Well, you guys, it's that time of year again. Summer is ending and if your kids haven't started school already, they probably will be soon. I don't know how your kids feel about heading back, but my girls, at least, are ready. Clothes and shoes have been purchased; uniforms have been sorted through, hemmed and let down where needed, lunch boxes have been pulled out of summer storage. And their new backpacks have been packed full-to-bursting with supplies since we picked them up a few weeks ago.
So. Many. Supplies.
But even as I say that, I know that their lists only cover a small portion of the items every classroom will need this year. I know that, come Christmas, or maybe mid-January, those supplies will have dwindled, fallen apart, gotten lost, or otherwise need to be replaced. I know that there are families out there who cannot always afford to fulfill their kids' supply lists. I know that teachers everywhere spend their own money to fill their classrooms with the much needed extras that our lists don't cover. And because I really appreciate those teachers, I try to find little ways to give back to them during the school year. Like buying extra supplies and sending them in.
But sometimes it's hard to know what's most needed. So I polled my teacher friends (and THEIR teacher friends), asking them this question: "If you could choose anything for parents to provide for your classroom (beyond the regular supply list), what would your top 10 items be?" And then I compiled them into a list.
Obviously, every teacher is different. And that means that every teacher will have specific things that they need/want/prefer to use in their classroom. But, I got responses from teachers of every age, from preschool on up through high school, both general and special education. And there were some overwhelming similarities (glue sticks, anyone??), as well as some really good suggestions that I had never thought of before (like sending in a few extra dollars with your child's field trip money to help cover any families in need).
So. Here are 41 extras you could provide for your child's classroom that your teacher may not ask for. To make the list easier to read, I've divided it into categories, but keep in mind that most of these items could potentially fill multiple needs within a classroom.
- Clorox wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand wipes
- Copy paper
- Dry erase markers (black & colored)
- Erasers or micro-fiber cloths for dry-erase markers
- Easy-touch or automatic stapler
- Gift cards to places such as Target, Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Staples
- Index cards
- Laminating sheets
- Prize box/treasure chest goodies (for younger classrooms)
- Vinyl tape for floors (line making, classroom layout, etc.)
- Construction paper
- Fun crayons/markers/colored pencils
- Elmer's glue sticks
- Wikki Stix
- Craft sticks
- Dice (regular dice, foam dice, dry-erase dice, dice, dice, dice!)
- Pipe cleaners
- Playing cards
Tools for Early Finishers
- Brain teaser/academic puzzles
Creative Learning & Solutions for Concentration
- Breakfast bars
- Extra Snacks
- Fidget objects
- Seating rugs
- Wiggle seat
- Indoor recess toys
- Board games & card games
- Sidewalk chalk
Of course, this isn't a comprehensive list of everything your child's teacher will need throughout the year. If you're unsure of what would help most, you can always ask what s/he needs. One teacher suggested waiting a week or so after the start of the school year and then asking, while another suggested checking in around the middle of the year (think after winter break). Ultimately, I'm sure that any offer of help would be appreciated!