Wondering what should be on your preschooler’s back to school shopping list? We’ve got you covered!
Ever seen a preschooler with a backpack so big it’s almost dragging on the ground? (and dragging them down with it?) A lunch or snack, change of clothes and the latest leaf-rubbing-finger-painted-piece-de-resistance is probably the most they’ll ever need to carry, so that large pack that’s straining their shoulders can take a hike.
We’ve uncovered some of the coolest backpacks (as well as lunch boxes and accessories) that perfectly fit a preschoolers’ proportions and will get them excited about starting school…and, gulp, leaving mom.
To ensure your child has a proper fitting backpack check that:
• The bottom of the pack does not sit more than 4 inches below their waistline
• The point where the bag and the straps meet is 1-2” below the tops of their shoulders
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the weight of a backpack should not exceed 10% of your child’s own body weight.
about our sponsor
We’re incredibly proud that our 2018 Back-to-School Guide is brought to you by our amazing sponsor, TeacherLists.com, who make back-to-school supply shopping a complete breeze (seriously, we kid not).
Here’s how this genius technology works: Simply search for your child’s school using your zip code to get access to their EXACT school supply list, then click to have everything placed directly into your favorite e-retailer’s shopping cart (including Amazon, Target and Walmart!). Now you can simply purchase all your supplies from your online cart – no trips to the store searching for the specific fine-point chiseled no-odor markers or purple quick-dry medium-sized glue sticks.
But hey, if you do like the whole back-to-school supply shopping experience, you can still use TeacherLists.com to access an easy-to-read copy of your exact list to print out (or view it from your mobile device when you inevitably forget it at home).
We’re all about making your life easier, and TeacherLists.com is seriously simple. A few minutes and you’ll be checking “buy school supplies” off your list – and who doesn’t love the feeling of that?!
Please note: this post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for full details.
SOYOUNG TODDLER BACKPACK
Oh how we adore these these Raw Linen backpacks from SoYoung, and your preschooler will too when they see their awesome selection of brightly colored animal prints. This modern pack is the perfect size for your new school-goer, and features an interior zippered pocket, 2 side bottle pockets, a reinforced bottom and a chest strap. Simply throw it in the washing machine when it needs to be freshened up. Love!
PS – SoYoung’s matching toddler lunch bags are also pretty darn awesome and can attach to the front loop of the backpack.
STATE – MINI KANE
This smaller version of STATE’s popular Kane pack doesn’t skimp on storage with a zippered front and Velcro side pockets. Choose from 9 fun versions, from trendy color-blocking to whimsical prints. Better still, for each one sold, they give one to an American child in need. This cheetah-icecream-bird print is mix ‘n’ match at it’s best!
URBAN INFANT TODDLER PACKIE BACKPACK
Made from a rugged, laminated fabric that is easy to wipe clean, this this innovative backpack is made especially for the active preschooler. The coolest part – the exterior art silo tube that can safely carry your child’s artwork home without it looking like a mangled mess. It’s so jam-packed with features, no wonder they called it the “Packie”.
POTTERY BARN KIDS MACKENZIE CRITTER SMALL BACKPACK
These Critter Backpacks are ridiculously adorable, without being over-the-top. The subtle 3D designs don’t get in the way of them being completely functional either, and the little ladies will love the extra bling of the glittered designs. Add the padded straps and back panel, zippered front pocket and the ability to be personalized, and this one is sure to make your preschooler smile.
It is considered a safety hazard to have your child’s name visible on their backpack, so if you are going to personalize their pack, please use their initials instead.
SKIP HOP ZOO COLLECTION BACKPACKS
Is it possible to not crack a smile looking at these adorable little fellas from Skip Hop? And with over 20 animal designs to choose from (we’ve got serious heart eyes for the new London Leopard), your preschooler is bound to find one that sets their heart aflutter. You can even get the matching lunch bag to fit seamlessly inside. Holy cuteness overload.
DABBAWALLA PRESCHOOL BACKPACK
We love the backpacks from Dabbawalla for many reasons: the machine washable 100% non-toxic fabric, the colorful, graphic designs and the perfect size for preschool materials. We’re partial to the Miss Kitty, a darling dose of Parisian flare that is sure to get plenty of Oo-la-la’s at the playground.
MILKDOT KAWAII PAC MINI BACKPACK
For the minimalist preschooler who needs no more than a small snack and change-of-clothes, these these Milkdot Kawaii mini packs are ev-ree-thing. “Kawaii” in Japanese means lovable, cute and adorable – 3 words that surely describe your preschooler, and this backpack.
Bixbee adds a twist to each of their backpacks. Literally. Their patented horizontal design provides kids with easy access to supplies, and keeps the weight up high to reduce shoulder and back strain. Add on a reinforced base, reflective accents, easy-to-grab zipper pulls, toxin-free fabric and tons of pockets, and you’ve got yourself a perfect little pack. Our little girls can’t get enough of the butterfly design, but they also come in a variety of prints and solids, and a pretty awesome rocketflyer too.
POTTERY BARN KIDS HEROES & VILLAINS PRE-K BACKPACKS
Superman, Batman, Avengers, Star Wars and Wonder Woman, oh my! If you’ve got a little Super Hero lover on your hands, these Heroes & Villains packs are sure to fuel their fire. And with details like reflective piping, an exterior water-bottle pocket and adjustable padded straps, they get top rating from parents too.
FJÄLLRÄVEN KÅNKEN MINI
The classic “Kanken” backpack may have been miniaturized, but the durability, and timeless, functional design remain the same. This pack is the perfect size for your preschooler’s snack and favorite lovie, and comes in a rainbow of different colors to suit their taste.
