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Like it or not, back-to-school season is approaching quickly. Although we’re not entirely sure what school will look like, pupils will need school supplies whether they spend the school year remote or in the classroom. While specific items vary depending on your child’s age, there are some essentials that every student needs—and these things are sure to sell out.

In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen everything from hand sanitizer to Nintendo Switches sell out online, and school supplies will likely be no different. This means it’s probably a good idea to get ahead of your back-to-school shopping now. Below you’ll find school supplies for pupils of all ages that we have a feeling will start selling out soon.

1. A whiteboard that works for your schedule

Winsford Guardian: Stay organised this school year. Credit: Home LivesStay organised this school year. Credit: Home Lives

Whether you’re virtually learning or heading into the classroom, it’s important to keep track of all the due dates of your big assignments. That’s where this handy whiteboard calendar comes in. It’s dry erase, meaning you can constantly make changes to your schedule, and it comes with boards for both monthly and weekly planning, Plus, it includes markers and has over 600 positive reviews to back up its functionality.

2. A backpack to hold all your school gear

Winsford Guardian: This sturdy pack is always a great choice. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson RuckarThis sturdy pack is always a great choice. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Even if you’re not going into the classroom this year, a new backpack can make things feel a little more normal, as it gives pupils a place to store all their school supplies. We recommend the Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack, which is very trendy and comes in a wide colour assortment.

3. An affordable laptop that’s great for students

Winsford Guardian: A good choice for most students. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey GoldwasserA good choice for most students. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

With more virtual learning in the cards for the future, it might be time to think about upgrading your laptop for schoolwork. We recommend the Asus Chromebook Flip, which we named the best laptop for students. It doubles as a tablet (hence the flip) and performs school-related tasks well, like surfing the web and checking email. If you want to avoid the back-to-school rush, it’s best to get one now.

4. The best tablet for students

Winsford Guardian: The Apple iPad is our favourite tablet on the market. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey GoldwasserThe Apple iPad is our favourite tablet on the market. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Even if you have a laptop, a tablet is a great secondary device to have on hand, as it is a great digital note-taking device. For younger kids, we recommend the Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition because it's sturdy, portable, and has great image and audio quality, as well as parental control. High school and university students will prefer the Apple iPad, as it’s the best tablet we’ve ever tested and has amazing features like long battery life, gorgeous high-resolution display, and access to the largest library of apps, media, and more.

5. A cooler to carry your lunch in

Winsford Guardian: A packed lunch brings a sense of normalcy. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson RuckarA packed lunch brings a sense of normalcy. Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

For pupils heading into school, a lunch box is an essential item if you’ll be transporting food to and from home. This popular cooler from Thermos has over 2,000 positive reviews and claims to keep food cold for two hours without an icepack. Not going back to the classroom? Prepping lunch in advance and storing in a cooler can help create a sense of normalcy while learning at home.

6. A planner to track all the assignments

Winsford Guardian: Stay organised with this planner. Credit: Clever FoxStay organised with this planner. Credit: Clever Fox

Back in school, I was always given a planner (adorned with a cute logo of our school mascot—a lion) where I would eagerly write down all my assignments. It felt good crossing each one off as they were completed. A planner is still essential for keeping pupils on track, especially during these hectic times. With over 1,500 reviews on Amazon, the Clever Fox Planner is an excellent choice. 

7. Colourful gel pens for note-taking

Winsford Guardian: The smoothest glide. Credit: Paper Mate InkJoy Gel PensThe smoothest glide. Credit: Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens

Gel pens not only glide across the page, making it easier to scribble down notes, but they’re also available in a ton of colours, which is good for marking off different sections and important details. With over 500 reviews and a 4.8-star rating on Amazon, they are clearly a fan favourite and reviewers say they dry quickly—a.k.a. no smudging.

8. Highly rated mechanical pencils

Winsford Guardian: A fun pencil means a good test, right? Credit: BICA fun pencil means a good test, right? Credit: BIC

While pens are my preferred tool for writing, pencils are essential for schoolwork, especially tests and homework you find yourself erasing a bunch—like maths. Reviewers are big fans of these No.2 sparkly ones from BIC, stating that the lead is sturdy and that they come with a quality eraser.

9. Sticky notes for more note-taking

Winsford Guardian: Stick a note everywhere. Credit: PostItStick a note everywhere. Credit: PostIt

Sticky notes are great for jotting down quick reminders and flagging pages of textbooks. For everyday use, People praise these sticky notes for sticking to almost anything, being a perfect size, and coming in a variety of bright colours.

10. Spiral notebooks for every subject

Winsford Guardian: A notebook for every subject Credit: Pukka PadA notebook for every subject Credit: Pukka Pad

You can never have too many spiral notebooks, in my opinion. Back in my school days, I would colour coordinate each folder, notebook, and binder to a specific subject, which is why this 3-pack of single-subject notebooks from Pukka Pad is perfect. Not only are they affordable, but they come highly rated on Amazon.

11. Noise-cancelling headphones to zone into work

Winsford Guardian: Zone into all your assignments. Credit: ReviewedZone into all your assignments. Credit: Reviewed

Whether you’re watching your virtual lesson on Zoom or working on an assignment, noise-cancelling headphones are essential for blocking out the world around you and not disturbing others. Children 13 and older might prefer the Sony WH-1000XM3s, which are the best noise-cancelling headphones we’ve ever tested or our favourite pair of true wireless headphones, the coveted Apple AirPods.

12. A laptop tray that makes it easy to work from home

Winsford Guardian: The best way to get work done on the couch. Credit: NeetoThe best way to get work done on the couch. Credit: Neeto

Back in high school, I was never a ‘desk sitter’ at home. I preferred to complete my homework from the comfort of my bed (which I still prefer doing as an adult while working from home). Other bed and couch workers out there might prefer a laptop desk to make working easier and prevent your heated laptop from burning your legs. This one from Neeto has more than 7,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating, with reviewers praising its tilting feature and that it can easily be folded for storage.

13. A thick, durable binder

Winsford Guardian: A binder that will survive the entire year. Credit: AmazonA binder that will survive the entire year. Credit: Amazon

A padded binder is always a better option compared to those plastic ones that always break on you halfway through the school year. That won’t be a problem with the AmazonBasics 3-Ring Binder with Zipper. It has a ton of storage, five-section tabs for multiple subjects, and sturdy rings and a firm backing. 

14. Folders to hold miscellaneous papers

Winsford Guardian: Keep your papers in check. Credit: SnopakeKeep your papers in check. Credit: Snopake

Assignments, tests, handouts—you get a lot of random papers in school. To avoid misplacing things, tuck your papers into these Snopake Binder Wallets, which have more than 600 reviews on Amazon. 

15. Glue sticks for various craft projects

Winsford Guardian: Don't worry. These glue sticks are washable. Credit: PrittDon't worry. These glue sticks are washable. Credit: Pritt

For younger children especially, glue sticks will be very important during the upcoming school year. Whether they’re working on a project for class or passing the time with an arts and crafts project at home, you should always be sure to have these on hand. Pritt glue sticks are a long-time favourite for being washable, and this 5-pack will ensure you don’t run out of glue sticks when one dries out.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.