Already have that back-to-school shopping list ready? Before you head out, take a moment to look at our top 10 school essentials and compare. For extra savings, be sure to take advantage of the tax-free shopping weekends in your state.
1. Backpack ($34.95-$84.95)
This year, take the time to invest in a sturdy backpack for your child. A good one will last all year without any straps or zippers breaking. For girls, I like some of the ones from Garnett Hill Kids. They even offer rolling backpacks to help kids with those especially heavy loads. And now through September 4, they’re offering a free lunch pack with every backpack purchase. For boys, take a look at these styles from Gap Kids.
2. Pencil Cases ($2.52 and up)
Having trouble keeping track of all those pencils, pens, and erasers? Store them in one, roomy pencil case. The best thing about pencil cases is that there are hundreds of styles to match your child’s personality. From fabric to leather, to plastic and wood, you can find one that fits your budget and style on Etsy.
3. Lunch Bag ($19-$35)
Lands’ End has a great collection of insulated lunch bags that have been tested to keep food cold for up to five hours with an ice pack. They’re easy to clean and PVC free. The site has even created separate pages for boys and girls. Lands’ End products go on sale regularly, so always look for special discount codes on their site before you make your purchase.
4. Food Storage ($14.99-$30)
LunchBots are high-quality stainless steel containers that keep lunches from getting squashed by water bottles and other items. Available in a variety of styles with multiple compartments to keep food separated, these containers are also great for portion control. The fact that they’re reusable is a big plus in my book. That means less plastic piling up in our landfills and an end to throwing away money every month on disposable plastic baggies.
5. Ice Packs ($8.96-$9.99)
Add a smile to your kid’s lunchtime break with one of these fun ice packs that help keep perishables fresh for hours. For elementary age students, consider these adorable ice packs by Rubbermaid.
6. MOMables™ Subscription ($18-$60)
If you’re like me, you may need a little help keeping your child’s lunch menu varied and healthy. Enter MOMables™, a weekly menu and shopping list to help moms provide wholesome, homemade lunches for their children. And you can even try it for a week for free to see how you like it!
7. Twistable Rulers ($2.15)
When I was a kid we either had wooden rulers or those hard plastic ones that snapped if you weren’t careful. After going through half a dozen rulers with my own kids, I discovered these shatterproof ones from Westcott. These twistable rulers reign supreme in our household.
8. Name Labels ($.20-$6.00)
These oh-so-helpful labels help teachers keep track of your child’s belongings. Fortunately, there are thousands of fun designs now available from small business owners on Etsy. Whether you choose the waterproof kind or the iron-ons, name labels are a must.
9. Desk Organizers ($39.99)
I’m all about keeping a neat desk, One of my favorite desk accessories is Pottery Barn Kids’ Mini Lazy Suzan. What’s not to love about those spinning, wooden compartments and bright colors?
10. iPad ($399.99)
More and more educational apps are being developed for students from preschool to college. With proper supervision, the iPad can help with everything from learning to read and write, to naming (and actually seeing) the longest mountain chain in South America. College students can take advantage of iTunes U to cover their entire course load by downloading textbooks, videos, and more. We bought ours at Target.