you can use them in a binder because they’re three-hole punched as well.

9. Best Binder: Case-it Mighty Zip Tab 3-Inch Zipper Binder

When it comes to binders, which one should you go with? Well, we recommend checking out this one from Case-it. It has a zipper to keep it closed when not in use, three 3” rings for holding plenty of loose leaf paper and folders, and a built-in handle to make it simple to carry. Plus, it has pockets inside for storing writing utensils, calculators, and more, along with a five-colour tabbed expanding file folder to keep important paperwork neat.

10. Best Planner: Student Planner 2020-2021: Marble Cover

With so many classes and activities to keep track of, a student planner is another must-have item. This one has an attractive cover, and it’s designed to help you stay on top of daily, weekly, and monthly assignments, to-do lists, events, and goals. There are also pages for writing down information about your classes, such as location and time, and there are sections for jotting down the most important tasks that need to be done to excel in every subject. is reader-supported. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other similar affiliate advertising programs. These programs are designed to provide a way for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to them. This means that will sometimes get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links.