Back to School 2014: Backpack Picks

Having just spent the past 2 days finding the right backpack for my almost Kindergartener, I already miss the days of the toddler backpack. The kids aren’t as picky, they don’t have to carry too much, and the options are so fun!

When you’re shopping for a toddler or preschool backpack, please pay close attention to the dimensions of the bag. Keep in mind that many are too small to hold a lunchbox. For example, I purchased a Mini Kanken when my youngest was two. It was just the right size for him but just barely fit a lunchbox. After one year I upgraded to the regular size. He still uses the Mini one for trips to the park etc… where he only needs to carry snacks and water. The same will be true for most of the toddler sized backpacks. Just FYI.

Cool Toddler Kids Preschool Backpacks

Clockwise from top left:

From Ore’ Originals Sugarbooger line, the Zippee! Back Packs are simple, small and durable. The Pencil Zippee! is the coolest design, but I also like the Ruler. There are a number of other Zippee! designs and matching lunch totes are available.  $28

Herschel Bags are the coolest choice of the year and the Settlement Kids model is the one for your preschoolers. $40 I also really love the versions they made for J. Crews crewcuts.  $55

The Kane bag from State Bags is the perfect option for do-gooding preschoolers.  For each Kane sold, State Bags hand-delivers one of their backpack to an American child in need.  The Garfield is another good preschool option. $55

Milkdot’s Top Kat backpacks are simply super. Available in 4 colors, buy one when you find one because they are in limited supply. Solid lunch totes can be purchased to match. $40

Cute Toddler Kids Preschool Backpacks

Clockwise from top left:

Designed by Michelle Romo, the Teacher’s Pet Backpacks are as cute as it gets.  The designs include the Panda, Lion, Elephant, Fox and Bunny. These are available exclusively at The Land of Nod. $29

Skip Hop Zoo Packs are the classic little kid backpack. With a huge selection of animals in the “zoo”, everyone in your class could have a different Zoo Pack. My nephew has the Hippo and my niece has the Penguin! $20

MIBO backpacks are a little harder to find, but if you’re interested in having something more unique, they’re well worth the effort.  Animal designs include penguin, tiger, cat, dog, rabbit, gorilla, polar bears, rhino, squirrel, fox, lion and giraffe.  $49

From Beatrix New York, both the little kid backpacks ($42) and the big kid backpacks (shown $52) are small enough for preschoolers. The lunchboxes and cozy-cans are cute add-ons.

Classic Toddler Kids Preschool Backpacks

Clockwise from top left:

You can’t think of backpacks without thinking of L.L. Bean, and their smallest school pack is the Junior Original. You can find this bag in solid colors or patterned like the shark print shown.  $25

I already mentioned the Fjallraven Kanken Mini Daypack. $55 This boxy little bag is sturdy (unless your child is dragging it along the pavement!) and is a neutral enough style that adults can carry it around as well. If the mini is too small, get the regular size.

If you want their backpack to last a long time, the Jansport Superbreak is a great option. This bag will be a large for the smallest toddlers but by pre-K it will work. They’ll be able to use the bag until it falls apart or they just want something different.  $35

Kelty is another classic name in backpacks and the Kelty Minnow is the one for the tots. Pick orange, green or blue.  $40

Crazy Toddler Kids Preschool Backpacks

Clockwise from top left:

The Crocband™ Backpack 2.0 is made of the famous crocs material.  It’s durable, can be personalized with Jibbitz and you can even get shoes to match.  $30

MadPax come in all sizes and lots of funky forms, but the halfpack is the smaller size for kids. $48 Nibblers (shown) are insulated and best for carrying lunch.  $32

I’ve been tempted to get at JumpFromPaper bag but I’m not a fan of the type of attention a bold accessory like that would attract. Not specifically designed for kids, the Spaceman is a fun and funky bag. $140 Imitations abound.

The Lego Brick Backpack is harder to find (unless you’re at the gift shop at Legoland).  $60

Some affiliate links included.

New to the Zoo: Hedgehog and Butterfly from Skip Hop with Giveaway

Two new zoo pals join the crew at Skip Hop.  Meet the Hedgehog and the Butterfly!  These cute characters join the menagerie as Zoo Packs and Zoo Lunchies.

Skip Hop Zoo Packs Butterfly Hedgehog

These should just be mandatory for all preschoolers.


To celebrate the launch of these two new styles, Skip Hop is giving away your choice of a Hedgehog or Butterfly Zoo Pack and Zoo Lunchie.

Hedgehog and Butterfly

Enter to win via the rafflecopter widget below.  You must leave a comment telling us which pack and lunchie you’d choose.  There are a few additional entry methods you can take advantage of to increase your odds of winning.

This sweepstakes is open to US resident over the age of 18.  It starts right now and ends May 14th, 2014 at midnight.

Thanks to our friends and advertisers at Skip Hop for this fun giveaway and good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some affiliate links included.


