There’s no way around it: Your kids are going to need a ton of new items for school. From backpacks to water bottles, I’ve found the some of coolest gear that your kids will love using all year, plus some problem solvers guaranteed to make the kickoff to school a lot easier.
Keep in mind, prices are subject to change and remember to stay on budget – the last thing you or your family wants during this busy time is the burden of credit card debt. You can keep track of how your spending is affecting your credit by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.
1. Bixbee Flyer Backpack
Price: $43.99 at Bixbee.com
These adorable, water-resistant backpacks are designed for little ones. And c’mon, backpacks with light up wings? Your boys and girls will love them, and so will you because they have a warranty and are PVC-, phthalate-, lead- and BPA-free. For every one purchased, Bixbee will donate a school bag with supplies to a child in need through their “One Here. One There” program.
2. Sydney Paige Young Explorers Backpack
Price: $55 at SydneyPaigeInc.com
These cool eco-friendly backpacks look like they’re for big kids, but they are sized for the younger customer without sacrificing space. For every backpack sold, Sydney Paige donates a matching bag, packed with supplies, to a low-income child.
3. Granite Gear Maris Backpack
Price: $44.99 at GraniteGear.com
Available in six colors, this roomy, water-resistant backpack will hold a ton of books, notebooks, a laptop and all the little necessities with room to spare. Padded shoulder straps and back panels ensure comfort, no matter how heavy the bag gets, which will also come in handy for backpacking when school is done.
4. ALEX Toys Color A Lunch Bag
Price: $14.18 and up at Amazon.com
Available in kitty, doggy and owl styles, this insulated lunch tote doubles as a creative project to keep them busy before school starts. Five bright permanent markers are included.
5. The Children’s Place Lunch Boxes
Price: $9.95 to $14.95 at ChildrensPlace.com
You can always count on The Children’s Place for a fabulous, functional lunch tote. They have plenty of styles for kids of all ages, and the price is right. My current favorites? The Rainbow Photo-Real Lunch Box and The Force Awakens Kylo Ren Lunch Box.
6. Yoobi I Am Other Backpack Lunchbag
Price: $12.99 at Yoobi.com
If you need a roomier lunchbag, I recommend these. They are a mini one-shoulder backpack with tons of room for a big lunch, plus a grommet in the front for key chains. With every Yoobi item purchased, one is donated to a classroom in need in the U.S.
7. Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Bags
Price: $11.99 at The Container Store
These 7×7 ½ reusable re-sealable bags can store sandwiches, fruits and snacks, easily replacing your disposable baggies. You can even steam veggies in them! Easy to rinse in the sink or dishwasher, these are available in four colorful designs.
8. Cool Coolers Ice Packs, 4-pack
Price: $7.99 at The Container Store
These vibrant squares will keep lunches fresh and chilled for hours. Their slim size makes them much less bulky than standard ice packs, so they’ll fit easily in the freezer.
9. MAVEA Water Filter Bottle
Price: $14.99 at Target
This 20 oz. bottle has a replaceable MicroDisc filter, so you can rest assured your kids are drinking clean water when they go to refill their bottle. Each MicroDisc lasts about three months, and the bottle has an indicator to let you know when it’s time to replace the filter. Available in purple or blue.
10. Re-Play Snack Stacks
Price: $6.99 for 2 at Re-Play.com
Just the right size for snacks, these stackable, colorful jars are made from recycled HDPE plastic. They’re also BPA- and BPS-free and so tough that they’ll last for years. Top rack dishwasher safe, the jars are available in 13 colors.
11. Mr. Bubble Fast Bath Wipes
Price: $8.95 for a 2-pack on Amazon.com
Wipe down breakfast messes with one of these cloths before your kid heads to the bus. They’ll love the Mr. Bubble-y scent, so they won’t put up a fuss.
12. Mabel’s Labels Ultimate Back-to-School Combo
Price: $42 at MabelsLabels.com
Help your kid hang onto their stuff this year with this variety pack of no-iron, long-lasting, customizable labels for clothes, shoes, backpacks, sports equipment and the works. Several variety packs are available.
13. InchBug Orbit Labels
Price: $12.95 at Inchbug.com
For a multi-kid house, try these non-adhesive, stretchy labels that can easily be moved from bottle to bottle. They are dishwasher and microwave safe and are guaranteed to last for a lifetime.
Price: $14.99 for a 4-pack at SnapLaces.com
These no-tie laces are lifesavers for the time-challenged family. They take a couple minutes to install, then kids can slip their feet in their shoes in seconds. Sure, kids need to learn how to tie their shoes, but perhaps you can leave the laces on one pair and put SnapLaces on the rest! These are available in 12 bright colors.
15. Kid’Sleep My First Alarm Clock
Price: $39.99 at Amazon.com
You’ll have one less thing to worry about now that your child has their own clock! Not only will they learn to tell time, they can set an alarm, snooze and see the time if they wake in the night. And if they do wake early and they see the image of the sleeping child, they know to stay in bed. If they see the child on the clock is awake, they can get out of bed.