5 Things to Get Your Kids Excited for Back-to-School

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school bus
Source: Old Navy

When you felt summer winding down as a kid, back-to-school shopping was something to look forward to. As the first day of school crept closer and closer, maybe you eyed a new Trapper Keeper or lunchbox, went to school to see the class lists pinned up, or started planning your first-day outfit. Me? I was in uniform. So wearing a plaid jumper was a given—but I loved picking out my own school shoes (penny loafers, check!).

This year, we want our kids to feel more excited about the school year ahead than sad summer is ending. We want them to feel more confident than nervous as they walk through those school doors. Letting them choose back-to-school clothes that reflect their personal style or upgrading a worn-out (or too-small) backpack from last year can get them pumped for the upcoming school year. Here are five ideas to get kids excited about going back to school.


1. Back-to-School Clothes That Reflect Their Style

Kids are like anyone else when it comes to clothes; they want to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing. Plus, the clothes have to be durable enough to make it through science experiments, lunch room shenanigans, messy art projects, and daily recess. So where’s the best place to shop to get clothes that kids love to wear—and will make it through the school year? Reader and editor favorite brand Old Navy, of course.

From basics to denim to seasonal outwear to cute picture day outfits, Old Navy is our go-to for back-to-school kids’ clothes. Even if your kid wears a uniform to school, Old Navy has you covered with plenty of options for kids to mix and match based on their dress code and personal style. See some of our favorite picks from this season’s collection below:

old navy
Old Navy

Short-Sleeve Floral-Print Swing Dress for Girls

An adorable (and easy to style) outfit for school picture day, this swing dress is both cute and comfortable for class.

3 cute patterns available

old navy
Old Navy

Slouchy Straight Medium-Wash Jean Overalls for Girls

A pair of overalls is a great go-to outfit for any kid because they're easy to throw on with a tee and sneakers (as shown here!) and are versatile to wear through the seasons.

old navy
Old Navy

Cropped Button-Front Pocket Cardigan Sweater for Girls

A cozy rib-knit sweater is a must-have for chilly fall days, and we love the look of this button-front version with pockets.

2 colors available

old navy
Old Navy

Striped Rib-Knit Lettuce-Edge T-Shirt for Girls

An elevated take on the basic T-shirt, this soft-washed rib-knit top is also tag-free for added comfort.

3 colors available

old navy
Old Navy

Cotton Non-Stretch Jean Jacket for Kids

This gender-neutral denim jacket is a great layering piece as the weather turns cold during back-to-school season.

2 styles available

old navy
Old Navy

Graphic Crew-Neck Sweatshirt for Kids

A comfy sweatshirt is a must-have item for fall and we love the colorful design on this version, perfect for any school "legend."

more styles and colors available

old navy
Old Navy

Striped Long-Sleeve Rugby Polo Shirt for Boys

This durable rugby shirt is made of 100% jersey knit and is perfectly-priced at just $24.99.

old navy
Old Navy

Original Taper Built-In Flex Jeans For Boys

Every kid needs a fresh pair of jeans for back-to-school season and this pair from Old Navy is the perfect, affordable price at just $34.99.

many washes available


2. New School Gear

From backpacks to lunchboxes to water bottles, most of the items that our kids use daily at school get worn out—or lost—throughout the school year. If your kid could use an upgrade to any of their gear, we picked out some favorites to consider.

old navy
Old Navy

Patterned Canvas Backpack For Kids

This durable (and stylish!) backpack features a two-way zip-top closure, padded shoulder straps with adjustable buckles and a mesh side pouch to hold a water bottle.

2 patterns available

state bags backpack
State Bags

Kids Backpack

At an investment price, State Bags are built to last with colors your kids won't outgrow (hardly like they'll take their Paw Patrol backpack to middle school, right?).

10+ colors and patterns available

back to school lunchbox
Amazon | Bentgo

Chill Lunch Box

An editor and reader favorite for kids under 7, the Bentgo Chill Bento-style lunch box also includes a removable ice pack to help keep foods cold throughout the day.

back to school lunch box
Crate & Kids

Colorblock Lunch Box

For older kids who might need more space, Crate & Kids insulated soft-sided lunch box is a great choice. It has an exterior pocket for their water bottle and can be personalized—AKA, easy to find in case it makes its way to the lost and found.

multiple colors/patterns available

back to school
Amazon | Camelback

Water Bottle

Reader and editor favorite for its leak-proof top plus features that make it a kid favorite: fun patterns, easy-to-carry handle, and lightweight design that doesn’t weigh down their backpack. Plus, this new earth-friendly plastic is made with 50% recycled material.

10+ designs available

old navy

Source: Old Navy


3. Special School Supplies

When it comes to student supplies, most schools provide a list with the basics: pens, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, folders, glue, etc. But there are some special school supplies that double as practical and personal, like the items below.

pencil case
Etsy | Shop Swoon Designs

Personalized Pencil Case

This pencil case can be personalized in many different colors which ensures your kid will know which one is theirs.

back to school
Pottery Barn Kids

Homework Holder

Having a spot to store all take home papers and homework is essential for an organized school year. This handy homework holder includes pocket folders and a pencil case, plus it can be personalized.

Or if your kid wants to be a trendsetter, clue them into the retro magic of Trapper Keepers (yes, they're back!).

multiple colors/patterns available


Fidget Pop It Keychain

Fidgets help many students concentrate while taking tests or listening to lectures. This small-sized fidget is perfect for kids to leave in their desk or attach to their backpack.

old navy back to school

Source: Old Navy


4. Fun First Day Photo Props

Taking photos of your kid on the first day of school is a time-honored parents’ tradition. But our kids are so used to us snapping photos of them, make the first-day pics special with a few fun props. With luck, you’ll get grins rather than groans—although a frowning first-day picture will be fun to laugh at someday.

back to school
The Tot

First Day/Last Day Pennant

You can use this retro felt pennant year after year.

back to school balloon
Etsy | TracepaperPen

First Day of School Balloons

What kid doesn't love a balloon? This shop offers options from preschool through senior year of high school.


5. Countdown Calendar

Getting ready for a new routine can be stressful, or it can be something you look forward to together. Gradually practice waking up a little earlier (a special alarm clock like the one below can help!), getting dressed for the day, and eating a healthy breakfast so the first day isn’t so jarring for your little ones. For kindergarten and early elementary kids, even reading a book about going to school can help them understand what to expect and get them excited!

back to school calendar
Etsy | Circle and Square Decor

Large Acrylic Wall Calendar

A reader favorite, this dry-erase family calendar can keep everyone up-to-date on all. the. activities. Plus, your kids can easily see the countdown to school.

back to school clock
Pottery Barn Kids

Kids Alarm Clock

Make waking up a bit more fun with a creative alarm clock, like this kid-friendly dinosaur!

back to school
Jacqueline Woodson

The Day You Begin Book

A favorite of little ones, this sweet story addresses the nervousness kids might feel about school, including looking different than other kids.


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This post was in partnership with Old Navy but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.