Back to School Supply Deals

With kids going back to school this week and in the upcoming weeks, school supplies are on sale. Hooray!

This can be a good time to stock up on all the goodies you’ll need to carry you through the year. We often shop at our favorite local drug store for supplies, but there’s nothing like the convenience of ordering from home.

I combed through Amazon (this post contains affiliate links) for the best back to school supply deals, and compiled a list of some of our favorite supplies and reader recommendations.

This list contains lots of amazing deals.

While I was pulling this post together my kids thought I was making this for us: my three-year old commented that we already have plenty of Sharpies (true that) and my six-year old wondered if the laminator is our Silhouette Cameo. It’s not a Cameo, but I just checked and the Cameo also happens to be on a great sale right now too.

For Amazon Prime members (I’m one — love it!), all of these items are Amazon Prime.


Back to School Supply Deals |

Back to School Supply Deals

Top to Bottom, Left to Right

Fiskars 5 Inch Kid Scissors Left-handed Pointed Tip, Color Received May Vary  $6.36 (not on sale).  While these aren’t on sale, good quality left-handed scissors for kids are hard to find, and these are a winner!

Elmer’s Washable No-Run School Glue, 4 oz, 1 Bottle  $1.00  (regular price: $2.18). Our very favorite glue. If you have a glue-happy family like ours, order a gallon of Elmer’s to carry you through the school year. I just ordered a gallon (not Prime) for our kids.

Sanford Sharpie SAN30075 Permanent Markers, Fine Point, Assorted, 12/Set  $7.25  ($15.36). Only our favorite permanent markers ever. Great for making Marker Explosions and Shrink Plastic Charms

Prang Oval Pan Watercolor Set, 16 Classic Colors with No. 9 Brush  $8.29 ($10.99) A friend gave a set of these to my daughter and it’s so well-loved…and due for a replacement soon. Okay, off to buy one for myself…

Swingline Precision Pro Desktop Punch, 2 – 3 Holes, Adjustable Centers, 10 Sheets  $8.97 ($24.17) 3-hole punches are so handy for all the paperwork that comes home from school.

Pentel Hi-polymer Block eraser, Large, White, 3 Pack $2.97 ($5.07) I used these in my drafting classes in college and haven’t looked for another eraser since. These rubbery erasers are smooth, don’t leave eraser marks on the paper, and won’t wrinkle the paper as you erase.

Crayola crayons, 64 Coun $5.30 ($9.99). What more can be said about Crayola Crayons? They’re a childhood staple, work super well, and the smell takes me back to being five again.

Elmer’s Washable All-Purpose School Glue Sticks .24 ounces 4-pack $1.97 ($3.65). Sometimes a glue stick just does a better job than liquid white glue. We always have these on our art cart. 

Sakura 30062 6-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set, Black  $9.27  ($17.39). These are more for me than the kids. I use these ALL the time in my sketchbook and for making TinkerSketches. They’re water-resistant, so you can paint right over them without any concern of bleeding. I also used them for my book signings!

Brother CS6000i Feature-Rich Sewing Machine With 60 Built-In Stitches, 7 styles of 1-Step Auto-Size Buttonholes, Quilting Table, and Hard Cover  $143.32 ($449.00). We have another Brother sewing machine that’s a few years older than this model. Readers have told me that they love this one and the price makes it a winner for beginner sewers. If you’re planning to make Halloween costumes or stitched holiday gifts this year, consider getting one now to get acquainted with it before sewing season begins.

Scotch Thermal Laminator Combo Pack, Includes 20 Letter-Size Laminating Pouches, Holds Sheets up to 8.5″ x 11(TL902VP)  $33.96  ($37.99). Whenever I share this laminator, readers tell me that it’s their very favorite. The discount seems small, but it comes with 10 laminating sheets (value of $9), so the laminator is actually about $24 when you take that cost off.

X-Acto School Pro Heavy-Duty Electric Sharpener $26.79 ($59.99). Our daughter’s teacher has two in her classroom that are used constantly. We’ve had this sharpener for a year, and it’s a powerhouse, never-fail sharpener.

