JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Buying school supplies every year adds up and it can be frustrating for parents to buy supplies that their children do not like or that do not work well. First for you, "experts" from the Brooks Family YMCA put some of the most requested school supplies to the test.


"For reading we usually color pictures about what we just read," explained John Dillon Currie, a fifth grade student at Jacksonville Beach Elementary School.

Markers made their way onto almost every child's school supply list this year. To find out which ones work best, Currie and two other children tested them out by coloring.

"Last year I had different markers than this," shared Hayley Stephens while coloring with Crayola markers. "These work better because mine last year, they dried out."

Masie Perry, a student at St. Johns Grammar School, agreed with both Currie and Stephens. Their least favorite markers were from Dollar Tree.

"Those were too hard to color with," exclaimed Perry.

All three children said that the pack of markers by Cra-Z-Art were the best.

"It looks better than the other ones," Currie said describing the page he colored with the Cra-Z-Art markers.

  1. Cra-Z-Art $0.50 at Walmart
  2. Crayola $1.97 at Walmart
  3. Dollar Tree brand $1.00


As soon as students learn to write, notebook paper soars to the top of their school supply lists.

Students Ellie Burningham, Gracie McCrea and Nicholas Consuegra tested paper made by Roselle, Norcom and Five Star.

"I had this last year and if I would take it out, it would rip," said McCrea while writing on the Roselle paper, which is sold at Dollar Tree stores.

"I think I like this paper better than this one," Consuegra said, choosing the Norcom paper over the Roselle brand.

However, the favorite choice of the girls was the reinforced paper made by Five Star.

"It feels a lot thicker than the other two," explained McCrea.

Burningham said she was not swayed by the fact that the Five Star Paper costs more than three times what the other brands sell for in stores.

"It would probably be worth it," Burningham shrugged.

  1. Five Star reinforced filler paper $3.47 at Walmart
  2. Norcom notebook paper $0.82 at Walmart
  3. Roselle filler paper $1.00 at Dollar Tree


Our testers tried three different brands of student scissors to see which one would make the cut.

Jack Champion, a second grade student at Kernan Trail Elementary, preferred Fiskars pointed-tip safety-edge scissors.

"They cut better," Champion reasoned.

The other two students preferred a pair made by Caliber with cushioned handles.

"They're smaller and they're lighter and I think they're easier to use," explained Providence School third grader Ellie McCrea.

"They're much lighter, so I think they're much easier," agreed Macy Mackiewitz, a fourth grade student.

A pair of student scissors from Dollar Tree earned the lowest marks from the panel.

"They're longer than the other pair and they're kind of harder to use [be]cause you have to turn them every time," said McCrea.

  1. Caliber soft handle pointed scissors $2.99 at CVS ($1.00 with CVS card)
  2. Fiskars pointed-tip safety-edge scissors $1.47 at Walmart
  3. Student scissors $1.00 at Dollar Tree


The Duval County Public Schools posted a list on their website naming basic supplies every child needs. On it, glue sticks were listed at the top second only to pencils.

To determine which glue students should stick with, three children glued construction paper shapes to poster board.

The Dollar Tree brand got the least positive reviews. One second grade student said it was too easy to pull the glued paper off.

Cra-Z-Art came in second place for the kids, but got negative reactions because the glue was clear, instead of tinted purple.

"I can't really see it because it didn't really show up because it's white," said Avrielle Gibson, a first grade student at Loretto Elementary School.

Jedidiah Bowser agreed that the Cra-Z-Art glue was not the best.

"It's not that sticky and you have to put lots of it on to make the paper stick on," he explained. Elmer's Washable School Glue Stick earned the best reviews.

"It is pretty sticky and it's really purple," said Jedidiah.

"You can see it and that's my favorite color," Avrielle added.

  1. Elmer's Washable School Glue Stick $1.62 at Walmart
  2. Cra-Z-Art Washable Jumbo Glue Stick $1.42 at Walmart (2 pack)
  3. Glue Sticks $1.00 at Dollar Tree (4 pack)

The YMCA's annual

"I Heart Art" art supplies drive

began this week. Donors can drop off supplies at any local Y to help children like those featured in this story stay creative.