7 Quirky Back-to-School Supplies for Teens

August 1, 2013    |    By +
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It’s time to start gearing up for the back to school season! Though teens are past the age of caring about a new lunch box or pair of Mary Jane shoes, they still get butterflies about starting the new school year, and they still need supplies and clothing. The key thing when you are shopping for teens is you have to balance what they need with what they want, and of course they are going to want the coolest, and the trendiest, and the peer-approved. (They may also want you to walk 10 paces behind them at the mall, pretending not to be related to you.) It’s not always easy shopping for teen, so I’ve put together a list of quirky, cool supplies that they will love to show off when school starts.

Last year’s backpack is probably shredded and disgusting by now, so it’s time for a new one! Essential for lugging around books and supplies, this is the accessory that allows your student to show off their personality. For guys I like the Herschel Supply Co. Little America backpack (around $90). It’s a little pricier than your average pack, but you won’t regret scooping this one up as it comes in a bevy of cool colors, is made of durable materials, and contains handy pockets for their gear (including a tablet). And when school it out they can use it for hiking trips!


For teen girls, I’d suggest something more fashion forward. Tribal prints are super trendy. The Topshop Aztec Stripe Backpack ($64) won’t disappoint. The low-key, neutral colors mean the bag won’t clash with outfits, and the bag is small enough to remain cute, but roomy enough to hold her books. It snaps shut and has a helpful pocket on the back for small treasures.


For taking notes or creating sketches, I like the Hidden Pencil Notebook ($14.99) designed by the Museum of Modern Art. It’s unique because to the untrained eye it just appears to be printed with pencils, but the cover really contains a hidden spot to pop in a real pencil; both clever and efficient for storage. The design also comes in a scattered, colored pencil version. Proceeds benefit the MOMA, too, which is a bonus.


Help keep her prepared with a handy Minimergency Kit ($15).  This is perfect for a locker, containing everything a teen girl might need in a pinch: bandages, safety pins, earring backs, lip balm, tampons, hair spray, pain reliever, floss, even double-sided tape to mend a hem.


Guys and girls alike will enjoy keeping pushpins, paper clips, and binder clips organized with the Test Tube Office Supply Set ($20) This one is great for both high schoolers and those heading off to college as it would work in a locker or at a desk.


I suggest giving teens a flash drive so they can take their papers and projects on the go. This fun Einstein flash drive ($24.99)  can stow up to 8GB of documents and data, and who doesn’t like to see Einstein sticking out his tongue? It also comes with cool digital extras like wallpapers and a matching avatar.


Homework can be tedious, but a personalized lap desk ($89.50) eases the pain. This one, from PBteen has a cushy beanbag base and opens to reveal storage inside.


Looking for more back-to-school gift ideas? Click here for ideas for all ages.



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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at Gifts.com. In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.