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6 Back to School Must Haves

6 Back to School Must Haves

It’s that time of year again! Summer is waning, school supply lists are waiting to be fulfilled, and everyone is filled with anticipation. It’s hard to know where to begin, but we have you covered with some super cool items that should go on your “must have” list for fall. 

Packing school lunches is tedious, but there can be some joy in finding the best lunch box for your kids. Enter ECO Lunchboxes. We absolutely love the Blue Water Bento Splash Box pods set with the canvas tote. With three stainless steel pods (with silicone lids!) in different sizes, it’s versatile, earth-friendly, and cleans in a cinch. The canvas lunch tote is a dream, too! It’s machine washable, has a handy Velcro closure and isn’t too cumbersome to carry or tuck in your child’s backpack. Two thumbs up for this simple, plastic-free lunch system!




Speaking of backpacks, there are so many backpacks flooding the market, from the inexpensive Disney-branded ones from Target (which always fall apart within the year), to the most expensive Patagonia or North Face options (way too rich for our blood), that it’s tough to drill down to get the highest quality for the best price. If your kids are anything like mine, they’re likely pretty tough on backpacks, so you need something that is durable AND stands up to machine washing (am I the only one who’s scraped up a smashed, rotting banana out of the bottom of my kids’ backpack?). To that end, we always go to L.L. Bean; their backpacks have served us well since preschool. They are durable, not terribly expensive (starting around $30 for the junior packs) and have a few different sizes of packs, so you can stick with this brand as your child grows through elementary school, middle school, and beyond. If you want to try L.L. Bean’s back pack, hurry, because their 20% back to school sale runs through August 27!

We’re are as eco-friendly as possible in our house, and that extends to the water bottles that we send to school with the kids. This year, we have fallen in love with the Life Factory water bottles. They’re glass, so they’re easy to clean and can go right in the dishwasher, the silicone sleeve protects from breaking (and gives a little extra grip for those little hands). Plus, you can choose from three different lid types (straw, flip top and screw top), so everybody’s preferences can be accommodated. And, starting at $19.99 for the 12 oz size, they don’t break the bank. You’ll never want to buy another water bottle again.

Ok, this one feels a little bit like it’s more for Mommy than the kids, but I’ll take the fun where I can get it. If you haven’t browsed Minted’s back to school offerings, you’re really missing out. From name labels for lunch boxes, water bottles, sports equipment and more, to personalized notebooks and stationary, Minted has stepped up their back to school game in recent years, and the results are fabulous.


Back to school means getting organized (again) in a whole different way. Keeping schedules straight for dance class, soccer practice, work meetings, shopping lists (oh my!) can be a challenge for a busy family, and calendar syncing is a must. If you’re like me and can’t seem to make this happen electronically, you might want to try this old school chalkboard calendar. We are loving this option from Jaq Jaq Bird. It even comes with some rad colored chalk pens.


We often agonize over a teacher gift at the end of the year, but why not start things off right with a little token of appreciation to the person who is stuck with your kid until next summer? Beginning the school year with a whole new classroom of kids can be tough. Pack a bottle of wine with those school supplies for your teacher with one of these fun labels on it. Cheers to another wonderful school year!



Mollie Michel is a South Philly resident and a Philadelphia public school parent. A recovering non-profit professional, Mollie is also an experienced birth doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, and the mom of two awesome girls and a sweet pit bull named Princess Cleopatra. In her spare time, she is usually trying to figure out how Pinterest works, training for a(nother) half-marathon with her dog at her side, or simply trying to keep up with her increasingly wily daughters.