Do NOT Buy These Back to School Supplies (For Real)

Jul 11, 2016 | August, Back To School, Parents, Product Review, September, Teacher Rants, Teacher Wisdom, Uncategorized | 64 comments

Do NOT buy these back to school supplies - for real.

Consider this article a public service announcement on behalf of early childhood teachers everywhere.  With the back to school season upon us, we want everyone to get the best value and the best quality for their money. We will, of course, take whatever donations we are given, but because teachers work with these materials we have seen certain brands work better than others.  And so, here is our Do NOT Buy These Back to School Supplies list on behalf of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade teachers.

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Do NOT buy off-brand crayons.  Many off-brand crayons have color issues; blue comes out green and red comes out pink.  When kids are learning the colors, learning to draw, and learning to write it is important that the tools they use accurately represent what they truly are.  Stick with Crayola friends.

Do NOT buy purple glue.  If your teacher is requesting glue stick, please buy the white ones.  When young children glue, the glue tends to clump and not stay where it is supposed to.  When you mix that with purple glue, it can just be a mess.  White glue blends in with the paper and so the kids paper is not filled with purple globs when it is done.

Do NOT buy backpacks with rollers.  It’s kindergarten friends.  Students do not need a backpack with any sort of wheels on it. We are not using any heavy textbooks or anything more than a few papers.  Why do I care?  Well, because some years my classrooms had kids put the backpacks on the chairs.  Wheels make this extremely difficult to do this.  These bags are also typically a lot bigger and bulkier.  It’s kindergarten.

Do NOT buy Trapper Keepers.  LOL.  If your child needs a folder for school, please just get them a plastic folder.  If they need a binder, the teacher will ask for a binder. And if they ask for a binder, still don’t get them a Trapper Keeper.

Do NOT buy shoes with games on them.  Sigh.  Who invented these anyways?  Shoes don’t need Simon Says on them or skates at the bottom.  OK, that may be fun but it’s definitely a distraction in school.  And consider, if it’s not distracting for your student who is wearing them, it WILL be distracting to others in the class.

Teachers really appreciate when families are able to purchase school supplies at the start of the years.  We are genuinely appreciative of whatever you are able to do, but we want you decisions that support your students learning and help them to be the best they can be in their classroom.  So all of this is said with love.

Do NOT buy these back to school supplies - for real.
 

64 Comments

  1. Anne Hiester

    I agree! The purple glue dries clear, and it helps them see where they have put glue and how much they have used. I have seen green and yellow glue that don’t dry clear. Don’t get these.

    Reply
  2. Deborah Lis

    don’t forget the little pencil sharpeners….. they just play with them and make a mess.

    Reply
  3. Donna

    No fancy zipping or metal School boxes, just get the $.98 plastic one!

    Reply
  4. Mama Cascio

    Great point about bags with wheels! Additionally, the noise they make can be extremely challenging for students with sensory processing differences (or those who are ready and willing to be distracted by the slightest thing).

    Reply
  5. Lynn

    I want the purple glue. Not only does it keep the kids from using too much but it also helps me when I am modeling an activity. The kids can see what I am gluing perfectly!

    Reply
  6. Lisa

    I used to always follow the rules when they ask for Crayola brand and such……love Crayola. I never bought a Trapper Keeper because the list said no, but always wondered why not? What is the distraction?
    The one thing I didn’t always follow was the scissors……what is wrong with Target brand vs. Fiskars?

    Reply
  7. Patrice Lambourne

    Buy shoes with Velcro closures. Even though your child may be able to tie shoes at home, when the bell rings and the teacher says, “Please line up,” all bets are off on getting those laces tied. Dangling laces are a hazard for both the wearer as well as the person who steps on the lace – think: broken bones. It’s Kindergarten!

    Reply
  8. D.monahan

    Plastic coated pencils jam the pencil sharpener…. please get the all wood ones!

    Reply
  9. Linda. Coughenour

    For rest time please send a child’s beach towel andnot a full blanket. Very hard to store and send home
    A regular size book bag. Even for preschoolers not the cute little ones

    Reply
  10. Mindy

    I don’t mind purple glue, it teaches my kinders not to use too much. I CANNOT stand shoes that light up, make noise or have games.

    Reply
    • Kristi

      I also like purple glue. It shows the students where they are placing the glue and how much they are using

      Reply
  11. Rachael Sauerbrunn

    How about hand sanitizer and tissues? My experience with this on the supply list is that some parents decide to buy a pocket size sanitizer when in fact it was a bottle pump requested. Same with tissues, I have had parents give pocket tissue packs. Do they not realize that we intend to share it with the whole class? The main thing with all the school supplies is to pay attention to the list provided. The teachers have input on the list and a lot of thought is gone into what is necessary for that grade level.

