You see the Kindergarten school supply list for your child’s school and think do they really need 6 boxes of crayons and bottles of glue? If it’s your first time sending your baby off to school you are probably wondering ‘what will my child need to start Kindergarten’. Your child’s teacher or school may provide a list of classroom supplies they will need, but do they really need all of them to start with?
As a seasoned mom and a substitute teacher who has taught Kindergarten, I’ve had plenty of experience with young students. Trust me when I say this; Yes, they will need ALL of those crayons. Kindergartners are not well-known for their organizational skills and they will lose, break, and possibly even eat through those supplies faster than you can blink an eye. There are some supplies you can probably wait to send if you haven’t completed all of your Kindergarten school supply list shopping just yet. There are also supplies that will need to be replenished during the school year as well.
This year and likely the future of school supply shopping might be a little more comprehensive than it was in previous years. Pre-COVID-19, many supplies in the classroom could be shared among students, but thanks to the pandemic of 2020, sharing has been discouraged. This isn’t a bad thing, honestly because kids are not the most sanitary creatures on the planet to begin with. It just means that each child will need to have their own supplies for use. Additional supplies have been added to most school lists that weren’t mandatory before including things like face masks, hand sanitizer, and water bottles (due to the use of shared water fountains being discouraged) for each child to have their own.
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Starting school can be anxiety-inducing for kids and parents as they transition to something new and different. Don’t worry! This guide will help cover everything you need to know to help prepare your child for Kindergarten. I have also included a few tips I have picked up over the years and shared by other Kindergarten teachers.
Kindergarten School Supply List
10 Things Your Child Needs —
If you are planning on shopping early to avoid the crowds or to take advantage of those back-to-school savings, you can shop for these common kindergarten school supply list staples. These are the must-haves they are going to be using every day.
The number of crayon boxes your child will need may vary by the teacher but plan on sending 2 boxes to start off with. They don’t need the mega boxes of 64+ crayons with 6 different shades of green either. A standard box of 24 or even 8-count will suffice. If your child has a difficult time with grasping or has poor fine-motor-control consider buying the jumbo size crayons. Plan on having a few extra boxes on hand to provide as your child needs, because they DO gradually disappear.
Parenting tip — don’t throw out those broken crayon pieces. Use these to encourage strengthening fine motor skills as the smaller pieces require children to use more control.
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Glue / Elmer’s School Blue — BUNDLE
Pasting is going to be part of your child’s regular classroom activities so glue is definitely a requirement. Your child’s teacher may have a preference for glue sticks or liquid glue. In my experience over the years, I have had teachers ask for only glue sticks and some that preferred the liquid glue. My advice is to start with glue sticks as they are typically more preferred, dries quickly, and are generally less messy. Your child’s teacher may have certain projects planned that liquid glue will work better so if you are unsure reach out and ask beforehand so you know which to get. Glue is another item you may need to replenish throughout the year.
Tip : If you want to avoid classroom mishaps do not send scented glue sticks, scented markers, or glitter glue. Fruity-scented markers, glue, or sparkly glue might seem like fun, but the reality is they’re quite tempting for a child to eat or lead to messes at the expense of their outfits. Stick to the basic stuff.
Pencils / Channie’s My First Pencil
Your child will be writing on a daily basis so pencils are a must-have, preferably no. 2! Your teacher will likely prefer the pre-sharpened pencils. Can you imagine having to sharpen an entire classroom’s pencils before the work can get started? Similar to crayons, the number of boxes may vary by the teacher but send at least 1 or 2 boxes to start with. I don’t recommend mechanical pencils for Kindergarten and some teachers may not allow them so keep this in mind.
Erasers / Dr. Seuss Crayon Erasers
Your Kindergartner will most definitely expend their pencil’s tiny eraser caps and will need a separate pink eraser for those mistakes while they are learning. Their Kindergarten school supply list may have 1 listed, but I strongly suggest picking up a pack of 2-count or more. Chances are they will chew up or possibly lose them so ALWAYS have an extra or two you can send if needed.
As we previously mentioned, your child will need scissors for those crafting activities they will be doing in class. Choose safety scissors with a blunt tip to minimize hazardous mistakes. Also, choose scissors that clearly have one larger handle. These encourage proper handling and are more comfortable to use.
A box or case will be necessary for keeping those pencils, scissors, and crayons in. There are many cute options you can choose from to meet your child’s interest. Personally, I prefer the snap-close boxes over zippered cases as the zippers tend to break easily resulting in crayons and pencils at the bottom of their backpack. Boxed cases are not as compact as pouch-style cases so if your child will need something that fits easily in a chair bag or take up less space in their book sack I suggest buying a second pencil pouch as a backup.
