Whether the items we found at some of our favorite local shops are classics or on their way to becoming classics, we're sure you'll be stocking up on virtually all of these in the next month or two!

Whether the items we found at some of our favorite local shops are classics or on their way to becoming classics, we're sure you'll be stocking up on virtually all of these in the next month or two!

The Pencil and the Pencil Sharpener

Take your kids' writing tools seriously and they'll take their writing seriously. Here's how: The Palomino Black Wing 602 Pencil and Pencil Sharpener, both available through Columbus's Robert Mason Co. The pencils ($1.99 each) are the Rolls-Royce of graphite-based writing implements. Think of the sharpener ($9.99) as the mechanic, keeping that fine vehicle running smoothly (each come with two replacement blades and an automatic brake that prevents over-sharpening).

Available through The Robert Mason Co., online at robertmasoncompany.com


The Pencil Box

Sturdy, functional, virtually indestructible - that's what we look for in a pencil box and that's what we found in this classic from Lakeshore Learning Materials. The Snap-Shut Pencil Box comes in a rainbow of colors and is a bargain at only $2.49.

Available at Lakeshore Learning Materials, 2148 Polaris Parkway, Columbus 43240, 614-846-1710, lakeshorelearning.com


The Lunch Box

Actually it's now the Lunch Bag that's become a classic. Easier to tote, easier to clean and easy to insulate so you can keep your picky eater's carrot sticks cold.

We found two that might fit the bill for you. PackIt freezable bags ($20) have a freezable gel in the lining of the bag: You fold it up, freeze it overnight, then unfold a bag with a frozen core that not only insulates but chills whatever you put inside.

Available at The Container Store, 4222 Easton Loop W., Columbus 43219, 614-337-7400, containerstore.com; also available at Target (target.com) and Bed Bath & Beyond stores (bedbathandbeyond.com)


The Lunch Box, Part II

And then for insulated food transportation that also satisfies a young fashionista's aesthetic needs, you might want to check out the Scout Lunch Bag ($17.50), made by Bungalow Co. Bright colors and lively patterns in an easy-to-clean design with a Velcro closure - they could easily double as a purse!

Available at Cute as a Button, 38 W. Olentangy St., Powell 43065, 614-430-9408, cuteasabuttonstore.com

The Backpack

We would expect What the Rock?!, that Short North purveyor of cool stuff, to have backpacks intriguing enough for the young hipsters in your household. But we were not expecting something as awesome as the Dia de los Muertos Kiddie Play Pack. Just look at it! "Skulls in friendly colors" - that's how they describe the junior-sized pack ($24.95) in the marketing materials. Sure, it comes with all the basic features you want - sturdy cotton canvas exterior, durable nylon canvas straps, big pockets, little pockets, zippers. But "skulls in friendly colors"? We're sold!

Available at What the Rock?!, 1194 N. High St. (Short North), Columbus 43201, 614-294-9428, whattherock.com


The Backpack, Part II

And then for the backpack classicist, you cannot go wrong with the Lands' End ClassMate Backpack ($34-$59). One of the first "ergonomically designed" backpacks, it's still tops for longevity. And their "Make It Your Own" monograms and embroidery (starting at $6) offer oodles of options for customization. FYI, despite the corporate "divorce" of Lands' End and Sears, we've been assured that Lands' End will continue to operate its mini-stores within Sears stores.

Available at landsend.com or visit the store locator to find the Lands' End shop at the Sears nearest you.


The Binder

It's baaaa-aaack! The Trapper Keeper from Mead! First introduced in 1978 and an immediate hit with students (and the teachers and parents who clean up after them), the TK (starting at $5.99) is coming back. The 2014 edition comes in bright colors and subtle designs, and utilizes a brand new "Snapper Trapper" closure strip that allows the user to quickly snap their binders open and closed. Also available are the usual assortment of folders, notebooks, dividers and planners.

Available at Target stores (target.com) and online at trapperkeeper.com


The Flash Cards

When you're ready to move them up from simple phonics and monosyllabic words, it's time for Big Word Flashcards ($11.95 per 25-card set). All family members are going to acquire copious quantities of enjoyment, expanding their vocabularies and embracing their Persnickety Inner Linguists.

Available at Bink Davies, 668 N. High St. (Short North), Columbus 43215, 614-725-4588, binkdavies.com; temporarily also at 4047 Gramercy St. (Easton), Columbus 43219