There's something special about back-to-school shopping. Simply walking into a store this time of year makes me think of that great Meg Ryan line in the movie, "You've Got Mail," when she tells Tom Hanks she wants to buy him, "a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils." I admit that if someone bought me a bouquet of scented pencils or gel pens, I would most definitely swoon!
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I think a backpack full of brand new school and office products signifies a fresh start, which is a wonderful feeling. To expand on that feeling, I'm going way beyond pencils and paper to find all kinds of gadgets and tools that will help my entire family start this school year more organized. That's why I've put together this shopping list of back-to-school items that make everyday life easier. I firmly believe that if I buy all this stuff, we'll start the school year right!
This Fitness Tracker Watch for Kids
The coolest new digital watch for kids has got to be this Fitness Tracker Watch. It displays the time and date, records steps and heart rate, has 10 activity modes, and even includes a sleep tracker. It encourages kids to be more active!
These Adorable Pencil Grips Train Correct Pencil Grasp
Amazon / Paula Romero
Encourage proper pencil grasp in elementary school-age kids with these Pencil Grips. A proper grasp reduces fatigue and leads to neater handwriting. As a bonus, these grips are much cuter than the alternatives!
These Hand Sanitizing Wipes Come in Convenient Travel Packs
In addition to the usual pencils and pens, I always include sanitizer and wipes with our school supplies. These Hand Sanitizing Wipes are a great option. There are 10 punches, each containing 20 wipes. Alcohol-free, fragrance-free, with aloe added for soothing moisture.
These Folding Scissors Take Up No More Space Than a Marker
I'm a big fan of these Folding Scissors, which take up no more space than a marker, but unfold to sharp little scissors that come in handy all the time! Perfect for stashing in your backpack, purse, or pocket.
This Math Wall Clock Keeps You Sharp
This would be a fantastic gift for a teacher, engineer, or any nerd who loves to show off their math prowess! This Math Wall Clock measures 11.5 inches in diameter and runs on one AA battery (not included).
This Rolling Backpack Saves Kids' Back From Heavy Loads
Amazon / Jami
My daughter asked for a wheeled backpack this year. One look at our local store and I had major sticker shock! Luckily I found this Rolling Backpack on Amazon for less. It comes in lots of cute colors and prints and earns solid reviews.
This Magnetic Whiteboard Puts Notes Where Your Family Can't Ignore Them
I have three kids, so I have a lot to keep track of. I hope this Magnetic Whiteboard will help! It comes in three sizes (I'm getting the 12X8) and includes an eraser and markers that are also magnetic.
These Book Covers Stretch to Fit Textbooks Up to 9 X 11 Inches
In my day, we taped brown paper grocery bags onto textbooks to protect them. These Book Covers are a big improvement! Made of stretchy nylon, they can be machine washed and used again and again. There are nearly 50 designs to choose from (my kid just picked the donut design as her favorite).
These Waterproof Stickers for Decorating Laptops and Water Bottles
Most of my kids' possessions are decorated with Waterproof Stickers. It's an easy and fun way for kids to show off their interests and identify which laptop, water bottle, or other essential is theirs! This selection includes 300 stickers in a wide variety of designs and sizes.
This 8-Inch-Tall File Cabinet Holds Business Cards in the Cutest Way Possible
The moment I saw this Mini File Cabinet, I knew I must have it for my desk. It's perfectly shaped to hold business cards, but one Amazon customer is using theirs to hold candy. GENIUS.
These Smencils Are the Best Scented Pencils You'll Find
My kids are big fans of Smencils, so we always include them in our back-to-school shopping. Each pencil comes in its own plastic case, which keeps the scent strong and prevents mingling. This 10-pack includes strawberry cheesecake, orange soda, and other yummy scents!
This Crazy Susan Organizer Makes It Easier to Find Your Favorite Snacks
I recently reorganized my kitchen pantry, and this Crazy Susan Snack Organizer has turned out to be one of my best buys. It makes it so much easier for my kids to see and grab their favorite school snacks, which helps us out the door faster every morning.
This Chemistry Model Kit Encourages Hands-On Learning
From the moment a child can understand H2O, this Chemistry Model Kit is a huge asset to encourage deeper learning. The set of 239 pieces helps students visualize and manipulate molecules in 3D form. Includes an instruction guide.
This National Geographic Daily Planner Is Filled With Weird but True Facts
I'm trying to help my middle schooler stay on top of homework assignments. Maybe this National Geographic Daily Planner will help! It gives plenty of space for writing assignments, reminders, and goals. It also includes photos and facts to pique kids' interest and give them a good reason to open the book every day!
Keep the whole family organized with the help of this Monthly Dry Erase Calendar. The set includes a magnetic calendar, an additional magnet whiteboard, 6 magnetic markers, and an eraser. Customers appreciate that it's lightweight, stays firmly in place, and erases cleanly.
This Periodic Table Wall Hanging Is Perfect for Above Your Kid's Desk
Whether you want it as a handy tool for high school chemistry or an inspirational bit of educational decor, this Periodic Table Wall Hanging is a great buy! Measuring 24 by 16 inches, the chart is printed in bright colors on sturdy PVC vinyl.
These Shower Steamers Wake You Up With a Burst of Citrus Scent
Bath bombs are blissful, but shower steamers are stimulating! This pack of Energizing Shower Steamers will help you wake up and start your day with bright, clean, citrus scents. Amazon customers call them "the best smell ever" and "strong but not overwhelming."
