Preparing for Primary 1: Shopping List

Preparing for Primary 1 includes shopping for items your child would need. Have you bought them all? Check against the shopping list below and see if you have missed out on any. Let me know if I did too! Jump to the relevant section for further tips:

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School Attire

School Uniforms

You can buy school uniforms from the school vendor or even snag relatively new ones on Carousell. The general tip is to get more PE attire sets than uniforms. The vendor asked Grace (my older daughter) to size up because of a potential growth spurt. However, I know of children with smaller frames who wore the smallest size for 2 years!

School Shoes

Depending on the school, school shoes are either black or white. For Primary 1 (“P1”) students, velcro shoes are easier to handle than those with laces. Mary Janes are usually discouraged because they slip off easily during physical activities. There might be lessons where they have to remove shoes. So label the shoes in case they get lost or mixed up among others. It can happen!

Bata has been our go-to brand since Grace’s kindy days. Buy Bata shoes from Malaysia at a very good price! However, after getting experienced parents’ recommendations, we are getting a pair of Skechers for her to try.

Hair Accessories

For a short morning routine, it’s best to cut the hair short. However, if your girl loves her long hair like mine, take note of the school’s approved hairstyle and colour of hair accessories.

Analog Watch

A P1 child doesn’t need to wear a watch, but it’s a good way to learn how to read analog time. Learning to read it will let them know roughly when recess is coming and when the school day is ending.

Face Mask

With the rise of Covid cases, you might want your child to mask up again. Bring extra masks to change and remind him/her to wipe clean the mouth before putting on the mask.

School Books and Bags

School Books

We were given a booklist from the school bookshop. It’s not a necessity to get all the listed items (certain stationery and supplementary books are optional). Later I realised, we could buy the school books from Popular bookstore (“Popular”) and utilise my membership and credit card rebates. Learning point for next year.

Do prepare a book, preferably light and thin, for the silent reading time before the school assembly.

If there’s no standard notebook from school, prepare a small notebook for your child to write down important notes, dates or homework from the teachers.

Primary 1 School Books

School Bag

School bags with wheels are highly discouraged by many primary schools because of the high risk of accidents when climbing the stairs.

So we got an ergonomic bag for Grace and hoped it would lighten the pressure on her shoulders and spine, allowing for good posture. I specifically looked for one with a hip belt because I experienced its usefulness when I used a hiking backpack and a baby carrier previously. The hip belt took a great load off my shoulders! On a minor note, I supposed a firm and upright bag is also easier for Grace to pack in her things.

Ergonomic bags are heavier and more expensive than normal school bags but I hope it will be a good investment. She’s going to carry it every day!

I highly recommend the child try out the bag before purchase. The bag size should be appropriate to his/her height and build. Moreover, the child must feel comfortable carrying it. Ergonomic brands I came across include Impact, Ergobag, Deuter, Dr Kong, Moonrock, and Tiger Family.

Since we are at it, read my article on ergonomic chairs and tables for children too. With more writing work at Primary 1, you might want to buy these items now.

Coin Pouch (Wallet or Purse)

Get simple and cheap coin pouches. A pouch good enough to keep 50 cents to S$2 coins. A coin pouch that is easy for them to open and close and not fumble. Easy to open and take out the money for the canteen stall owner. Easy to close before taking the food. Zipper or kiss lock pouches (one compartment) are good for P1 children to handle.

Don’t get an expensive wallet/purse at the start of school. Once, they learn to keep their belongings well, hopefully by the second half of the year, then consider a more expensive wallet/purse. To prevent losing the wallet/purse, get a lanyard or elastic spring chain to link it to the child.

Zip Pouch / Wet Bag

A zip pouch or wet bag big enough to store personal hygiene items such as wet wipes, a tissue packet, extra masks, and perhaps panties/underwear in case of toilet accidents. Speaking of which, do remember to teach your child how to wipe his/her butt after a poop session!


Card Holder with Lanyard

For those taking public transport or going to student care centres (scan ID), it’s useful to get a cardholder with a lanyard for the student Ezlink card.

