When I think about my back to school days shopping for new gear comes to mind. It was standard practice to get a new knapsack, new lunchbox, new pencil case, and clothing. And of course, we always hit up the grocery store to pick out fun school snacks and juice boxes to go in my lunchbox.
I still get the itch every August to go back to school shopping, but like many people, my focus has shifted to buying less but better. Times have changed. Here's how I decide which items go in my shopping bag during the back to school season:
Much like the KonMari method of decluttering, I gather all my family's school supplies in one spot. This includes knapsacks, markers, paper, and all our litterless lunch gear. I sort through it to see what’s needed and then make a list. Since reusable gear is designed to last, I find that I'm adding to my collection year after year, rather than needing to buy whole new sets. It's much easier to reconcile spending money on reusable lunch gear when you realize you only need to buy a few more containers for your soon-to-be kindergartener because your and your older children's lunch gear are all in great shape.
While I mindfully purchase healthy items (the emotional, academic, or physical kind), I want my family to love and use the products I choose so I always search for ones that are playful or delicious!
That's why I love the following five cool companies!
- Ooka Island: A researched-based learn to read program that suggests a balanced screen time formula I feel good about- 30 minutes/3 times a week to graduate at a grade two reading level in one year. My boys have been playing Ooka Island for several months now, and they've made huge progress.
- Emily Press Labels: What better way to protect all the school gear than with labels! There are plenty of choices including their reusable labels (I use them for my not-so-secret mom hack), write your own labels and ones printed with children'ss names.
- Funkins: We started using Funkins cloth napkins last school year and have been building our collection ever since. They have gorgeous designs including ones for holidays and sports enthusiasts. Our family uses them at the dinner table or for park picnics, too!
- Dalcini Stainless: I love these durable stainless steel food containers for kids or adults. They don't come with complicated washing instructions and you can write on them with washable markers! It's such a cute way to add some fun into your child (or partner's) day!
- Sapsucker Maple Filtered Water: Keeping my boys well-hydrated is a top priority. Last school year I noticed how often they'd come home with nearly full water bottles and then dramatically act out their thirst after stepping off the school bus. Sapsucker has a slightly sweet taste which encourages my boys to drink more and keep hydrated during the school day.