Back-to-school preparations always gave me the jitters, as the usual anxieties took hold. Would I make new friends? Would I like my teachers? Luckily, the process of getting my brand new pencils and sneakers provided some real comfort – it made me feel ready. It was also fun to have a few new things to start the year off in style.
Here at Magic Beans, we don’t carry the dozens upon dozens of required items on that “Back-to-School Shopping List.” But we do carry the best of the best when it comes to lunch bags, backpacks, and lots of neat add-ons that add a dash of color and fun to that scary first day.
So without further ado, here’s our list of the Top 10 must-have items for Back to School.
1) Goodbyn Original Lunch Box – Pack a better lunch, starting with the box. This ingenious, BPA-free container has little bento-style compartments to fit a sandwich and lots of snacks. Not only is it the most eco-friendly option, but it will save you tons of money on plastic baggies and will inspire healthier lunch options. Plus, kids really love the included stickers that let them custom-design their box with funky faces. Also available in a “Too Cool for Ears” variation for older kids.
2) Itzy Ritzy Reusable Snack Bags – A great alternative to plastic bags, these zippered reusable bags are perfect for a bunch of grapes or handful of crackers. Made with a 100% cotton exterior, it’s soft to the touch and comes in lots of awesome patterns. The interior sports thick PVC-free lining that makes the pouch waterproof inside. Grab a few; there are so many ways to use these bags. Also available are the “Wet Happened?” Bags that are a godsend for potty-training pre-schoolers.
3) Smencils - These collectible pencils are actually made by covering a writing core with tightly compressed rolls of newspaper. They are then dipped in appealing scents like Cinnamon, Bubble Gum, and Tropical Blast. They come in a pack of ten — enough to share with some new friends.
4) Ugly Doll Keychains – Ugly Dolls are truly a phenomenon. They started as an inside joke between graphic designers and became a bestselling collection of creatures, each with his own unique personality. The keychain sizes are perfect for dressing up a backpack (and making it easier to spot in a crowd). They are collectible, so they also make great incentive prizes for good behavior at school and finishing up veggies at dinner.
5) Butterflies in My Stomach Book by Serge Bloch - In this gorgeously illustrated book, award-winning artist Serge Bloch tells the story of a boy facing his great fear — the first day of school. Whether your child is 6 or 16, the story’s whimsical mash-up of line drawings with photographs makes for an unforgettable book. The best part? At the end of the story, the butterflies are gone. They have flown away one by one with each great experience at school. It’s a perfect read to quell the back-to-school nerves.
6) Cleanwell Hand Sanitizer Pocket Sized – This all-natural sanitizer is made from non-toxic plant oils that kill 99.9% of germs. We love the gentle herbal scent and the easy spray bottle. Stash one in your kid’s lunch box (and your purse) for instant germ-killing.
7) Skip Hop Zoo Backpacks and Lunch Boxes – The Skip Hop collection of lunch bags and boxes feature your child’s favorite zoo animals. We love that it is free of all BPA, phthalates, and PVC — also, it comes with an insulated pocket for snacks. There is a write-on name tag inside, so be sure to use it.
8 ) Teach Me Time Clock - Tired of getting woken up at 5 a.m. because your child just wants to say hi? Pick up a Teach Me Time Clock, one of our very favorite products for kids. This kid-friendly clock glows green when it’s time to wake up Mom and Dad and even teaches kids how to tell time using the clock’s interactive features. They also offer the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock that offers the same great features without the time teaching functions.
9) Clementine Art Supplies – When we found these at Toy Fair last year, we knew we had a winner. This line of all-natural art supplies includes ingredients like soy wax and rich mineral pigments. Their crayons and markers offer smooth and rich lines while the glue provides a chemical-free adhesive.
10) Uncle Goose Block Sets – These classic wooden blocks are updated with lovely embossed details, non-toxic inks, and a range of language options. Whether your toddler is embarking on Japanese or just practicing the ABCs, these special sets will make learning a lot more fun. They are also made here in the USA in Grand Rapids, Michigan.