Essential Back-to-School Supplies for Second, Third, and Fourth Grades

Get your little learner ready for elementary school with our handy list of school essentials. Not sure if your child?s teacher wants glue sticks or liquid glue? Wide rule or college rule notebooks? Try the school's website. Many are now posting grade-specific school supply lists by midsummer.

Art and Drawing Supplies

girl holding school supplies

Blend Images/Veer

Art adds an important aspect of creativity and expression to your child's educational experience. Here's what kids need to be ready to draw, construct, and create.

Crayons -- A typical box of 16 or 24 wax crayons will be needed to color inside and outside the lines.

Markers -- A standard pack of 10 thick markers in primary colors with thick tips will also be required. Some teachers may allow other color groups (bold, pastel, neon, or tropical), thin tips, or mini sizes. Check to see if the teacher requested washable crayons that allow for easier cleanup.

Colored pencils -- A set of 12 colored pencils provides more options for specific writing activities.

Scissors -- Round or point-tipped scissors will depend on the teacher's preference. If your child is a lefty, be sure to pick up a pair designed for his hands.

Glue -- Some teachers may require glue sticks, but white liquid glue, such as Elmer's, is often preferred for arts and crafts.

Dry erase markers -- If the teacher uses a dry erase board, students may be asked to bring in additional markers to supplement what the school provides.

Ruler -- Choose a wooden or plastic one with centimeters and inches to help your child master measuring.

Protractor -- This instrument may be used for measuring angles during math and geometry lessons in grade three and above.

Writing Supplies

The amount of writing your kid is assigned will increase with every year of school. Get your elementary students ready to spell words, take notes, and organize handouts with the writing tools they'll need.

Pencils -- A collection of standard No. 2 pencils will fulfill basic requirements. If the teacher allows, consider refillable mechanical pencils with extra lead.

Erasers -- Both stand-alone erasers and pencil-topper erasers will ensure mistakes made on paper don't stand a chance.

Pencil sharpener -- A portable pencil sharpener will be handy to keep pencils sharpened and ready for use. Consider an electric one at home for added convenience, but always supervise its use.

Ballpoint pens -- Stock up on black or blue for writing assignments and consider retractable pens to prevent dealing with lost caps. Red, green, or purple pens may be required for in-class grading when students correct each other's work.

Highlighters -- A standard yellow one (with a thin or thick tip) is a basic, but a collection of two to three colors can help with color-coding notes or reading.

Paper -- Looseleaf notebook paper with binder holes in either wide rule or college rule will be specified by the teacher. Start with 150 to 200 loose sheets and buy more as needed.

Composition book or notebook -- Reading journals, in wide or college rule, are usually needed for daily writing assignments and note-taking.

Folders -- Maintain a portfolio to hold important handouts and transport work between school and home. Some schools may have specific rules about the kinds of decorations allowed on folders.

Binders -- A hard-sided 1"-to-2" binder will hold looseleaf paper, dividers, notebooks with binder holes, and worksheets. Consider one with a zipper to keep papers and folders from falling out if the rings accidentally open.

Dividers -- A pack of color-coded dividers with plastic tabs will keep subject areas separate in a binder.

Index cards -- A set of 3"x 5" white cards, blank or lined, are perfect for making flash cards, taking quick notes, or arranging pieces of an essay.

Flash cards on rings -- Precut, blank, or lined notecards compiled on a binder ring are available to make it easy to practice new vocabulary or spelling words, equations, and facts.

Sticky notes -- Small, square Post-It notes are an easy and quick way to take additional notes, share ideas, rearrange concepts, or remember new vocabulary.

Bags and Boxes

Keep your child's school necessities neat, organized, and easy to carry with these travel-friendly bags and boxes.

Backpack -- Rolling backpacks prevent back strain from carrying heavy books but may not be necessary if your child doesn't have a big load, and some schools may not allow them. If you choose a non-rolling backpack, make sure it can be adequately adjusted to ensure a supportive fit.

Supply box -- A plastic box keeps art supplies (crayons, markers, glue) organized and contained in the backpack and at the desk.

Pencil pouch -- A small flat or triangular bag keeps pens and pencils from getting lost at the bottom of the backpack. Some flat bags have a three-hole punch for clipping into a binder.

Lunch bag or box, with ice pack -- A reusable, soft nylon lunch bag or hard plastic box can protect food from being crushed (no more paper bags!); an ice pack will keep food cold so it won't spoil.

Water bottle -- A spill-proof bottle will ensure that your child stays hydrated throughout the day without any messes.

Plastic storage bags -- Small, sealable bags are necessary for storing supplies, organizing activity centers (like books, math manipulatives, craft items), or holding leftover snacks. Many teachers request that students take turns bringing a box to share.


These nontraditional items will help kids stay healthy, keep their desks clean, and provide important supplies for special activities.

Tissue box -- Boxes may be needed to keep up with the demand when colds and flu go around the school.

Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes -- Liquid sanitizer and hand wipes keep desks clean and prevent the spread of germs.

Gym clothes and shoes -- A separate outfit or athletic shoes may be required if your child has regular P.E.

Headphones -- If a class visits the school computer lab, teachers may request that each student bring a pair of headphones. Consider a set of folding headphones or kid-size ear buds that are easy to store and have a volume limit to protect young ears.

USB Flash or Jump drive -- These compact storage devices may be needed in digitally advanced schools to save and transport large files of school work and homework.

What Your Child Will Learn in Second Grade
What Your Child Will Learn in Second Grade

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment