When shelves and shelves of school supplies hit local stores, you know that the opening of school can’t be far behind.
This year, the best new back to school supplies for students from elementary school to college are gearing toward green and technological, and buying them online is one way to avoid the crowds and beat the summer heat.
The laptop remains the most important back to school item for older students. The ultra portable ASUS Eee PC is a new favorite among student techies for its ability to come with Windows or Linux, but Dell, Toshiba and HP remain affordable options. If your student is an athlete who throws her or his bag down on the field with abandon, consider a Panasonic Toughbook.
But what will your student tote her or his laptop in? The Eclipse Reactor Solar Backpack will satisfy the needs of your future environmental scientist by charging electronic devices and saving energy at the same time. With a laptop sleeve, chargers and multiple pockets, this backpack is available for $117 on Luggage.com.
Another green option is Earthpak’s SMOSHO bag for $42.95 at Earthpak.com, made from up to 98 percent recycled plastic bottles.
Samsonite’s Back to School Backpack Collection features Rip Stop fabric resistant to tears and pulls, contoured straps with extra padding and multiple pockets. From the jaunty Back to School Spring Break Sling Bag for $39.99 to the Back to School Urban Backpack for $49.99, these backpacks are reliable and high quality. For the young musician, the Burton Gauge Pack for $59.95 offers a wired audio jack and sound pocket for headphones. All are available on Luggage.com.
For researching school projects, whether looking up quick facts in class or researching a report, students could invest in a Seiko Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, available on Franklin.com for $199.99.
For the multimedia elements of school projects, students should consider the Flip video camera, the Creative Vado video camera and the Xtreme Mac MicroMemo recorder. The Flip and Creative Vado video cameras allow user-friendly, fun, medium-quality recording. The Xtreme Mac recorder hooks onto the iPod to help create podcasts for Web sites and school radio stations.
The English as a Second Language or linguistics student should consider Franklin.com’s electronic Merriam-Webster Speaking Dictionary & Thesaurus, which features learning exercises, a grammar guide and a SAT word list, or the new Lingo TR-2000 Global Traveler, an electronic translator with 20 languages that translates 400,000 words and 40,000 travel phrases. At $99 each, the gadgets are long- term investments.
The wave of the future promises better ebook readers so that backpack loads can be lessened and tablet PCs that students can write on, and the best of the new crop are the Amazon Kindle reading device for $359 and the Lenovo X61 tablet for $1,300. The Kindle has a sharp, high resolution screen, holds 200 titles at a time and provides wireless access to 145,000 titles, blogs and national and international newspapers.
The thin Lenovo X61 tablet weighs three pounds and features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 2.0GHz CPU, 2GB to 4GB of RAM, a 4-cell to 8-cell battery guaranteeing long life, a more than sufficient 120GB hard drive, and most of all, can be flipped into tablet format and used as a touchscreen and written on with an included stylus.
For young Shakespeares, Red Apple School Supply features colorful notebooks made from banana leaves and old newspapers for $6.99 as well as pencils made from wood scraps at 10 for $2.99 at RedAppleSupply.com.
Studying so hard, it’s difficult to keep in touch with Mom and Dad? Parents should consider a simple cell phone that only calls a few numbers for younger students and a PDA for older students. A few good options for children younger than 12 include the Firefly, the Eazytrack OWL Phone, the Verizon Migo and the Wherify Wherifone, the latter three of which contain GPS tracking.
For PDA’s, many teenagers prefer the T-Mobile Sidekick, but the Palm and the iPhone will allow ebook reading and easier online research. Now there’s no excuse to miss curfew or not to keep in touch throughout the school year.
If you’re not fond of shopping online, there are plenty of local Queens stores to turn to. Carol School Supply at 179-28 Union Turnpike, Flushing, carries a wide range of traditional school supplies as well as special multi-media educational tools such as the United States Constitution on CD-ROM, math, geography and phonics games and multi-lingual materials. And for those important tests that every New York City public student will face, Carol fits the bill.
“We specialize in test prep materials for the state tests, including the Regents, the ELA tests, math, science and social studies tests,” manager Mary Weiss said. “People come from all over for our customer service and our well supplied store. That’s why we’ve been on Union Turnpike for 40 years.”
For art supplies for all ages, Art Cove Ltd. at 60-09 Myrtle Ave., Ridgewood, carries paints, pencils, watercolors, brushes, pads, easels and canvases, as well as crafting items such as beads, yarn, ribbons and glitter.
“We draw from a lot of different communities because we’re one of the only stores that carries a full line of art supplies,” owner Ted Kaufman said. “Students are coming back to school soon and it’s time to buy new art supplies.”
For more of a one-stop shop in combination with your other harried shopping, Queens offers endless options, from Queens Place’s Target and Best Buy, at 88-01 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst, to Queens Center’s Modell’s Sporting Goods, at 90-15 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst, for all those cleats, tennis rackets and shin guards.
Head to Staples for desk organizers and desk furniture for a home study setup for the kids. There are several locations in Queens. And don’t forget to check your local giant bargain dollar store, which is sure to carry notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, paper and sometimes math tools such as protractors and rulers.