Not too cool for school: Supplies to make learning more fun
By Lesley Kennedy
Pencils. Yes. Notebooks. Of course. New sneakers. Yup. Trendy first-day outfit. Duh. Sure, your savvy student has all the basics covered when it comes to scratching out that back-to-school shopping list. But adding a few stylish extras that will not only aid in homework, but are just plain cool, to boot? Now, we’re talking about entering the new year with an A-plus.
If you’ve managed to take advantage of all the summer clearance and back-to-school sales, you may have a little leftover money to give your kid’s educational arsenal some extra credit. Here are some items that are functional and lots of fun. Take notes. There will be a test.
Post-it products: You probably already have a few pads of the sticky notes on your lists, but the company offers so many other great products, it’d be a shame to stop there. We’re getting a big kick out of the Post-it Pop-Up Note Karate Dispenser, $12.99 at Office Depot, a weighted dispenser that holds a pad of notes and a pen. Too cute. We’re also digging the Post-it Big Pads – giant self-stick sheets – that come in 11-inch by 11-inch, 15-inch by 15-inch or 22-inch by 22-inch sizes, perfect for brainstorm sessions, study groups or just creative usage in general. Find them for $7.99 to $19.99, also at Office Depot.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: If a tablet is in your child’s future (lucky kid), we’re smitten with this Android version from Samsung. The 8-inch display is perfect for reading ebooks, conducting online research and taking notes. (The S Pen stylus makes jotting things down a snap.) And, once the homework is complete, the sharp screen is great for watching movies, playing games or using apps. Throw in front and rear cameras, video, Polaris Office (open and edit documents in Microsoft Word, create PowerPoint presentations, build Excel spreadsheets and more) and other features? It might just be the best study buddy ever. Buy it at Samsung for $399.99.
Bento box: Now that reusable lunchboxes are all the rage (so long, brown paper sack), it’s time to step it up a notch with a bento box. We’re smitten with this “system” that includes a fully insulated carrier, a bento box with colorful containers and even a stainless steel fork and spoon set. We’re gonna need one of these for ourselves. Find it for $39.99 at laptoplunches.com.
Locker organizer: Getting a locker for the first time is, like, totally major for many kids. A place to stash their coats and books is secondary: Being able to decorate the thing is key. We think your student will love this organizer with pockets for “this,” “that” and “whatever.” Get it at Pottery Barn Teen for $19.50 at pbteen.com.
Ciate Chalkboard Manicure: Get your kids into the school spirit with this super cool polish. Paint nails with two coats of black chalkboard polish, allow to dry and then use colorful liquid chalk pens to draw and doodle on your nails. Mess up? Just erase by rinsing it off with water and start over. Once you’re happy with your designs, seal ’em in with a topcoat. Your art teacher will be impressed. Get the set at Sephora for $25.
Water bottle: Today’s kids rarely go anywhere without their water bottles – and they’ll never forget to grab their bobble sport. The 24-ounce reusable bottle comes with a replaceable carbon filter, making tap water cleaner for your children. They’re green, too: Each bobble filter equals 300 single-serve bottles. Free of BPA, Phthalates and PVC, it comes in magenta, red, yellow, green, lavender, blue and gray. The first filter is included with the bobble. Get yours now for $8.99 to $12.99 at waterbobble.com.
Colored Smencils: Plain ol’ colored pencils? Booor-ing. Up the fun factor with Smencils, scented versions of the school staples with scents to match their hues (grape, root beer, bubble gum and black cherry are just a few). Get a set of 10 for $14 at uncommongoods.com.
X-Cool Gamer calculator: After a summer spent playing video games, it may be difficult to tear the controller out of your child’s hands. Ease the separation anxiety with this calculator designed to look like your kid’s favorite toy. Find it for $3.99 at Office Depot.
Skateboard erasers: It’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, when you’ve got erasers shaped like skateboards, it’s really mandatory. Grab a 24-pack for just $10.50 at gpencil.com.
Ruler slap bracelets: Your kids and their pals will be the envy of the class when they show up to math class wearing ruler slap bracelets from SmileMakers. Just like those slap bracelets we wore in the late ’80s/early ’90s, this studious update features a design on one side (think animal print, colorful stripes or houndstooth) and an 8-inch ruler on the back. Snag a pack of 24 for $13.99 at amazon.com.
Fingerprint bookmark: You know you can’t dog-ear those library books from school, so keeping bookmarks handy is always smart. But this puppy is extra “handy” – as in, it features a finger you can adjust to point to the exact last word you read. Get it for a mere $4 at fredflare.com.