School supplies your kid actually needs

Jul 30, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. ET
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You probably have a list of school supplies about a mile long, but what does your kid really need? We're here to help.

Kindergarten through third grade

school supplies for kindergarten - third grade

These littles don't need a lot of specialized products. Chances are, the teachers at this level will expect you to stick to pretty strict guidelines when purchasing supplies. There are few precautions you should take though, both for their safety and your sanity. Purchase scissors with rounded tips, and make sure all crayons and markers are washable.

Grades 4 through 6

school supplies for grades 4-6

Kids at this age are developing a style and they're ready to show it off. Involve them in the process of selecting school supplies, and stick to the list from your teachers as closely as possible while still incorporating things they like. Make sure the backpack is roomy enough to lug home a few books, and choose accessories that are fun and functional.

Grades 6 through 8

school supplies for grades 6-8

Once students reach these grades, they're already looking forward to high school — and so are their teachers. They're going to start to need items that are a little more advanced, and that's fine, because that's exactly what they want. Most kids need a scientific calculator around grades six or seven — invest in a good one, because they'll be able to use it all the way through high school. This is also the time when schedules start to get really crazy. Extracurriculars are demanding, and projects and homework will probably start to double. Grab a planner to help them keep their schedule straight, and a USB flash drive so they can start those projects at school and finish them at home.

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