Going back to school may be a little different this year, but there are still ways to keep learning fun.
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This year, your back to school shopping list may have a few changes. You might need fewer three-ring notebooks and composition books and extra hand sanitizer, or you might consider replacing your kid's lunchbox to allow it to be cleaned thoroughly every night. But just because this year's back to school lists are focused more on personal safety than pens and pencils doesn't mean they can't be silly, stylish, or sweet, depending on your child's personal preferences.

If you're one of those people who likes to check off that list of back to school supplies early, here's what you might want to splurge on to help start the school year out right—and safely.

Quirky and Cute School Supplies

Why stick with the standard yellow #2 pencils and boring black pens when you can give your kids school supplies with a lot of personality? (Bonus: They can easily tell their pens from their neighbors' when they're back to school, so there will be less sharing of germs and supplies going on.)

Related Items

cactus pens
Credit: Amazon

Cactus Pens

$10 for 12, amazon.com

Look for pens with personality—like these totally cute cactus-shaped pens.

Personalized Pencils
Credit: Etsy.com

Personalized Pencils

$9 for 5, flypaperproducts.etsy.com

Etsy is a treasure trove of pencils with unique messages on them, whether you want personalized ones with your child's name emblazoned on them, a positive message to help them get through the day, or even a little grammar help!

Cute Animal Pens
Credit: Amazon.com

Cute Animal Pens

$7 for 8, amazon.com

If your kid's into kawaii, these adorable animal pens will be the perfect addition to their back-to-school supply set. 

Polka Dot Scissors Back to School
Credit: amazon.com

Polka Dot Scissors

$11, amazon.com

Skip the plain-hued scissors for one decked in a fun print, like polka dots.

Ice Cream Cone Pencil Case for Back to Schoo

Ice Cream Cone Pencil Case

$13, target.com

Skip the basic pencil case and let your kid carry an ice cream cone to hold their writing instruments. 

Back-to-School Face Masks, Mask Accessories, and Hand Sanitizer

Masks and hand sanitizer may be back-to-school must-haves, depending on case counts. Make it easy on yourself by buying plenty of hand sanitizer and enough masks for every day of the school week, plus some extras to pack in their lunchbox/backpack to allow them to swap out if theirs gets too sweaty or dirty.

Related Items

Mask school supplies

Disney-fied Masks

$6 for 4, disneystore.com

If you have devoted Disney (or Star Wars or Marvel or Pixar) fans in your family, Disney Store has 2- and 4-packs of masks so they can wear their fandom on their face.

kawaii boba face mask
Credit: Hot Topic

Pop Culture Masks

From $7, hottopic.com

Teens will love the selection of masks at Hot Topic. No matter what they're into, from kawaii and anime to metal to The Office, they'll find a mask that suits their personality. 

back-to-school Old Navy masks
Credit: Old Navy

Basic Back to School Masks

$13 for 5, oldnavy.com

If your child just wants a more basic mask, Old Navy stocks packs of 5 and 10 in simple colors, fashion-forward patterns, and even adorned with corgis or pandas.

Mask extenders
Credit: amazon.com

Mask Extender

$8 for 10, amazon.com

To make wearing a mask more comfortable long-term (or through an entire school day), consider getting some mask extenders, which allow you to adjust the fit of standard masks and help keep the pressure of the mask straps off of their ears.

Mask Strap
Credit: amazon.com

Mask Strap

$7 for 2, amazon.com

A mask lanyard can keep the mask from getting dropped or lost when your child takes it off for lunch.

Pocketbac Hand Sanitizer
Credit: Bath and Body Works

Hand Sanitizer

$8 for 5, bathandbodyworks.com

The tiny PocketBac sanitizers from Bath & Body Works are perfect for back to school. They come in fun, fresh scents and teeny, tiny containers that are easy to slip in the backpack, the lunchbox, the locker, and their pockets, so they always have it handy. (And since they're $8 for a pack of five, you don't have to get too freaked out if they lose them.)

Back-to-School Lunchbox Upgrades

Make school lunch even safer by sticking with lunchboxes that are super-easy to clean daily, like bento-style boxes that just get tossed in the dishwasher.

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Clever items
Credit: Courtesy of Manufacturer

Planet Box Bento Kit

From $33, planetbox.com

Planet Box has stainless steel bento-style kits that you can jazz up with fun magnets (which you can switch up with new sets as your child gets bored with the old set)—and toss into the dishwasher daily to keep clean.

Yumbox Bento Lunchbox
Credit: LL Bean

Yumbox Bento Boxes

$28, llbean.com

LLBean's Yumbox Bento Boxes also easily clean up in the dishwasher and come in a trio of colorful hues.

School Supplies for Virtual School or Homework

Be prepared if your child's class gets quarantined (or if you want to upgrade their homework station) with the right tools to make working from home work for them.

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BlueFire 3.5mm PS4 Gaming Headset Bass Stereo Over-Ear Gaming Headphone with Microphone and Volume Control
Credit: Amazon

BlueFire Gaming Headset

$12, amazon.com

Make virtual classes easier to hear (and quieter for the rest of the family) with a set of headphones. Gaming-friendly headphones like the BlueFire gaming headset, which can also take them through rounds of Fortnite or Animal Crossing with their friends after class.

Credit: walmart.com

Beats Headphones

From $138, amazon.com

For older kids, Beats headphones are worth the splurge (and make a nice back to school gift).

HARRY POTTER™ Superstorage Lapdesk
Credit: PBTeen

Lap Desks

$99, pbteen.com

If your kids don't like sitting at a standard desk, a nice lapdesk can turn any comfy spot into a workspace. PBTeen lets kids represent their favorite Hogwarts House from Harry Potter and stash all their essentials in the clever slideout tray.