Phoenix’s Ultimate Back-to-School Supplies Guide: Activities, Supplies, and Events for 2023

Laura Williams

Photo by Artboard Studio on Unsplash

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As summer’s fiery grip begins to loosen, and the cool whispers of autumn draw near, it’s time to look ahead to the new academic year. Phoenix, known for its vibrant community and rich educational culture, is a city that embraces the back-to-school season with open arms and wide smiles. From kindergartners taking their first exciting steps into education, to high school seniors gearing up for their final year before college, the back-to-school season is a time of change, anticipation, and new beginnings.

In this guide, we aim to provide you with everything you need to make this transition as smooth as possible. We will guide you through Phoenix’s best local shops for school supplies, share the top tech tools for modern learning, explore exciting back-to-school events around the city, and even delve into the latest fashion trends for the coming school year.

Moreover, we’ve curated a selection of recommended products, complete with affiliate links to make your shopping experience easier and more efficient. Remember, these are hand-picked suggestions, and every click on an affiliate link helps support our work in bringing you comprehensive city guides.

So, whether you’re a parent, a student, or a teacher, consider this your ultimate companion for the back-to-school season in Phoenix. Let’s gear up and get ready for a year of learning, growth, and success. Let’s go back to school, Phoenix!

Preparing for Back-to-School

The Back-to-School season can be both exciting and a little overwhelming, particularly after a long, carefree summer. As the start of the school year draws closer, the list of to-dos can seem daunting. But don’t worry! With a little bit of planning and organization, you can make the transition back to school a breeze.

Here are some general tips and advice for getting ready for the new school year in Phoenix:

1. Plan Ahead: Start by making a list of everything your child will need for the upcoming school year. This typically includes school supplies, clothing, and lunch gear. Consider your child’s grade level and specific course requirements when creating your list.

2. Shop Smart: Back-to-School shopping doesn’t have to be a last-minute scramble. You can start early by identifying the supplies you need and shopping around for the best deals. Plus, remember that Phoenix has a variety of local shops and online options where you can find quality supplies.

3. Prepare a Study Space: A designated study area can make homework and study time more efficient. Whether it’s a desk in their room or a quiet corner in the house, make sure your child has a place where they can focus on their work.

4. Reestablish Routines: Summer often means late nights and lazy mornings. As the school year approaches, start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule to match the school routine. Also, consider planning out a weekly schedule that includes time for homework, extracurricular activities, and relaxation.

5. Communicate: Talk to your children about any concerns or excitement they may have about the upcoming school year. Encourage open dialogue about their feelings and reassure them that it’s okay to feel a mix of emotions about going back to school.

6. Stay Informed: Stay updated with the latest information from your child’s school and the Phoenix school district. Make note of important dates like the first day of school, orientation days, or any special events.

As we navigate through the rest of this guide, we’ll delve deeper into some of these areas and provide you with specific resources to help you prepare for the upcoming school year in Phoenix. Plus, we’ll share our handpicked product recommendations with convenient affiliate links for easy shopping. Back-to-School season is upon us, so let’s get prepared, Phoenix!

Back-to-School Shopping Guide with Affiliate Links

School supply shopping can sometimes feel overwhelming with the myriad of choices out there. But worry not, we’ve curated a list of top-rated items you can conveniently purchase on Amazon. Here’s a collection of essential items that have been tried and tested by hundreds of students:

  1. Colorful Gel Pens: Ideal for note-taking, these gel pens from Paper Mate are a fan favorite. They are known for their smooth glide and quick-drying ink, which makes them perfect for fast scribblers. Available in a plethora of colors, they add an organized vibrance to your notes. Check them out on Amazon here 1​.
  2. Mechanical Pencils: These No.2 sparkly ones from BIC are a hit amongst students. They feature sturdy lead and come equipped with a quality eraser. Perfect for those tricky math problems that require a bit of back and forth. You can find them on Amazon1​.
  3. Spiral Notebooks: A separate notebook for each subject helps keep your studies organized. This 6-pack from Mead is highly-rated and known for its durability to last the year. Check out the notebooks on Amazon1​.
  4. Durable Binder: The Case-it Mighty Zip Binder is a secure option for storing your notes for multiple subjects. It features five section tabs, sturdy rings, and pockets for pens, calculators, and other miscellaneous school items. You can find them on Amazon1​.
  5. Four-Pocket Folders: These Five Star 4 Pocket Folders are perfect for organizing important pages and preventing loss of assignments. They are durable and have been praised for their capacity to last the entire school year. Check them out on Amazon1​.
  6. Wide-Ruled Paper: Ideal for those with larger handwriting, this wide-ruled paper from Mead is thin enough to not take up too much space in a binder yet doesn’t tear easily. You can find it on Amazon1​.
  7. Highlighters: This pack of BIC Brite Liner Highlighters comes in assorted colors and is great for separating out key facts in your notes. Reviewers say they don’t streak or bleed through paper. Check them on Amazon1​.
  8. Erasers: This 10-pack of Pentel erasers is popular for its affordability and effectiveness at removing mistakes. You can find them on Amazon1​.
  9. Sticky Notes: Sticky notes are great for jotting down quick assignment reminders and flagging pages of textbooks. The classic Post-It Notes are a favorite for their sticking ability and variety of bright colors. Check them out on Amazon 1​.
  10. Glue Sticks: Essential for various craft and poster projects, Elmer’s glue sticks are a long-time favorite for being washable. This 30-pack will ensure you don’t run out of glue sticks when one dries out. You can find them here1​.
  11. Whiteboard Calendar: Keep track of all your assignment due dates with this dry-erase whiteboard calendar. It allows for constant changes to your schedule and has the option for weekly or monthly planning. Check it on Amazon
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Tech Tools for the New School Year

