Whether your child is in his or her first years of school, or whether they are moving out of the house and heading off to attend college, school supplies are absolutely essential in order for them to get the job done properly. When children are small, they usually don't have a very extensive list of school supplies, simply because many preschool and elementary schools provide the children with most of what they need. Things like poster board and construction paper and Elmer's glue or glue sticks are usually included and provided by the school. Things like crayons and pencils will most likely need to be purchased by the parents. As children get older, they often receive a required reading list, which means parents must help buy books for their child. In addition, arts and crafts supplies may not be needed as much, but could be replaced with pens, protractors, calculators, and college ruled notebooks.
Most schools will issue a required school supply list for parents so they have a guide, but as a general rule, there are certain staples that all students need every year. A book bag and lunch box or lunch cooler is a couple of examples. As your child grows older, their needs will change, but overall you'll have the same basic needs like paper and writing utensils. Look around to find out which stores have the best deals on school supplies, and many will give substantial sales at the beginning and the end of the "school days" season. When your child gets older and needs things like scientific calculators, you may want to consider having them help pay for it by doing chores around the house. This not only teaches them values, but also helps them to respect their supplies and take good care of them.