High-tech lunch containers, blinking shoes are a must

August 07, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

School supplies aren't what they used to be.

Noticeably different are the lunch boxes children take to school nowadays. Out are the often rusted, metal lunch boxes with squeaky hinges and pictures of "Fat Albert and the Gang" and "Holly Hobbie."

In are space-age, high-tech insulated lunch containers that have pouches to hold juice boxes and milk money, along with lightweight plastic lunch boxes adorned with Fred Flintstone and the Lion King that come with environmentally friendly reusable sandwich holders.

Out are the basic blue denim canvas three-ring binders that many children of yesteryear clung to as they walked home from school. In are "Show-Off" binders with plastic covers that students can design and customize by inserting photos, designs or posters.

Glue works the same but looks different. A line called "GluColors," has an array of glues that dry in different colors: hot orange, yellow, pink and black.

A new line of crayons gives off the scent of chocolate, orange and other flavors as children scribble with them.

Then there are the shoes, many with novelties and gimmicks. The elementary school set is crazy over shoes that blink red lights with each step.

"I just like the style," 8-year-old Lindsay Herman says after giving her OK to a black pair of high-top blinking shoes. Although the shoes have been in stores for a while, the fourth-grader at Carrolltowne Elementary School in Eldersburg hadn't seen them until a few months ago.

"I think they're pretty neat," says her father, Don Herman, who recalled a style he wore as a youth. "We didn't have anything like that. All we had were the fish heads -- the ones you get at Giant Food with strings attached to them for $4 each."

Then there are the shoes with plastic-covered pellets that glow in the dark, and the line with cute little pictures of popular cartoon characters.

Many schools send out school supply lists to make parents' shopping experience easier. The lists include folders, spiral notebooks, markers, crayons, pencils, pens, scissors, rulers, glue, loose leaf paper, composition notebooks, dictionaries and construction paper.

Optional are calculators, compasses and protractors.

"It's a whole lot different," says Gretchen Mour, a Columbia mother of one middle and two elementary school students. "The school supply list used to be pens and papers. I look around quite a bit. When I see things, I pick them up. The school supply list is long, and there's so much. That's the only way."

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