Best back to school supplies

back to school supplies

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

Whether you're already thinking about your little one’s first day in Reception class, or they are heading back to school after the summer break, you need to think about those back to school essentials and back to school supplies for your child to start the year with.

It seems to be an unwritten rule that every school year, you buy your little ones all the back to school supplies they need so that they can have everything new for the new year. It's also completely necessary because just like school uniforms, they're guaranteed to come home at some point in the year with pen on their bag or missing pencils.

Our favourite back to school supplies shortlist 2023:

Create a Space See-Thru Caddy: Buy here from Learning Resources.
Bento Lunchbox: Buy here from Munchkin.
Stamptastic School Name Labels Basic Bundle: Buy here from Stamptastic.

Even if your little one has a favourite backpack, it's worth buying a specific backpack for nursery or school, so that they can keep their school supplies in it, and not constantly emptying it. Just don't forget to add a name label to all their school supplies in case anything gets lost.

Best back to school supplies Marvel Set

This Marvel Pen Set has everything your child needs for going back to school. With all the stationary in one convenient and Marvel styled pencil case, it features a double zip opening. The scissors can also be removed for younger children.

One review said: "Gift for my son going back to school - he loves it and has everything he needs. Helps him to stay organised with everything in one place."


  • Double zip
  • All the back to school stationary your child needs


  • Some mentioned the scissors weren't sturdy
Dimensions:20 x 13.6 x 5.3cm
  • 8 x coloured felt tips
  • 1 x avengers rubber
  • 1 x plastic safety scissors
  • 1 x ruler
  • 1 x triangle ruler
  • 1 x sharpener
  • 1 x semi-circle ruler
  • 10 x colour pencils
  • 1 x ballpoint pen

Best back to school supplies caddy organiser

The easy to see Create A Space See-Through Caddy is a lovely way to keep your little ones pencils and colours organised at home. They can move the caddy around using the easy to carry handle and will feel so grown up with this organiser.

Our writer said: "This caddy is really lovely and the clear container design makes it easy to locate stationary. My son keeps his on his desk in his room, but will bring it downstairs to the table if he wants to do his 'work' at the table. The coloured lids make the organiser a lot more fun too."


  • Keeps everything organised
  • Carry handle


  • No onsite reviews
  • 4 x see-through caddy's
  • Carry handle
  • Storage lids

Best back to school supplies highlighters


Rrp: $11.18

Price: $10.49

These Textsurfer Classic Pastel Highlighters are a great way for your child to use when writing. They're a more subtle colouring than normal highlighters, and they're also refillable.

One review said: "The main reason I those these over the Stabilo ones were because I find these to bleed a lot less. And in spite of being chunky they're easy to hold because of the groves at their sides. Also, it's quite smudge-proof against a lot of different inks."


  • Long lasting and refillable
  • 2mm highlighting thickness


  • Not as vibrant as usual highlighters
Dimensions:14 x 14 x 1.8cm
  • 2mm line size
  • 6 x pack

Best Barbie back to school supplies

The Barbie Pencil Case is a super fun design and comes with two compartments for all your childs back to school supplies. Younger children might not need everything that's in this pencil case, but they can be taken out and saved for later!

One review said: "Purchased for my daughter and she loves it. Fantastic quality and great selection of pens, pencils and other accessories such as rulers, scissors and pencil sharpener. Really good for primary and secondary school. Definitely recommend."


  • Big capacity
  • 2 compartments


  • Scissors will need to be removed for younger children
Dimensions:19.99 x 3.99 x 12.98cm
  • 12 x colouring pencils for children
  • 1 x blue Barbie pen
  • 1 x red pen
  • 1 x sharpener
  • 1 x protractor
  • 10 x felt tips colouring pens
  • 1 x eraser
  • 1 x scissors
  • 1 x 15 cm ruler

Best hair band back to school supplies

Price: $24.68

It's good to start the year with plenty of hair ties, as for some reason they just disappear! So these 50 pack of Elastic Hair Bands are a must. They're multicoloured too, so plenty of options for your child to choose from.

One review said: "These work great. I have quite thin hair and a lot of hair bands can easily get knotted round your hair. These are just the right thickness and have the correct stretchiness for wrapping it round a pony tail just the right amount of times for the right tightness."


  • Plenty in the pack
  • 10 different colours to choose from


  • May not be suitable for thick or afro hair
Dimensions:Stretch length 21cm
  • 10 x different colours
  • 50 x hair bands

Best practical back to school supplies

Best way to keep your child's items safe

There is nothing worse than sifting through the lost property pile trying to find your child's belongings. The age-old sniff test doesn't always work. The Stamptastic School Name Labels Basic Bundle makes it unbelievably easy to identity for your child's possessions.

