Your complete back to school guide for 2017

It’s almost that time again… Back to school for the little ones. With the holidays and all the festivities quickly nearing an end, moms and dads now face the task of preparing the kids for the brand new school year. From school clothes and sports gear, to stationery and backpacks for sale, Junk Mail is here to help.

Here at Junk Mail we certainly understand what a daunting undertaking this can be and how it can put a major dent in parents’ pockets… those same pockets that have already taken some major shots during the festive season.

2017 back to school

That is why we have compiled an easy guide to all the school items we know your kids will need, taking a look at practical items that won’t cost you a fortune, will last long and that aren’t unnecessary, extravagant purchases. From a complete stationery list to school bags and clothes, you’ll find it all here.

Choosing the perfect school bags

Choosing the right school bags or cases for your children is very important. You want something that is practical and durable, big and strong enough to hold all of your child’s books, stationary and lunchbox, and preferably something that has compartments to separate the items. Compartments help to prevent that books don’t get crumpled up and damaged, or food and drink accidently leak onto it.

Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a school bag or case is how your child prefers to carry it, whether on their back, in their hand, or pulling it as a trolley. Although backpacks for sale are quite popular, be aware that if your child has to carry a lot of school books with them every day, the strain on their young back and shoulders can be enormous, and a backpack might not be the best idea.

school bags for school kids

In this case, consider trolley school bags. They look as cool as a backpack, but there is no strain on your child’s back and shoulders and they can pull it with them to all their classes. You can expect to pay around R299 for bags from brands like Aspen, or R699 for a trolley bag that can carry a laptop as well, from Volkano.

If your teen is adamant about getting a name branded backpack, Island Style, Billabong, Gotcha, Bronx and Skull Candy offer some good options with prices ranging anything between R199 and R549. There are also lesser known backpack brands that offer quality and sturdiness, but without the price tag. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to persuade your “cool” teenager to rather go for one of those…

A school briefcase is another good option for your child. They come in assorted colours and are inexpensive at around R229 each.

If your kid is still little, either kindergarten or early primary school, with not a lot to carry, a fun character backpack or trolley bag would do the trick. You won’t pay more than R199 for one of these.

Getting the School Clothes ready

When it comes to school clothes, your child will need some basic essentials, including their day-to-day uniform, socks, school shoes, sport and after-school activity wear.

School Uniforms

A lot of South African schools have their own prescribed school uniforms for boys and girls, but many schools offer parents alternative options to purchase generic white and grey skirts, trousers, shorts, shirts, socks and jerseys at outlets like PEP, Ackermans, Woolworths and Edgars.

Save yourself a lot of time on doing laundry, and minimise the wear and tear on your child’s uniform, by having 2 or 3 sets of uniforms. The Toughees and Ackerman’s School of Value ranges are made of hard-wearing fabrics, comfy and cool, and easy on the pocket from as little as R39.

shoes for school kids

School Shoes

Buying the right pair of school shoes is important. These shoes will have to endure a lot of daily activity, including running, jumping and kicking a ball during break-time. Therefore they need to be comfortable, durable, and a proper fit. Toughees, Trustees and Buccaneer are some good brands with great quality school shoes in various styles, at affordable prices. Depending on the size of your child’s feet and the style you choose, expect to pay anything between R89 and R239 for boys’ and girls’ shoes.

Sport and activity wear

If your child participates in afterschool activities such as athletics, netball, hockey, rugby, soccer, gymnastics or swimming, they’ll definitely need some good quality practice clothes.

Depending on the sport, a few good plain t-shirts, golf shirts, rugby or knit shorts, nylon tights and a quality pair of white or black leather trainers would suffice. If your child is a swimmer, invest in a long-lasting one-piece bathing suit and cap from Speedo that would definitely last them a few seasons.

sports bag for your child

Important: Make sure your child has a good sports bag in which to carry their sporting clothes and sports gear like tennis rackets, cricket bats etc.

Want to sell you unused back to school items? Place your free ad on Junk Mail and sell fast.

The ultimate Stationary List

Every grade your child moves on to will have a new set of school stationary supplies and requirements. School stationary is unfortunately something that is a continuous expense for parents, so make sure that you buy good quality products that will last longer, without buying unnecessary items. Before you buy, find out from your child’s school or new teacher what school stationary supplies they will definitely need in the New Year, so you know you are buying the right things. Most teachers are prepared and send out a list to parents in advance.

school stationery supplies

Here is just a list of some basic stationary and school supplies children of various ages in different grades and subjects will need for the New Year:

Books and exam pads:

  • Hard Cover exercise books
  • Soft Cover exercise books
  • Exam pads
  • Spiral notebooks
  • A school diary
  • A4 bookkeeping books
  • Graph books
  • Project books

Book covers and tapes:

