My kid and I give Walmart+ an A+ for making school-supply shopping fun with fast, free delivery

·6-min read

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Back-to-school shopping is a thrilling rite of passage. Walmart's delivery service allowed my kid to do it safely. (Photo: Getty Images)
Back-to-school shopping is a rite of passage. Walmart's delivery service allowed my kid to do it safely from home. (Photo: Getty Images)

When my rising second grader received the school supplies list from the principal last week, a wave of excitement overcame her. She shrieked!

I shrieked a little too. I've always loved school supplies — from the plainest pencil to the fanciest Trapper Keeper. I even had the fifth-grade privilege of wheeling the supply cart from class to class with my BFF each morning, pedaling No. 2s, erasers and folders in yellows, reds and blues. 

But this isn't just about the supplies. Like many children, my daughter hasn’t stepped inside a classroom for a year and a half due to COVID. That's an eternity in kid years. And she hasn't shopped for school since she was five years old. The prospect of this shopping spree was thrilling!

School will be different this year, sterile even (daily masks, constant sanitizer), so I’d like for her school supplies to bring her joy. ("Joyful" is her design aesthetic.) 

She craves a full-on back-to-school shopping experience, but since she’s too young to be vaxxed, we are avoiding indoor public spaces for as long as possible. We logged on to Walmart.com instead.

Not only is shopping online safer and easier, but if you sign up for Walmart+, you'll get everything delivered fast and free. You can have all of your student’s needs throughout the year — classroom supplies, fresh groceries, face masks — dropped on your doorstep (often within hours) at Walmart’s always-low prices. Plus whatever you might want too, of course!

Once you sign up, you'll get a risk-free trial for 15 days (upgraded to 30 days if you answer a quick three-question survey). After that, you’ll be charged $13 per month or $98 per year — it’s up to you.

My daughter had a blast selecting her school supplies online. Check out all the awesomeness she found. 

Lisa Frank Glitter Pocket Paper Folder

A playful folder from the one and only Lisa Frank! (Photo: Walmart)
A playful throwback folder from the one and only Lisa Frank for just one buck! (Photo: Walmart)

The kiddo's first pick was this glittery fantastical dolphin folder. Excellent! We wouldn't want all that summer magic to disappear at the first ring of the bell. Let's ease into this new reality. A bit of classroom daydreaming is healthy.

And no, you're not experiencing déjà vu. These colorific graphics are by the '80s/'90s phenom Lisa Frank! We're also crazy about the cheetah and unicorn options. Inside each folder, there's a sweet story about the characters. These "Dancing Dolphins" share a very special message: "Love makes every rainbow brighter." Preach, dolphins!

Almost forgot, the folder is useful too: It has two pockets to keep papers organized plus three holes so you can snap it right into a binder.

Find It Tin Pencil Box

Totes adorbs. (Photo: Walmart)
Totes adorbs. (Photo: Walmart)

My daughter confided that she wants to step up her pencil-box game. After some discerning browsing, she settled on this koala tin. She clicked it into the cart and within a few hours it was in her hands, which kinda blew her mind. She began to fill it with treasures, but when I reminded her of its purpose, she quickly stashed it away for the big day.

Reminiscent of a vintage metal lunch box, this sturdy container is great for pencils and art supplies. It's lightweight with a solid clasp closure and measures 2.50 x 5.13 x 8.25 Inches. Great find, kiddo!

Tenwin Small Durable Electric Pencil Sharpener

Make your point, cutely. (Photo: Walmart)
Make your point, cutely. (Photo: Walmart)

Are you sensing a theme here? Left to her own devices, my kiddo will choose darling animals. All. Day. Long. When my eyebrows began to lift, she reminded me that a pencil sharpener that catches shavings is a required supply for second graders. "Cute" and "electric" are just lucky bonuses. We went for it.

Both the black and pink versions are customizable — you can add or subtract ears and antlers. You can also adjust the sharpener to fit 6-8mm pencils. Safety features include skid pads on the bottom and an auto-shutoff feature. It requires two AA batteries (not included) and the blade is replaceable, should it wear out over time. 

I've never seen her so eager to sharpen pencils!

Sharpie Highlighter, 12-count

What's your favorite highlighter color? (Photo: Walmart)
What's your fave highlighter color? (Photo: Walmart)

Highlighter pens were next on the supply list, and, of course, this color-loving kid wants every hue. She picked this pack of Sharpie highlighters, because purple! Obvi.

We're big Sharpie fans around here, so I was glad to get these. I'm intrigued by the "smear guard," which is helpful for overly enthusiastic highlight nerds like me who simply can't wait for their notes to dry. The chisel tip works great for narrow and wide lines. 

With a dozen to a pack, there are plenty to go around (10 for her, one for me, one for my husband). And they're on sale — over 30 percent off.

Making a bet with my husband on how long before she uses these as nail polish. I give her a half-hour.

Contigo Kid's Insulated Stainless Steel AutoSpout Straw Water Bottle

Contigo (Photo: Walmart)
Arguably the most essential school supply of all. (Photo: Walmart)

The time has come for an extra water bottle. She still likes her old standby but has been asking for a bottle with a straw ("like my friends have") for a long while. Since health, sustainability and durability matter to me, I requested that she select a stainless steel bottle. She happily settled on Contigo Kid's 13-ounce Insulated Bottle, but choosing one of the 11 colorways took a solid 15 minutes more.

The Thermalock vacuum insulation, which keeps drinks cold for up to 14 hours, was a prime selling point for her. We drink room-temp water at home, but she has grand second-grade plans to infuse her water (cucumber, strawberries, etc.), and she knows that tastes best cold. 

I appreciate the "spill-proof valve" (our sports caps leak) and she is excited about the push-button top. The lid is top-rack dishwasher safe, but the body is hand-wash only. Worth it.

Organic Granny Apples, 3 Lb Bag

Fresh fruit, for the apple of your eye. (Photo: Walmart)
Fresh fruit, for the apple of your eye. (Photo: Walmart)

As for snacks, fresh organic goodness is essential. It’s nice to know that we can count on Walmart+ for same-day delivery for whole foods and other groceries. The retailer has come through for us for a picnic, an impromptu birthday party, a coffee emergency and more.

Sliced, diced, dipped or dried, Granny Smiths are her favorite apple. I like that they are lower in sugar than their red cousins (9 grams versus 19). And she'll like that they're labeled "Extra Fancy." 

Now, this list isn't exhaustive. There are plenty of inexpensive necessities we're grabbing too, such as 25-cent school glue and colorful reusable masks (three for $4!), but the items above are my daughter's special picks. The things that she wants to join her at school. Because she is what this whole thing is really all about.

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