The summer holidays always seems to go so fast and before you know it it’s already time for Back-To-School.
This time next week, I will be sending Riley off for his first day in Year 1 and seven days later I will be doing it all over again with Harry for his first day in Reception. Am I sad? Hmmm. Not particularly. They need the stimulation and social interaction and I need the break. #truelife #honestmum
I’ve been spending the summer gathering together all the new uniform, shoes, stationery, bags, lunchboxes etc. and so I just wanted to share my roundup of the best “Back To School Essentials” for children off to primary school.
This year Riley, Harry and Tia have been kitted out with Despicable Me 3 School Bags from Posh Paws International.
Tia has this beautiful DM3 Fluffy Backpack which has a really bright, colourful and fun design all over it. It’s a really spacious bag with easy access to a large main compartment and plenty of room for books, lunchbox and pencil case. It also has a zipped fastening to ensure the contents of the bag are kept safely and securely inside. There is also a separate front pocket which is the ideal size for a purse, hair brush, hair ties…that sort of thing.
The boys have bags aimed at younger children, the DM3 I Didn’t Do it Backpack and the DM3 Prison Backpack, which are of a smaller size, but ideal for them to use as a school bag and day trips out. The bags offer plenty of storage for their contact books, reading books and homework books which is all they will need to carry at KS1 level.
All three backpacks provide a comfortable fit with the adjustable shoulder straps and they all feature top grab handles which make the bags easy to hang on school pegs.
LUNCH BOXES AND DRINKS BOTTLES
Now, as with all children in reception, year 1 or year 2 in state-funded schools, the boys are both entitled to free school meals. However, Harry is the fussiest eater known to mankind so he will actually be having packed lunches a couple of times a week and they’ll both need lunchboxes for school trips as well.
How neat is this retro Robot Lunchbox? Designed like a classic robot, it’s tough as well as cute and there’s plenty of space for all of the typical lunch essentials; sandwiches, fruit, snacks and maybe even a cheeky chocolate bar! Plus as it’s made from tin, it will stop sandwiches and bananas from getting squashed…because I don’t know about other children, but my boys seem to use their schoolbags and lunchboxes as weapons of mass destruction.
Next up is this City Hardtop Lunchbox from Smiggle, which has a supercool design. Riley thinks it’s brilliant because it looks like Minecraft (which he is currently obsessed with) so he took dibs of this lunchbox straight away. The great thing about this lunchbox is that it has a hardtop and two separate large compartments so there is plenty of storage for drinks and snacks. Also, kids have the option to hold it using the carry handle or the detachable carry strap, whatever’s more comfortable for them. Additionally, the lunchbox features embossed and scented detailing, as well as a name label – vital if you don’t want it going walkies at school.
Last up is this Happy Jackson Brain Food Lunchbox, which if I’m honest, I totally got for myself because I absolutely LOVE their products and it’s just the right size for my salads. It is slightly smaller than the average lunchbox, making it a squeeze to fit a standard sandwich in there, but that just encourages you to get creative with lunch. It has a fun design with glossy finish, is really easy to use and comes with a detachable elastic strap to keep the boxes secure.
The boys love this Trucks Water Bottle which features a pull-up drinking nozzle and is adorned with green tractors, yellow diggers and red fire trucks. They are obsessed with anything transport related and it’s perfect for drinking on-the-go or in lunchboxes.
If like me, you’re the type of parent who likes to put little surprises in your kids lunchboxes or play pranks on them, then these hilarious Lunch Bugs Ziplock Bags will do just the trick. Featuring realistic cockroaches and flies printed on each, these novelty sandwich bags will certainly make them jump!
HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH IDEAS
With schools insisting on healthy packed lunches, it can be a struggle at times to find things to put in that Harry will eat because he is that fussy.
We LOVE the Appy Kids range of drinks, especially their Peppa Pig 200ml Cartons which are 100% natural & sugar-free and their Paw Patrol 200ml Pouches which contain a combination of Vitamins A, C & E to help boost immune systems. All of the drink pouches are magic – if you download the FREE Appy App onto a smartphone or ipad, you can scan the products and unlock exciting activities which the boys think is brilliant.
He’s not keen on drinking water so these Nurture Fruity Water+ Pouches are also a blessing. Made with 45% natural juice and 55% water, as well as nutrients that support immunity, bones and teeth (scientifically proven), Nurture Fruity Water+ Pouches contain no added sugar and are school approved so they’re perfect for lunchboxes.
Yoghurts are one of the only dairy products that Harry eats, so I always try to include a variety in his packed lunches and change them up regularly.
Aside from the popular brands like Petiti Filous and Munch Bunch, one of our favourites is YogOaty. Made using British yoghurt, real fruit and wholesome oats, YogOaty is 100% smooth and natural, with no “bits” and no added sugar. The YogOaty pouches come in three yummy flavours: Mega Mango & Peach, Smashing Strawberry & Banana and Awesome Apricot & Vanilla. Each 70g pouch is packed with protein and slow-release energy oats, making YogOaty the perfect lunchbox addition.
