Parenting Tips

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Our Favorite Back to School Essentials for 2020

There’s nothing quite like the promise of a new school year — even during a topsy-turvy year like 2020. Whether your family is gearing up for virtual learning, in-person school, or a modified/hybrid schedule, this year’s version of back to school is unusual, to put it mildly. One aspect that’s thankfully still familiar? Back to school shopping! Here are 8 must-haves designed to make life a little easier come fall.

1. Lunch™ Bento Box

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If your little one is going to school, a bento style lunchbox should be at the top of your back to school list. This one makes packing school lunches a snap (literally – the stainless utensils snap right onto the lid!). Great for picky eaters, it’s the perfect building block for kid-friendly snacks and meals. With five compartments, you can ensure foods won’t touch, and since you can pack it all in one place, you can ditch disposable bags once and for all.

2. Fun Dining Sets for Kids

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Lunching (and learning) at home? Try the Color Me Hungry Splash™ or Grown-Ups Table dining sets. Both come with divided plates and personalized stainless steel utensils to help little ones feel more at home with self-feeding and independence. With grippy bottoms and kid-friendly forks and spoons, they’re perfect for upgrading lunchtime at home (and having sit down meals with mom and dad).

3. Personalized Water Bottles

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Even mild dehydration can inhibit learning, so a proper water bottle is always on our school shopping list. Personalized stainless steel cups help keep water cold for hours in class (or your distance learning station) – and they’re lightweight enough for little hands to hold. Plus, what kid doesn’t love seeing his name in print? Choose from two preschool favorites: the Cool Cat™ Stainless Straw Cup or the Miracle® Stainless Steel 360° Cup.

4. Indestructible Snack Containers

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You already know and love the Snack™ Catcher – but have you met the stainless steel version you can personalize? If your kids are rough on their school supplies or prone to losing things, you can count on the Snack+™ Stainless Steel Snack Catcher® to be a reliable recess buddy – and since your child’s name is etched right on, you can easily retrieve it from the Lost and Found

5. Learning Bath Toys

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Wait – bath toys on a back to school shopping list? We know it’s unconventional, but hear us out. Our Learn™ Bath Letters and Numbers and washable Bath Crayons help extend learning beyond the classroom to the tub and are fun for all ages (really!). Kids can use the crayons to practice sight words and penmanship (did you know cursive is still on the grade school curriculum?) or “stick to” counting and letters with the foam numbers and alphabet set.

6. Kids’ Blue Light Filtering Glasses

All that time spent learning on a device can wreak havoc on little eyes. Combat overuse and fatigue with protective blue light filtering eyewear for kids (jury’s out on their effectiveness, but it can’t hurt to try). Our pick: 3D-printed blue light glasses from Fitz Frames, which uses an app to customize the perfect fit for your child’s face and is backed by a worry-free guarantee.

7. Lego Desk Accessories

Cluttered desks = cluttered minds. And let’s face it, kids are mess magnets. Delight the master builder in your life with a buildable LEGO pencil holder or desk organizer to help corral that inevitable mountain of stuff. What a fun way to add some creative organization to a homework station or desk area. There’s even a buildable ruler, too.

8. Digital Helpers

Like it or not, remote learning is here for the foreseeable future. A few easy upgrades can help your little learner go the digital distance (get it?). A set of kid-friendly headphones with volume limits will encourage them to focus (and let you concentrate on your own workload, if you’re working from home with kids), while a simple tablet holder can help keep them engaged — i.e. glued to those chairs.

Accepting the unknown is one of the great life lessons of 2020. Despite current circumstances, safe, in-person school will resume eventually… someday. Here’s to new beginnings and a happy school year, whatever that looks like for you.                                                    

Ani Morgan

Ani is an award-winning writer and content strategist who has been the voice of many brands for 15+ years. When she’s not busy crafting stories, she's baking healthy treats for her kids or finding her sanity on a spin bike. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids.