10 School Supplies Parents Should Give to Their Child's Teacher

Tissue and hand sanitizer make this list of school supplies

elementary classroom
ssuni/E+/Getty Images

If you want to know how to help your child's teachers, consider giving them the items on this list of common school supplies teachers need but may not request from parents.

You’ve likely heard it before, but it’s time to hear it again. Teachers spend a ridiculous amount of their own money shopping for school supplies. To help teachers, many parents contribute extra crayons, pencils, markers, highlighters, glue sticks and paper, all of which are definitely needed and appreciated.

This list of other supplies your child’s teacher needs (but might not tell you about might) may have a few unexpected items on it.


The school may provide tissues for the classrooms, but many teachers supply their own. Often the tissues schools buy in bulk are thin, scratchy and prone to running out just as cold and flu season is in full force. It’s worth buying a few boxes of tissues to avoid painful noses and dashes to the bathroom to use toilet paper.


Inevitably at least one student a day forgets or squishes his snack. Many teachers keep a stash of cracker packs or granola bars in a drawer for just such occasions, but if the stash is gone, it’s not uncommon for a teacher to give up or share her own snack. The donation of just one box of granola bars can go a long way.

Hand Sanitizer

This one goes hand-in-hand with tissues. Walk into a classroom and you’re likely to see a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the tissues and the trash can.

Teaching kids to keep their hands clean before they touch shared materials is priceless.

Multiple Copies of Books

Donating one book to your child’s class helps to build a library, but donating multiple copies of a book helps to build reading groups. Many teachers spend money out-of-pocket to make sure there are enough copies so that students don’t have to share.

Plus, there are often favorite read-aloud books that have seen so much use, spare copies are necessities!


Again, having enough copies for each student is helpful. In the upper elementary grades, when students begin writing and editing in earnest, a dictionary is a must-have tool.

Science Experiment Materials

By the nature of science projects, many of the materials involved are consumable and need to be repurchased year in and year out. Check with your child’s teacher to see if there’s anything you can donate in the name of science. The need might be as simple as a package of seeds.

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes of all sizes are great for the classroom, but large sticky notes are especially helpful. The large, poster-paper size sticky notes are great for group brainstorming and to use as graphic organizers.

Pocket Folders

There are never enough pocket folders to replace the ones that get ripped or soggy or for use as homework folders, portfolios, and make-up work folders. Teachers can usually use a variety of types of pocket folders, from the most basic to ones with prongs to laminated folders.

Bulletin Board Border/Sets

If a teacher’s lucky, he has two or three bulletin boards on which to display student work or other information.

If a teacher’s unlucky, he has two or three bulletin boards. Bulletin board borders and decorations are expensive, hard to store and rip and fade easily. Many dollar stores now carry these supplies. For a few dollars, you could make a teacher’s day.

Three-Hole Punches

Watching teachers vie for the one functioning three-hole punch in the teacher’s lounge can be like watching the running of the bulls. Every classroom needs and deserves its very own.

Continue Reading