It doesn’t get much sweeter than sending your kiddos off to a new school year—especially when they’re still little, and their elementary school backpacks seem giant on them. The excitement you help them pick out their special first-day-of-school outfits or get ready for the day in their cute school uniforms is palpable.
From meeting their new teachers to making new friends on the playground, there are so many reasons that little kids are usually beaming when you snap their picture on these mini academic milestones! And because elementary school is such a formative time in your kids’ lives, that’s why it’s so important to ensure they’re always as prepared as possible for each day of the school year.
The first step is always seeing if your kids’ school has specific guidelines about what kiddos should and shouldn’t bring to school with them. Once you’re fully looped in on the basics of what they’ll need for certain classes or activities, you can cross-reference your own school packing list to help you and your little ones feel extra prepared. And if you’re wondering where to start on your own packing list, we’ve got you covered with the list of must-have elementary school accessories below.
When helping your kid or kids get ready for a new school year, or really any school day, it all starts with backpacks. Picking an elementary-school-sized backpack with a fun design that makes them excited to head out to school is key—as is choosing a backpack with features like zippered pockets, comfortable straps, and durable mesh side pockets. Even with a perfect backpack, though, it can be hard for little ones to stay organized as they move about the school day. That’s where organizational pouches come in.
Like your trusty travel cubes, organizational pouches are small, zippered, soft-sided pouches that your kiddo can use to store their essentials. These pouches make the perfect backpack accessory, especially when you opt for a pattern or design that matches their backpack or lunch bag. From items like their mini tissue boxes or kid-friendly hand sanitizer wipes, having smaller pouches within their bigger packs to store and protect their must-have comfort items will help them feel prepared for whatever the school day brings.
Like your organizational pouches, a fun and functional pen and pencil case is a must-have accessory for elementary school kiddos. You can opt for whatever style makes the most sense for your kids’ needs and preferences, but the best pen and pencil case will have smaller interior pouches and be big enough—without taking up too much room in their bag—to fit their crayons, any pens or pencils they’ll need, a pencil sharpener, and a few erasers (ideally super fun erasers shaped like unicorns or puppies or soccer balls - just saying!).
Make sure you double-check with your little one’s teacher, especially if it’s a new school year, before helping them pack their pen and pencil case. Certain teachers will have preferences or requirements for what their students should bring with them to the classroom, so it’s good to be in the know before picking out supplies to pack.
The lunch break is one of the most important parts of your kids’ day (now that we think of it, that might be true for most adults, too). Lunch is when your kiddo will socialize with their classmates and friends and refuel for the day. Opening a lunch packed lovingly at home is also a huge comfort for little kids that tend to feel separation anxiety throughout the day. That’s why kids' lunch boxes are one of the most essential school day accessories.
Pick a lunch box that matches their backpack or one that’s in a print that they’re excited about. From vibrant unicorn or tie dye patterns to fun dinosaur or galaxy designs, picking a lunch box that they love will make the school day more exciting for little kiddos. Beyond the print, look for a lunch box that’s insulated and features interior mesh pockets—these design elements will keep their lunches and snacks fresh and packed properly. While this is technically its own accessory, we also highly recommend ensuring that your kiddo has a reusable water bottle with their name on it just for school!
Now that your kiddo has their favorite school day outfit or uniform on and their backpacks and lunch boxes organized, packed, and ready to go, they’ll be totally prepared for the day. And being prepared is the best way to ensure that they can focus on what matters, like learning, playing at recess, creating adorable macaroni art for you to add to your collection, and making new friends at the lunch table.