Here Are the School Supplies You Need in 2016
Sorry, parents: The pace of technological innovation might seem breakneck, but it's not fast enough to get you out of having to buy old-school school supplies for your kid this year, even though you'll probably need to shell out for some digital bells and whistles as well.
Here are the supplies experts say you should be buying if you'll be sending a kid off to school come September.
"Notebooks, pens and pencils are still on lists for schools all across the country," said Ben Glaser, features editor at DealNews.com. Add to that folders, binders, filler paper, and composition books for all but the very lowest grades.
For younger kids, you'll need art-project supplies like glue sticks, construction paper and markers, crayons and colored pencils. For middle school on up, add highlighters, USB thumb drives, and some kind of tab or divider system to help them organize their assignments.
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"The coloring book trend has been another hot trend this year," said Robb Faust, program manager at Connect2One, a business unit of the National Association of College Stores. He suggested helping your budding artist keep those colors on the page by looking for colored pens with quick-drying ink. (These also do classroom duty by helping kids color-code their notes.)
According to a survey of parents by marketing research firm Market Track, kids want what their friends want when it comes to back-to-school items. Almost half of parents said that was a motivator in what their kids asked for, a greater influence than ads, celebrities and — unfortunately for budget-minded parents — prices.
In this day and age, more high-tech offerings are creeping onto school-supply lists. Even if your kid doesn't technically need a laptop or tablet, some devices — and the associated accessories — are probably going to be part of your list.
"Smartphones are much more common," Glaser said. Although they're not technically a school supply, Glaser pointed out that they can replace some other devices, such as calculators, and they're so ubiquitous, it's not a bad idea to keep them in mind when you're planning your back-to-school shopping budget.
"Technology influences the must-have items for back-to-school," said Traci Gregorski, senior vice president of marketing at Market Track. Especially for older kids, "More lists now include tablets and laptops," she said.
This means parents need to factor in tech accessories, according to Faust. "Students are blurring categories in retail stores. Earbuds, cords, chargers, headphones, and flash drives are considered essentials in the minds of students now," he said.