Something else I often include in Harry’s lunchbox are Piccolo pouches. Although marketed towards parents that are weaning, I actually find the fruit and yoghurt based ones make a great snack at lunchtime. Plus, it’s reassuring to know that he’s getting lots of the vitamins, minerals and other good stuff he needs. They have lots of yummy recipes including Blushing Berries, Strawberries, Pear & yogurt, Mango, Pear & Kale and Banana, Blueberry & Apple. They also do pure pouches of Mango, Pear, Plum and Banana which are perfect for mixing in with natural yoghurt or porridge at breakfast time.
Where possible, I always use alternatives to crisps like crackers and breadsticks. The boys love Nairn’s Berry Astrobites which are space themed mini wholegrain oat biscuits that are proven to provide long lasting slow release energy to keep them fuelled throughout the school day.
Riley is also a fan of the Creative Nature Superfoods Flapjack Bars which come in a variety of delicious flavours including Goji Goodness, Salted Caramel, Apple Pie Protein, Cacoa Orange and Raw Cacao. They are delicious and super healthy and all bars are certified with Sugarwise as there is no added sugar, sweeteners or syrups in any of them – reassuring for us parents!
I am a self-confessed stationery and planner addict so this is always my favourite part of Back-To-School shopping.
We’re big fans of BIC Stationery because their range of kids’ products is brilliant. The BIC® Kids Evolution® Colouring Pencils are ultra-resistant, wood-free colouring pencils that are perfect for everyday drawing and colouring. We love them because they are chew-proof, easy to sharpen and they don’t splinter. Another of our favourites is BIC® Kids Plastidecor® Crayons – these crayons are made from an innovative resin (as opposed to wax) so that they don’t transfer onto the boys’ hands or clothes. They can be easily sharpened without breaking as well. New to the BIC® Kids range (and our list of favourites) is the BIC® Kids Kid Couleur Durable Case. Available in 12 vibrant colours and boasting washable ink, these felt-tip pens are perfect for the boys because they allow for all of the fun, with none of the mess – which means I don’t have to worry about stained clothes and pen marks on the wall).
I picked up this Unicorn Pencil Holder and Unicorn Tape Dispenser for my niece because she is obsessed with unicorns and they’ll look so magical and pretty on her desk. The unicorn shaped pencil holder contains 10 rainbow coloured pencils and the unicorn shaped tape dispenser comes with 2 rolls of wonderful rainbow coloured sticky tape.
Riley will be using this Smiggle Says DIY Triple Pencil Case for Year 1. He is very creative and artistic so I knew this would be perfect for him because he can use the included markers to colour in and create his very own cool designs. It also comes with an eraser, gluestick, sharpener, ruler and scissors so everything he could possibly need stationery-wise.
Having watched The Emoji Movie with the boys at the cinema earlier this month, I just had to get these Get Emojinal Mini Erasers for them. The little pot that all the erasers come in is so cute and tiny and the bung which closes up the tub doubles up as an eraser too! How cool are those mini emoji rubbers though? I think the poo and love heart eyes have to be my favourites.
My niece was tired of boring old standard pencils so I chose this gorgeous Happy Jackson Pencils & Eraser Set for her. Each pencil has a brightly coloured shaft and a short but happy message at the end which I’m hoping will help bring a smile to her face when she’s at school. The messages are: Happy Times, Make Today Beautiful, Life Is Fun, Write Good Things, Smile and Let Us Play.
The set also comes with a white eraser, which comically says “Wrong!” across the front. I know she’ll find that funny.
Riley and Harry really enjoy painting activities but I have OCD and seriously struggle with the mess they cause so these Little Brian Paint Sticks are a godsend. These innovative Paint Sticks provide a clean and convenient way to paint with no need for water or the mess that comes with it. Twisting up and down just like a glue stick, Paint Sticks allow vivid colours to be transferred directly onto surfaces like canvas, wood, paper, card and even glass drying within minutes of use. Life changing!!!!!!
Since the boys were babies I have supplemented their diet with vitamins and one of our go-to products is Nature’s Plus KidGreenz, which are a chewable supplement designed specifically for young children to boost their vitamin intake with the inclusion of broccoli and spinach to help provide energy and immunity support. They’re perfect for giving Riley and Harry a little boost to keep them in good health when they’re back in the classroom, particularly during the cold Autumn/Winter months.
We had countless letters home from school last year informing us that headlice were rife in Riley’s classroom. Despite having short hair, I religiously use Hedrin Protect & Go on him whenever there’s an outbreak and I know the other parents swear by it too. It’s a clinically proven head lice protection spray which deals proactively with the threat of infestation and can be used after every hair wash or at least twice a week. They have a whole host of other products to deal with headlice as well including Hedrin Once, Hedrin Treat & Go, Hedrin Stubborn Egg Loosening Lotion and Hedrin Detection Comb.
A new product that I’ve only been using for a month or so is AlfaSilver First Aid Treatment which uses the antimicrobial properties of silver to treat cuts and grazes on the go. Unlike traditional dressings or plasters, AlfaSilver can cover large or irregularly shaped injuries and doesn’t rub off on clothes, plus it’s scientifically proven to speed up the healing of wounds and reduce the risk of infection.
I’ll be honest, I was dreading having to label 2 sets of uniform but then I came across Stikins Name Labels and they are AMAZING! There is no need for sewing or ironing whatsoever because they just stick right on there and they’re not just for clothes. They can go on everything from shoes, lunchboxes, books, mobile phones and water bottles too. A huge time saver for me as a parent.