Cat Kidston Maclaren Quest

In case you want your stroller to look like your great-grandmother’s favorite armchair, Maclaren’s Cath Kidston Spray Flower Quest Buggy is back.  $335

Cath Kidston Maclaren Quest

Nothing against Cath Kidston, I just prefer her modern vintage English style in smaller doses…

Cath Kidston kids

Clockwise from top left:

Garage Kids Mini Backpack- $26
Penguin Double Duvet Set- $90
Puppies and Kittens Nursery Set- $20
Kew Sprig Kids Backpack- $42

Cath Kidston Changing Bags Diaper Bags

Posy Zip Changing Bag- $120
Spot Changing Bag- $105
Spot Zig Changing Bag
- $120
Cowboy Changing Bag- $100

And now please excuse me as I redecorate my son’s bedroom to suit that penguin bedding!

Back To School: Wooden USA Puzzle

So everyone who’s going is back in school now, right?  Whether your children are in the classroom or still at home with you, start them off right this year and make geographic literacy fun with a great puzzle.

This beautiful “My Puzzle Tis of Thee” ($69) wooden puzzle of the United States is a Nod exclusive and includes 45 pieces and the tray.

my puzzle tis of thee US puzzle from The Land of Nod

Another USA Jigsaw puzzle to consider if you’re interested in having colors is this one from Puzzle Man.  ($40)


I also like this one from Hollow Woodworks because of the little pegs on each piece.  ($58)


Montessori USA puzzle map ($35 + shipping) is always a great choice.

Montessori USA puzzle

This laser cut magnetic US puzzle from Steven Mattern Design features the continental interstate highway system though they also have one with rivers and lakes. ($102)

USA Map Puzzle - Continental Interstate Highway System

Hope everyone has a great school year!

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Perfect Pairing for Back to School- DwellStudio + Thermos

We’re in the middle of Back-to-School season and in case you haven’t found the perfect backpack / lunchbox combo, you’re in luck, because I have!  I love this partnership between DwellStudio and Thermos.  Not only do you get a cute DwellStudio pattern backpack and matching insulated lunch box, but the Thermos straw bottles, food jars and sippy cups round out the set perfectly.  One of my little one’s favorite lunch options at preschool is macaroni and cheese in his food jar, but ours isn’t nearly as cute as these.

DwellStudio and Thermos

In case you’re not quite ready for back to school yet, the diaper bags are super and stylish as well.  The messenger diaper bags are $110, the Madison bags are $70 and the Hudson bag (teal) is $180.

DwellStudio Thermos Diaper Bags
Some affiliate links included.

New to the Zoo: Skip Hop Dinosaur and Hippo!

I’m happy to introduce you to Skip Hop‘s newest zoo creatures.  The Hippo and Dinosaur Zoo Packs are now available for $20.  They are also available as Zoo Lunchies for $14.  They join the bee, dog, elephant, fox, frog, ladybug, monkey, mouse, owl, penguin and zebra.

This collection just keeps getting cuter and cuter.  Keep these in mind for camp or back to school.

I Buy Modern: My Recent Purchases

One of the hazards of this blogging game is that I’m always shopping online for you, and every so often, I find things that I can’t resist myself.  These are a few of my most recent purchases.

1- Once I spotted this I Will Never Lego print on swiss-miss, I knew I had to have it.  Not sure which of my two boys will get this one, but it’s got to be in my household.  I have a few days to decide before it arrives.

2- We purchased a Mini Kanken when my youngest started preschool a few months ago, and while it was the perfect size for him, the only thing that fits into it is his lunchbox.  There’s no room to stuff anything else like a jacket, so I’ve just upgraded him to this Classic Fjällräven Kanken backpack in Ox Red, his color of choice.

3- Beaba’s Pixie Night Light and Lantern now sits on my son’s nightstand.  It’s the perfect thing for him to grab on trips to the bathroom in the night.  I just wonder how long we’ll be able to go before the Pixie gets a little smile added to his face.  For now I’m hiding all the permanent markers in the house!

4- I finally purchased a Boon Stash for myself.  I’ve got it hanging at my desk to store little odds and ends without taking up space on the table top.  I’m very pleased!

5- Finally, speaking of my son’s nightstand, this was a recent addition as well!  We needed a place for his alarm clock, books, a glass of water and of course, the nightlight, so I purchase the Ayres Nightstand from Argington to go with his Ayres bed.  So far so good!  And he loves the little drawer on the bottom for storing all his “valuables.”

Let me know if you have questions about any of the products!

Norman Copenhagen Play Board (and more)

In the spirit of back-to-school, check out this Normann Copenhagen Play Board in Yellow.

Designed by Jesper K. Thomsen, the “Play” series is handmade in Denmark out of Lacquered Beech.  Other items in the collection include the Play Soapbox Cart ($3150), a table ($380), bench ($370) and chairs ($315). (the Play collection is available at our affiliate All Modern Baby)

Some newer Norman Copenhagen items that might be fun to use in your modern nursery include the Watch Me Wall Clock ($50) and Woofy, the cable concealing dog ($200).


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