Maybe you’re over the moon that the kids are headed back to school, or maybe you’re dreading how quiet the house is going to be without them. Or maybe you’re even wishing YOU could go back to school – some of us just can’t get enough! But one way or another, the calendar moves inexorably forward, and it’s time to gear up for the school year. Besides, getting a fun new bookbag or lunchbox is a great way to get kids who aren’t necessarily psyched about the end of summer into the spirit – and these easy-to-use and easy-to-clean lunchboxes and food containers will help you dread the drudgery of packing school lunches a little less.
Skip Hop Zoo Packs – Elephant, Dinosaur, Monkey, Ladybug, Giraffe, Shark, Hedgehog, Butterfly, Unicorn
These adorable little guys are the gold standard for little kids’ backpacks: not only are they incredibly cute, meaning that your kid will love to show their Zoo Pack off, but they’re built to withstand tough love (and reviewers say that they come out of the washer looking like new). They’re perfectly sized for ages 1-4, perfect for day care and preschool, and multiple compartments make it easy to keep your kid organized. Note: Zoo Packs measure 11” x 5” x 12”, so they won’t fit a full-sized folder, so by kindergarten, your child will probably need a bigger bookbag, but they’ll still use this one for years as an overnight bag and for general toting!
Bixbee Kid Backpacks
If cuddly creatures aren’t your child’s aesthetic, how about some wings? The Bixbee Rocketflyer Kids Backpack and the Bixbee Sparkalicious Purple Butterfly Kids Backpack encourage little imaginations to lift off, doubling as a make-believe prop as well as a practical bag. They’re roomy bags, and the horizontal layout makes it easier to find items at the bottom of the bag.
Crocodile Creek Kid Backpacks – Owl, Butterfly, T-Rex
Crocodile Creek bags are a little bigger, made for ages 3-8, and feature yet another different look for your discerning schoolkid, with contrasting colors and bold graphics. I personally really like the T-Rex, who looks like he could stomp the heck out of you but would rather be your friend.
All of the three brands above also have matching lunchboxes, many of which coordinate with the bookbags: you can, for instance, pair your Unicorn Zoo Pack with a Unicorn Zoo Lunchies bag. The bags are insulated, easy to wipe clean, and include a mesh compartment to hold utensils, lunch money, and/or cute notes from parents. We’ve got Zoo Lunchies in Dinosaur, Bee, Penguin, Giraffe, Hedgehog, Butterfly, Unicorn, Ladybug, and Dog, and new designs are always being released!
If you’re planning on packing a lot of lunches that need to stay cold, though, you may want to go with a Packit Freezable Lunch Box instead: these “portable coolers” will keep milk, yogurt, cheese, and other items cold so they don’t go bad while they’re hanging out in your kid’s locker. The freezable gel is built right into the lunchbox walls, so you don’t have to fuss with an ice pack. And I absolutely adore the monster design!
MORE FOOD CONTAINERS
Skip Hop Food Jars – Dog, Monkey, Owl, Bee
On the other hand, if you need to keep items warm, Skip Hop Food Jars are the way to go: designed to match the Zoo Lunchies and Zoo Packs, they’ll keep soups and stews from turning into an unappealing clammy mess by lunchtime. They’re just the right size for preschoolers, and they come with a matching spork! (You can use them for cold food as well.)
Thermos Foogo Leakproof Insulated Food Jar
The same concept, with a slightly different look: this leakproof jar uses Thermos Thermax technology for the ultimate in insulation – cold foods will stay cold for 7 hours and hot food will stay warm for 5 hours. Surface-gripping material on the bottom will help to prevent spills, and because it’s rubberized, it will keep the jar from feeling too hot to the touch.
Spbang Reusable Snack Bag
Or perhaps you’re going traditional and just sending your kid to school with a sandwich? If so, the Spbang reusable bag lets you skip wasting baggies and will help you to avoid squished sandwiches, too! These easy-to-use bags are dishwasher-safe, making it super simple to have one at the ready for the next day’s lunch.
Stasher Silicone Storage Bag
Stasher reusable silicone bags are similar, with a few perks: they’re transparent, so you can see what’s in them, and you can also write on them with dry-erase marker, so you can leave a different note on your kid’s sandwich bag every day! They’re also usable for absolutely everything you’d use a Ziplock bag for – take, for instance, your toiletries on a flight, or just other small items you want to keep separate in your diaper bag.
Finally: here are some other resources for getting ready for that exciting first day!
- Back to School Tips from HealthyChildren.org: Addresses backpacks, travel, lunch, social issues, after school care, homework, and more.
- How to Save on School Supplies
- Common Back to School Worries and How To Talk About Them
- Back to School Tips for Families with Kids with Special Needs