Back-to-School Toolkits: All the Products and Gear Your Kids Need This Year

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Back-to-school shopping is back in full swing this year. And, as parents, being as prepared as possible can help lessen the stress leading up to the first day of school. To help, we pulled together a back-to-school toolkit, including a few of our favorite gear essentials, like kids’ backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles, plus a few fun pieces of flare for the kids.

We also added items many schools include on their school supplies list—like cleaning wipes, tissues, and more. As we go into another school year, hopefully being prepared with the essentials will quell some of the anxieties and make room for excitement about getting back to school. Read on for our list of all the products and gear your kids need for the school year.


The Essentials for Back-to-School

water bottles
Amazon | Simple Modern

Kids Water Bottle

Stock up for back-to-school with editor-favorite brand Simple Modern. These kid-approved water bottles are vacuum sealed to keep beverages cool.

Available in 30+ patterns, including kid-favorite characters like Paw Patrol and Spongebob.

multiple sizes available

bento lunch box
Amazon | Bentgo

Lunch Box

An editor favorite for preschoolers and early elementary kids, the Bentgo lunch box features five compartments that are perfectly designed for kids. Plus, it's also leak-proof so your little ones don't have to worry about spilling while carrying it around.

multiple colors available

Shop more of our favorite lunch boxes here!



The high-density thermal insulation included in this lunch box will keep your child's food and drinks super cold. Plus, this option features a hard liner designed to keep soft foods separate from hard containers.

5 colors available

Shop more of our favorite lunch boxes here!

stasher bag
Grove Co. | Stasher

Sandwich Bag

Grab a sandwich bag kiddos can use again and again, eliminating the need for plastic baggies.

Amazon | Simple Modern

Printed Kids' Backpack

Plenty of pockets for school including a padded tablet sleeve, large zip-closure front pocket, and two expandable bottle sleeves on the sides. Comes in toddler and little kid sizes.

25+ patterns available including Disney and Pixar prints

View more backpacks here!

state backpack


Available in 28 colors, this kids' backpack will fit a 13 inch laptop in the main compartment and a 17 oz. water bottle in the side pockets.

Bonus: For every bag purchased, STATE supports American children and families in the ways they need it most, from free virtual tutoring sessions to fully packed pack drops in the country’s most underserved communities.

View more backpacks here!

Mabels Labels
Mabel's Labels

Personalized Label Multi-Pack

The ultimate set of back-to-school waterproof labels needed to keep your kid’s things out of the lost and found.

Etsy | Designs by Felicia

Black Lives Matter Pin

Add some flair to their backpack with a meaningful message.

sticker version of this pin available, too

be kind sticker
Etsy | All Things Happy Shop

Be Kind Sticker

A gentle reminder for kids to add to their water bottle, pencil case, or lunch box.


The Extras for Health and Safety


Dr. Talbot's Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer

Grab an extra thermometer to keep in your car or at the ready before school drop off or the bus to help follow the safety protocols at most schools.

Etsy | ZEA Khan Designs

Personalized Refillable Hand Sanitizer

Personalize a refillable hand sanitizer with their name. Plus these come with a clip easy to fasten to their backpack so they'll always have it.

Ulta | Megababe

Large Hand Sanitizer

An editor favorite, Megababe's sanitizer smell is pleasant, the gel texture means it doesn’t squirt out too fast, and the aloe helps keep your hands moisturized. Grab a large size to refill travel-sized bottles.

cleaning wipes
Grove Co. | Method

Cleaning Wipes

Probably on most back-to-school supply lists, cleaning wipes are used daily in the classroom. Method's wipes are compostable too.

Grove Co.

Facial Tissues

Another must-buy on every school supply list—tissues. Grab a few boxes of these facial tissues made from sustainable bamboo.

Burts bees
Amazon | Burt's Bees

Immune Support Gummies

Kids getting sick is one near-certainty whether they're at daycare, preschool, or school. While nothing is full-proof preventative, these gummies for kids age 4+ can help provide immune support with Zinc, Vitamin C, and Manuka Honey.


The At-Home School/Homework Set-Up

file folder
The Container Store

Rainbow Pocket Paper Organizer

Start the year off right with organization at the ready—this seven pocket file folder is perfect to house artwork, worksheets, or paperwork sent home from school.


Kids' Headphones

Prepare for a day of schooling at home with these kid headphones.

multiple colors available

Blue Light Kids

Kids' Blue Light Glasses

Worried about the strain on your little one's eyes from all the screen time? Grab a pair of blue light glasses in kids' sizes.

multiple colors available


Fintie Tablet Case

A protective case is a necessity because, well, kids drop things.


Portable Supply Caddy

This is the perfect sized container for kids to cart around their crayons, colored pencils, scissors, and other supplies.

wood desk

Lap Desk

Bring a school-size desk anywhere around the house with this convenient folding option—also great for parents working from home.


Flisat Convertible Play Table

This IKEA table is an editor favorite for its flexibility—make it a desk or a play table— storage options, and price point.

play table

Table and Chair Set

Save $80 on reader and editor favorite brand Lalo's Play Kit table and chairs through 8/7.

multiple colors available

This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated for timeliness. 

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