The end of summer means it’s almost time to hit the books again—a prospect that can leave a lot of kids with a serious case of the blues. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. You can give your child a reason to look forward to starting classes again. Check out these 12 back to school gifts that just may get your favorite students excited about going back to school.
Five Must-Have School Supplies
Repeat after me—school supplies don’t need to be boring. Check any classroom, and you’ll find kids showing off their cool erasers, notebooks, and pens. It’s a thing—and it’s a thing that can make it more fun for them to get their work done. Here’s how to totally outfit your kid with back to school supplies they’ll love to show off.
Start with a Pencil Case
Pick out a pencil case that fits your child’s style. You’ll find a whole world of cool cases, ranging from this adorable panda pencil case to vinyl zipper cases featuring your kids’ favorite video game and cartoon characters. Look for a roomy case designed to keep pens, pencils, crayons, and rulers well-organized, and get bonus points for choosing one that’s got personality.
Add Colored Pencils and Pens
Once you’ve got the case, stock it with an assortment of cool pencils, pens, and markers so they can express themselves in all the colors of the rainbow. Add a handful of classy black pencils inset with sparkling gems to turn that pencil case into a real treasure box, and don’t forget erasers that look good enough to eat.
Stock It with School Tools
Next, fill the pencil case with an assortment of the most essential school tools—an adorable ruler/straight-edge (with kitty ears!), a panda-shaped stapler and staple remover, and, of course, a matching pencil sharpener they can use at their desk.
Throw in Something Just for Fun
Because school supplies don’t need to be serious to be useful. The most popular kids in the class are often the ones who carry neat stuff like mini-stamps and ink pads, stencils, and the cutest highlighters ever.
Pro Tip: Don’t want to DIY it all? Check out this Kawaii school supply kit that includes all of the above in one handy box.
The Most Awesome Lunchbox Ever
Forget the brown paper bag lunches. Grab an awesome snack packer that makes bringing lunch to school fun. From old school metal lunch boxes—like this fab Star Wars box—to Bento boxes and insulated lunch pails, you’re sure to find the perfect lunch box for any kid of any age (including one for you to take to the office.)
Four Tools to Help with Organization
Organization is the key to a successful school year in so many ways. These back to school gifts will help you help your child learn to organize everything, so they can stay on top of their tasks and have more time for fun.
A DIY Planner
Grab this DIY Planner to create exactly the right daily planner/organizer for your child. The 3-ring binder design makes it easy to add just about anything you want to it—but it already includes a variety of planner pages to help you create sections for each class, add envelopes to hold important papers and notions, and include a homework agenda to track assignments. The plain cover is ideal for customizing with washi tape, above all it’s available in dozens of designs.
Easy Clothing Organization
Is the morning rollout a huge hassle? This hanging closet organizer may be the best investment you’ll ever make for stress-free mornings—and it’s a bargain at less than $15. Just pack one day’s outfit—complete with socks and underwear—on each shelf at the beginning of the week to avoid the school morning battles over what to wear.
A Homework Timer
Banish homework battles with a simple magic homework hack—an egg timer. Lots of kids end up spending more time arguing about getting their homework done than actually doing it. Raising the Capable Student gives five good reasons to use a timer for homework—and it really does work. It’s especially helpful for kids who can’t get started because it will “take forever.” Set the timer for an acceptable amount of time, and let them know that when it dings, they can take a break—or quit.
The Easiest Way to Find Your Notes
This homework hack is one of the handiest tricks ever for older students—memo tabs. They’re just like sticky notes—only smaller and brighter. These handy tabs are a quick, easy, and non-damaging way to mark homework pages or add a note about important info for the upcoming midterm. They’re an absolute game-changer.
3 Fun Things to Have on the Playground
School is more than just work—some of the best times happen on the playground. These time-tested playground toys will have your kids looking forward to going to school each day.
A Jump Rope
Because of course they need a jump rope. There’s all kinds of fancy fitness gear out there, but why spend the extra cash? Grab an old school kids jump rope with adjustable handles for around $4. Check out all the games you can play with a jump rope—and maybe teach your child a few in the weeks leading up to the start of school.
The Frisbee Alternative
Most schools will only let kids play with flying discs under adult supervision or in organized games—but these nifty dragonfly helicopters are a blast from the past that might be an acceptable alternative. They’re cheap enough to buy a bunch, but you won’t mind too much if they don’t come home at the end of the day.
A Bunch of Hand Games and Jump Rope Rhymes
Grab a book of kids’ hand-clapping games and jump rope rhymes early in the summer and get playing with your kids and their friends. By the time school rolls around, your child will have a ready supply of rhymes and songs to keep them busy and entertained on the playground.
Of course, the best way to get your child excited about going back to school is to share your own excitement and include them in your plans for a new school year. From back-to-school shopping to signing up for classes, your child will be most excited by things they’ve had a hand in planning.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer living and working in Massachusetts. She writes frequently about health, wellness and lifestyle topics.