This prep-school must is useful for kids who just can't seem to keep those lunchtime jelly glops from landing on their pristine lapels. Tuck it into a lunchbox or backpack, and kids can help make wash day a little easier on mom and dad.
Starting at $3 and going up from there, this is a safe bet even for kids who have a habit of misplacing their school items.
Tricia Winters at the Cottonwood Oak-Creek School District said kiddos tend to get chapped and peeling lips while out playing in the wind and elements. Parents can get these for cents on the dollar, and kids can get a sense of individuality by getting to pick between strawberry and spearmint.
3. Sesame Crunch
Any brain food will work, but individually wrapped hard candies made of sesame and honey are a great, natural way to keep your child's brain supplied with calories throughout the day.
Most schools don't allow students to chew gum in class, so this is particularly helpful for the overachiever with a full slate of academically rigorous coursework. Nuts are a rich source of vitamins and energy, so try a few different types of snacks and let the kiddos decide.
Sold in bulk and small quantities, starting at about $5 per pound and going up from there. Sage Valley Roasted Sesame Sticks come in an 8 0z. package at Walmart for a little more than $20.
4. Hand Sanitizer
Any hand sanitizer will do, and is usually sold for a few dollars. Purell offers 1-oz, flip-top bottles that attach easily to backpacks and keychains, for about $2.
This backpack stuffer is useful as kids return to touching and sharing the same doorknobs, desks, and, in general, germs. To this, pocket tissues are always helpful, but donating boxes directly to the classroom is usually a better bet.
5. Water Bottle
The slightly more expensive Brita Water Bottle is helpful for older students, though a small, soft-squeeze children's' version is available at Fry's for around $8.
Not all parents are concerned about filtered or unfiltered water, so this item and its related expense may not be for every student. But for students who usually buy bottled water on campus anyway, this is an effective way for parents to save money in the long run.