20 Buys That Bring Fun Back to School

Get your elementary-age kiddos (and yourself) ready to go back to school with these staples that make every day easier and a little more cheerful.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
June 24, 2019

Write This Down

Quell back-to-school anxieties and fears with a sweet little lunch note that will give your child a midday boost of encouragement. These precious cards from Anthropologie feature bright, cheery designs and room for a custom handwritten message.

Buy It: Anthropologie, $10

A World of Color

Bring on the rainbow with this set of 24 colored pencils — with an artistic bonus. The pencils are made with watercolor pigments so after your kids color a base layer, they can use a paintbrush and water to shade and blend their picture.

Buy It: Terrain, $18

Put a Name On It

Lost and found is an unavoidable part of elementary-school life. Practically daily. Help kiddos keep track of all their school gear with these handy labels. Not only are they dishwasher-, microwave- and laundry- safe, they come in hundreds of different designs you can customize.

Buy It: Minted, $20 and up

Welcome to the Zoo

The standard pink eraser may be on the school supply list, but that doesn't mean you can't send a little playfulness along to class. This set of six dinosaur erasers gets rid of any spelling errors and adds a jungle of joy to your child's desk.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $12

Pack It Up

Let your kiddo express their personal style with a playfully printed backpack. These durable, water-resistant packs have multiple handy pockets and come in tons of patterns from princesses to sharks. Plus, they can be personalized with your child's name or monogram.

Buy It: Pottery Barn Kids, $34.50 and up

Picture It

You're probably not ready to put a phone in your kid's hands but she still wants to capture memories with her friends. Enter (since the 1960s) the best of both worlds, pictures that print out instantly. These digital Polaroids have a millennial touch with delightful filters and, of course, a selfie mode. The prints also have an adhesive back so your kiddo can decorate her folders and notebooks with pictures of her favorite people and things.

Buy It: Amazon, $89.99

Simple Storage Solution

Organization may not be a kid's strong suit, but we can give them a fighting chance with storage gear. This simple case is easy for kids to tuck inside their desk and keep all their essentials — crayons, pencils, scissors and glue sticks — neat, tidy and within reach.

Buy It: Target, $6.79

Gentle Reminders

Don't ever let your kids forget just how wonderful you think they are. These No. 2 pencils are imprinted with gold-foil lettering to remind them to be kind and silly and so much more.

Buy It: Etsy, $6.95

Take Note

For scribbling notes to friends and marking homework pages, this set of sticky notes and page markers break up the everydayness of school. The uplifting messages and colorful designs on each pad will keep your student motivated and may even make studying more bearable.

Buy It: Ban.do, $12

Know Your ABCs

Not your average alphabet book, this peek-through creation beautifully illustrates the most essential reading building block. Each page reinforces a letter, its shape and associated word in an utterly retro vibe that kids will love revisiting.

Buy It: Crate & Barrel, $16.95

Keep It Sharp

Those No. 2s need to be in tip-top shape to keep up with your little one's busy mind and schedule. Have her stow away this tiny but mighty sharpener in her desk to handle the dreaded broken lead. It has three openings to fit any pencil or colored pencil need.

Buy It: The Container Store, $2.99

Baby, It's Cold in There

No need to take up precious lunch space with ice packs. This freezeable lunch box has the cooling technology built into the walls, so you can make more room for granola bars, apples and maybe a few extra cookies. Just throw it in the freezer each night and it's ready to go in the morning.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.95 and up

Lunch Time Made Easy

Bento boxes become more popular every year and there's one designed for every need. This durable stainless-steel box is perfect for half a sandwich and two sides and easily fits into any lunchbox. LunchBots has multiple other configurations and larger sizes, and most importantly, they're dishwasher safe. Hallelujah.

Buy It: Amazon, $24.99 and up

The Hot and Cold of It

Whether you're sending mac and cheese (yes, please!) or a yogurt parfait, an insulated food jar is a must. This stainless-steel option keeps food hot for five hours and cold for seven hours, so your kiddo can have his favorite meal away from home.

Buy It: Amazon, $12.47 and up

H2O Essential

You had us at leak- and spill- proof. While you may carefully place your kid's water bottle upright in her backpack or lunchbox, there is no guarantee that she will do the same. This stainless-steel bottle keeps water cold up to 28 hours and ensures that her backpack won't come home soaking wet.

Buy It: Amazon, $14.95

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Never fear a last-minute rain shower with this lightweight rain jacket. The waterproof nylon fabric combines with breathable mesh to keep your kiddo dry and comfortable, and because it packs away into its own pocket, it's easy to store in their backpacks for rainy or cool days.

Buy It: L.L. Bean, $39.95

Get Your Sneaks On

Chucks work for boys or girls, with shorts, pants or dresses — you can't beat a classic that goes with everything. Whether your kids want the traditional white or black, brilliant red or light pink, they can find high- or low-tops that give them the ultimate cool factor.

Buy It: Zappos, $35

Stylish Storage

Add an eyecatching accessory to her schoolbag that'll make organization a cinch. Sparkly and whimsical, this pearlescent pencil case is perfect for storing pencils, markers and crayons. High-schoolers can use it to stash makeup, feminine products and hair accessories.

Buy It: Ban.do, $10

A Rainbow of Hues

Fill their pencil box with this colorful set of 24 beeswax crayons. The triangle shape is designed for little hands to hold with ease and it keeps them from rolling away.

Buy It: Amazon, $12.95