Back to School Items Needed for Middle School

Back to School Items Needed for Middle School  via

I can’t believe that it’s time to start thinking about getting the kids back in school already. It seems like school just ended yesterday. 

I’ve been doing back to school shopping for the girls. Lauren is going to be going to middle school this school year and while I’m so proud of her it does seem like time is just going by too fast for me. She was just a little baby not too long ago. 

This year the school didn’t provide me with a school supply list, however. Therefore, I had to create my own and hope that it covers everything that she will need for her classes. 

Today, I am sharing my list of things that I came up with in case someone else needs suggested back to school items for their middle school student. 

Blue/Red/Black Pens

A set of blue, red and black pens are the staple of any middle school student. Most schools have policies in place that require students to always carry blue, red and black pens with them. These should be roller ball and shouldn’t be gel pens to provide a more professional look to writing.

I recommend purchasing more than one pack to ensure that you have more on hand when the school sends home notices requesting more school supplies. Plus, those that don’t have to be used at school can always be used at home for homework, or in my case, my home office! 

Mechanical Pencils

In middle school, usually kids have graduated from the standard #2 pencils to mechanical pencils. These pencils don’t require sharpening since all they have to do is insert lead. They still have the eraser and come in a ton of different designs, so your child can still have some of their personality showing through their school supplies.

Index Cards

Index cards are perfect for writing down the important bits and reflecting on them later. Instead of huge textbooks, your child will be able to refer to their index cards. They’re both reminders and highly useful extra study tools at the same time.

I like to think of them as flash cards for preteens because they are a great tool when it comes for studying for tests. 

Colored Pencils

Whether it’s art class or just for making notes a little more creative, colored pencils are an essential item within any middle school. To start off, you could just purchase one of the smaller packages instead of going with a large number of them since the primary colors are the main ones that will be used.


You might not find much use for highlighters right now, but when test time comes around you’ll be thankful you have them. Some middle schools even request that students are equipped with their own highlighters for segregating notes and marking important points.

Come the end of the year studying after class will be a breeze!

Loose Leaf Paper

There was once a time when parents didn’t have to worry about things like paper. But with school budgets going south most middle schools are requesting that students have loose leaf paper that they can use for classes. Thankfully, you can pick this up in bulk for an extremely reasonable price.

Don’t underestimate how much paper they’ll go through in a year!


With more schools introducing technology as part of a normal learning resource, earbuds are necessary. When it’s their turn to get on the computer or iPad, they need to have a pair of earbuds so they aren’t disrupting the rest of the class yet can still hear what they need to on the assignment. 


Runny noses are inevitable at some point. Instead of letting them wipe their noses with their sleeves, make sure they always have a pack of tissues at hand. Again, buy in bulk and you’ll make big savings throughout the year.

Clorox Wipes

Accidents happen and the janitor isn’t always on call. For those accidents, make sure they have a small pack of Clorox wipes in their backpacks. They disinfect everything and leave desks smelling like lemon fresh.

Composition Books

A composition book for every subject is a great way to make studying easy. The teacher will expect your child to be taking notes throughout the lessons and they need something to perform exercises in. Wide-ruled composition books will give them the foundation they need to understand their lessons and prepare for tests throughout the year.

Two Pocket Folders with Clasps

Pocket folders are easy to slip into a backpack and they offer a home for all those loose pieces of paper your kids are going to accumulate. Whether it’s work sheets given out by the teacher or the notes your child takes, these folders will give them the organization they need.

And it’ll save you sorting through those infinite pieces of paper later.

Big Erasers

Your kids are always going to make mistakes in class. Instead of throwing out those pieces of paper or scribbling across their notes, they can use these big erasers to get rid of anything they don’t need. Erasers are perfect for saving paper and these jumbo erasers are guaranteed to last the whole year. They’re also ideal for art class.

Construction Paper

An old favorite of any middle school. Construction paper is tough, thick, and coarse. Many middle schools use it in abundance because it’s cheaper and safer than making models and designing projects with wood, metal, and other expensive materials.

You should always buy large amounts of construction paper because you never know in which subjects your child might need it these days.

Dry Erase Markers

Dry erase markers are different from wet erase markers in that they can be removed with a standard eraser or dry cloth. Students will be expected to have a pack of these in various colors in practically all their classes. If they’re using whiteboards they’ll need these for working out sums and writing down answers.

They’re also handy for art classes, so don’t just purchase standard blue and black colors. Buy a whole packet.

Glue Bottles

Glue bottles will always be useful in art class. They’re also useful for gluing pieces of loose paper into notebooks for review later. Make sure that you choose a glue bottle that fits in with regulations. Most middle schools have strict regulations on the liquids that students are permitted to bring into school.

As a rule of thumb, make sure the glue you choose is non-toxic, easily washable, and doesn’t run.


Organization is key within any school setting. If your child is sharing a folder or a notebook between multiple classes, these removable dividers will help them keep track of everything. They’re also good for dividing different topics within the same subject.


A pair of scissors will prove essential during any practical lessons. Keep in mind that your school may have restrictions on the type of scissors. Some schools only allow scissors capable of cutting paper only for safety reasons. But this doesn’t apply to every school, so check.

Try to purchase some scissors with an ergonomic handle to make things more comfortable.

Pencil Sharpener

For those colored pencils, you need to keep those tips sharp. Invest in a good pencil sharpener with a strong blade that’s going to last. You could attempt to save and just buy a pack of the cheap plastic ones, but I don’t advise this. 

A portable electronic pencil sharpener will allow better sharpening and will reduce the amount of mess. There’s nothing worse for a teacher than pencil shavings all over the floor.


The holy grail of the middle school student is the backpack. Make sure the backpack is sturdy and easily washable. You should also avoid buying a backpack that’s too big. Remember that most middle schools have lockers and they won’t need to bring everything they have each day. It all depends on their schedules.

Do remember that in some schools they may be given small computers and electronic notebooks. If this is the case then try to find a backpack with a special sleeve for devices like this.

Spiral Notebooks

Spiral notebooks are different from composition books because these are the things your child will use to write down any key notes outside of class. Their teachers won’t be marking these books and it gives students a chance to jot down whatever they like.

1 – ½“Binder

A binder is another helpful organizational tool for any student to have sitting in their lockers. These binders should be kept to a maximum of 1 ½” so they don’t take up too much space. Bulky binders are more of a liability than a help, so make sure you keep this in mind when shopping around for binders.

PE Shoes

PE shoes are essential for outdoor and indoor use. Most middle schools won’t allow students to use their standard shoes. These shoes should be sturdy and capable of withstanding all conditions. In some schools, you may need to buy separate shoes for indoor and outdoor activities.

Take note that if your kids participate in any other activities after school you might need to buy special shoes, such as cleats.

$20 for Miscellaneous Fees

Middle schools seem to think we have magic money trees in our backyards. Random fees will pop up throughout the year and your kid will be the first to hear about them. Making sure they always have $20 on them to pay any additional fees will save a lot of hassle later.

Think of it as making the first move!

Last Word – Back to School

Start preparing for the new school year now. You’ll often see discounts early in summer, so it pays to shop right now. 

Disclosure- Post contains Amazon affiliate links.
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