Everything I’m Buying for My Toddler’s First Day of Preschool

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preschool gear
Source: @shapinup

This summer, my toddler attended camp for the first time, and as any mom sending her child off into the world, I was fully unprepared. The night before her first day, I frantically ran around the house looking for all the items I suddenly realized she would need for her first day away from home. I grabbed an old backpack of mine, scribbled her name on her clothes in Sharpie, and sent her on her way.

At drop-off, I saw all the other little 2-year-olds with their adorable backpacks and promised myself I’d do better by the time preschool came around.

And now, preschool is nearly here! Despite having a hand-me-down adult backpack, my daughter loved camp, and I’m so excited to now get her ready for her first day of preschool. Thankfully with camp as a practice round, I now know how to prepare my child for school and have been gathering all the necessities to make sure she has a great first day.

If you’ve got a toddler heading off to school for the first time, there are a few things they will need, plus some nice-to-haves as well. Read on for everything I’m buying for my child’s first day of preschool.


Bentgo Kid's Leak-Proof Bento-Style Lunch Box

I can't guarantee I'll be making elaborate bento-style lunches all year, but this box is giving me some serious creativity goals. I love that it has compartments for a full meal and is far less wasteful than plastic bags.

multiple patterns available

preschool backpack

Bentgo Kids Backpack

I love a matching moment, so I couldn't resist this bag that goes along with the lunchbox—the Bentgo box fits perfectly in the bottom pocket.

multiple patterns available

Mabel's Labels

Little Kid School Label Pack

I've been told to label literally everything my child is taking to preschool or else things will get lost in the sea of kids. I ordered a value pack of labels and decided to only put our last name on the stickers so any leftovers can be used for our younger child in the future.


Snug Kids Water Bottle

This water bottle will be perfect to toss in my child's backpack for a day at school. I like that it has a cover over the straw to minimize germs because I'm sure this bottle will spend plenty of time being dropped on the ground.

multiple patterns available

preschool dress
Old Navy

Puff-Sleeve Swing Dress

I know that kids get messy at school, and by day two, I'm sure my child will be dressed in basic bargain clothes. But at least for the first day, I'm excited to dress my kiddo up in a special outfit. I'm loving this dress and wish it came in my size.

Hair clips

Hair Clips

How cute are these hair clips? While I'm sure I'll be too rushed most mornings to accessorize my child, sometimes her hair can use a little taming and these come in an easy-to-grab- quickly 8-pack.

preschool sneakers
Ten Little

Everyday Original Sneaker

Kids require comfortable shoes for adventuring out of the house, and this easy-to-put-on pair will be perfect for school.


Duufin 25 Pairs Toddler Ankle Socks

Earlier in my parenting experience, I purchased adorable socks with different colors and patterns. Two years later, I realize that was a big mistake because every morning, I'm running around looking for matching socks (rarely do I end up finding any). I finally caved and now have this huge set of basic socks to make mornings just a tiny bit easier.

14 colors available

mom and toddler son

Source: @sopharush

old navy shorts
Old Navy

Jersey Biker Shorts 4-Pack

Speaking of basic clothes, I'll be putting a backup outfit in my child's backpack, and this pack of biker shorts will be great to have when needed.

old navy shirts
Old Navy

Unisex 3-Pack T-Shirts

These tops are another good basic to have as an extra outfit or for days where crafts will be involved.


BGS Kids SPF 50

Since it's basically still summer when many kids start school, extra sunscreen in their bags is a must. We'll definitely apply it before my kid starts the day, but it's always good to have extra in case there's some afternoon outdoor play.

back to school sign
Etsy | Bloom Owl

First Day of School Chalkboard

This is a little something for an Instagramable first day of school. I love that this chalkboard can be used every year on the first day.


Goodbaby Forehead Thermometer

As all parents know, kids get sick, so having this forehead thermometer can make checking her temperature quickly and easily.

Brainaic Foods

Apple Cinnamon Brain Bar

I've been on the hunt for healthy, nut-free snacks, and this bar is an excellent find. It will be a staple in my daughter's lunchbox.


Oatmilk Pops

I'm so excited for my child to go to preschool for the first time and am looking forward to welcoming her home with a special treat. These oatmilk pops are a house favorite.


This article was originally published in 2021 and has been updated for timeliness. 

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