Back to School Shopping List for Every Grade

When it comes to back to school gear, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. In the early years of elementary school — kindergarten, first grade, and second grade — students typically need to stock up on all the basic back to school supplies to learn skills like handwriting, reading, and math. As kids enter third, fourth, and fifth grade, the school gear they need includes more academic tools that let them easily organize and manage their schoolwork and homework. In middle and high school — sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, and all the way up to their freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year —  kids need practical and trendy gear for school. Good news! Shutterfly’s back to school gifts and back to school supplies go way beyond basic to include the gear they need as they learn and grow throughout their school years.

And though back to school shopping can be overwhelming — those lists from the teachers can be lengthy — Shutterfly makes the new school year feel extra special. Our personalized school supplies and kids’ gifts can include your kid’s name, photo, motivational sayings, and other favorite things. From their very first backpack for kindergarten to graduation announcements for graduating seniors, Shutterfly equips students with the right supplies for every grade.

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School Supplies for Elementary School

Back to school kids on bench with backpacks and lunch boxesFor kids starting kindergarten this year, new backpacks to carry all their gear top the essential school supplies list. At Shutterfly, you’ll find a range of kids’ backpacks in lively patterns and colors with different personalization options for their name, photos, and messages. Starting the new school year with a new backpack with your very own name on it? There’s no better feeling in the world. To match their backpack, you can select kids’ lunch boxes and water bottles for them to store in their cubbies. You can personalize them, too, either in the same design as their backpack or different designs. Just make sure you include your kid’s full name so if anything gets lost it will get returned to them. And though it might not be on your official essential school supplies list, selfie frames personalized with your kid’s name and date of the first day of school are an inspired idea for capturing all the fun of the first day of kindergarten.

Back to School List for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade

To boost early learning, it’s always a good idea to let kids in kindergarten, first, and second grade practice activities that strengthen the skills they’ve mastered and test their abilities in new ways. Games that spark young kids’ ability to focus and concentrate, such as our memory games, are a great way to do this. Sort of like the old “Concentration” game, memory games can be personalized to add a fun element to this thinking game. If your kindergartner is feeling the new school year jitters, a wonderful way to calm them and prepare them is to talk and read about starting kindergarten. Our personalized storybooks allow you to write a story from scratch using our templates and inspiration. Reading about themselves being successful in school, making new friends, and learning new things is a wonderful way to start the new school year.

Three backpacks for back to school including orange camo, cute puppy, and rainbowsBack to School List for Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade

As kids enter third, fourth, and fifth grade, the demands and expectations are raised, too. To accommodate this, Shutterfly’s school supplies must-haves for the later elementary school years include items that really help them focus on learning. Our notebooks and pencils can be personalized to coordinate together or can be designed with the custom options you choose, including kids’ names and inspirational messages to keep them motivated for learning. You can also select folders to match or design them with different colors and patterns.

The last item on our back to school list for elementary school will help protect little kids from nasty germs which seem to run rampant in the classrooms, hallways, and even on the playground. Because some schools will be implementing different class schedules, including remote and hybrid learning, it’s a good idea to stock up on kids’ face masks to help protect little kids when they are doing in-person learning.

School Supplies for Middle School

Kids on the first day of school with selfie frame.Middle schoolers need essential school supplies like notebooks, pencils, and folders, just like elementary school students. But the lives of pre-teens are also becoming more independent — and personalized gear can be a huge help for kids entering sixth, seventh, and eighth grade to navigate the world by themselves. Middle school is the age where kids start to test their wings a little bit. If your middle schooler is going to be doing after-care, activities, or afterschool lessons, they are getting to an age where they will probably need their own key to the house. And that means they could use a personalized keychain to make it much less likely that they’ll lose their key. Having their own key and keychain will give them a sense of independence and pride.

Back to School List for Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade

When you show your support for your middle schooler, they will be very appreciative that you understand their need for privacy and independence. Consider buying them one of our beautiful journals which they can use to write down their thoughts. Special journals with their own name, photo, inspirational quotes, and other meaningful elements feel personal and allow your 12- to 14-year old feel a little more grown up as they reflect on their changing lives.

Back to school folder, binder, pencils and other supplies

If your middle schooler does sports, dance, or another activity, it’s a good idea to outfit them with some gear. For physical activities, we recommend getting them their own water bottle, such as our acrylic tumbler with a straw. This design is great for easy fill-ups so kids stay hydrated during their extra curriculars. Personalizing their water bottle with photos, their name, and other elements ensures it will always be returned to them in case they forget it at school. Another beyond-basic essential for middle school supplies list is cool kids’ hoodies. Shutterfly’s hoodies are on-trend and can be customized with your kid’s name, photos, school, or favorite quotes.

School Supplies for High School

Back to school yellow lockersBack to School List for Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Grade

The back to school list for high school includes supplies they need for more challenging classes and activities, tech gear, and stuff to make their high school years fun, practical, and full of learning. Though it feels strange to many parents, most high school students need smartphones, laptops, and other tech gear for both school work and for their college searches. You can help your high schooler protect your investment in these pricey items with personalized tech gifts including protective cases and covers that resist damage and curb theft. With Shutterfly, buying protective cases and covers for your high school student’s tech gear has the added benefit of personalizing their devices which can be a savior if your kid loses his or her phone or laptop.  Take a look at the cool, trendy styles for Apple iPhones with our custom iPhone cases and Samsung Galaxy cases. To protect your high school student’s laptop, shop for laptop cases designed especially for kids to which you can add your kid’s name or initials, photos, fun graphics, and even encouraging messages that remind them to work hard.

Back to School Gifts for High School Students

As for actual school work, high school students can benefit from supplies for class that help them stay on task, neat, and organized. For this, we recommend one of our clipboards which work well for managing homework — and are also great if your kid is an assistant coach managing a team and needs to keep track of team rosters out on the field. Another must-have organizational tool for high school students are monthly planners so that they can schedule events such as the prom, college application deadlines, and other high school milestones. To keep book pages, school reports, research papers, and other work organized, personalized Post-It Notes are a boon for high school students managing schoolwork, jobs, college applications — and so much more.  Your high schooler will love having their own Post-It Notes with their name, initials, and other personal elements to continue to motivate them for learning. While you’re at it, consider customizing one of our travel mugs for your high school senior who’s more than likely heading off to class with a cup of coffee or tea. A travel mug with a handle that’s customized with your teen’s name, photo, and favorite phrase will help them feel close to home even as they are starting to live more independently.

a new start graduation invitation in blue with multiple picturesFinally, as high school seniors move through their final year of high school, you will inevitably begin thinking about their graduation. Though it feels like a long way off, it’s a good idea to plan to send graduation cards as soon as you know the date. You want to make sure friends and family know so they can plan to be there or at least send their congratulations. Shutterfly’s graduation announcements can be personalized in a wide variety of designs and styles to coordinate with your graduation party decor or to reflect your graduating senior’s interests or even their chosen college.

Wrapping Up

Back to school shopping can be a hectic time for families, whether your kid is just starting their first day of school in kindergarten or graduating from high school at the end of the year. At Shutterfly, we aim to make these milestone seasons feel connected even though kids are heading off to different grades. Your school supplies list can be tackled with ease and unique style for kids in elementary school, middle school, and high school because our school gear is customizable for whatever age and stage your kid is going through. It may not be scientifically proven, but we think that school supplies personalized with your own name, photo, and encouraging quotes will help every kid be an A student this year.

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