As we navigate this digital age, it’s crucial for students to be equipped with the right tech tools for efficient learning. These can range from devices like laptops and tablets to software and apps that facilitate note-taking, organization, and remote collaboration. Here are some tech tools that will help students excel in the new school year:

  1. Laptop: “Check out the MacBook Air on Amazon for a portable and powerful option for students.”
  2. Tablet: “The iPad on Amazon is a versatile tool perfect for reading, note-taking, and digital art creation.”
  3. External Hard Drive: “Secure your files and provide extra storage with the Western Digital My Passport on Amazon.”
  4. Noise-Canceling Headphones: “Stay focused in noisy environments with these Bose Noise Canceling Headphones on Amazon.”
  5. Scientific Calculator: “The Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus on Amazon is a popular choice for students taking advanced math or science courses.”
  6. Productivity Apps: “Stay organized and productive with Microsoft Office 365 on Amazon.”
  7. E-Reader: “The Amazon Kindle on Amazon makes reading more convenient and portable for avid readers and literature students.”
  8. Webcam: “For clear and effective communication in remote classes, check out the Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam on Amazon.”

Remember, the best tech tools are the ones that suit your personal needs and learning style. Explore these options and find what works best for you in the upcoming school year.

Back-to-School Events in Phoenix

  1. Annual School Supply Drive: Every year, several organizations in Phoenix hold school supply drives to help students prepare for the new school year. These events often involve local businesses and community members donating school supplies for students in need.
  2. Educational Fairs: Many local schools and organizations hold educational fairs to kick off the new school year. These events often feature informational booths about school programs, extracurricular activities, and community resources.
  3. Back-to-School Bash: Some communities or schools in Phoenix might host a Back-to-School Bash. These events are fun gatherings for students and families, often featuring games, food, and entertainment.
  4. School Open Houses: Many schools hold open houses before the school year starts. These events provide an opportunity for students and parents to meet teachers, tour the school facilities, and learn more about the curriculum for the upcoming year.
  5. Workshops for Parents: Certain organizations or schools might offer workshops for parents. These could cover topics such as how to help your child succeed in school, understanding the school system, or managing back-to-school stress.
  6. Health and Wellness Events: Some organizations hold events focusing on student health and wellness. These could include offering free health screenings, promoting healthy eating and exercise, or providing information about mental health resources.

Remember, the specific events, their details, and their dates will vary from year to year, so it’s important to check with local schools and community organizations for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For the actual events happening in Phoenix during the back-to-school season, you may want to check the websites of local schools, community centers, or news outlets. Social media can also be a good source of information for local events.

Child-Friendly Activities in Phoenix

Phoenix is a city teeming with child-friendly activities that can complement the back-to-school season. Here are some that your kids will love:

  1. Visit the Arizona Science Center: Ignite curiosity in your children by taking them to the Arizona Science Center. This is a fantastic place where children can learn about various scientific principles in a fun and engaging way. With a planetarium, live demonstrations, and hands-on exhibits, there’s something for kids of all ages.
  2. Explore the Children’s Museum of Phoenix: The Children’s Museum of Phoenix offers interactive, educational fun for children and families. The museum encourages learning through play, making it a perfect place for younger kids.
  3. Discover the Phoenix Zoo: A visit to the Phoenix Zoo can be a fun and educational experience. With a wide variety of animals and exhibits, children can learn about different species and their habitats. Don’t miss the petting zoo and the interactive Stingray Bay.
  4. Enjoy the Outdoors at the Desert Botanical Garden: This beautiful garden is a great place for kids to learn about desert flora and fauna. The garden offers family activities and interactive exhibits that are both fun and educational.
  5. Take a Hike: Phoenix is surrounded by natural beauty, and a family hike is a great way to appreciate it. South Mountain Park and Preserve offers many family-friendly trails, or you can explore the Hole-in-the-Rock at Papago Park for a less strenuous but still beautiful option.
  6. Splash Around at a Water Park: Beat the Phoenix heat by visiting one of the local water parks. Options like Big Surf, Golfland Sunsplash, or Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix offer a variety of water slides and pools for kids of all ages.
  7. Visit a Local Library: Phoenix’s public libraries often offer a variety of free or low-cost activities for kids, including story times, craft activities, and reading clubs. Plus, a trip to the library can help foster a love of reading.
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Remember to check the operating hours and safety guidelines for each location before your visit. Some locations may require advanced booking or have special measures in place due to public health concerns.

