8 essential and exciting back-to-school items for kids

Things that your kids — and everyone involved in their school day — will appreciate.

Things that your kids — and everyone involved in their school day — will appreciate.

As a parent, I need everything I buy for my kids to do double, triple, maybe even quadruple duty. Is it cute? Does it make them feel special? Does it go in the dishwasher? Does it teach them the provinces?? And as our kids head back to school, the need for form and fun and multiple function at a good value — is more important than any other time of year. Neither the children nor their teachers need to deal with failing gear. These back-to-school items each check off more than a couple boxes and will help make your kids well equipped to tackle the year ahead

Good water-drinking habits start young; turn their water bottle into their best bud when you let them choose a fun new one for school. This Hydro Flask for kids is made from food-grade stainless steel and won't sweat in their backpack, even while it keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours. We like the easy-to-grip outer finish for little hands and the wide opening for easy cleaning.

Hydro Flask 345ml Wide Mouth Kids Bottle, $39.95, MEC

Make geography a kiddie conversation starter with this Canadian made t-shirt, available in sizes from 18 months to 9 years old. Whenever it's time to wear it, there's an opportunity to teach your child about  provinces and territories, where you live, where grandma lives, and so on.

Shared - Kids Made in Canada Tee, $38.00, Drake General Store

This water-repellent and windproof jacket with a hood and elasticized cuffs is especially great in classic bright yellow, with its many reflective details, to both keep your kid warm and dry, and easy to spot on dark, rainy days. They will love the many pockets for hiding dinosaur-shaped erasers and assorted class-approved items.

Fleece-lined outdoor jacket, $49.99, H&M

My Rocco is only three years old and about to start pre-school for the first time this September. But his backpack has been his security blanket for over a year already. He usually fills it with snacks, toys and photographs of his baby brother and cousins, so it will be exciting for us to pack for his new fall curriculum. He loves CBC Kids and showing off this gem-branded backpack, which I find more stylish than his PAW Patrol obsession.

CBC Backpack for kids, $22.00, Cheerfully Made

Lots of teachers end up spending their own money on supplies for the classroom, so you might want to send your child to school with a gift card for the dollar store or Amazon to help with the purchasing of supplies. You can print out this card for a spin on the old apple for the teacher idea.

Printable Greeting Card, $2.70, Etsy

Name labels are essential for everything from coats to lunch bags to shoes. Bonus points for positioning the labels in shoes in a way to indicate right and left for smaller kids. And even older children get things mixed up, especially when everyone has the latest trendy denim jacket. Older children might prefer fabric markers for writing their names in items but younger kids will love custom labels like this pack of 114 personalized name sticker tags of different shapes and sizes from Canadian company Mabel's Labels. They're waterproof as well as dishwasher, microwave and laundry safe.

The Big Kaboodle™ Label Pack, $48.00, Mabel's Labels

A must-have for younger children are shoes that are easy to slip on and off, as they change from rain boots to indoor shoes to running shoes for gym and sports. Teachers don't have time to help 30 children with their lace-up shoes, so only buy laces if they have a secret zipper or velcro option. But better to just opt for the full velcro versions of classic sneaker designs like these Adidas originals.

Adidas Originals Superstar V, $64.99, Footlocker

My kids are non-stop snackers, so I find I need a bigger option than the single level bento boxes. This 2 tray stackable lunch box is great for packing a lunchtime tray and a snacks tray. The fork, knife and spoon are included.

Bentgo All-in-One Stackable Lunch/Bento Box, $41.70, Amazon


Amanda York is a digital producer, mother of two and the founder of YorkAttack Inc.