2016 Back to School Guide

Back to School
It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to think about the kids going Back to School. Here are some of my favorite items and stores that will help your child get prepared for the big day and help you ease back into that super busy school year schedule.

Disclosure: I received free product samples in exchange for posting products to this page, however all opinions stated are my own and I do believe these items are perfect for Back to School time!

Staples backpack
This back-to-school season at Staples, the runway meets the hallway as traditional school tools are transformed into fashion-forward supplies that combine bold innovation and style to match students’ needs and wants from the classroom to the college dorm room. The Jansport Superbreak Backpack (Multi-California Poppy) is sure to turn heads. Also great to have on hand is the Five Star Style 1-Subject Notebook and Cynthia Rowley Ballpoint Retractable Pens.
vw lunchbox
Make every trip to the lunch room a road trip! This super hip, VW-licensed lunch bag is made of durable, colorfast and washable Oxford Canvas and is fully insulated to keep the hot hot and the cold cold. The Monster Factory also offers a fun and functional pencil case which doubles as an accessory bag for whatever odds and ends the kids, or adults, need to keep together.
GICW-logo-150x150
Want brand name clothing and accessories but don’t want to pay full price? Goodwill to the rescue! Choose from a huge assortment of used and new items for back to school. When you shop at Goodwill, you are helping support Goodwill’s mission of providing vocational opportunities to people with barriers to employment. Visit their Job Connection page for more info. Read the review.Read the review.
kangavou
Need a healthy option to hold your child’s snacks for school? Kangovou offers high-quality food-grade stainless steel kid’s dishware products that are BPA, PVC, phthalate, lead, and melamine free. Kangovou dishware products are made from quality food-grade stainless steel. This is important because you want the surface your child’s food touches to be BPA free, naturally anti-bacterial and to not leach chemicals. Kangovou food-grade stainless steel provides these benefits and is also light weight, durable, does not rust, cleans easily with soap and water, and is top shelf dishwasher safe.
fruit shoot
Fruit Shoot is a refreshing fruit juice drink made with real juice from concentrate which contains no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup. It comes in six delicious flavors, including fruit blends like Strawberry & Raspberry, Berry Burst, Orange & Mango, Pink Lemonade, Apple, and Wild Berry Grape, and the No Sugar Added variety has 20 calories or less and just three grams of sugar. Additionally, Fruit Shoot, has a re-sealable sports cap – perfect for on-the-go.
hellofresh
For families needing a little helping hand getting dinner on the table on busy  school nights, HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery service, can help get dinner on the table without the hassle.  HelloFresh offers a Family Box featuring simple step-by-step recipes and pre-measured ingredients to make dinnertime prep an easy, convenient and enjoyable experience for everyone. Reader Exclusive: Get $35 off your first box at HelloFresh with code SWEETDEALS35.
swewaterbin chevron
Get your back to school wardrobe in order. Keep your piles of sweaters, jeans, sweatshirts and more standing upright with these stylish closet organizers from Great Useful Stuff. They have a flip panel in the front that allows you to pull out something from the bottom of the stack without the entire pile toppling over! Your closet will love you! Choose from several colors/patterns. These are built to last with strong fiberboard at the bottom to prevent sagging.
crayola
What Back to School list would be complete without Crayola products? From Colored Pencils, to Crayons, to Washable Markers, Crayola offers these trusted classroom staples as well as some newer products such as Doodle Scents Markers, Dry Erase Neon Crayons, and Erasable Colored Pencils. Obviously, these are great to have not only in the classroom but also at home. They also make a great gift for any occasion.
toms wicked cool
Keep your kids fresh smelling and confident with Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool! Deodorant. This is their first natural deodorant formulated just for kids! Made with fragrance specifically designed for boys and girls, Wicked Cool! provides kids with 24 hour odor protection and is free of aluminum, parabens, and artificial fragrances. Available at a Target store near you.
pouch couch
PouchCouch
is an inflatable lounger that requires no batteries, no pumps or gadgets to inflate. All you need is air!  Its a great purchase for Back to School as you can use it in the kids room/rec room when all your child’s friends come over (sometimes unexpectedly).  It also makes a comfortable seat for studying/reading. It’s perfect for college-bound kids too. What could be better than an inflatable couch that rolls up and you can fit anywhere in one of those cramped dorm rooms. You can find PouchCouch at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Walmart stores nationwide. It is also available online.