One parent review said: "This is an amazing product, I used to use the iron on labels but my daughter used to peel them off in class and then things would get lost. I’ve only stamped about 10 items so far but they have all been washed and it’s stayed on without any ink loss. I’ve bought 2 for both of my girls."


  • Easy to use
  • Works on multiple materials


  • Can fade after multiple hot washes

Best water bottle back to school supplies

Price: $43.37

With a press button to access the drinking spout, the Contigo Kids Water Bottle is one that you really want to invest in. Designed to be fully leak proof, this bottle can be tipped upside-down even with the spout open and not a drop of water leaks out. The parts inside the bottle also stay together to clean, to help prevent losing anything when washing up.

Writers review: "We go through so many water bottles in our house, if they're not constantly leaking we're losing the straws or they're breaking, but this water bottle has really changed things. My daughter tips it up and shakes it about but not a single drop of water leaves the bottle, which also means our bags are not getting soaked when out and about when the bottle accidentally tips over.

It is also incredibly easy to clean, and the straw stays attached to the bottle so we aren't constantly losing it. It is incredibly good value for money and I've definitely spent the same on three different bottles over the last few weeks, whereas this one has actually lasted."


  • 100 per cent leak proof
  • Robust design
  • Ideal for on the go


  • Younger toddlers might take awhile to get used to the straw
Dimensions:11 x 8 x 17cm
BPA Free:Yes
  • Rubber strap to prevent parts getting lost
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
  • 100 per cent leak proof
  • Protective cap for straw

Best lunchbox back to school supplies

With stainless steel utensils for little ones, the Bento Lunchbox is designed to fit small portions so your child can pick at whatever snacks you pack. It has five compartments for separating foods, and is beautifully designed and even has a practical carry handle!

Writers review: "It's really convenient having all my daughters foods in one place rather than having several different containers taking up space in the bag and a loose set of cutlery. It's super handy that the cutlery that comes with it can fit to the lid, and I'm not losing them! My daughter loves helping herself to the foods, and as the handle is on the opposite end to the close mechanism of the lunchbox, there's not accidentally catching it so that it opens!"


  • Five compartments for different foods or snacks
  • Comes with two cutlery items


  • No onsite reviews
Dimensions:25.7 x 23.3 x 6.9cm
Suitable for ages:18 months+
  • 1 x Spoon
  • 1 x Fork
  • Carry handle
  • Five compartments

Best back to school supplies gym bag

These cute Personalised Rainforest Animals Gym Bags can be personalised with your little ones names, so you don't need to worry about them losing it in the cloak room! It's also water resistant, so nothing inside will get wet.

One review said: "Perfect for my nephews first school PE bag. He was absolutely over the moon with it as he loves animals. Amazing quality and lovely touch with it being personalised. Would highly recommend. Can’t wait for my little ones to start school so I can order more."


  • Personalised with their name
  • Made from water resistant material


  • Some schools might have rules against drawstring bags (always check the uniform guide)
Dimensions:40 x 30cm
  • Draw string design
  • Water proof

Best back to school supplies socks

Most schools do not allow brightly coloured socks as part of their uniform. These white, black, blue and grey socks are perfect for pairing with your little one's school uniform. Best bit? There are 12 pairs. Because we all know socks like to go walkies in the washing machine.

One reviewer said: "Not shopped around for price. But in terms of product it was perfect. Has good stretch for growing feet. Did not fray or fall apart at seems. Comfy for kids, has no bobbles. Looks like they will last."


  • Meet school uniform requirements
  • Wide size choice


  • Not a multi-pack of colours
  • 12 x socks

What back to school supplies do I need?

Depending on the age of your child would depend on what they would need. Children at nursery will only usually need a backpack and spare clothes, whereas a child at school might need all those, plus a lunchbox and stationary.

It's best to look at the requirements your child's nursery or school provides, so you can best be prepared.

When should I buy back to school supplies?

You might be tempted to wait until a few weeks before the school year starts, however you might miss out on items you really want for your little one.

A lot of people will wait to shop for school uniforms just in case their child has a growth spurt, but this might make it trickier to find your child's sizes. We recommend shopping early and getting the next size up to last longer, or multiple sizes. After all, if you leave the tags on, you can always return or swap them!

Samantha Ball is a Product & Lifestyle Writer for Mother&Baby and freelanced for the website for two years before joining the team full time. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best products and cute outfits.

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