It’s hard to believe it’s time to be thinking about back to school gear, but here we are! Back to school shopping was a little different for most of us last year. It was more “does this desk fit in our makeshift ‘classroom'” than “which water bottle won’t leak all over a backpack”. We were feeling a little rusty in the back to school gear shopping department, which is why we went to the smartest group of moms we know- our Instagram and Facebook followers.
Below is a complete list of mom approved back to school gear- made by you! My life motto is to work smarter, not harder, and who knows back to school gear better than a bunch of moms from the Internet? Instead of buying a million water bottles to find the best, why not ask a group of veteran moms? Let’s save each other a little time, a little money, and a few battles with our kids.
mom approved Back to school gear: Backpacks
I have long been a fan of the Pottery Barn Kids backpacks, and it turns out so many of you are too! They have the characters the kids love, without the cheesy factor that moms love. They wash incredibly well, which is a huge perk for me. Isla had hers for two years, and while they are definitely a splurge, they hold up really well.
Lands End was also a favorite. Keep an eye out for deals here because they will price adjust!. They are currently running a promotion with code “FOREST”, bringing some styles as low as $20 (through 7/14/21).
Mom approved back to school gear: lunchboxes
Pottery Barn Kids lunchboxes were, hands down the crowd favorite for lunchboxes. You can also throw these in the washing machine, which is good intel, because you know a yogurt pouch will burst in a lunchbox at some point.
Under Armor lunch boxes have great designs for older kids who may have outgrown characters.
back to school gear: lunch accessories
I grabbed these Bentgo lunch containers on Prime Day. I was hesitant at first, but relieved after I heard so many of you love them too. I love that they reduce waste and you don’t have to buy a million plastic bags.
Isla used a Lunch Bots container the last few years, which is similar to the Bentgo, except metal. I originally bought these because I am trying to reduce how much plastic our family uses. I love the design, but metal is a lot heavier, and on a little person that slight weight difference matters. Highly recommend Lunch Bots containers, but would probably be better for older kids.
These containers are also great, and ideal if you are packing for multiple kids because they come in a set of 4.
Can I just say you all are very passionate about your water bottles and I am here for it. I can tell you’ve all dealt with a leaky water bottle a time or two and it shows!
Metal water bottles
I also have a lot of thoughts re: water bottles. So many of you mentioned ThermoFlask water bottles, and both my kids have these as well. All the double walled, stainless steel goodness of their expensive counterparts, but much cheaper and usually in a two pack. I always grab a few sets from Costco each year. Pros- the lids don’t get funky (if you know, you know), and there aren’t a million pieces. And, no leaks! Cons- they’re on the smaller side and I we refill a lot.
Simple Modern water bottles were also mentioned. Seems like the same stainless steel concept as the ThermoFlasks, but they come in a variety of sizes. I want one slightly bigger, but my 5 year old can’t lug around a water bottle half the size he is. Well, technically he’s capable, but I would never do that to his poor teacher!
Brittany loves Klean Kanteens for her boys. They come in a variety of colors, and aren’t too heavy.
Hydroflasks, Yetis, and Takeyas were also mentioned. In my opinion, these are all the same thing. ::ducks:: Now, I know they aren’t and people have a strong allegiance to their water bottle of choice. But, they all keep your water ice cold, weigh a million pounds, and are a great landscape for your favorite stickers.
other water bottles
My kids used Camelback water bottles for a long time in the toddler years. They are the perfect size, light weight, and can’t be turned into a deadly weapon if thrown. However, they do come in a lot of pieces that can be hard to wash. They also aren’t insulated, which isn’t ideal in a Northern California summer. Side note: if your kids are chewers, you can buy replacement bite valves for these water bottles!
OXO Sippy Cups are great for little ones in day care.
masks + more
Brittany and I both have had the best luck with Old Navy’s masks. This style, with the adjustable ear loops have been the best fit. There are tons of patterns, and they are a great price point that you can buy enough to get you through a week before you have to do laundry.
I also really loved kid sized disposable masks in the winter months. The colder weather always leads to runny noses, and I found these were just easier than having to pack extra masks each day.
Mask chains are also handy, especially if kids are able to take their masks off at recess.