FriXionGroup
Get ready for class with Pilot Pens. Students of all grade levels will love Pilot’s FriXion Clicker erasable pens. FriXion Clicker is perfect for kids of all ages. Pilot’s FriXion Light erasable highlighters are perfect for college students! These take the stress out of buying textbooks, allowing students to highlight, annotate, erase and resell. Pilot’s G2 allows a student to stand out. Integrating some of G2’s 14 colors into your work can turn you into a more efficient learner! Pilot’s Dr. Grip is the no. 1 selling ergonomic pen in the US, offering comfort and alleviating writing fatigue and joint stress.
exergen temporal artery thermometer
Going back to school is an exciting time, but it also, unfortunately, means exposure to new germs and illnesses. The Exergen Smart Glow Temporal Scanner thermometer helps ease stress for parents who need to care for a sick child. Features a softly illuminated display for easy reading, even in the dark. Automatically retains the last eight temperature readings for instant recall to check on fever progression. The Exergen Smart Glow Temporal Scanner is the number one preferred thermometer by both nurses and pediatricians.
So cozy boo
Prevent lice this school year with the Boo! line of products from SoCozy. This 3-Step Lice Scaring system features a shampoo and conditioner as well as a leave-in conditioning spray. All of these formulas are infused with a proprietary blend of natural ingredients that help keep lice away. Zero fragrance, just the fresh, clean, pleasant scent of natural ingredients: peppermint, rosemary and lavender. If lice is not a concern, you may want to consider the Cinch line. With combinations such as shampoo & body wash, your child will be ready for the bus in no time.
BouncyBands
Imagine how hard it is for most kids to sit still for 5-6 hours every day in school. Now imagine that you are hyperactive, or you have autism or an anxiety disorder. Millions of kids need to move when they are in school, but they are unable to do so, until now! While most schools cannot afford standing desks or yoga chair balls in their classrooms, Bouncy Bands are an affordable alternative. Invented by a school counselor, these heavy-duty bands attach to student desks or chairs for kids to bounce their feet and stretch their legs while they work quietly in class to get some relief from their extra energy, anxiety, stress, and boredom.
Slumber_Sleep ROLL ON
With the kids going back to school, they may have a hard time transitioning from staying up all night during the summer to heading to bed at 8 pm sharp. Restlessness around the beginning of the school year is not uncommon. The Slumber and Sleep Essential Oil Roll-On from Oilogic can help them ease back into a regular schedule. And for those inevitable colds, Stuffy Nose and Cough Essential Oil Roll-On can save the day. To use these, just roll a generous amount on your child’s chest, feet and back of the neck. Your child will breathe in the vapor for a calming effect. Both of these are safe to use on kids ages 6 months and up.
banza
For those busy week nights that you don’t feel like spending a lot of energy cooking, you won’t feel guilty about feeding your kids Banza. It’s a sneaky healthy boxed mac & cheese made with chickpea pasta. Your kids won’t even know the difference. Banza Mac has 18g of protein, 8g of fiber per serving, and far fewer net carbs than your average mac and cheese. This non-GMO chickpea pasta with real cheese,  is an excellent source of calcium, fiber and protein with zero grams of trans fat per serving. It’s gluten-free and rBST-free. Banza mac and cheese is available in four varieties: Shells and Cheddar, Mac and White Cheddar, Mac and Cheddar and Mac and Creamy Deluxe Cheddar.
