I have to admit that by the time we've hit mid-summer break, I'm almost looking forward to sending the kids back to school. The constant sibling rivalry and bickering, the "I'm bored" statements and the eye rolls have made it a very long summer so when the school supplies start hitting the stores, I'm always the first in line. While I love summer as much as the next mom, there's something about shopping for fresh pencils and backpacks that makes both myself and my kids giddy for the next year.
Since my kids wear a uniform to school, choosing a backpack, lunch box and a few school supplies fills them with such joy because for once, they get to be in charge of choosing what goes in the shopping basket. It's the one thing they can wear that actually shows a glimpse of their personality. Here are a few of the most functional and stylish backpacks, lunch boxes and school supplies that were handpicked by my two kids this year and they top the must-have list for heading back to school.
While most schools now limit the number of books and notebooks being sent home with the kids so as not to weigh them down and hurt their growing bodies, having a durable and sturdy backpack that is easy to clean is key to making it through a whole school year. For preschoolers and kindergarteners, junior size backpacks are perfect to fit sweatshirts, lunch boxes and snacks for their day. For grade schoolers, go for a full-size backpack to fit standard size binders and notebooks as they often need to carry those back and forth during the school week.
- These backpacks are great for preschoolers just starting school. You can personalize them with their name for easy identification at pick-up. Pottery Barn Kids My First Backpack, $35.
- Built with tons of personality, these backpacks will attract pony lovers and skateboarders alike. I love that they come with side pockets that fit a water bottle perfectly. Garnet Hill Backpack Jr., $35.
- This was a top pick in my house. Who doesn't want to look like a cool dinosaur at school? Madpax Backpacks, $60.
- Functional and stylish, these backpacks are great for the older set as they start to bring home more homework and books. Trans by Jansport Backpack, $34.
- Simple and to the point, these backpacks are extremely durable and will last you more than just one year. Hannah Andersson There & Backpack, $45.
- For the style lovers, this is the must-have backpack for you. Herschel Supply Co. for Crewcuts Settlement Backpack, $55.
A lunch box is the one thing that I do insist on getting new every single year. Halfway through the year, it just starts to smell a little funky and my kids have a habit of not closing everything in their lunch box and food ends up in every crevice of it. This year we're hoping it goes the whole year but here are a few that can easily be cleaned and are durable for toting your child's favorite eats.
- Great for the preschool set, these lunch boxes are just too cute not to have. Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie, $14.
- A trusted brand, these lunch boxes are easy to clean and repel spills. BUILT Neoprene Lunch Bag, $10.
- For those kids that insist on everything separate, this lunch box ensures that nothing will touch each other while en route to lunch. PlanetBox Shuttle, $40.
- Another great lunch box for those that like their food separate, I love the compact size of this container that can either go in a lunch bag or tote as itself. Spencer Bento Box Containers, $17.
- Full of personality, they'll love finding a pattern that fits just them. Wildkin Lunch Boxes, $14.
- I can't tell you how many times we lost a lunch box last year. Keep tabs on it by personalizing it with their name or initials. Hannah Andersson Foldover Sack Lunch, $16.
While I try not to go overboard on buying school supplies, I do insist that they have a few things on hand each year including a reusable water bottle and snack pouch, pencil bag, a change purse and fresh No. 2 pencils. This is when the kids can really have fun with their school supply shopping because no rules apply.
- Water bottles are a dime a dozen and they often get lost. I prefer to personalize them with more than just a sticker because after a while it just peels off. These water bottles get the icon of their choice and their name. Personalized Water Bottle, $30.
- From Batman to My Little Pony, character lovers will adore these water bottles. THERMOS Beverage Bottle, $15.
- I always keep a dollar or two in their backpacks just in case something comes up. Mossimo Supply Co. Bicycle Coin Purse, $7.
- Great for money, pencils or any odds and ends, the kids will love these fun monster pouches. Monster Pencil Case, $8.
- Following the TOMS shoes model, Yoobi gives school supplies to kids in need for each Yoobi item you buy. I love everything from their colorful No. 2 pencils to the pencil bags. Yoobi No. 2 Pencils, $3, and Yoobi Fuzzy Pencil Case, $4.
- Great for snacks, tuck a few of their favorites in this sack and it can be washed and reused each day. Reusable sandwich bag by Lunchskins, $9.