As the possibility of a shortage of school supplies looms over the new school year, Meijer has listed the top trending items to look out for as you're shopping for your students.

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For many students, this year's return to the classroom is unlike any other year. Most have either been virtually schooling since March of 2020 or were part of cohorts or hybrid learning setups. That means parents may be in a full 're-stock' mode when it comes to shopping for back-to-school supplies.

May Graceffa, Director of Back-to-School Merchandising for Meijer says there's an enthusiasm for kids to get 'back to school':

Families really want to be prepared for returning to classes, so the enthusiasm for in-person learning is really evident as they shop in our stores. We're seeing parents collaborating with students to plan 'their' look and choose the supplies that will best match their personalities while sitting in class and walking through school halls.

Graceffa said that even though every teacher at every school has a different list, the following trends for the coming school year are expected to continue across West Michigan.

  • Upgrading backpacks: Many students who have been learning remotely may have outgrown the backpack they used 2 years ago. Even if it still fits, students may need to upgrade their backpacks to carry laptops, tablets and electronic accessories or find a pack that better fits their style as they enter a new grade. The most popular options from a parent's perspective might be backpacks featuring added safety features to protect expensive electronics and valuables.
  • Sporty and outdoorsy: For students into sports like soccer, football and basketball, Adidas, Champion and Under Armour are top trends. High Sierra and Columbia backpacks are also popular for students interested in a more outdoorsy, bohemian style.
  • Basics that POP!: As students pay particular attention to up-and-coming fashion trends, those same colors, textures and themes are helping items like notebooks, folders, pencil pouches and planners gain appeal. Popular colors include mints, pinks, blues, and rose-golds while geometric patterns are trending, especially on folders. The biggest themes this year include gaming, sharks, dinosaurs, marble, tie-dye, space, rainbows and animals.
  • Gender-neutral styles: While some students are planning their looks to capture attention, others are planning to break free from stereotypes and get back to basics. Primary colors and pattern-free designs are gaining popularity as students seek ways to express themselves.
  • Positive affirmation: Many of the top folders students and parents are choosing include positive sayings or inspirational quotes. The most popular folders in customer carts include, "Make Today Amazing," or "Kindness is Cool" and "Be Strong, Be Brave, Be You."
  • Back to lunch: If searching for the best lunch box for kids of elementary school age, look no further than reusable insulated lunch boxes, lunch bags and accessories. Designed to be leakproof and durable, these products are again popular for keeping chilled food cold and are a sustainable way to carry food and snacks.

Meijer also notes that masks, sanitizer, and wipes are still essential on many supply lists. Based on how quickly parents and students had to adjust in 2020, restocking personal safety items is not a trend, but a necessary step to be fully prepared for returning to class.

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