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.
$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.)
$11.99, Camera-Shaped Notes Pop-up Dispenser in Black, staples.com
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.
$12.95, Eco Snack Bags (3 designs), garnethill.com
$19.95, Eco Lunch Packs (13 designs), garnethill.com
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.
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.
$25, Sidekick Backpack in Bear, stephenjosephgifts.com
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?
$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.
$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).
$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.
$12.99, E2 Concepts, zulily.com
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.
$7.90, Pencil Pouches 13 designs, stephenjosephgifts.com
$9.99, Yoobi Doodle & Denim 3 pack Zip Pouch Set, Yoobi.com
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.)
$15, Pencils Composition Notebook, pinkolive.com
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.
$14.99 normally $19.99, Paradise Breeze Freezable Lunch Bag, zulily.com
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.
$110.99, Star Map City Lights Comforter, society6.com