Looking back on the halcyon days of your own childhood, you might remember the best bit of the first day back at school as catching up with your friends. But you’d be wrong, because everyone knows that the real best bit of going back to school was rocking up with a brand new pencil case, complete with sparkly pencil toppers, scented gel pens, and a protractor that you would never, ever use. And that was then, so imagine how great the best children’s stationery on the high street is right now.
In a world where our kids are better at using our devices than we are and spend their days at school learning how to hack the mainframe (or something like that) it’s cheering to know that the old school charm of pen and paper never really goes away. With that in mind, we’ve listed our picks of the best stationery for kids in the shops at the moment, from bumper packs of pens and pencils featuring their favourite characters to fun accessories that’ll brighten up their desk at school, or the kitchen-table-turned-study at home.
This snazzy mermaid pen from NPW is an unusual hybrid of writing implement and Magic 8-Ball, except rather than fear-mongering phrases like “outlook not so good”, it dishes out mermaid-themed counsel. While solutions like “make friends with a crab” might not be too helpful if they’re after answers for their maths test (and “fall in love with a pirate” is downright poor life advice) it’s sure to give them and their friends a giggle, and gives them a cute, colourful and practical ballpoint to stash in their pencil case too, making it a great little buy.
If you like to get as much of your back-to-school shopping as possible done in one go, this bumper stationery pack is the way forward. Perfect for any budding Jedi (or Sith, we’re not here to judge), this Star Wars stationery set comes complete with pens and pencils, eraser, sharpener, ruler and Kylo Ren pencil case to stow them all in, plus a notebook and notepad where they can jot down their plans for Galactic domination. Pop it in the cart, and they’re sorted for the year, and for a none-too-shabby price.
For stationery that’ll stand out, look no further than this novelty watermelon pencil case. It’s bright, it’s fun, and it has plenty of room to store all their bits and pieces, including the handy notelets and ballpoint pen that come with it. Lightweight enough that they won’t get weighed down, soft and plush to the touch, and with a handy wristlet to keep it close by during artistic adventures, it’s a great one for younger kids as it’s practically lose-proof.
Enticed by the bumper nature of our Star Wars set but offspring not in touch with the ways of the Force? Not to worry, because we’re yet to encounter a kid who doesn’t like Pokémon, and this cute stationery set is a great first step if their dream is to catch ‘em all. With a notebook and journal, tin pencil case, colouring pencils, eraser, sharpener and 15cm ruler, they’ll be all set up for the school year, and if the smiling faces of Squirtle, Charmander, Bulbasaur and Pikachu aren’t an incentive for getting through that spelling test, we don’t know what is.
Quirky stationers Tinc sure know a thing or two about making admin fun, and their Nifty Snifty gift set is no exception. Each element is beautifully presented in its own right, so it’s a great gift for the tiny stationery enthusiast in your life, or even perfect for splitting up as stocking fillers. Not content with being merely practical, the paper clips come in fun shapes, the sweetie-style highlighters have eyes, and the tiny panda erasers are delightfully scented. A multi-sensory stationery extravaganza for curious kids.
Kids get a lot of mileage out of their pencil cases, so it makes sense to find one that reflects their interests and personality. If your little one’s a big reader, this Roald Dahl pencil case, featuring Quentin Blake’s inimitable illustrations, is sure to be a hit. Taking its cues from The Enormous Crocodile, it’s sweet and a little retro, but still bright and snappy, so if you’re after a timeless pencil case that’ll stand up to passing trends, go for this one.
Sharpening pencils isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, as is — but introduce a cute owl into the mix, and suddenly breaking a lead isn’t so bad. This wise little fella cuts a dashing figure whether sat on the desk or in pride of place on the bedroom shelf, and is sturdy and easy to handle if they struggle with smaller, more fiddly sharpeners. This battery-operated sharpener isn’t just adorable though, it’s also foolproof: no broken pencils thanks to overzealous turning, just perfect points every time.
Check out more kids stuff right here with our pick of the best children's board games.