Betsy's Best
Betsy’s Best offers gourmet seed and nut butters that parents and children love. Betsy’s Best is a great addition to Back to School recipes, as a stand-alone snack, or sandwich fillers – as they are healthy, hearty and taste delicious. Children with allergies can even enjoy the seed butters, as they are nut free; a relief for some parents hesitant about creating new recipes with other peanut butter alternatives. Choose from Peanut, Cashew, Almond and Seed Butter.
mission belt
Kids need to keep their britches up and Mission Belt, the unique and revolutionary no-holes leather belt company that gives back, is the perfect accessory for back to school style. These budget friendly belts come in a variety of colors and styles that fit the personality of any type of student. And, one dollar from every belt sold goes to fight global hunger and poverty. To date, over 43,000 Kiva (peer-to-peer micro lending) micro-loans have been funded from the sales of Mission Belts.
Softsoap
Did you know that one of the most important school supplies is not paper, pencils or crayons? Have you stocked up on hand soap? From the time you send the kids on the bus to the moment they walk in the door at the end of the school day, they have likely been exposed to many germs. Make hand washing an exciting part of their after school routine with Softsoap Star Wars and Frozen Foaming Hand Soaps. With a little help from some favorite movie characters, washing up will be fun!
Cucina & Amore’s
For easy back to school meals, consider Cucina & Amore’s practical, nutritious & delicious grab n’ go quinoa meals. Getting into the back-to-school routine is time-consuming and can be stressful. Parents can save time and money by sending their children off with an already made meal that has the added benefits of being Vegan, GMO, preservative and gluten free, full of nutrients and can be eaten hot or cold. It’s available throughout the US in Whole Foods, Cost Plus and in Costco among many other retailers.
reflective tape
These new Brilliant Reflective stickers allow parents and kids alike to add some reflective pop to backpacks, bikes, shoes and helmets that will help illuminate them as the days get shorter. Measured at 200 times brighter than a standard T-shirt, Brilliant Reflective’s colorized 3M Scotch-Brite stick-ons will boost visibility. At just $10 a package, it’s an easy and affordable way to help ensure motorists will help see your child as they walk or ride home in the low-light hours of the day.
Firefly Star Wars Lightsaber Lineup
The kids will love getting back in to a bedtime routine with the Firefly Star Wars Lightsaber Light Up Timer Toothbrush. This fun, flashing Lightsaber toothbrush with sound effects, encourages children to brush for the recommended 2 minutes which help to form healthy brushing habits. The 1 minute light-up timer turns off automatically signaling children to stop brushing the top row of teeth and begin brushing the bottom row.
pressed
Pressed by KIND will make a great addition to your childs school lunch. It would also make for a great after school snack. These fruit & veggie or fruit & chia seed bars are made with 5 ingredients or less and no added sugar! In flavors like Pineapple Coconut Chia and Apricot Pear Carrot Beet, these make a great snack to switch it up from an apple or banana in your little one’s lunchbox.
avex
The AVEX FreeFlow Water Bottle is a 24oz vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle, which is perfect for back to school. The FreeFlow is shatterproof and leakproof, so you can toss it in your backpack and let it roll around and never worry about leaks! Keeps drinks cold for up to 29 hours and hot for up to 10 hours.
harmless harvest
Get the kids to drop the soda and grab a healthier drink this school year. Harmless Harvest Coconut Water is widely regarded as the best-tasting and most nutrient-rich organic coconut water on the planet. Not only is the product healthier and more hydrating than sugary drinks, but with Fair for Life certification, Harmless Harvest is also ethically and sustainably produced.