    Reply
    • Tara

      I don’t think they do. Especially since the kindergarten kids bring in supplies with their name written on everything except their backpack and jacket!

      Reply
  12. Jessica

    Let us add fidigt spinners.

    Reply
  13. Jackie

    Forget those lousy fidget spinners too!

    Reply
  14. COLLEEN MASON

    Yes, yes, yes on the crayola crayons. So hard to teach a four year old colors when the brown is tan and red is pink, etc. Stick to the true ‘classic color’ and that includes markers as well.

    Reply
  15. CC

    If your Kinder doesnt tie shoes yet please buy velcro tenny shoes. PE teachers cannot tie 30pairs of shoes. No students are not allowed to take them off in class because of possible emergency drills but tying loose laces are so time consuming during class. Kinder girls should make sure they wear shorts under dresses or skirts.

    Reply
    • carol

      GreAt suggestion!

      Reply
    • Awj

      Not just kinders! I had at least four 2nd graders with shoes with laces that did not know how to tie them. Sorry, not my job!

      Reply
  16. Lynn

    Trapper Keepers are amazing…your just need to have separate folders for each class to keep IN the trapper keeper…less of “Oh, I didn’t change out my backpack last night”

    Reply
  17. Millie

    I detest purple glue.

    Reply
  18. Stephanie

    Buy shoes with velcro or some of the new fastening clips! Most kids don’t tie shoes well enough for them to “stay” tied until at least first grade. I am so tired of seeing shoe strings dragging around.

    Reply
  19. Amy

    We had a practice lock-down in kindergarten and I couldn’t figure out where the blinking red lights were coming from…one of my little friends shoes!!!!! Good Grief. ?

    Reply
  20. Maureen

    I taught kindergarten for 35 years. I PREFER the purple glue sticks! The kids can see where the glue is, I can see if they used the correct amount and coach accordingly. As I told my kinders, it dries clear!

    Reply
  21. Mary

    Fiskars blunt point scissors. They work for both right-handed and left-handed children. And they cut as opposed to tearing the paper.

    Reply
  22. Mary

    My little one walks almost a mile to school, and when she has 3-4 library books to return, her take-home reading books, a lunch with a drink, and a snack, her backpack is very heavy–much too heavy for a 5-year-old to carry for a 20 minute walk. (I carry it for her, and yes, sometimes I carry the lunch separately.) Backpacks with wheels have many issues that make them unattractive (stairs, curbs), but don’t assume their backpacks aren’t heavy just because they’re in kindergarten.

    Reply
  23. Kim

    Cheap pencils. They don’t write smoothly, the erasers are dry and tear the paper, don’t sharpen very well.

    Reply
  24. Renee Crowder

    Please send me the ABC’S of school. Thank you!

    Reply
  25. acanadianinlondon

    Question: When you had to have backpacks hanging on chairs, how did that work? Did the children try to play with their bags? Did it make their chairs fall over? My cubby area is extremely tight because they only ordered half the number we needed last year when they were putting my new classroom together and it doesn’t look like they’re adding more this year, so I have 20 hooks, crammed into the space where 10 should be and last year it was a bit of a nightmare. So many stepped on fingers, bumps and spills. Plus there were always coats or bags on the floor. I’m trying to think of ways to make this better for next year and your post made me think that maybe putting the backpacks on chairs would help – then only their coats need to go on the hooks and that will fit better. My main hesitation is that in the afternoon our 4 K classes share centre time and the kids rotate to a different room each day (each room has different play/educational centres) so the bags will probably be a problem then. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
  26. Lisa F Barker

    Thank you and Amen!
    Lisa

    Reply
  27. Jen Powers

    As a Kindergarten Teacher may I just say,
    THANK YOU!

    Reply
  28. Kelli

    I agree the knock off brands of coloring crayons are harder to see the correct colors.

    Reply
  29. Prouddad

    I have never had a issue with the off brand crayons coming out different colors

    Reply
  30. Penny

    Right there on the backpack with no rollers. My son reeeaaally wanted one. We made sure it was okay with the school (he goes to a small charter school), they keep them in a locker (cabinet), he has a heavier planetbox lunch box, grandparents were buying, etc. About half way through the school year, he wanted to carry it on his back all the time. So now he has a huge backpack that is heavier than a regular one. I think I’m just going to put it away until he needs a backpack for more stuff and just get him a regular one.

