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Back to school shopping can be overwhelming — especially when most parents don't know whether their children will be returning to in-person learning, virtual learning or some hybrid of the two.
According to Rakuten, there is an increase in interest in back to school shopping in comparison to last year. As of early July, 24 per cent of parents already started back to school shopping and 79 per cent expected to start in August. In 2020, only 53 per cent of parents planned to start shopping in August and 16 per cent said they weren't even planning on shopping.
Last year's back to school shopping focus was on tech items and office essentials like microphones, headphones, laptops, desks, chairs and other furniture. Rakuten's survey indicates that 53 per cent of parents still anticipate the need to purchase these types of items again this year.
To help make your the back to school experience easier for kids of all ages, we've put together lists to help you pick out items for your elementary school student, high schooler and post secondary-bound kids.
Back to school must haves for elementary school students
Make sure your child's water stays cool all day with this YETI rambler that has double-wall vacuum insulation. It also has duracoat colour so if they drop it, the colour won't crack or peel.
SHOP IT: YETI, $35
Every child needs a backpack to carry their belongings to school. This multi-compartment backpack is made of polyester and includes zippered front pockets, a padded back with stitching, padded shoulder straps and two side mesh pockets.
SHOP IT: Walmart, $16
Kikkerland's on-the-go hand sanitizer is perfect for kids because it has a carabiner that attaches to key chains and backpacks. It kills germs and bacteria while leaving hands feeling soft and refreshed.
SHOP IT: Staples, $6
This insulated lunch bag is made from recycled plastic water bottles. Its insulated interior makes cleaning effortless, and its convenient front pocket provides easy access to snacks.
SHOP IT: Staples, $30
This pencil case will keep your student organized all year long. It is designed with two main compartments to easily organize school stationery. It also has two mesh pockets for small items like erasers, cards and pencil sharper. Keep your rulers, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, markers and everything else all in one space.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $21
This Five Star binder will keep elementary students organized all year long without worrying about forgetting their notebooks at home. It has a zipper to make sure that papers stay secure inside and you can separate each subject with dividers. It has an interior expanding file and interior storage pockets.
SHOP IT: Staples, $26
Back up your important school assignments on this compact Lexar JumpDrive. You can quickly transfer your pictures, music, videos, and other files onto it without worry. It's compact, lightweight and easy to carry with you in a pocket or a bag.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $16
Back to school must haves for high school students
BIC Gel-ocity Quick Dry Retractable Gel Pens deliver a super-smooth writing experience that keeps your notes clean and organized. These pens feature vivid inks that dry quickly. Each pen also has a round full-grip barrel that helps promote comfort during prolonged writing sessions like note-taking in class.
SHOP IT: Staples, $12
The Galaxy Buds+ features an incredibly long battery life, offering up to 22 hours of playtime when charged in the case. The 2-way dynamic speaker system and boosted driver will help tune out background noise when trying to study while also delivering premium sound quality. The Galaxy Buds+ are available in black, white, ultraviolet and light blue.
SHOP IT: Amazon, from $140
This Chromebook is perfect for students because you can use it as a laptop with a full-sized keyboard, or detach it for use as a tablet to stream their favourite shows or spend time on TikTok. It's compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, making it a great option to get some class projects done.
SHOP IT: Lenovo Canada, starting at $390
Make sure you have a notebook for each class this semester with this five-pack from AmazonBasics. These wire-bound notebooks have 70 sheets of paper with sturdy front and back covers.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $13
Stay hydrated all day long from class to class with this vacuum insulated bottle. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours. The Iron Flask comes with three different lids: carabiner straw lid with two straws, flip lid and a stainless steel lid.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $35
Every high school student needs a lock for their locker. Use the three-digit combination to unlock this keyless lock.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $11
Back to school must haves for college and university students
Cellphones are one of the most important objects for post-secondary students as they travel around campus trying to find their classes. The Gry Mattr Sterilizer Box will help keep your phone clean by disinfecting it with its five and ten-minute disinfection mode using UV light. It also has a fast wireless charger on top so you can charge your phone during class without searching for an outlet or using your laptop's battery.
This sterilizer box can also be used on other electronics, keys, wallets, glasses, face masks and other daily use items. It kills 99.99 per cent of common household germs, bacteria, mould and fungus.
SHOP IT: Staples, $55
The Samsung Galaxy Book Go is a great option for students who are looking for a lightweight laptop with a long-lasting battery that lasts up to 18 hours when fully charged. The slim yet sturdy design comes complete with a 180-degree hinge.
SHOP IT: Samsung Canada, $420
If you’re going back to school and constantly on your smartphone or laptop, a pair of blue light glasses could help filter out the blue light that is emitted from electronic devices. Blue light glasses help protect your eyes from eye strain and fatigue. MVMT's Everscroll lenses have a variety of styles to choose from so you can go back to class in style.
SHOP IT: MVMT, $130
K-Mini Plus® Single Serve Coffee Makers will fit in any space, even the smallest ones. Why not put it in your dorm room for direct access to a delicious coffee throughout the day, or bring it to the student room on campus for long study sessions.
SHOP IT: Keurig, $80
Back to school can be effortless with the Epson EcoTank ET-2760. It's a cartridge-free printer with supersized tanks that hold enough ink to last up to two years. This means less waste and fewer trips to the store for replacement cartridges for those last-minute print jobs for school. Take advantage of printing school assignments from your mobile device.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $380
Late nights and early mornings are well known to University students. OLLY Sleep expertly blends ingredients that help promote sleep. Sleep encourages daytime energy, stress management, a positive mood, and more — everything your student needs to maintain a healthy sleep cycle while maintaining their grades.
SHOP IT: Well.ca, $24