TinkerLab Approved: Obstacles Game by eeBoo

Obstacles: A Game of Imaginative Solutions by eeBoo is  one of my family’s very favorite games, and I’ve been planning this review for some time. In this game, players take a journey along a path that’s riddled with wild obstacles (blizzard, waterfall, cave, etc.) and must overcome them from an array of unusual tools (siren, jack-in-the-box, propeller hat, etc.). The solutions are often unexpected as this game pushes players to come up with innovative and creative solutions.

Obstacles Game Review | TinkerLab Approved

As a collaborative game, it’s designed so that everyone can work together to come up with the best possible solution. Alternatively, players can work individually on their own ways to overcome the obstacles.

This game encourages team work, imagination-building, and creative thinking. Awesome, right?

The game is officially designed for children ages five – eight, although we got it when my older daughter was four, and have since introduced it to our three-year old. Younger children won’t play at the same pace, but they can still get a lot out of this game. Better yet, adults will are equally engaged by this game making it fun for the entire family.

Obstacles Game Review | TinkerLab Approved

How to play Obstacles

This game is for 2-5 players.

There are two types of cards in the Obstacles game: the large Obstacle cards and the small Tool cards. The Obstacle cards connect together to make a path.  As you can see in our photos, my kids like to make a big pile of cards instead of a path. Some of the obstacles include blizzard, wind, desert, tacks that cover the path, an ogre, a traffic jam, and poison ivy.

The goal is figure out how to best overcome an obstacle from a set of tools. Players can work independently or as a team, making this a cooperative game.

Obstacles Game Review | TinkerLab Approved

While the game comes with suggestions on how to play it, the open-ended nature of it allows you to make up “rules” that fit your child’s style. Here’s how we usually play:

  1. Each player gets five tool cards.
  2. Flip over an obstacle card.
  3. The first player chooses the best possible tool card to overcome the obstacle and provides an explanation for their reasoning.
  4. Other players can chime in to help if it proves too tricky.
  5. The play then moves to the next player who flips over the next obstacle card.
  6. And so on.

Obstacles Game Review | TinkerLab Approved

One of my favorite parts of this game is hearing the imaginative and often hilarious reasons given for why certain tools will help overcome an obstacle:

  • distract the ogre with the plate of cookies
  • jump over the border crossing with a  trampoline
  • scare away bees with a horn
  • pull the fabric off the cushion to make leg coverings and then walk through the poison ivy.

So much fun!

As an advocate for creative and critical thinking skills, I especially appreciate how this game encourages children to provide evidence for their solutions. It’s not enough to place a tool card on an obstacle and then pass your turn. Rather, each placed tool is accompanied by reasoning and explanation.

Obstacles Game Review | TinkerLab Approved

More Fun eeBoo Stuff

  • eeBoo was founded by Mia Galison and her husband Saxton Freymann, then parents of three  children under the age of three.
  • eeBoo is a family owned and operated business
  • To get an inside peek into this creative toy company’s work space, you can take a virtual tour of the eeBoo office in NYC. It’s situated in an old converted ballroom.
  • Some of our other favorite eeBoo games are the Fairytale Spinner Game and Tell Me a Story card decks, (Amazon affiliate links)
  • The game is eco-friendly as it’s made from 90% recycled grey board and soy-based inks

Where to find Obstacles, the game

  • eeBoo can be found in toy stores and Museum shops. If they don’t carry it, many toy stores will order the game for you.
  • You can also find the game on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Directly from the eeBoo site

More from TinkerLab Approved

TinkerSpace: Library Learning Commons

Set up a library maker space with tips from Kaechele Learning Commons

Today we’re joined by Librarian and Information Specialist, Shannon Hyman, of Kaechele Elementary School in Virginia who’s here to share her school’s TinkerSpace with us. Shannon’s school library is one of many around the world that are now weaving making and creating into the library learning environment. With the rise of STEM and STEAM in school curricula, bringing maker spaces into schools is a growing trend that I’m excited to see on the rise.

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons | TinkerSpace Series

Can you tell us about your library?

Our Library Learning Commons (LLC) is a large, flexibly designed space where our students learn how to access, use and create information ethically.  We set the tone of our learning commons as one that encourages both “taking” (traditional library usage with checkouts and research) and “making” (innovative usage where students create, explore and design new information and learn new skills).

Students are also encouraged to take the extra step in making of sharing their ideas with others.  We encourage this by giving them the option to leave a sample of their creations which they label with their name (we call it attribution).

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons | TinkerSpace Series

How would you describe your space?