BEATRIX NEW YORK LITTLE KID BACKPACK
We have a major crush on Beatrix NY, a company devoted to creating high-quality products for kids that are fun and whimsical, yet have modern, “grown-up” styling. Their “Little Kid” pack can easily withstand the daily battering of a 3-year old with sturdy seams and a wipeable laminated canvas front. The latest characters in their line are bold and playful, and are also featured on the matching lunch boxes, bento boxes and unique water bottles “cans”, making us (and our preschooler) totally swoon.
HANNA ANDERSSON THERE & BACKPACK SMALLEST
Your preschooler will go ga-ga for the whimsical There & Backpack styles from Hanna Andersson that have just the right amount of “cutesy”. They’re light-weight but include lots of extras like a built-in organizer, zippered front pocket, 360 degree reflectivity and ergonomic straps. With Hanna’s long-lasting quality, this pack is one that can certainly be passed down.
POTTERY BARN KIDS EMILY & MERRIT CRITTER BACKPACK
How could we not include these glamorous but oh-so-darling packs on our list? Designed for PBK by fashion gurus Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, they were able to make cutesy decidedly cool – while not forgetting about functional extras like a water bottle side pocket, water-resistant interior lining, and adjustable straps.
OBERSEE KIDS PRESCHOOL ALL-IN-ONE BACKPACK WITH COOLER
If you’re looking for a comfortable fit and storage galore, this backpack from Obersee is the one. You’ll find features usually found on larger, “big kid” bags like a padded breathable mesh back panel, cushioned straps, and an interior organizer with pockets for supplies and pen/pencil slots. And here’s the kicker: the front pocket is an insulated lunch cooler, so you don’t even need a lunch bag!
Many of these packs include a “write-on” patch on the inside for your child’s name and contact information, but if yours doesn’t, try attaching a fun luggage tag to the interior where you can write their name and your phone #. We love these brightly colored owl ones
For a quick overview of just how easy back-to-school supply shopping can be, take a peek at how TeacherLists.com operates:
Now you’ve found the perfect backpack for your preschooler, you need an equally awesome lunch bag to go with it, right? We love these options for their size and fun designs (many of which match our featured packs), and they’re perfect for keeping your tikes’ carrot sticks and yogurt cool ‘til snack time.
(top to bottom; left to right)
1. BUILT NY Big Apple Buddies Insulated Lunch Sack ♥ 2. Urban Infant Toddler Preschool Yummie ♥ 3. Beatrix NY Lunch Box ♥ 4. Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie ♥ 5. 3 Sprouts Lunch Bag ♥ 6. STATE Ryder
LANDSEND CLASSMATE EZ WIPE LUNCH BOX
This might look like a regular lunchbox from the outside, but on the inside, there’s this incredible seamless liner that makes cleaning up food crumbs and yogurt spills a breeze. No more stinky seams that you can never quite get clean, woo hoo!
LUNCH BOX CONTAINERS + SUPPLIES
BEATRIX NEW YORK BENTO BOX
I think we mentioned our obsession of Beatrix, and here they are again with an awesome bento snack box we just can’t help but tell you about. It’s made from natural rice husk fiber which makes it free from nasty chemicals and completely biodegradable! The removable divider gives you flexibility in your snack packing, and the fun elastic strap keeps the air-tight lid firmly in place. It’s the perfect size to fit your preschooler’s snack or small lunch, and can easily be slipped into any of our featured lunch bags or backpacks.
We’ve been fans of the lunch-sized Yumbox for years, so we were psyched to discover their new snack-sized container, the Yumbox MiniSnack. It’s perfect for your Preschooler’s mid-morning snack, and with their leakproof seal, you can pack yogurt next to crackers without blinking an eye.
GREEN SPROUTS BENTO BOX
These adorable animal bento boxes from Green Sprouts are the perfect size to use for a snack or small lunch. The latches can be easily manipulated by a 3-year old, and inside there’s a surprise…a fork and spoon attached to the lid, and 2 layers of food fun! Yep, there’s a neat nesting tray that sits on top of a larger compartment, so several different snacks can be combined in 1 container.
THERMOS VACUUM INSULATED STAINLESS STEEL 10OZ STRAW BOTTLE
Your child will love this this Thermos water bottle push button lid, easy-to-grip contoured bottle and their favorite TV character smiling back at them. You will love the BPA-free, stainless steel construction, easy-to-clean straw and condensation-free exterior. A total win-win!
SKIP HOP ZOO INSULATED FOOD JAR
If you’re looking to liven up snack time, try this sweet thermos that features the same cute “zoo pal” characters as Skip Hop’s backpacks and lunch bags. The stainless steel container will keep food warm, and the included spork has a handy clip-on attachment, so it’s always ready when they are.
RELATED: For more bento box options and fun lunch packing supplies, head over to: The Best Bento Boxes, Supplies & Tools To Take Your School Lunch From Boring To Blast-Off!
One thing we’ve learned about school-age kids: they tend to gravitate towards the same stuff, and you’ll likely find at least one other child at their lunch table with the same water bottle or lunch box. So save them the lunch-time confusion by personalizing their goods with these cool labels.
Say goodbye to permanent marker that eventually rubs off, and hello to these stretchy these stretchy personalized bands that will fit any bottle, thermos or snack container. They can be transferred from one to another, and even help your preschooler by giving them a non-slip grip!
We love these these mini dog tag labels from Mabel’s Labels that can easily fit on the zipper pulls of your preschooler’s lunch bag. They not only make them easier to open, but also make sure your picky-eater doesn’t end up with Billy’s chicken enchilada.
Thanks again to our incredible 2018 Back to School Guide sponsor, TeacherLists.com, for making the annual back to school supply chore simple and convenient for parents. Visit TeacherLists.com to complete your supply shopping in a few simple clicks.
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