Back-to-School Fashion Guide

The back-to-school season is also an exciting time for students to showcase their fashion sense. Here are some fashion items that are both stylish and functional for the new school year:

  1. Comfortable Sneakers: A good pair of sneakers is essential. They’re versatile, comfortable for all-day wear, and great for P.E. or after-school activities. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and Vans offer a wide range of options on Amazon.
  2. Layering Pieces: As Phoenix can have warm days but cooler mornings and evenings, layering is key. Consider items like cardigans, flannels, and lightweight jackets that are easy to put on or remove depending on the weather.
  3. Stylish Backpacks: A backpack isn’t just for carrying books; it’s also a fashion statement. There are plenty of stylish options out there that combine form and function. Check out popular choices like the Fjallraven Kanken or JanSport SuperBreak on Amazon.
  4. Graphic Tees: Graphic tees remain a back-to-school fashion staple. They’re a great way to express individuality and interests, whether it’s a favorite band, movie, or just a cool design.
  5. Functional Accessories: Accessories like watches, belts, and jewelry can add a personal touch to any outfit. Consider functional accessories like a Casio Digital Watch or a simple yet stylish belt.
  6. Durable Jeans: Jeans are a must-have for their durability and versatility. They can be paired with almost anything in the wardrobe, making them perfect for school.
  7. Athleisure Wear: As comfort becomes more central to fashion, athleisure wear is a great choice for both style and comfort. Leggings, joggers, and athletic tops can all be worn in and out of the gym.
  8. Dresses and Skirts: For those who prefer a more feminine style, dresses and skirts can be both comfortable and school-appropriate. Pair them with tights or leggings during cooler days.

Remember that the most important part of any back-to-school outfit is that it makes the student feel comfortable and confident. School is a place to learn and grow, and clothing can be a fun form of self-expression.

Back-to-School Health and Safety

Health and safety should always be a priority, especially in the context of the ongoing pandemic. Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure a safe and healthy back-to-school experience:

  1. Immunizations: Before the school year starts, make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date. This includes routine vaccines like MMR and DTaP, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible age groups. Check with your healthcare provider or the Maricopa County Health Department for more information.
  2. Healthy Eating: A balanced diet is crucial for a child’s physical health and cognitive development. Pack nutritious lunches and snacks to fuel your child throughout the day. Here’s a great lunchbox from Amazon that keeps food fresh and separate.
  3. Hydration: Phoenix heat can be intense, especially during the early months of the school year. Make sure your child stays hydrated by sending them to school with a refillable water bottle. Check out these durable and leak-proof water bottles on Amazon.
  4. Physical Activity: Encourage your child to participate in physical activities, whether it’s P.E., an after-school sport, or just playing in the park after homework is done. Regular exercise contributes to overall health and well-being.
  5. Hand Hygiene: Teach your child the importance of regular handwashing to prevent the spread of germs. Pack hand sanitizer in their backpack for times when washing hands isn’t possible. These travel-sized hand sanitizer from Amazon are perfect for school use.
  6. Masks: If required by the school or local health authorities, make sure your child has access to clean, comfortable masks. There are plenty of kid-friendly designs available on Amazon, like these reusable cloth masks.
  7. Mental Health: The transition back to school can be stressful. Make sure to check in with your child regularly about how they’re feeling and provide support as needed. If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek help from school counselors or mental health professionals.

Remember, communication is key. Keep lines of communication open with your child’s school to stay updated on any changes in policies or procedures, especially in relation to COVID-19.

