It's the most wonderful time of the year — not to mention the cutest. Here are my top picks for the back-to-school season.
I love the back-to-school season, not only because it means a return to routine and some semblance of order (if you can call it that), but I always get a kick out of shopping for the latest and greatest kids' items. (Because it's not just the most wonderful time of the year for parents, it's also the cutest.)
Here are my top kids' must-haves for the season, as presented on Global TV Vancouver:
1. A Great Backpack
Look for something durable with a heavy-weight, washable fabric that will last for the whole year, if not longer. If your kids are like mine, they'll drag, pull and throw their backpack, so look for one made with quality materials that won't rip or tear easily.
Also, aim for something that has just enough pockets for water bottles and homework, but not too many: the more pockets you have, the more chance of having something (like homework or permission slips) get lost.
Shark Backpack, $49.95. Available at www.gapcanada.ca.
Parkland Bayside Backpack in Little Critter, $39.95. Available at www.Indigo.ca.
2. Fun Pencil Cases
Every parent who has ever had a marker explode in a backpack knows the importance of a good pencil case. Look for something solid and washable, so if something does get messy, it can contain the mess and be easy to clean.
Jelly Pencil Cases, $4. Available at Walmart.
3. Bento Box It
You don't have to make bento-perfect creations for your kids' lunches; this mini Bento Box is just as fun even if it's packed with regular old sandwiches and fruit! I love this particular kit because it's freezable, dishwasher safe and BPA-free. Plus, it comes with a little customizable window, so you can switch up your kids' lunch with a special message or one of the cute character discs it comes with.
MonBentor Tresor in Blueberry, $29.95. Available at www.Indigo.ca.
4. An Alarm Clock
Part of making your life easier in the mornings is teaching your kids to take care of themselves. Not only does this alarm clock help them get out of bed in the morning, but it also teaches them about time and punctuality, and empowers them to be on time.
Onaroo Teach Me Time Clock and Nightlight, $65. Available at www.amazon.ca.
5. A Great Organizer... for Grown Ups
My husband and I have been using the Picniic App, which enables us to share one calendar and all our kids' information (from health details to contacts to birthdays) in one place. It features a meal planner for getting ahead of weeknight dinners, and syncs to your work calendar to boot.
Picniic App, Free. Available at iTunes.
6. A Great Calendar... for Kids
Kids like to know what's going on in their lives, too. Rather than just telling them, let them feel engaged with their schedule with an activity calendar. They can fill in their activities, birthdays and play dates and see just when they're happening. This also helps them plan in advance—if they know they have swimming class the next day, they'll know to get their swimsuit ready—which helps with keeping everyone organized, and getting them out the door faster.
The Kids Awesome Activity Calendar, $18. Available at www.mastermindtoys.com.
What are your favourite back-to-school must-haves? Let me know on Twitter @jeswatson or at @CanadianLiving, or the Canadian Living Facebook page!