It’s that time of year again and our back to school prep is in full force. With all three of my boys off to school this year shopping has been a little more hectic as we try to tick off items on their supply lists, stock our pantry with snacks everyone can agree on and settle first day jitters. Along the way we’ve discovered some awesome items that make life just a little easier – here are our favorites!
One of my favorite items this year, the Drink In The Box resembles a reusable juice box with a secure flip open lid and straw. Perfect for young children, like my preschooler, who haven’t completely mastered drinking from an open bottle without spilling. While a juice box would normally be my go-to, the Drink in a Box allows me to send water without worry. The lid is very easy for little hands to open and close – just push a button and the lid swings back, then snaps easily back into place when done. The size is perfect for small hands and small lunchboxes as well, and everything can be disassembled and cleaned in the dishwasher! Drink in the Box is available in 8oz and 12oz sizes, perfect for younger and older children.
After discovering Drink in the Box I also came across Snack in the Box. This is a sturdy container that holds two different snacks at once and also has an easy pop-open lid. I love the Snack in a Box because I’m not wasting little snack bags every day and the sturdy plastic prevents snacks like goldfish or cheese cubes from being crushed in the bottom of my son’s bag. The lid is also easier to open then plastic bags, which my preschooler tends to wrestle with, leaving a mess of crackers on the floor once the bag explodes open. I love that I can pack two snacks into one container, making things like cheese and crackers or pretzels and raisins a favorite snacking option! I use these two products together and it saves so much space in my son’s bag!
Another snack favorite! These organic superfood slammers have been part of our snack rotation since early in the summer. They get a one-up on applesauce pouches because they pack in superfoods like acai, beets and whole grains, while still being sweet and delicious enough for my kids to love. Each pouch provides one full serving of fruit AND vegetables with no added sugar and is packed with tons of antioxidants. And of course the pouch is so convenient for packing in a lunchbox or backpack!
This guide wouldn’t be complete without a nod to our every-year essential. My kids are really not nice at all to their backpacks – they get tossed onto the sidelines during after school activities, stashed under bus seats, dragged across the ground on exhausting days and double as umbrellas in the rain. We used to go through two or three character backpacks every year, until a friend suggested buying L.L. Bean’s Original Backpack. My oldest has been using his for three years! It’s carried home leaky lunches, science projects and the six weeks of sweaters he forgets in his locker and then shoves into his backpack one afternoon when he realized he can’t hang his coat up anymore. It’s been dragged, dropped and tossed and each year I carefully inspect the backpack for rips, tears and functioning zippers only to find it in excellent condition. My middle son is on his second year with his LL Bean backpack and we just ordered my preschooler his own as well!
This one is for the older set – Master Lock now sells a locker lock with bluetooth capabilities. This lock is a lifesaver for my oldest, who tends to be forgetful. Writing your locker code down in the back of your school agenda is great, until you accidentally toss your agenda into your locker one morning before shutting it. The custodian knows my son by name solely based on the number of times he’s had to fish out his lock cutters, and as a parent it’s just not fun having to run to the store late one evening because your child needs a new lock for the next morning. The Master Lock Bluetooth Lock takes all of those worries away. It can be unlocked from any smart device – and the code can be stored securely online. My son can even share the code with me, so I can meet him at school to unlock his locker in the event his phone gets left inside, saving me the expense of constantly purchasing new locks and the school custodial team from having to rescue my son’s belongings at the end of the day!
Another item I’m loving for my middle schooler, and even for myself honestly, is the Kanex Keyboard. This tiny and lightweight keyboard measures 11″ by 4.6″ and connects to up to four bluetooth devices at once. This means my son can connect to his iPad to finish his technology homework then easily switch over the his larger tablet to play Minecraft. Later on he can switch over to the Apple TV to search for a movie, and I can use it when composing an email to his teacher on my phone. Switching between devices is seamless, needing only the touch of a button. When we’re done he just slips it into the carrying case and into his backpack for class the next day!
What are some of your back to school must haves?