Water Bottle and Lunchbox

Water Bottle

Buy a maximum of 500ml water bottle to avoid spillage and more weight to the bag. Students have the chance to refill the bottle quite often during breaks. Get durable ones because children are going to drop them very often. Our school advised against metal bottles to avoid loud thumps of bottle dropping. We tried and liked Kidztime Classic and perhaps will get Impact Tritan to try out in future.

Lunch Box

Primary schools have a 30-minute recess and a 10-minute snack break. Your child can either bring food from home or buy from the canteen. He/she might prefer to pack food and skip the queue to have more play time, especially on days with activities conducted by parent volunteers.

Minimally, a lunchbox for snacks is recommended and preferably one that is not too bulky to squeeze into their school bags! You may get them insulated lunch bags and add a small ice pack or/and fork to keep the fruits or drinks cold. On another note, it’s better to give P1 students fewer things to carry or manage.

Do stock up on mess-free, and healthy snacks and drinks such as fruits, baby tomatoes, cake, bun, and biscuits, small packets of milk or juice. And not food like bolognese spaghetti. It’s going to be a short break in class and I don’t think the teacher will appreciate a mess too!


Name Labels

Name Labels

Label ALL items with your child’s name and class, including shoes and bag. Stories of children losing many things are rampant. Uniforms can be lost too, especially those in student care. You can order printed name labels, including iron-on type, from,, and Other options include name stamps or label printers such as Epson, Brother, niimbot and Dymo.

Stationery (In General)

Start your P1 child with stationery that is NOT fanciful and expensive. Things are going to go missing quite often – because of your child’s forgetful mind or others’ covetous hands. Moreover, an interesting gadget or an innocuous multifunctional pencil box (with sharpener, calculator, etc), can cause a huge distraction in class for your child and other children as they gather to play.

Savings tip: Wait for Popular Bookstore’s Back to School / POPClub sale. Sign up for membership to get member deals.

Stationery from Popular

Pencil Case

A pencil case with one zip would be good for P1s. Those canvas-type pouches instead of bulky ones with many compartments or pencil slots. In this way, the P1 child can just throw all the stationery inside and zip at one go. Efficient when she’s in a rush (likely to be often). Moreover, it will be lighter than those magnetic pencil cases.

Fill the pencil case with only necessary items: 3-4 pencils, 1 ruler, 1 sharpener, 2 erasers, scissors, and a glue stick.

You might want to consider another pencil case/zipper pouch for colour pencils or crayons. After a short while, the boxes would be in tatters (from rough handling) and the colours would spill out and stain all over the bag

2B Pencils

Stock up on lots of 2B pencils. You might consider Staedtler pencils (blue) with erasers at the top. Train your child to sharpen every night and have at least three pencils in the pencil case.


Stock up on lots of erasers because they disappear very often. There are black, white and even exam types of erasers.


A 15cm ruler will fit well in the pencil case. Get a few pieces to standby in case the plastic ruler gets broken or bent out of shape. Metal rulers are not transparent and hence can be harder for children to gauge and draw a line with.

Colour Pencils / Crayons

We got the 24-colour jumbo crayons set from the school bookshop (as indicated in the booklist). And also colour pencils from Popular. You might want to consider buying more colour pencils or crayon sets to keep and replenish colours from the extra sets.

Jumbo Crayons

Glue, Scissors and Sharpener

Glue sticks are faster to dry compared to liquid glue. Other students with glue sticks might be fascinated with liquid glue and in turn, borrow it often.

Purchase kid-safe scissors for safe cutting.

Get a sharpener small enough to fit into the pencil case. But the container should be big enough for the pencil shavings. This is to avoid having to empty the sharpener too often. The teacher would likely not appreciate the frequent trips to the dustbin. Maped or Popular’s house brand sharpeners are good.

Accordion File

I got this great tip from A fuss-free file for P1 students is the accordion file. Label the subjects on the top tab and teach the child to put the worksheets in the right tab. It is lightweight and easy to use. Ring files are not useful all the time because most worksheets do not come with punched holes.

That’s about it! Let me know if you have any other good resources to share with other parents. Before you go, you might want to check out my other posts. Leave your comments or questions below. Love to hear from you. 🙂

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