Kindergartners will need a composition or journal for their daily writing activities. They may need more notebooks for a variety of uses as well but plan on sending them with at least one journal composition for daily writing and one regular composition. You can find really cute themed options per your child’s preference. I suggest the ones with the plastic cover as they last longer, but that’s my personal preference. Plan on buying a couple of extras to have on hand to replace as needed.
Obviously, your child can’t carry all of their supplies so they will need a reliable book bag to hold their essentials to class every day. Book sacks come in a variety of sizes and styles but I suggest going with a full-size backpack. Your Kindergartner will need something adequate to hold their supplies and some of those cute smaller options you find in boutique stores aren’t large enough for multiple notebooks. Most of their supplies will likely be stored in the classroom so they will need something that can hold at least a couple of notebooks, folders, and supplies they will be bringing back and forth every day.
Check with your child’s school on policies regarding book sacks before purchasing to avoid any issues. Some schools do not allow rolling book sacks with wheels, for instance, and some require only clear or see-through backpacks. Many backpacks come with matching lunch boxes but if it doesn’t plan on purchasing one. Whether they will be eating lunch at school or bringing their own they will need a lunch box for snacks during snack/recess time.
Tip : Choose an insulated lunch/snack bag. Even if you are not sending them with hot/cold foods, insulated bags for snacks are easier to wipe clean and help minimize leaks from spreading onto other supplies in their backpack if their juice or water bottles leak.
Box of Tissues / Kleenex Go : Portable Tissues
This is something all young students are going to expend as well! Whether their supply list mentions it or not plan on sending at least one box with your child. Runny noses are inevitable among Kindergartners and they are likely to use them for other uses as well.
Additional Supplies Your Child Might Need for Kindergarten
There are some additional supplies you might need per your child’s school or class teacher. These may vary so check with your child’s school on what is needed.
One of the kindergarten requirements typically includes being fully potty trained, however, accidents do happen and are expected with young children. Prepare to send at least one full change of clothes, including socks, shoes, and baby wipes, for them to keep at school. Even if your child has never had an accident since being fully potty-trained, accidents can happen from classroom spills to taking a spill in the mud! It’s much easier for them and you if they have a spare change of clothes just in case.
Nap Mat / Wildkin Original with Pillow
In my experience, some schools have nap times in Kindergarten and others simply have quiet time at their desks. Your child’s school or teacher should specify if a nap mat will be required for Kindergarten. Get a mat that folds up easily for storing and purchase a mat cover that can be removed for washing. Choose a mat cover that comes with a pillow.
Expo or Dry-Erase Markers
Some teachers like to use dry-erase boards in the classroom for different types of writing exercises and will request dry-erase markers. Buy a multi-pack! Caps are often lost or not replaced tightly, resulting in dried-out markers. Send 2 markers to start off with but plan on having extras to replace as needed.
Plastic Pocket Folders
This is another supply item that may be required and may not be depending on the teacher. Buy folders regardless! If your child’s teacher supplies them or they are not needed in class you will at least have something to keep all of the artwork they will bring back home organized. For classroom use, choose the plastic pocket folders over the paper type because they will last much longer.
Conclusion / Kindergarten School Supply List
This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything they will use but will equip your child with the essentials. Each teacher is different and what they will require based on preferences and lesson plans. For instance, some teachers may want them to use watercolor paints and require your child to bring their own set while other teachers might choose finger-paints and provide them for the class. Your child’s teacher will most likely provide a detailed list of required supplies to start with.
Each school and teachers have their own guidelines as well, so it’s important to find out what rules or policies they have in place. If you don’t receive a Kindergarten school supply list before you head to the store contact your school on their guidelines to avoid buying something you will have to return later because it doesn’t abide by the rules.
In addition to their supplies, there are key skills your child will need to work on if they haven’t achieved them yet. As parents of young kids, it’s natural to want to do everything for them from tying shoes and buttoning pants simply because it’s quicker and easier. This is especially true when you are in a hurry to get out the door. When they start school, however, the teacher can’t tie 20+ kids’ shoes every 10 minutes or fasten belt buckles for them every bathroom break. There would be no time left for teaching if that were the case. These are important independent skills they need to work towards achieving before they start school.
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Skills Kids Need for Kindergarten
Helping your child with these valuable skills will help in making the adjustment to school go smoothly.
Fastening a button: Let your child practice buttoning up shirts and pants. Allow them to dress themselves to gain independence. To start school opt for elastic-waist shorts and pants that will make bathroom breaks easier while they are learning to master this skill. If your child’s school has a uniform policy that requires belts, look for magnetic closure belts.
