Your child is going to elementary school for the first time. You may not have yet received a dedicated 1st-grade school supply list from your child’s teacher, but certain school items are common items for any school year.  

Avoid the school supplies shopping crowd and buy school supplies early.

What do you need for 1st-grade school supply lists—where to begin with must-have items and nice-to-have?

We’ve created a back-to-school supplies list for 1st grade. On the first day of school, your child’s teacher will recommend the school’s preferred first-grade supply list. Although most items are the same as these school supply lists, the list may differ from school to school.

The first day in 1st grade could be daunting. However, with the essential first-grade school supplies, your child can begin the new year confidently and prepared; you can always add additional supplies the school’s teachers recommend.

For your convenience, instead of creating one long list of items, we subdivided the list into five school supply lists, the basic back-to-school supply list, first-grade arts and crafts supply list, cleaning supply list, required school supply list, and extra school supply list. You can download the school supply lists and take them with you to the stores.

Essential 1st Grade Elementary School Supply Lists

Check first what Kindergarten school supplies are left from last year before you purchase for the new year at elementary school. You’ll be cheerfully surprised—and so will your budget—at the similarity between the essential 1st-grade school supply list and school supplies for kindergarten students.

Basic Back To School School Supplies List For First Grade

Most items on the back-to-school supplies list should be sufficient for your child’s first-grade year. However, your child can run out, break, or lose commonly used items like pencils, dry erase markers, Crayola crayons, and erasers—and cheerfully forget to tell you.

To avoid rushing to the stores, be prepared and purchase extra items on the school supply lists that your child will use in first grade and continue to use in elementary school up to sixth grade.

Then, make your own school supplies list based on your child’s usage, and wait for a sale to purchase these repetitive items.

  • #2 Pencils (12 pencils pack, pre-sharpened pencils)
  • Handheld pencil sharpener
  • Pink erasers
  • Plastic pocket folders
  • Wide ruled spiral notebooks
  • White composition notebook wide-ruled
  • Pencil pouch or plastic pencil box
  • Pair of headphones
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Backpack or book bag
  • Lunch box or bag and serviette

1st Grade Arts And Crafts School Supply List

Kids in first grade enjoy all the arts and crafts projects and need sufficient amounts of these items. Duplicate the school supply list for home use so your child can repeat or finish the school’s projects and craft assignments at home.

  • 12 Colored pencils, basic colors
  • 24-count Crayola crayons
  • Elmer’s glue sticks, no liquid glue
  • Dry erase markers
  • Washable markers
  • Plain paper
  • Colored paper
  • Pair of safety scissors
  • Washable art smock 

Cleaning School Supplies List For First Grades

  • Box of tissues, Kleenex facial tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lysol wipes
  • Ziplock bags
  • Paper towel

Why Are These Items On The 1st Grade School Supply List

The school will supply the exact school supplies list, but meanwhile, you could stock up on items you know are essential for first grade and will be on the school’s back-to-school checklist. 

