Back to school season is upon some of us already—if you’re still looking at weeks of summer, just remember this conversation at the end of May—and it’s time to tackle those lists. We’ve got tips on saving money on back to school shopping, what to put in their lunchbox, and now we have your ultimate back to school guide. Check out our list of the cool things your kids (and their teachers) want for this school year.
Pre-K and Elementary School Back to School List
Sending kids off to school for the first time is so different than sending them “back” to school. And as you start going through the lists for younger kids, you may be overwhelmed with questions like, how are they going to carry all of those things and do they really need that? When it comes to pre-k and elementary school, what matters most is a good attitude. But we’ve also got some great things that you can use at home if you’re homeschooling or treat the teacher to.
A good backpack can make all the difference, and for kids, it’s a great way to express themselves. These backpacks from Wanderwild are packed with features kids want, in the prints they want, and they fit well. Designed for kids in the early elementary years—Kinder through 5th grade—the adjustable straps and shoulders help them maintain proper posture. The Wanderer has a zipped front pocket for small items and there is room for personalization if you want to add that for them. As a bonus, Wanderwild gives a portion of each sale to organizations that help with childhood hunger, educational needs, and spreading kindness.
For military families across the globe, a map not only delineates where they are but is used to pinpoint where their families and friends are across the world. 1-World Globes & Maps offers a range of large, laminated wall maps and map murals. Choices of maps include one that can peel and stick, are laminated with eyelets or even mounted on wooden rails. A map that is large enough to allow markers or pins to be used representing loved ones is appreciated by every family member. Being able to look at one place and see that while there is distance separating family members and friends, but on the same sheet of paper is comforting. After all, it is a small world. Beyond that, a map provides a tactical tool while discussing current events and history. A map is a back to school staple.
Magna-Tiles are the ultimate open-ended toy and the perfect addition to your educational play space. We love these colorful magnetized tiles for the sheer amount of different ways that they can be combined. Unlimited assembly options encourage kids to be curious and exploratory in their play. As they manipulate them, you can feel confident that they’re building with only the highest-quality, safest materials on the market. Whatever age or stage your kiddos are in, they can gain joy and confidence in their own abilities just from playing with Magna-Tiles. You’ll love them too. Siblings can collaborate for hours (oftentimes peacefully!) in the creation of their dream structures.
The hour before your kids head to school doesn’t have to be a chaotic nightmare. Make one item on the checklist really fun to knock out with a Brüush toothbrush. This stylish electric brush has a 2-minute timer with a pause every 30 seconds, prompting you to switch sections. It’s like having a private toothbrushing coach! The battery is highly capable too. You can brush on the go for up to 4 weeks. However, the charging stand makes it so convenient to recharge that you’ll have no trouble keeping it full. Parents are loving the Brüush as well. With three color options and its super-chic design, you’ll easily be able to find one that accents your bathroom décor. For the ultimate in mouth hygiene, grab their subscription for brush heads so that your teeth don’t have to suffer from your forgetfulness.
Keeping your stuff organized and out of reach of little hands is harder than you might think. Horizontal surfaces become premium real estate for your most precious belongings and soon they’re in short supply. Keep what you need at hand in a Tatkraft Over the Door Organizer. Not only are your items off the floor and out of danger, but easy to reach for you! The size of each individual compartment is perfect for organizing art supplies, diaper changing materials, puzzles, and so much more. Keep one on several of the doors in your home to organize all sorts of smaller things in a clever way.
Remember how you felt as a kid getting a special package in the mail that was just for you? Give your own kids that experience with Tiny Humans Read. This book subscription service sends 3-4 whimsical, imaginative titles for your family to enjoy monthly. The value of reading to children in their youngest years cannot be understated. Study after study shows that the passion for reading and learning flourish then kids are read to. Tiny Humans Read chooses beautiful and engaging books for this purpose and sends them your way. No decision fatigue or extra work on your part is necessary. All that’s needed is a good place to snuggle up and read with your little ones.
See Kai Run really knows kids’ feet. Their beautifully designed sneakers are built with durability, comfort, and functionality in mind. Never stodgy and boring, See Kai Run excels in designs that capture the joy and exuberance of childhood. This constellation printed shoe from their Robyne collection will inspire your little one to shoot for the stars all school-year long. Velcro straps and wide openings make the get-out-the-door routine a pleasure! Whether at the playground or in class, these shoes won’t let her down.
Middle School & High School Back to School List
If you’re sending a kid off to middle or high school in the upcoming weeks, you probably thought you had a handle on those back to school lists. And then you realized you have no idea what you’re doing. We’re muddling through with you and found these must-have things for your older kids.
Boys Don’t Stink three-pack of oatmeal and Shea butter bar soap is perfect for stinky—we mean growing—boys. The soap smells good (much better than a stinky boy) and exfoliates without presenting as “too girly.” You’ll want a three-pack of this for sure because each boy needs one of their own and that stinky man in your life, he probably needs one too. Middle school is the perfect time to reinforce those good grooming habits and Boys Don’t Stink bar soap is the best way to do it.
Middle school starts the hard math for some kids, and high school practically guarantees some tough homework nights. But with a quality graphic calculator, your student will be ready for AP Calc—or even just Algebra 1. Texas Instruments has been producing top-quality graphing calculators since, well let’s just say since we were in school. This new T1-84 Plus CE is lighter and slimmer than previous models, has a rechargeable battery, comes with pre-loaded apps and images, and is approved for AP exams and SAT/ACT testing.
Most teens and preteens have electronics, and you may find they are using some creative things to prop them up for watching videos, reading books, or playing music. The GoDonut holds slim devices (think phones with slim cases and iPads) at several angles for you. It’s lightweight and easy to toss in a backpack. The GoDonut comes in a variety of colors, so you can get one for each kid and not have to listen to any more fighting, over this at least. Grab one for yourself too.
Teaching responsibility to our older kids doesn’t have to be boring, and the Lenovo Smart Clock & IdeaCentre is a great way to do that. The Lenovo Smart Clock pairs with Google Assistant and can help your student wake up on time. It plays their favorite music, can share the weather, and syncs to their google calendar (or yours) to remind them of what’s coming up. Your student can customize it to their touch and voice and it can be used even if you don’t have a Google Home, simply by downloading the Google Home app on your (or their) smartphone.
Take it one step further with the Lenovo IdeaCentre. This all-in-one desktop that helps student’s get homework done. Think workhorse with style. With an 8th Gen Intel Core i3 processor and integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630, it has the power to get stuff done, but it also has an HD display and curved steel monitor stand. It’s a lighter and more modern design to a desktop, so it’ll fit in a bedroom or even a dorm room easily.
Notetaking may be a dying art, but multiple studies have shown that actually writing things down helps you remember them. And, not all kids have tablets and smartphones to take to school. So the Wave from Rocketbook is a great alternative. Simply write like normal—but use a FriXion pen (available in so many colors!). Then, using the Rocketbook app, send your notes to the preferred program, like Google Drive, DropBox, or Evernote. We’re thinking one google drive folder per class? When all 80 pages are filled, simply pop it into a microwave with a mug of water and watch it all disappear. You can do this up to 5 times, so we bet this notebook could last all year.
Back to school comes with lots of emotions, for the kids and for you as a parent. Making sure they are set with everything they need will ease this transition for everyone. You’re doing great mama, you’ve got this.
THINKING ABOUT THOSE SCHOOL LUNCHES?
Check out our Back to School Lunch Guide!