My Back to School Checklist is back and better than ever. This was one of my readers’ favorite posts last year probably because it is very thorough, heavily researched (hello, water bottles and lunch containers!), and can be shopped entirely online, if so desired. I put it together with lots of love for my readers who I know are super busy and prefer not to beat the streets in 100 degree temps! So enjoy your easy summer days by the pool a bit longer using this checklist (and share with your friends!).
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!
My favorite brand is Pottery Barn Kids (20% off sitewide today with code FRIENDS!). They really are so durable and last for several years. I also like Lands’ End (40% off today!) and Vera Bradley for girls.
Nordstrom also has several backapcks on sale as part of the #NSsale right now incluidng the “cool” Herschel brand (good for middle/high school). They also have the latest North Face (some on sale!) and popular Skip Hop backpacks ($20) for pres-schoolers.
For the past several years my daughters have had a Pottery Barn Classic lunchbox (20% off + free shipping today with code FRIENDS!) with these Easy Lunchboxes plastic bento boxes. I like them because they are inexpensive and easy to open, even for my youngest. Last year my older daughter had a Vera Bradley lunch bunch bag for the first time and used this insert.
This system has worked for us for several years but I know there are a million lunchbox options out there, many quite fancy, so I have been doing some research (on messge boards of some very astute moms!) and the overwhelming consensus is that the Yumbox is the best. (Some reviews says that the compartments of the Planetbox leak itno one another and teachers don’t like them because they are so big!). Regardless, here are all the divided luncbox options:
3. Freezer Packs and Other Lunch Accessories
The blogger and author from 100 Days of Real Food recommended these packs several years ago and we still have them. They don’t melt onto the food! I also just bought these PB Kids freezer packs for my youngest and they are suppposedly melt-proof, too, but will let you know;). For $6 for two (on sale!) + free shipping it’s worth a try!
For dips, we use these cups. And the silicone yogurt molds are good for smoothies!
4. Water Bottles
For smaller children, the Contigo Stainless bottles have great reviews and the Klean Kanteens. Pogo water bottles are straw-free and Polar Water Bottes are as well – the latter will send you a new cap if you already have a bottle but your cap has been chewed on;).
For older kids, these Pogo ones are reasonably priced. Th S’well (free shipping!) and Corksickle are popular among older kids. (Note: these are hand-wash only so might want to invest in this brush to help clean). To personalize, order a decal from Etsy.
The best reviewed are these Contigo Stainless, Thermos, and we like Pottery Barn Kids water bottles becaues they snap close (and come in cute patterns!). And my oldest has gone all Pottery Barn Teen on me with this 17 oz. water bottle in capri (it’s basically the same design as PB Kids but just taller and in more tween type patterns). Most of these come in multiple colors:
5. Napmat (for the itty bitties!)
I have a new post detailing Minted’s labels, including their new clothing labels (above). Right now get 15% off all back to school labels and notebooks at Minted with code SCHOOL2016. I also love Southern Stationery’s bag tags and stickers and Love Lucy’s bag tags. Mabels’s Labels are very durable and are what I used for Mother’s Day Out.
7. School Shoes & Socks
Years ago my friend, Nicole, bought a shoe measuring device on Amazon so she could measure her own children’s feet and order their shoes online – genius! I just bought my daughters’ shoes at Nordstrom – T-strap keds, these Nikes as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and even saddle oxfords. When shopping online I usually order two sizes and send back what doesn’t work. Nordstrom has free returns and free shipping, so why not?
Amazon also has a great selection of kids’ shoes with free shipping and free returns if you have PRIME. It’s a great place to by soccer cleats, too.
Tip: You can buy those Jefferies socks you get in nice boutiques (for uniforms and ruffled socks for little girls!) on Amazon.
The school year is a great time to freshen up your children’s underwear drawer. You can always buy the character packs at Target but if you are looking for plain underwear, Nordstrom has several options (these Tucker + Tate are on sale!), Hanna Andersson has buy 1 pack, get 2nd pack for 50% off and, of course, Amazon.
If you like the little white ruffle bloomers for girls you can get on Amazon (linked above) and take to your local monogram store. In Dallas I like Hip Hip Hooray – they have some of the most beautiful monograms and designs.
9. School Supplies
Amazon is always a sure bet but right now Target also has some awesome deals on back to school supplies. You can even use your classroom supply list to order online and pick up in store to save time. Or have it shipped free if you spend over $25.
My daughters’ school suggests making a homework caddy – everything they will need to do homework in one place that can be taken into the kitchen or their bedroom or wherever they do their homework (Sometimes the car!). I use this caddy from Amazon (but cuter ones at The Container Store I am sure!) and include colored pencils, sharpened pencils (in our Well Bowed marker case!), a ruler, scissors, erasers, a bookmark timer for reading, and flash cards if your child’s school uses them.
10. Locker Accessories
Amazon, of course, has the best prices and many of the same things you see in boutiques. And The Container Store has cute options, too.
Boys are not into all the frilly accessories but they do like sports team magnets accoridng to my sister (might be a fun little back-to-school gift!) .
Stay tuned for back to school clothing posts for children! But so many popular retailers’ are having fabulous back to school promotions, many are online only:
Saint Bernard : Summer Southern Tide, Patagonia, johnnie-O, Vineyard Vines on sale.
Old Navy : up to 60% off kids styles.
Lands’ End : 25% off all kids styles + 40% backpacks
Hanna Andersson : 50% off 2nd tee, unders, and tights +$20 leggings!
Nordstorm Anniversary Sale – Shoes, Shorts, Socks, and more up to 40% off!
MiniBoden : Buy 2, get 15% off; Buy 2, Get 20% off
Target – Back to school supplies starting at 99 cents!
Gap : 40% off top and tees; 35% off everything else with code NOW.
Smocked Auctions – Great prices on classic clothing!
Also, if you monogram things (I monogram the collar of my daughters’ uniform shirt) make sure you get to your monogrammer in time! I use Stitch Monogramming here in Dallas.
12. First Day Sign
13. First Day of School Teacher Gift
It’s always nice to bring a little something for the teacher on the first day and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Last year we brought a bag of apples with a note. The Love Lucy “Getting to Know You” printable is something your child can color and give to your teacher to help you be thoughtful throughout the year. (Room moms take note of this, too!). You can also get customized first day gift tags similar to the above photo here.
Other ideas: gift cards, cute water bottle and, of course, teachers can always use a cute personalized notepad:
I’ve linked everything above all in one place plus more great back to school finds in my Back to School Everything SHOP that can be found at the Shop dropdown tab at the top of my homepage anytime. Now all you need to do is get those back to school haircuts and you are done! √
Target Gift Card Giveaway!
Now 1) Share the post on Facebook (link below to the right) and 2) Comment below with one back to school tradition you do with your family, or want to do this year, because I am giving away a $50 Target Gift Card to one DoSayGive reader. I am going to share my favorite traditions in an upcoming post!
Giveaway ends August 10th at midnight. U.S. residents only.
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