School supplies are personalized and tech-savvy

Sony Micro Vault Tiny USB Drive, $49.99 and unique carrying clip easily attaches the drive to backpacks, computer bags and belt clips, $24.99. Available at Grand & Toy.


Despite the fact that school supplies are inescapably linked to the idea of schoolwork, the trend this year is toward fun, colourful and personalized tools.

So while people are still generally buying the same kind of items (binders, pens, pencils, etc.), there seems to be a great interest in buying items that reflect one’s own individuality, says Grand & Toy retail marketing manager Andrea Fitzpatrick.

“It’s more about having these items that reflect your style and personality rather than just a plain red or black binder,” Fitzpatrick says. “So there’s a lot of different patterns out there; a lot of retro-looking, geometric binders. ... Mice with an army camouflage or floral theme.”

Wake up to your favourite tunes with the iPod Clock Radio, $69.99. Available at Canadian Tire.

For younger students (Grades 1 through 6), bright colours are all the rage, Fitzpatrick says. For instance, matching coloured binders, notebooks and pencil cases and pens/pencils with glitter or funky patterns on them.

A popular item right now is the Zwipes binder, which features a dry erase board on the front so kids can doodle and erase the cover of their binder as often as they’d like.

Another way younger kids are finding fun through school supplies is with items branded with their favourite characters. Superman, Spider-Man, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob are some of the most popular personalities this year, says Maeve Burke, public relations representative for Canadian Tire.

Yoropen, $2.99, is an ergonomically friendly pen designed to reduce wrist strain. Available at Grand & Toy.

Trendy as well as ergonomically-friendly is the recently released Yoropen, which is designed to prevent fingers from slipping down towards the pen tip and reduce writing strain.

In addition, get ready to see the tech theme continue and get even stronger this year, Burke says.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis on MP3 players and iPods so we’re seeing backpacks that come with pockets for gadgets like those.”

Then there’s the iPod Clock Radio, featuring a dock for your iPod to sit in so that you can wake up to your favourite tunes.

When it comes to storage technology, Fitzpatrick says flash drives are huge and what’s new is their appeal as an accessory.

“It used to be just a regular USB stick, but now what they have are things like clips for backpacks or ones that are actually a wrist band so you can wear it around your wrist. It makes it easier to transport these things and it’s also sort of cool.”

School supplies checklist:

  • 3-ring binder

  • Backpack

  • Coloured pencils

  • Coloured pens

  • Computer paper

  • Eraser

  • Glue stick

  • Graph paper

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Highlighters

  • Notebooks

  • Organizer/planner

  • Paper-clips

  • Pens/pencils

  • Pencil sharpener

  • Pocket dictionary

  • Pocket folders

  • Poster paper

  • Public library card

  • Scissors

  • Thesaurus