The Back To School Scavenger Hunt


The faint of heart need not enter this race to check off the most important TO DO List ever created by man – the anxiously awaited Back-to-School Supply List.

This year’s winner for “What Do They Need That For?”  – 24 GLUE STICKS

25 children times 24 Glue Sticks – 600 Glue Sticks???  All I know, is that there’s going to be a whole lot of GLUING going on!

Each year it’s the same thing, hoards of parents and children converge on the local super store and scavenge in the front of the store where the bulk of the supplies await the hustle and bustle of mad, crazed parents and children in TWISTER positions trying to grab the items they need to cross off of their lists:  1 subject notebooks, wide ruled paper, college ruled paper, two-pronged folders with pockets (red, blue, yellow, green), colored pencils (SORRY ALL OUT), crayons, highlighters (chiseled edge), etc.

As a seasoned parent, having been a participant in this scavenger hunt since 1997, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.  Grab what you can in the bulk shopping section and then take your cart and stroll to the office supply section and learning tools section.   Here you will find the multiplication and division flash cards, post-it notes(yellow), scissors (5 inch, pointed tip), pens, pencils, eraser tops, that may have run out in the bulk shopping section.  You can actually breathe in these aisles because so few people know about this option.

Oh, and don’t forget the tissues, clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and plastic sandwich bags (go figure…).

NOTE TO PARENTS:  Pay attention to the details.  Have you noticed the detailed descriptions of the required items?  Please don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong color notebook, folder or post-it notes or the wrong size item.  The worst thing you can do is have your children be the odd ball with the wrong school supply item.  You will get absolutely no credit from your children if you come back from the hunt with the wrong items!

I don’t know if it was my look of determination, the large number of items in my cart (with four children your cart fills up pretty quickly), or the wisdom that was radiating from my silver/gray afro puff, but I had several parents stop me to ask about certain items.  We live in a very culturally diverse community, and I never stopped to think about the need for a school supply translator.  It was a pleasure to be able to show families what items the lists were referring to and where in the store that they could find the items.  It must be my gift of helps, but I had a fun time helping others in the hunt.

This year, since I finally joined the world of smart phone owners, I was able to download my daughter’s school supply list off of her school’s website!  KUDOS to the elementary schools for providing the lists so that we can take advantage of the TAX FREE Shopping Days this weekend.  The only things that I was not able to find on her list was the colored pencils, and black marbled composition books.  Oh well, on to the next super store.

As I was emptying all of the bags, I realized that the parent’s school supply scavenger hunt loot is equivalent to a child’s trick-or-treating loot.  The thrill of it all!

Thank you to the high schools who sent out an email about the TAX FREE shopping days but don’t require their teachers to post school supply lists on the website.  Instead, I’ll have the pleasure of having to shop for my high school students’ supplies after school has started, when the scavenger hunt frenzy has increased to its greatest climax because NOW demand is greater than supply and they needed the supplies YESTERDAY!

This was the first year that I shopped alone, with lists in hand.  I have to say – that shopping without the children and being able to call home to clarify a few things was quite the pleasant experience.  I think I’ll may make this my new tradition.

Happy School Shopping!!

Peace and Love,


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