Using scissors: There will be cutting and pasting activities as part of your Kindergartens curriculum. Learning before school starts how to hold and use scissors will help them become more successful in class activities. Pick out a pair of safety scissors for your child to practice with at home and use for school. Show them how to hold the scissors so their thumb is in the smaller handle with the nail facing up, and the pointer and middle fingers looped through the larger hole of the handle. Start with something simple by drawing lines on a sheet of paper and have them cut along the lines to make strips. Then move on to simple shapes to cut out.
Tip: If your child holds their elbow out while cutting use a folder or sheet of paper for them to hold under the arm they use to write with. This helps keep the arm tucked in at the rib to gain better control while cutting and promotes handling scissors correctly.
Grasping a pencil: In Kindergarten your child will be learning how to write their name, alphabet, numbers, and more. They will need to be able to support their pencil or crayon correctly using their thumb and forefinger. Start practicing at home by demonstrating how to grip and hold the pencil and use activity books or printouts with simple lines and shapes they can trace. You can also find pencil grips that have placements for fingers to help train for a correct writing position.
Letters and numbers: For the same reason previously mentioned, it’s important that your child is familiar with the alphabet and numbers 1 – 10. They will be learning how to write and a key element to their success is knowing their letters and numbers. Use (or make your own) flashcards to practice with. Count out objects and point out letters in everyday scenarios such as counting out ingredients while cooking or pointing out aisle numbers at the grocery store and letters on road signs, etc.
Managing bathroom needs independently: In addition to potty training, your child will also need to be able to wipe themselves in the bathroom. I don’t think this is talked about enough but trust me when I say this is an underestimated skill! Teachers often get called out from the bathroom by students to go in and wipe them and they can not. Help your child become more independent with bathroom needs and reinforce handwashing.
Reading and listening skills: in Kindergarten your child will be learning concepts that introduce them to start reading. They will need to know how to handle a book, turn pages, and be able to listen to the story without interrupting. Practice these skills by reading to your child and pointing out the title, allow them to turn the page one at a time, and encourage them to listen. Encourage them to follow the words on the page with their finger as you read. This will help them become familiar with words and recognize common sight words they will be learning.
Gross motor skills: In addition to fine motor skills like holding a pencil and scissors, kids will also need gross motor skills such as running, jumping with both feet together, and hopping on one foot. You can practice these at home by drawing out a hopscotch court with chalk. Numbering them will also help reinforce their number recognition. Create an obstacle course in the backyard with different elements to run through, balance on, climb or throw a ball in to work on strengthening motor skills.
Social and emotional skills: Beginning school often causes anxiety in children as they start something new. If your child hasn’t been in preschool or a setting where they have been away from their parents for a long stretch of time it can create separation anxiety. To help your child, talk about what they can expect in Kindergarten and the different types of adults they will meet, such as teachers, aides, the principal, etc. Make an appointment or set up a time with your child’s teacher to meet before the first day of school, if possible. Another way to help ease their anxiety is knowing familiar faces. Organize a play date in the community with other Kindergarten parents to meet up and introduce each other. Follow community pages and message boards for local kid-friendly events where your child can meet new friends they might see in school. If you have family or a friend who has a young child close in age to yours, swap play dates at each other’s homes for a couple of hours. This will help your child get accustomed to being with someone else.
It’s okay if your child has yet to master some of these skills. It’s important to keep in mind that children develop at different rates and certain factors may affect how they develop. You might be surprised at how quickly they learn once they start Kindergarten. Encourage their independence and reassure their efforts with positivity. This will help boost their confidence and improve their independence for success in school. I know it may take 10 minutes longer to let them try to do things on their own, but it will be well worth it in the long run. If your child still needs help in some areas, address your concerns with their teacher and continue to work on improving these skills at home.
Here are some additional things you can do to prepare your child for Kindergarten to help set them up for success:
Practice scheduled eating times. If your child is a typical grazer throughout the day they will not have that same luxury at school. Set times for breakfast, lunch, and a snack that correspond to school time. Set a timer for 20 minutes to let your child practice getting accustomed to eating within a time-frame.
Allow your child to practice opening juice boxes, fruit cups, etc. on their own. It gets time-consuming and will eat up your child’s lunchtime waiting for the teacher to come around opening everything up. If you are sending their lunch to school every day opt for Bento Boxes that are easy to use.
Avoid shoes with laces: Being able to tie their own shoes is a valuable skill your child should be working on by the time they are ready to start Kindergarten, however it takes time. Teachers can not constantly tie shoes all day long and just imagine coming out of the bathroom with wet laces. Use Velcro or lace-less shoes for Kindergarten that are easy to put on and take off.
Label all of your child’s supplies. You can buy customized labels such as Mabel’s Labels that work well on adhering to different textures or just use a permanent marker. Last year I ordered customized pencils with my kids’ names on them that were inexpensive and cute. Since pencils could not be shared by classmates, this was easier than trying to label each pencil and made it easier for them to keep track of.