By Pamela Jacobs
Back-to-school essentials don't have to be boring—in fact, they can help make the end of summer a little easier to swallow. Here are our picks for some seriously stylish ways to make your kids go straight to the head of the class.
Lively Lunch Solutions from BUILT
BUILT Bento Salad Bowls and Big Apple Buddies Lunch Sacks insulate and keep foods cool and fresh, and add a wow-factor that basic brown bags just don't have. They're PVC- and BPA-free, and because they're reusable, they are environmentally-friendly. Consider them eco-chic, kid-approved (from toddlers through teens) mothers' helpers.
Oh-So-Pretty Planners from Blue Sky
Staying organized isn't always easy for kids, but with Bly Sky's collection of sophisticated planners and calendars, not only is it feasible—it's also fabulous. The Day Designer for Blue Sky line manages schedules in the most trendsetting manner, with chic prints, including stripes and florals. Textile-inspired Egg Press for Blue Sky brings fun and whimsy to notebooks—making to-do lists actually enjoyable—while the Senna and Sons for Blue Sky line was inspired by nature, and brings a modern look to calendars. Now there's no excuse for clutter.
Glamorous Bedding by 41 Winks
Decorating the dorm room is as much a part of the college experience as the classes are (sorry moms, it's true). Send them off to school in high style with these super fashionable bedroom essentials from brand-new, NY-based 41 Winks, whose bold, colorful designs and metallic linen accents are high-quality (they'll survive the Freshman-year experience) and truly unique. Your baby might be leaving the nest, but she'll be bringing a bit of NY style with her.
Boho-Chic Backpack by Topshop
Looking for a way to ensure your daughter remembers to take books home from school? Give her a backpack she'll actually want to carry. Topshop's Suede Fringe Backpack is a bit 70s, a touch bohemian, and a whole lot of fashion-forward fun.
Playful Pens and Pencils from Karma Kiss
Space ships and lollipops and robots—oh my! Getting kids off of the iPad and onto the pen and paper is a whole lot easier when they're tricked (we mean carefully persuaded) into realizing how fun writing can be. When they're using pens disguised as toys, it's a piece of cake (or candy, for that matter).
Colorful, Customized Shoelaces from U-Lace Kiddos
Here's a fun fact that many parents know all-too-well: On average, younger kids take 7-10 minutes just to get their shoes on and tied in the morning. Who has time for that?! U-Lace Kiddos offers a solution that's as fun and creative as it is time-saving. These sneaker-customizing shoelaces easily snap in so kids can get themselves ready. But the best part is they'll spend time making one-of-a-kind designs that show off their personalities and creativity—away from the TV screen.
Comfy, Cushioning Athletic Socks from Mitscoots
Keeping active, young feet protected and comfortable is a priority; when the product also makes a difference in the world, it's even better. Mitscoots Athletic Socks provide arch support and keep moisture at bay, and come in bold, fun colors and designs. They also teach kids about giving back, as the company employs the homeless to package the socks and donates a brand new pair of Mitscoots for every pair purchased. It's a win/win.
Healthful On-the-Go Breakfast with Modern Oats
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for little ones, but mornings are always a rush. Don't send them off to school with a sugary snack; instead, feed them fiber- and protein-rich, all-natural, portable Modern Oats oatmeal. Available in six superfood flavors, including Goji Blueberry and Mango Blackberry, they're ready in three minutes and can enjoyed while heading off to school.
Mod Mantra Tees by Little Boogaweezin
Let's face it—NY kids are the hippest in the world. They're also some of the smartest. Combine that sense of style and street-smarts, add inspirational messages and mantras, and you've got LB's collection of chic tanks and tees for freethinking youngsters (and moms) that are guaranteed to make heads turn and classmates talk.
Perfectly-Popped Microwavable Popcorn from Chef'n
What's a late-night study session without popcorn? Your college kid might not be a whiz in the kitchen yet, but he can definitely pull off the perfect snack with the foolproof PopTop Popcorn Popper, constructed from high-heat-resistant silicone that unfolds as kernels pop. It pops a perfect bowl every time and ensures the dorm halls won't be filled with the smell of burnt kernels.
Perfect Pillow Protection from AllerEase
You might not want to admit it, but there's a good chance your college kid will go all semester without washing sheets. The one thing you can do to rest easier is to send her off to school with an AllerEase Maximum Mattress Protector and Maximum Pillow Protector, which keep away dust mites and bed bugs, ease allergy suffering, and provide parents with peace of mind.