  • Age Appropriate Backpack. Backpacks without wheels are easier to transport; the wheels don’t get stuck on the playground or stairs. A standard-sized backpack has sufficient space for stuff and can hold full-sized school folders and library books without damaging them. There are such wide varieties: bags for girls and boys, mesh backpacks for ventilation, black backpacks to decorate, and theme-based backpacks.   
  • Lunch Boxes. A lunch box that keeps flavors intact and a tight lid to prevent spilling is an excellent choice. Preparing lunches for your kids allow parents to keep active kids eating healthy.
  • Pencil Pouch For School Supplies. A plastic pencil box or pencil pouch keeps pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, scissors, crayons, and colored pencils together, preventing supplies from disappearing inside the backpack.  
  • Traditional Pencils. Many schools prefer pencils to pens for younger grades. First graders write a lot and use lots of pencils throughout the year. In addition, students frequently drop their pencils, so buy sturdy pencils with wood and graphite to avoid the lead from breaking. 
  • Colored Pencils. With various shades and hues, colored pencils are ideal for sketching and drawing. Colored pencils help color areas too small for Crayola crayons. Although neon and metallic colors are fun, primary-colored pencils are best for school.
  • Pencil Grip. Your child’s school supplies list may not have a pencil grip on the list, but it offers relief for little fingers starting a school year with lots of writing. Some pencil grips will work for right and left-handed kids.
  • Student Size Scissors. A pair of scissors with a blunt tip is child-friendly and safe to use in a 1st-grade classroom. A typical school day in the first grade involves lots of cutting and pasting of crafts and art projects, perfect for teaching kiddos good scissors techniques and strengthening fine motor skills.  
  • Pencil Sharpener. All the writing and drawing need a consistent flow of sharpening pencils, colored pencils, and Crayola crayons. A pencil sharpener with a pencil waste collecting container will keep your child’s desk clean. Also, with handheld pencil sharpeners, children won’t interrupt the class to use the class rotary sharpener.
  • Pencil Erasers. Learning to write takes practice and lots of erasing mistakes and starting over. So a pink pencil eraser is an essential item your little student can’t go without. 
  • Washable Markers. Kids use markers for school projects, and washable markers clean easier from clothes and tables than permanent markers. 
  • Dry Erase Markers. Little hands easily grip a Sharpie marker when writing or drawing on the whiteboard or dry erase board. Colorful Sharpie markers add a pop of color, but your child’s school may prefer black markers to colored dry erase markers. 
  • Student Headphones. Digital teaching and smart classrooms require headphones for audio-visual learning experiences. The best headphones are padded headphones that fit the head and ears of a child in 1st grade. Adult headphones are too big and uncomfortable for growing kids. Of course, you could wait with this purchase until the teacher requests it; maybe the school supplies headphones for all the grades.
  • Pocket Folders. Letters for parents to sign, homework assignments, printed word lists on a single page, and library books fit neatly in pocket folders. It keeps items clean and together, easy to find, and avoids kids forgetting important papers at school or home.

Required School Supplies For Your 1st Grader’s School Year

Above we’ve covered the basic school supplies list; these additional supplies are also necessary for a new school year. But, of course, if your child’s teacher has different specifications, your kiddo will use these items at home anyway.

  • Construction paper
  • Book covers
  • Flashcards
  • Play Dough
  • Plastic sheet protectors
  • Plain band-aids
  • Change of school clothes
  • Clipboard, letter size
  • Plastic pocket folders
  • Pencil grips
  • Ruler
  • Rest mat, soft blanket, or towel
  • Paper towels
  • Shoes for gym classroom
  • Personalized labels
  • Address labels

Extra School Supplies List For The 1st Grade School Year

Some school supplies run out during the year. In addition, classroom teachers will request re-supplying certain items from time to time. Parents can buy these items in bulk and keep them at home or donate them to the teacher for classroom use.

  • Boxes of tissues, Kleenex facial tissues
  • Box gallon-size Ziploc bags
  • Box of resealable sandwich-size bags
  • Packages of glue sticks
  • Bandages
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pocket folders
  • Scotch tape
  • Extra Crayola crayons
  • Pack of pencils

Tips For Buying From Your First Grade List of School Supplies in 2024

Buy supplies a little early: We as a country are still experiencing supply chain issues which means there could be long lead times on some basic items. In addition, commodity and energy inflation hasn’t been reflected in all products yet—but they will be by year-end. If you see a good sale, stock up!

In a normal environment, late July to early August is the best time to buy. If you are going to a store, it’s best to shop on Sunday or Monday of a sale if possible. Some items get sold out quickly during a good sale.

Should I buy online or in person: This is a matter of time vs. money.

Unlike in the past, online does not always mean “less expensive.” For example, a LARGE online retailer currently charges $20 more for a Jansport backpack than it costs at my local Target.  

Of course, I’m not saying online is always more expensive – it’s obviously not. But you do need to pay attention to the price.

What online does offer is convenience. If you don’t like to travel to the store, fight the crowds and hope that your pencils and erasers are still available, then online shopping is a good choice for you.

Schools may differ in details, but the essential school supplies list for first-grade students stays the same. If you are homeschooling, you could be more flexible. For example, the school may require white notebooks, whereas your homeschooling child wants marble notebooks.

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