It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for parents)! With class almost back in session, now is a good time to take a look at some back-to-school essentials.
Here’s a list of things you fashion forward parents might want to consider to fill your kid’s backpack, starting with…
Well, we couldn’t miss the most obvious first step, right?
The Etsy shop Maurice Monograms offers a wide variety of backpacks that can be personalized with your child’s name, including:
This camouflage backpack, aimed at boys but certainly appropriate for any girl who wants to play soldier on the way to school. (Cost: $25.00)
This seersucker backpack is actually multipurpose: It can just as easily be used for your child's first day of school as it can be for you as a diaper bag for your littlest ones. (Cost: $34.00)
What’s for lunch?
Next up, here are some smarter lunch options beyond simply brown bagging it.
Thermos has your bases covered whether your little one wants to be a firefighter or a police officer. Both lunch kits are soft and insulated so that they are safe for young children, while still keeping their food fresh. (Cost: $8.09 and $9.99, respectively)
Bentgo is selling a children’s lunch box that organizes your child’s food bento-box style. Not only does it come in three colors, it is designed to be durable and leak-proof. (Cost: $39.99, but currently on sale for $27.99)
In keeping with the bento theme, Pottery Barn is selling Mackenzie Lunch Bags in a variety of designs, from dinosaurs to fairies. The bags feature a durable stainless steel bento box and silverware and can also be customized with your child’s name. (Cost: $59.50, but some versions are on sale of $34.99)
Log on. Study up.
Gone are the days of passing paper notes and library card catalogues. Everything and everyone is digital, including your littlest ones.
From VTech, the InnoTab line of tablets is designed for children aged 3 to 9. Whether you get the more bare-bones model, the deluxe version or the one in-between, your child will be introduced to hundreds of educational games, e-books and apps. (Cost: $59.99 to $99.99, and there are bundle deals available)
Apple doesn’t need any formal introductions, especially if you’re reading this list on one of its computers right now. But if your son or daughter is going off to college, you might want to know that Laptop Mag ranked the 13-inch MacBook Air the best overall college laptop. It features a Core i5 processor and 128 gigabytes of flash storage. Oh, and it’s also under three pounds, so it’s about as portable as it can get, at least until the next wave of Apple products. (Cost: $999 and up)
There’s an app for that.
Anyone with a child under 10 or so knows that his or her tablet has probably supplanted the television as a non-human baby sitter. But with Osmo, you may well find yourself as engaged with the game as the kids are. The game for iPad implements both on-screen elements, as well as physical objects, in order to teach everything from vocabulary to even physics. It’s no wonder Time magazine listed Osmo as one of its 25 Best Inventions of 2014. As an added bonus, for every Osmo kit you buy, you can gift one to a U.S. classroom free of charge. (Cost: $79.99)
Finally, learning another language can be difficult, and many of us have likely tried to forget our four years or so of high school Spanish or French. But it’s a lot easier with Duolingo. The app, which is available for iOS, Android and Windows, is sort of like Rosetta Stone, except it’s free. Yes, free. Duo the owl guides you through any one of 13 languages, with vocabulary organized into subjects, such as household items and science terms, as well as parts of speech. If you do happen to remember a bit of that foreign language you learned way back when, there is a placement test you can take so you can skip the more rudimentary lessons and go straight to the lessons that will challenge you appropriately. (Cost: $0.00)