It’s beginning to look a lot like the back-to-school season. Stores have stocked their shelves with school supplies and first-day-of-school outfits. Parents and their children are filling carts with all the classroom supplies they need for the school year.
But what about teachers?
Many of our nation’s educators purchase their own supplies for their classrooms every year. We tend to applaud this action without considering the very real expense that teachers take upon themselves.
If you see a teacher sharing a classroom supply wishlist, consider purchasing a few of the items. You’d be surprised how creative and amazing these educators can be with a little help from the rest of us.
We’ve compiled a list of the most-requested classroom supplies for teachers. If you feel inspired, surprise a teacher with an item or two from this list. If you’re a teacher, feel free to use some of these ideas for your own Giftster wishlist. Parents looking to donate supplies appreciate knowing what specific items to pick up when they are out shopping for their kids.
One of the most unfortunate truths about education is that many teachers are responsible for keeping their classrooms clean. Sure, there are (usually) maintenance staff who clean the floors and empty the trash, but most other cleaning is left to the teachers.
Here’s a list of popular cleaning supplies from teacher wishlists.
1. Hand sanitizer
Most classrooms don’t have sinks. Hand sanitizer offers a convenient way for teachers and students to keep germs away when sharing items in the classroom.
2. Clorox wipes
Teachers wipe down and clean many of the surfaces in their classrooms on their own. Clorox wipes, or other generic disinfectant wipes, make it easy to clean and sanitize desks, tables, chairs, and commonly used items.
Some schools supply tissues to classrooms, but any student who has ever had a cold knows that these scratchy tissues quickly lead to red noses. A steady supply of donated tissues helps keep little noses clean and comfortable.
4. Air freshener
Let’s be honest. Not all kids smell great. Imagine 30 sweaty middle schoolers going through puberty all returning from gym class at the same time. It’s no wonder teachers love air fresheners in all forms to clarify the air.
Storage and organization
Teachers appreciate items that help them keep the classroom organized. Neat and clean rooms and supplies help students find what they need and focus on their work instead of clutter. Here are some creative ideas for classroom storage and organization.
5. Shoe organizer
Help teachers make the most of the wall space with a hanging shoe organizer. With 24 or more plastic pockets, teachers can use these for student items or classroom supplies.
Have you ever tried taping posters to a cinderblock wall? Velcro works much better than most types of tape. Plus, with velcro, teachers can stick any item to anything else, keeping pens in place or putting items exactly where students need them.
7. Ziplock bags
Ziplock bags may seem like a strange item for teacher wishlists. However, they are incredibly versatile for storage. They are easy to label and transparent.
8. Shelves and containers
Magazine files, plastic baskets, bins, shelves, clear containers, turn-in trays, file folders, crates… the list of organizational containers are endless. Teachers can find creative uses for almost any bin or box.
Sensory items for students
We love that teachers care about their students. Many items on teacher wishlists are actually for student use, including sensory items. Here are a few of the most popular toys for classroom sensory bins.
Fidget toys help keep hands busy. Toys that spin, come apart, pop, or click into different positions offer necessary distractions for overstimulated minds.
10. Putty or slime
It may be messy, but it’s also soothing and calming. Putty, slime, playdough, and other modeling clays can soothe students who are feeling stressed or frustrated. They also allow for some creative expression.
What do you do with students who finish assignments early? Sensory items like squishies are perfect for giving students the opportunity for imaginative play, whether they need a distraction or something to keep them busy.
12. Beans, rice, and pasta
No, this isn’t for a recipe. Dry beans, rice, and pasta are cheap and easy items to donate to a teacher. They are also perfect for sensory buckets. Students love digging through tiny items like these while they hunt for toys and figurines.
Classroom decorations are more than just pretty accessories in a room. Colorful displays engage students and help classrooms feel more comfortable and inspiring.
Want some ideas for purchasing this type of classroom supply? Here a few popular requests.
13. Motivational and educational posters
Posters on the walls can give students a reference for learning facts and concepts. They also add color and can motivate and inspire students throughout the day. These posters don’t even have to be big. Small ones can be just as impactful.
14. Bulletin board accessories
Many teachers use bulletin boards for themed or seasonal displays. In elementary classrooms, you might even see welcoming designs with each child’s name for the beginning of the year. Borders, paper, and even large pieces of fabric are helpful gifts for teachers who want to make amazing bulletin boards.
15. Colorful decorations
The ceiling might be one of the plainest spaces in a teacher’s classroom. However, with colorful party decorations like banners or pom-poms, educators can add some interest to their classroom ceilings.
We hope this list has inspired you to fulfill a few of the needs teachers have as the school year begins. It may seem strange to see some of these items on a teacher’s wishlist, but they can be practical and creative in a classroom.
If you’re a teacher, don’t hesitate to create a wishlist of the classroom supplies you wish you had. You can use a web-based wishlist maker like Giftster to add your items and share them with your friends, family, and community.
Best of luck to all the parents, students, and educators in the coming school year!