Pencils, notebooks, backpack … check, check, check. But what do Champaign-Urbana area kids need for school that you may not have considered?
We have some outside-the-box (and let’s face it, pretty fun) back-to-school musts that we want you to know about so your family can be prepared.
Traditional school supply lists are already available on your school websites and you can venture into Target to find the bright yellow displays of supplies. But what about the things we KNOW you’re going to need sometime during the school year that you won’t find on a school supply list? Yep. This is a thing. And we have a list for it.
Check out our entire Back to School Series, presented by Christie Clinic:
- Ask the Doctor: Adjusting to Back to School
- Back to School: 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Needed
- Back to School: 9 Tips for Ninth Graders
- Save Money on Back to School in Champaign-Urbana: Free Supplies, Backpacks, Haircuts and Health Screenings
- Champaign-Urbana Area School Registration Information for 2023-24
- Champaign-Urbana Area School Start Dates
- Back to School: Dental, Vision Exams Required for Illinois Students
- School Physicals: What’s Required for Illinois Students in 2023
- Back to School: Immunizations Required for Illinois Students
I know I need more than pencils and markers …
This list was curated with kids of all ages in mind, but some will be more applicable to certain ages than others. Generally speaking, you can bet on the fact that you’ll happen upon a time this school year when you’re looking for these things. Don’t overthink these things or spend a fortune, but do give them at least a little thought before the year gets off and running. Let’s get to it.
- Poster board, or poster board’s related cousin, the corrugated display board (for older kids). You might need a poster board for the “about me” project that your student is assigned at the beginning of the school year. Or maybe it’ll be some random Sunday night, months down the road, when you realize they need to put something on display. Get a couple of these and stash them out of sight so your kids aren’t looking for a reason to use one of the “cool boards” before they actually have to. Dollar General, Walmart, Walgreens (at the Crossing, in particular) and Michaels tend to have the best selections.
- Crazy socks. It’s a guarantee: at some point this school year, no matter how old your child is, there’s going to be a crazy sock day during spirit week or a fun class “reward.” Check at the beginning of the year to make sure each kid has a pair. And while you’re at it …
- Some sort of hat. This one always catches us by surprise because while we think we always have hats, is it going to be a hat that actually works for hat day? Are they going to want to wear a winter hat in the middle of September spirit week? Probably not. So then what? Do the digging through your closets now to make sure you have a hat each kid will actually want to wear when the day arrives.
- Backup lunch supplies. Inevitably, your child’s go-to lunch box that you’ve spent time carefully researching and purchasing is going to be left on a bus, or in our case, sent home with another kid in error one day. Have something basic on hand so that if you find yourselves without THE lunch bag, you can still send lunch. This might come in the form of brown paper bags or, for one of our kids, the “old” lunchbox from a few years back. We also have a go-to PB&J-based lunch for when our containers and ice packs are out of commission for the scenarios mentioned above.
- Labels. You’re going to label things. Have some easy sticky labels on hand to do the job of labeling those supplies you know your child is going to have assigned to them.
- Anything in your school colors. Are your colors purple and gold? When you’re out shopping around Mardi Gras time, snag those purple and gold beads near the checkout at Target and keep them on hand for school spirit days. See also: plain tees, wacky wigs, and other costume-type apparel, all in school spirit colors. Stores are full of school spirit right now – and you can find a rack of clothes at Goodwill in Savoy that has anything branded with any local school on it!
- Sidewalk chalk. You think sidewalk chalk is just for summer? Nope! When you see parents rallying together to write encouraging messages on the school sidewalks before the first day of school, or you just want to leave something fun on your own driveway before your student has a big test, get yourself a nice supply of sidewalk chalk for the job. Sidewalk chalk deals at Meijer abound at back-to-school time.
- Extra glue sticks. Extra, extra glue sticks. If there is one school supply we just can’t keep on hand, it’s glue sticks. So do yourself a favor and buy a bunch when they’re for sale in 20-packs. You’ll thank yourself later. Trust us.
What did we forget? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll consider adding your ideas to our post.