  • Pre-cut book covers
  • Plastic book covers
  • Paper book covers
  • Poly roll
  • Kraft roll
  • Self-adhesive roll
  • Brown kraft roll
  • Clear plastic roll
  • Blue border labels
  • Name labels
  • Sello tape

school stationery

Pens and pencils:

  • Ballpoint pens
  • Click pens
  • Coloured and neon ballpoint pens
  • Glitter gel pens
  • Neon pencils
  • A mechanical pencil
  • Pencil leads
  • Traditional pencils
  • Goldfaber pencils

Markers and correction:

  • Permanent markers
  • Highlighters
  • Whiteboard markers
  • Fineliners
  • A metal sharpener
  • Tub sharpener
  • Erasers
  • A ruler
  • Geometric protractor
  • Scissors

Adhesives and correction:

  • Glue sticks
  • Rainbow sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Correction pens
  • Correction tape


  • Pencil crayons
  • Colour pencils
  • Tip markers
  • Oil pastels
  • Wax crayons
  • Wax twisters
  • Paint box
  • Paint brush set
  • White and coloured chalk
  • Finger paint


Paper and accessories:

  • A4 office printing paper
  • A4 bright board white, black and coloured/pastel
  • A4 paper pad, white, black, coloured
  • Filing and whiteboards:
  • A4 ring binders
  • A4 lever arch files
  • Transparent ring binders
  • A4 pocket files
  • Filing pockets
  • File dividers
  • Carry folders
  • A magnetic white board

Pencil cases:

  • Book bags
  • A chairbag
  • A pencil bag
  • A pencil case


  • A stapler
  • A hole punch
  • A maths set
  • An Oxford dictionary
  • A Pharos dictionary
  • A Thesaurus
  • An abacus
  • Play dough
  • Colouring books
  • A basic calculator
  • A scientific calculator
Lunchbox for a healthy meal

Your child will spend many hours at school every day, which will require a lot of energy in concentrating and participating in activity. It’s very important that they take a healthy lunch and snacks along with them to sustain their energy and concentration levels. Studies show that kids that have better nutrition perform better in academics and sports than kids who do those same activities on an empty stomach. Drinking ample fluids such as water throughout the day is also imperative for a healthy mind and body.

school lunchbox for healthy meals

So make sure your child has a good quality BPA free lunchbox and water or juice bottle. You can fill it with a healthy wholegrain sandwich and snacks like fruits and veggies, biltong, nuts, dried fruits, cheese wedges, yoghurt, granola bars, juice boxes, popcorn and the occasional sweet chocolatey treat. Be creative and listen to your kids about what they prefer, but don’t give in to too many indulgences and whims on their part, which are also not good for their little bodies and minds.

Tip: To ensure their lunchbox and its contents stays nice and cool until break time, put it in a mini cooler bag or pack a cooler lunchbox (which you can buy from Woolworths). Fill their water or juice bottle the night before and freeze it overnight. This will keep their lunchbox nice and cool until break time and by that time it will have defrosted. Just remember to put the frozen bottle in a plastic bag or wrap it in a paper towel so that it doesn’t leak over everything.


Technology is advancing fast and it’s affecting the way our children receive their education. Traditional textbooks are slowly being replaced by digital versions read on a tablet.

Although it is great for the kids to learn how to use the latest technology and receive their education and do their projects that way, parents’ budgets might say otherwise.

tablets for school

But don’t worry, you don’t need to splurge on the most expensive tablet out there. There are great options for the budget-conscious parent. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A Tablet (3G/8GB) that you can get for around R2499, the Lenovo A7-30 tablet at R1799 or the Telefunken 10.1” 3G tablet for a low R999.

A good idea would be to keep your eye on the local classifieds such as for good deals on tablets and computers for your kids.

Also, don’t forget to buy a protective case for your child’s tablet.

Study desk, chair and desk lamp

And lastly, make sure your kid has a clean, practical, well-lit space where they can come in the afternoons to do their homework and study. Invest in a proper desk, even a corner desk if possible and a comfortable chair. Luckily, this isn’t a regular expense, so you can splurge a little on good quality that will last your child throughout their school career. Again, browse classifieds such as Junk Mail for great bargains on these larger, more expensive items needed for your child’s education.

desk lamps for school kids

Well, there you have it. A comprehensive guide to all, or most of what your child will need to make a success of the new school year. Hope this helps some moms and dads out there. We wish you all the best for the new school year!

LAST IMPORTANT TIP: Save yourself unnecessary expenses and make sure that you mark all your child’s belongings with their name on it. This way it won’t go missing easily or be mistaken for another child’s.

Are you looking for great deals on back to school items such as backpacks for sale, computers, tablets, desks and more? Visit today and find great deals online.

Your complete back to school guide for 2017
Article Name
Your complete back to school guide for 2017
It’s almost that time again… Back to school for the little ones. Moms and dads now face the task of preparing the kids for the brand new school year.
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Junk Mail
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Liezl Grobler

Digital Copy Editor, Blogger, SEO Writer and Online Marketing...

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