This Watercolor Paint Box Small Enough to Take Anywhere
Amazon / Tenka Digi
I'm surprising my artistic daughter with this neat little Paint Box. Measuring just 5 by 2.5 inches, the compact plastic case includes 12 watercolor half-pans and a stainless steel brush.
These Flavored Honey Sticks Are a Fun Lunchbox Treat
I'm going to surprise my kids with these Flavored Honey Sticks in their lunch boxes. I'll keep a few for my morning cup of tea, too! This pack of 50 honey sticks includes five flavors: original, cinnamon, orange, lemon, and ginger.
This Cascading Wall Organizer That Customers Call "Useful" and "Durable"
Get organized and stay that way with the help of this colorful Cascading Wall Organizer. It includes six letter-size pockets, plus a transparent sleeve in front where you can insert an extra page or calendar sheet.
This Mini Charger for iPhone Gives One Full Charge
Slip this Mini Charger for iPhone into your backpack, purse, or pocket, and you'll never worry about a dead battery again! Plugs in via lightning connector, so it works with iPhone 7 and higher, as well as AirPods.
This Document Tray Saves Space and Keeps You Organized
I'm buying this Document Tray for my daughter's desk to help her keep her homework organized. Each tier is sized for standard letter-size paper and can be pulled out for easy access. It matches this desk caddy perfectly!
These Hanging Baskets Hold Your Stuff in Style
I've been looking for a storage solution for my front door to help me remember my keys and other necessities every day. This set of three Hanging Baskets will be perfect! Made of cotton, each basket measures about 14 by 7 inches and can hold up to eight pounds.
This Virtual Reality Headset Works With Your Phone
Take games, videos, and more to a whole new level with this surprisingly affordable Virtual Reality Headset. It works with most iPhone and Android models to provide an immersive and interactive experience.
These Lunch Box Notes Remind Your Little Ones That You Love Them
Making my kids' school lunches isn't my favorite chore, but I like to remind myself I'm packing those lunchboxes with love. In addition to edible forms of love like yogurt and carrot sticks, I'm also starting to include these cute little Lunch Box Notes.
This Pack of 120 Gel Pens Is a Total Steal
Since back-to-school is the theme of this article, I did a little math and calculated that these gel pens only cost about 16 cents each. If that's not a good deal, then I'm in the wrong career! This set of 120 Gel Pens also gets high marks from Amazon Customers for their bright colors and smoothly flowing ink.
These MathLink Cubes Help Kids Master Addition and Subtraction
When my oldest child started kindergarten, her teacher recommended every family invest in a set of MathLink Cubes. We used ours for years, and they helped all three of my kids master the basics of counting, adding, and subtracting in early elementary school.
This Weekly Dry Erase Planner Keeps You Organized
Perfect for meal planning, appointments, shopping lists, and more! This Weekly Dry Erase Planner set includes a magnetic dry erase weekly planner, an extra blank whiteboard, magnetic markers, and an eraser.
These Reusable Food Pouches Are Handy for Quick Meals and Lunchboxes
These Reusable Food Pouches are such a smart and eco-friendly innovation! Each pouch opens on the bottom for filling, then seals tightly like a strong ziplock bag. Works great with yogurt, apple sauce, and other purees. Can be washed and reused over and over!
These Mini Trash and Recycling Cans for Your Desk
I was searching for unique pencil cups when I stumbled across these adorable Mini Trash and Recycling Cans. They measure just five inches tall and are perfectly sized for holding small items on your desk. Customers love them!
This Social Skills Game Encourages Healthy Communication
You Know is a new Social Skills Game that encourages kids age 7 and up to communicate more openly and effectively. Works with 2-6 players and can be used in a variety of ways, including as ice-breakers or dinner table conversation starters.
These Butterfly Thumb Tacks Will Brighten Up Your Corkboard
Why settle for boring old pushpins when you can have these delightful Butterfly Thumb Tacks? Each of the 12 colorful pins measures about 1.8 inches across, and the set includes a reusable plastic case.
This Practical Desk Caddy Has Six Compartments for Office Supplies
Sturdy and no-nonsense, this Desk Caddy is an office basic that you can put to immediate good use. Measuring 8.75 inches wide, it's designed with 6 compartments to hold all the office supplies you need to keep handy. Coordinates nicely with this Document Tray.
This Yoobi Office Supply Kit Includes 8 Handy Tools
I bought this Yoobi Office Supply Kit for my daughter last year, and it's still going strong! This handy little kit includes a sturdy case and eight gadgets to help them get through a long day of school.
This Wireless LED Light Is Motion Activated
Brighten up any dark spot in your life with this Wireless LED Light that's motion-activated and incredibly easy to install. Perfect for closets, bathrooms, entryways, or anywhere else you need to add light. Lasts for about one year on three C batteries (not included).
This Rolling Utility Cart Makes a Great Homework Station
Foster strong study habits by setting up this Rolling Utility Cart as a homework station for your child or teen. The three-tier steel cart includes enough trays, cups, hooks, and compartments to neatly organize a large array of office supplies. Comes in your choice of five colors.
This Bestselling Pencil Pouch Is a Customer Favorite
Durable and roomy, this Pencil Pouch is a bestseller for good reason! Two zippered compartments contain an array of pouches and stretchy bands to safely house pens, pencils, scissors, and other small implements. Eight colors to choose from (my favorite's purple!)