15 Groovy Back-to-School Supplies

When it was time to head back to school when I was a kid? I was the first one pressing to get off the bus!

It might’ve been because I lived deep in wine country down a twisty, two-lane road and miles from a summer play-date. Or maybe because I was an only child and our pool club took a long ride to get to by car. 

Regardless, my California summers were long, hazy dry periods, followed by an eagerly awaited shopping trip before Labor Day for new clothes and then supplies at Long’s drugstore for binders, pencils and erasable-ink pens (that didn’t erase very well!) and scented markers that stained your fingers snow-cone colors.

To this day, like the good Japanese girl that I am, I’m still obsessed with all things stationery. It’s a genetic requirement of my people (just visit any 5th floor of any Japanese department store dedicated to stationery products and you’ll see why). I take my paper products, pen-types and aesthetic design very seriously! 

Below is what is what I've found to be some really cool offerings this season both in style but also in terms of outside-of-the-(lunch)box designs. Have at it, my peeps. I couldn't resist: just picked up a few things for myself.

ANYTHING BUT BORING

If anyone thought a backpack had to be standard issue, society6 can trump you in a zip. This company is dedicated to showcasing the works of true artists on every day objects like pillows or backpacks. Isn't this bubble-gum popping Boston Terrier spectacular? Pattern trends this season include tropical, black-and-white and fruity pop art.

 Society6

Society6

$69.99, backpack, society6.com

 

POP A NOTE

Half of surviving the academic year is turning your work in on time. That's perhaps why I'm covered in Post-it notes: in my attempt to remind my kids to get to their assignments! That's why I've got these cute camera pop-up dispensers so they can now remind themselves. (Also available in white/aqua.)

 Post-it

Post-it

$11.99, Camera-Shaped Notes Pop-up Dispenser in Black, staples.com

 

REUSE RE-TREAT

I was wowed by the sweet designs of these Eco Snack Bags and Eco Lunch Packs that are made from recycled PET fabric, requiring 53% less energy to produce. Yay for the environment, since they are also reusable for packing up lunches day in and day out.

 Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill

$12.95, Eco Snack Bags (3 designs), garnethill.com

 Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill

$19.95, Eco Lunch Packs (13 designs), garnethill.com

 

RAINBOW DREAMER

I used to think as a kiddo that in the horn of every unicorn was trapped a rainbow. So this unicorn craze has me positively giddy. Imagine if all the unicorns had a B2S party and tipped back their horns? Every Yoobi item you buy donates an item to a U.S. classroom in need.

 Yoobi

Yoobi

From $2.49, Yoobi unicorn supplies, Yoobi.com

 

ON YOUR SIDE

When your littlest preschooler heads off to care and you are crying like a baby when he turns the corner, it’s really best if you are staring at this bear-y nice face for reassurance. 18 adorable designs, personalization available for $10.

 Stephen Joseph Gifts

Stephen Joseph Gifts

$25, Sidekick Backpack in Bear, stephenjosephgifts.com 

 

BRAIN ORIGAMI

I’m always pressing my kids to find solutions to their problems. Isn’t this just the notebook to get the juices flowing without my being a nag?

 Society6

Society6

$14.99, Think Outside the Box Notebook, society6.com

 

SAY MY NAME

If only your child never lost her sweater. Or lunch sack. Or MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. But all of these things have happened to us, and will continue to happen as long as my children have stuff. Until then, there are these NEW artsy clothing, name and stick-on-everything-else labels by Minted that are non-toxic, dishwasher and machine-washer safe that you can place on pretty much anything you want found. 

 Minted

Minted

$20 per sheet, seemingly endless designs, minted.com

 

ALL PATCHED UP

It’s all about patches in fashion for kids, and now this bag has taken it to the next level. This Balfour backpack not only features a ton of compartments but also a full-Velcro front surface to add up to 15 patches of various sizes to reflect your student’s likes and interests (patches sold separately from $6).

 Balfour

Balfour

 

$39.99, OGIO Raven, balfour.com

 

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD

Way to the turn the tables on the aluminum lunch box from my youth. (Not that a kid would have any idea what they are looking at!) I had this same issue when explaining what a cassette recorder was to my son that was printed on his T-shirt; he gave it thumb's up.

 zulily

zulily

$12.99, E2 Concepts, zulily.com 

 

PENCIL EATER

I always carry a slim pen pouch in my purse and advocate a child of any age to learn supply organization beginning with such a tool for crayons, erasers and the like. This Green Dino is designed for a preschooler, so train ‘em young I say. Personalization available for $1.

 Stephen Joseph Gifts

Stephen Joseph Gifts

$7.90, Pencil Pouches 13 designs, stephenjosephgifts.com

 Yoobi

Yoobi

$9.99, Yoobi Doodle & Denim 3 pack Zip Pouch Set, Yoobi.com

 

RIGHT WRITE

My kids each require comp books on their supply lists. Can you imagine one with such personalized flair as this? What a way to inspire some creative writing! (Designed in NYC: other chic covers available.)

 Pink Olive

Pink Olive

$15, Pencils Composition Notebook, pinkolive.com

 

FREEZE IT

Sometimes during the lingering days of summer heat, you have to heed extra caution to school lunches cold and safe to eat. My family has used PackIt lunch bags with success for some time now—just pop the entire bag in the freezer the night before, and it keeps food chilled up ‘til lunchtime. 

 zulily

zulily

$14.99 normally $19.99, Paradise Breeze Freezable Lunch Bag, zulily.com

 

DREAM ON

For your college-bound student, help him or her navigate a good night's sleep starting with a cozy, starry-night comforter of artful design. This site has some seriously beautiful bedding that might make you rethink what you've got going on in the bedroom too. Also check out Night Garden, the Heart of my Heart

 Society6

Society6

$110.99, Star Map City Lights Comforter, society6.com