Education Spotlight: Exceptional Schools in Phoenix

Phoenix offers an array of excellent schools that provide quality education and a range of programs to cater to different student needs. Here’s a spotlight on some of the top-rated schools in Phoenix:

  1. BASIS Phoenix Central: Recognized nationally for its rigorous curriculum, BASIS Phoenix Central is a charter school that serves grades K-12. They offer an accelerated curriculum in STEM and liberal arts, which prepares students for college and beyond.
  2. Phoenix Union Bioscience High School: This public high school offers a unique curriculum centered around bioscience. Students get a hands-on learning experience with labs and internships that prepare them for careers in the bioscience industry.
  3. Veritas Preparatory Academy: Veritas is a member of the Great Hearts Academies and serves grades 6-12. They focus on providing a classical liberal arts education with an emphasis on character development.
  4. Arizona School for the Arts: A charter school serving grades 5-12, the Arizona School for the Arts blends a college preparatory academic program with intensive study in the performing arts. This offers a unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing careers in the arts.
  5. Khalsa Montessori Elementary School: For parents seeking a Montessori education for their children, Khalsa Montessori offers a holistic approach to learning that encourages independence and a love for learning in students from preschool to grade 8.
  6. North High School: North High is one of the oldest high schools in Phoenix and offers a range of programs, including International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), and a variety of career and technical education options.
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Remember, choosing the right school for your child depends on their individual needs and interests. It’s important to research, visit prospective schools, and ask lots of questions to ensure you make the right choice for your child’s education.

Note: Please confirm the current ratings and reviews of these schools as the data might have changed since my last training cut-off in September 2021.

Tips for a Successful School Year

As the new school year begins, it’s essential to help your child start on the right foot. Here are some tips to ensure a successful and productive school year:

  1. Establish a Routine: Establishing a consistent routine for bedtime and wake-up times can help your child get the sleep they need and be alert during school hours. Include time for homework, relaxation, and family activities in this routine.
  2. Organize a Study Space: Create a quiet, well-lit space for your child to study and do homework. Make sure it is free from distractions and has all the necessary supplies.
  3. Set Goals: At the start of the year, sit down with your child and set academic and personal goals. These goals should be achievable and should be reviewed regularly to track progress.
  4. Encourage Reading: Encourage your child to read outside of schoolwork. Reading can help improve vocabulary, comprehension, and cognitive skills.
  5. Keep Communication Open: Regular communication with your child’s teachers can help you stay informed about their progress and any areas where they might need help. Encourage your child to communicate with their teachers too.
  6. Healthy Eating and Exercise: A balanced diet and regular exercise can improve concentration and performance in school. Pack healthy lunches and snacks for your child and encourage physical activities.
  7. Limit Screen Time: While technology is essential for learning, it’s also necessary to balance it with offline activities. Set rules for screen time and encourage other forms of entertainment like reading, playing, or crafting.
  8. Teach Time Management: Help your child develop good time management skills. Show them how to break down tasks into manageable parts, prioritize work, and avoid procrastination.
  9. Encourage Involvement: Encourage your child to participate in school activities and clubs. This can help them develop social skills, discover new interests, and feel more connected to their school.
  10. Promote a Positive Attitude: Encourage a positive attitude towards learning. Help your child see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow rather than obstacles.

Remember, every child is unique and what works for one may not work for another. The key is to stay involved, be supportive, and adjust strategies as needed to meet your child’s needs. Here’s to a successful school year ahead!


As we gear up for another school year in Phoenix, it’s clear that preparation is key. From finding the right supplies, gadgets, and attire to planning exciting back-to-school events and activities, there are numerous ways to make this transition smoother and more exciting for our students.

Incorporating technology into our children’s learning process, keeping safety at the forefront, and spotlighting the exceptional schools in Phoenix are all part of creating a supportive and stimulating environment for our children’s education.

Finally, achieving a successful school year goes beyond just academic performance. It also involves developing life skills, like time management and goal setting, fostering a love for learning, and maintaining an open line of communication with educators.

Phoenix is a vibrant city with a strong sense of community and a commitment to education. Let’s use these resources to our advantage and make the most of the back-to-school season. Here’s to a year of learning, growth, and success for all our students!

Remember, if you decide to purchase any of the items mentioned in this guide, using the affiliate links provided will support our city guide at no extra cost to you. Happy Back-to-School season, Phoenix!


For additional information, check out the following resources. These links will provide more in-depth details about the topics discussed in this guide:

  1. Phoenix Unified School District – Stay up to date with the latest news, updates, and events from Phoenix’s main school district.
  2. Phoenix Public Library – Check out the resources available for students, including tutoring services, reading programs, and more.
  3. City of Phoenix Official Site – Find information about city services, upcoming events, and important announcements.
  4. Arizona Department of Education – Learn more about state education standards, programs, and initiatives.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Back to School Checklist – A helpful checklist for parents to prepare for the upcoming school year in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
  6. Amazon – Back to School – Browse a wide range of school supplies, tech, and clothing for students of all ages.

Remember to check back often as we continue to update our guide with the latest information and resources. Let’s make this school year in Phoenix the best one yet!

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