Skinny pop
As kids head back to school this year, SkinnyPop Popcorn is presenting an adorable-but-tough test for lunch-packing parents: If you can’t spell it, don’t eat it. SkinnyPop – made with just a few simple ingredients like “popcorn,” “sunflower oil” and “salt”— had fun asking cute elementary school-aged kids to read and spell the likes of “monosodium glutamate” (found in Doritos and Cheetos), “soy lecithin” (found in Cheez-Its) and “dextrose” (found in Pringles) to see where they net out against the popcorn. The results are predictably cute. Watch the video here.
fairy tales
With more than 12 million cases of head lice reported in the U.S. each year, these tiny critters can make anyone bug-out during back to school season. Take early action to protect your household and use Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel lice prevention hair care products every day! Each product within the  collection is powered by natural ingredients and is free of harsh chemicals, pesticides, phthalates, toxins, parabens, sulfates, dairy, gluten and nuts. During clinical testing, the Rosemary Repel Shampoo & Conditioning Spray were shown to be 96% effective at preventing head lice and nits when used together.
Dream lites
Back-to-school means getting children back into a routine including a regular bedtime. Providing a comfortable setting where children feel safe is an important part of this routine. Children will rest easy knowing their DreamLite will light up the room with stars and friendly icons allowing them to transition into a dream world. Parents will appreciate the built-in timer that provides 20-minutes giving little ones enough time to drift off to sleep. Pillow Pets newest styles include Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol Chase, Marshall and Skye, Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory and Nemo, as well as Disney’s Rockin the Dots Minnie Mouse.
nerium
Teachers and students will love Night Cream, Day Cream, Body Contour Cream from Nerium. Age-Defying Night and Day Creams, NeriumAD Formula provide 24 hours of age-fighting skincare, which will be helpful for those late nights of studying. Firming Body Contour Cream, NeriumAD Formula will keep your student body firm as it targets problem areas including love handles, stomach, thighs and upper arms. Each product features the powerful, proprietary NAE-8 extract.
Epic2-BT-Group-Earbuds-Only
The new Epic2 Bluetooth Earbuds are the sleekest wireless earbuds JLab Audio has released yet, with 12 hours of sound between charges and four more hours of battery capacity than competitive products. The earbuds have Crystal Clear Clarity (C3) technology that delivers a clean, crisp sound with vibrant highs, mids and a pumping bass through high-performance eight-millimeter drivers, which are 50 percent larger than the nearest competitor. Students may find it helpful to listen to soothing music as they study, or can use them for workouts before or after class. The earbuds are IPX-5 rated, making them 100 percent waterproof.
Sugar bowl bakery
With back to school right around the corner, don’t let stress get in the way of planning delicious lunch dessert options for your kids. Sugar Bowl Bakery’s Organic Brownie Bites are the solution to simplify the lunch-packing or after-school snack routine. The bite-sized Organic Brownie Bites are indulgent, yet guilt-free, at only 90 calories per serving. These individually wrapped snacks are free of preservatives, trans-fat, cholesterol, and have no artificial flavors or colors.
Case logic backpack
Send your kids back to school in style with the Berkeley in Carbide Pattern from Case Logic. This spacious, multi-purpose bag spans the width of your active day from the morning commute through impromtu evening plans. Featuring vibrant pops of color, this pack features a suitcase style opening for high visibility and easy access to items. There’s also a dedicated compartment to keep your laptop or tablet safely secured on the go.
death star
Getting back into a bedtime routine can be hard after keeping late hours in the summer. Kids of all ages will love to go to their room with a 3D Deco Light on their wall. The Death Star 3D Deco Light will make your child’s eyes light up. The LED bulbs stay cool to the touch. The cordless, battery operated light is simple to install. The fun 3D Crack sticker is included.
waterloo kids
Perfect for the fall, Waterloo Kids from VIVOBAREFOOT is a minimalist waterproof boot made from natural rubber. These galoshes are designed for barefoot adventure, whatever the weather. Let kids’ feet get stuck in the mud while they run, jump, and play all day. Features a patented, ultra-thin, puncture resistant layer. 5x more puncture resistant than a standard sole of the same thickness.
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