    Reply
  31. Melissa

    The cheap, off brand scissors are often terrible. They usually do not cut well and/or break into 2 pieces after a month. Spend the $1 to $1.50 while Fiskars and Westscott are on sale.

    Reply
  32. Amy Kotara

    Can we add scented markers or Sharpie markers?!?!?!

    Reply
  33. danceerb

    I’m an art teacher. The purple glue works fine for me. It has always dried clear and shows the kids where they have already placed glue so they don’t use as much.

    Reply
  34. teast

    Rubber cement, like the old days!!?? (I kid, I kid!!) It has been my experience that purple glue dries out a lot quicker than the white glue stick. 🙂 All my babies are long past kindergarten. Love and hugs to mommas sending their babies off for the first time!

    Reply
  35. Sarah

    Oh and please do not buy the pencils that are wrapped with decorative plastic…..these kill electric pencil sharpeners.

    Reply
  36. Sherri

    Very well said! I cannot stand crayons other than crayons. I don’t even like using others- sometimes they have grit in them and they scratch the page and make my teeth hurt!! I truly wish we could get a supply fee and just buy in bulk, or have the school sell it at a good price so everything is the same.

    Reply
    • Sherri

      Crayolas

      Reply
  37. Kim Gray Blackstock

    I want cardstock folders, NOT plastic. The plastic slip and slide too much and have sharp edges. They are hard to staple notes to also.

    Reply
  38. Cristi Cameron

    I agree crayola all the way for paints and twistables colored pencils as well. We supply the fat crayons and My first Tri-Write pencils( if you haven’t tried them they will change your life!) so I ask for no pencils. Great list

    Reply
  39. Kim

    I definitely prefer the purple glue, too. They can sometimes be a little messy but the littles can see it and sometimes even the name-brand white glue sticks don’t seem to hold.

    Reply
  40. Susan

    I disagree about the purple glue. It allows the children to see where they have already put glue. And the color disappears as it dries.

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Exactly. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Seems as if many like the purple glue. =) Thanks so much for sharing.

      Reply
      • Jane

        The Elmers purple glue dries clear. Kids and teachers like it because you can see exactly where the glue is on the paper so areas aren’t missed.

        Reply
    • Amy

      Absolutely, I love the people glue sticks!

      Reply
    • Keri

      No purple glue, because it clumps. Usually we’re trying to paste things flat, right? White glue dries clear also so no need to see where we’re putting it. Although I would say you can see the wet glue on dry paper.

      Reply
    • Stacey

      Yep I agree with you

      Reply
    • Erica Sweazy

      Gotta love the purple glue. Kids learn to either use less or learn to wipe it off! The rest is spot on.

      Reply
    • Sarah

      Purple glue is fine with me too?. It allows kids to see where they put the glue and dries clear.

      Reply
    • patpetrino

      If I could add two points…
      Please don’t buy the tiny mini-backpacks either. They are very difficult to put papers into, and a folder won’t even fit, nor will a 12×18 art project. They might be cute, but they cause us much grief.
      If you can afford it, please buy Ticonderoga pencils. Most others are made so poorly now, that they won’t sharpen correctly, and we end up throwing so many away.
      And yes, purple glue sticks dry clear.

      Reply
    • B

      Color only disappears on white or purple paper. If you use it on, say, yellow paper, it dries orange.

      Reply
    • yourotherstageright

      Not always; if it is not directly exposed to air, it can stay purple. I’ve had more than a few projects with clear pieces ruined by bad purple glue!

      Reply
    • Chrissy Felton

      I love the purple glue! Maybe they meant the glitter liquid that comes in color.

      Reply
    • Shawnda

      I agree and back for purple glue.

      Reply
  41. joan r buckley

    And if the teacher asks for 8 crayons, please buy a box of 8 crayons and NOT the box of 24. We ask for 8 because we are going to teach them to READ the color words on the 8 crayons; not easy to do when you have to pick out ‘red’ from 4 shades of red – none of which say “red….” And please, do not ask the kinderteacher to just “pull out the 8 my child needs and toss the rest” because we really want them to learn how to open/close/maintain a crayon box independently.

    Reply
  42. Renee Goularte

    Words of wisdom, for sure. I agree with all of these. And I recommend UHU glue sticks. Cost more but last way, way longer. They don’t clump and they are not gooey.

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Thanks so much for your tip!

      Reply
  43. Cyndie

    DEFINITELY no backpacks with rollers. Great list! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Exactly. =) Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
      • Kathy G

        How about only real Playdoh not the generic which is so awful!

        Reply

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