Our Library Learning Commons (LLC) is approximately 3426 square feet.  Our MakerSpace areas, within the space, are flexible depending on the activity, and can be found all over the LLC.  MakerSpaces are created primarily by student interest and suggestions, and materials are donated by the learning community. Areas are clearly signed, and are changed regularly depending on the interest and exhaustion of materials. Materials and tools are kept in a common location, but may be taken to other areas in the LLC that are not being used for other purposes such as lessons happening simultaneously.  

After an orientation, students may access the MakerSpace anytime, but must sign in, work independently, respect and be aware of other activities happening simultaneously in the LLC, bring a timer, clean up, and complete a simple exit ticket which allows for a brief reflection and provides data for us and the teachers. 

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons | TinkerSpace Series

I love seeing these images of how your space came together. How did your maker space get started?

Our make space started as what we called our Literacy Cafe.  We piloted this with a third grade class.  After reflection, more research, and a new branding, we morphed this into our MakerSpace.  The biggest hurdle was making this a successful, relevant part of our library learning commons, which we overcame by taking our time to pilot first, assess, research carefully, train students and teachers intentionally but simply, and then partner with our community to build our bank of materials. 

How is your maker space staffed?

My assistant and I maintain the space and replenish materials, but students drive the space, the community donates materials, and students must work independently.

What’s the inspiration for your creative space?

Our students suggest ideas for MakerSpace activities, and often donate startup materials and samples.

Kaechele Maker Space | TinkerSpace Series

If you had to be selective, what three things do you love most about your space?
  1. I love the natural variety that happens when students have a voice in what is included as a MakerSpace activity.
  2. I love the thrill a student gets when he or she realizes they can problem solve and do something they have never tried before. 
  3. I love that our MakerSpace initiatives give students an opportunity to explore a passion, or take a risk to try something they have never tried before.

Can you share one of your MakerSpace set-ups with us that you thought was particularly successful?

We love everything we have tried so far.  A listing of what we have right now:
  • mask making
  • sewing and embroidery
  • duct tape design
  • origami and paper crafts
  • card tricks
  • Kinetic Sand Sculpture
  • button jewelry
  • Lego design and construction
  • Tinker Lab
  • 3-D and Pop-Up inspiration station
  • and magnetic poetry.

Coming soon are coding, video production, audio editing and production, and Osmo Tangible Play via iPads.

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |
I think the tinker lab I mentioned above has been a great success and it has such a simple premise.  I am now looking for more ideas like the flashlight that allows students to safely explore concepts such as circuitry and assembly. Any ideas? 🙂  (Readers — any thoughts for Shannon?)
Our kinetic sand makerspace has also been very successful as it has the hidden advantage to strengthening little muscles for future writing.  It is all great for imagination, planning, and construction.

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |

Do you have any tips for those of us who want to set up a maker space in a library or school?

Consider how you will manage the space.  Currently, we allow complete open access all day long, three students per class for about 15-20 minute shifts.  Full class orientation is mandatory before students can use the space. Grades 2-5 may come on their own after orientation, but grades K-1 must come with a volunteer. Students must clean up or risk being denied access. Students may not use the library staff as resources (…we are usually teaching or circulating books), and so they must work our their problems on their own or collaborate with other makers.

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |

What five supplies are indispensable to you and the children right now?

  1. duct tape
  2. origami paper
  3. building materials
  4. Kinetic sand
  5. tinkering tools

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |

Can you share a favorite tip for organizing your creative zone or for cleaning up after a creative session?

We use plastic trays to define each space and keep supplies organized.  As I mentioned above, students know that “With the great privilege of making, comes the great responsibility of cleaning up”.  Students who neglect this important task risk denial of access. (We call it the “penalty box”.)

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |

What do you wish for your children to take away from their experiences in this space?

I want students to leave with one of two experiences:

  1. They become empowered with the thrill that they have designed or created something interesting
  2. or they have taken a risk to try something they have not tried before, and this has ignited a curiosity or passion.

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |

Shannon, I’m so glad that you took the time to share you TinkerSpace with us today. To see more of Shannon’s space, click here.

Friends, if you’d like to share your school or home maker space with us, drop me a line at Rachelle at You can check out the rest of the TinkerSpaces in this series here. 

Library Maker Space | Kaechele Learning Commons |