Back to School Checklists for Kindergarten & Grade School Kids
Back to school can be a stressful time. Whether your child is entering school for the very first time or starting a new grade, you’ll want to have them ready for going back to school this fall.
So we’ve gathered a list of school essentials for your child. Whether you’re putting your little one on the bus for the first time or preparing your child for a new grade, we’ve got a checklist of what you’ll need–you’ll find the Grade School checklist below the Kindergarten checklist!
For the Backpack
- Backpack: Children going to school for the first time can expect to pack extra clothing like a sweater, a folder for school paperwork, lunch bag, water bottle, and school supplies. Backpacks should be big enough to fit everything they need, small enough for little bodies and whimsical enough to smooth the transition between home and school life. Brands such as Skip Hop, Zoocchini, SoYoung and Parkland have cute packs that feature kids’ favourite animals and characters.
- School supplies: Your child will need a pouch for carrying crayons, washable markers, glue stick, safety scissors, and other supplies to school. Check out Parkland Highfield versions with butterflies, robots, or candy hearts.
- Pocket folder: Especially during the first days of school, your kindergartener will be bringing home a lot of permission slips and other school paperwork for you. Sending them with something durable like the Oxford Twin Pocket Folder will help make sure they don’t forget anything important.
- Luggage tag: For little ones who have yet to learn their address and phone number, a luggage tag for their backpack will be a lifesaver when their teacher asks. Just be sure to attach it to the inside of their backpack for privacy.
- Labels: Grab a set of Stuck On You labels to put an end to lost items or unintentional swaps with other children!
- Lunch bag: Similar to backpacks, kids entering school can bring along critter lunch bags from Skip Hop or SoYoung, or Lil B Pack pint-sized lunch bags from Fluf. Sugarbooger has adorable prints on their lunch bags, or if your kiddos are movie fanatics Thermos has themed lunch kits with characters from Frozen, Paw Patrol, Spiderman, Hello Kitty and more!
- Lunch containers: The easiest lunch container options come complete with different sections for all your new kindergartener’s lunch and snacks – Goodbyn Hero food containers come in bright colours, the Boon Bento Snail is perfect for tiny hands, and OmieLife’s OmieBox is the first leak-proof bento lunch box that stores hot and cold foods together. If you’re looking for a matching lunch set, Crocodile Creek has the cute prints any kiddo will love.
- Insulated food jar: And if you’re planning on packing a hot lunch, you’ll need an insulated food jar like the ones from Skip Hop that come with their own spoon!
- Reusable snack bags: Snacks are a must to keep kids happy and satisfied throughout the day. And adorable prints make even empty snack bags a treat all on their own. Look for ones that are dishwasher safe or machine washable, and stock up on a few sizes.
- Water bottle: A no-mess reusable bottle with a straw is a great way to make sure that your child’s first day (and year!) goes smoothly. Skip Hop, Sugarbooger and Crocodile Creek all have spill-proof bottles.
- Don’t forget to include ice packs to keep snacks and sandwiches fresh, and a napkin for spills and smears.
- Snacks: Many schools are now nut-free environments, but there are still plenty of snacks to choose from. Small snacks like Simply Protein Kids Bars are perfect for your child’s first academic excursion, as are Made Good Granola Minis and FreeYumm bars and cookies.
- Face & hand wipes: Aleva Naturals Bamboo Baby Hand ‘n’ Face Wipes aren’t just for babies. A travel size of 30 wipes is perfect to send to school with your child for after lunch or after recess.
- Tissues: A small pack of tissues is perfect for playground sneezes.
- First aid: Kid-friendly band aids are a must when your child is exploring a new playground. And don’t forget other first aid items such as Dimpleskins Naturals Boo Boo Goo and a small first aid kit.
- Sunscreen: It may be fall soon, but the September sun will still be powerful! Make sure to apply a kids’ sunscreen like thinksport Kid’s Safe Sunscreen before they head to school.
For Backup at Home
Don’t forget to stock your home so that you can prepare your little kid before the first day:
- Vitamins: Make sure your child starts off with all the nutrients they’ll need. SmartyPants Kids Complete are perfect. Just be sure to keep them in a cupboard with a child lock! If chewable vitamins aren’t a hit, try Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Liquid Children’s Multi-Vitamin – they’ll love the tropical berry flavour. And to help with brain development, NutraSea Kids Omega + Vitamin Dis an easy to administer liquid that tastes like bubblegum.
- Lice prevention & treatment: No parent wants to get that phone call from the school, but with so many little children in one place, it could happen. Be prepared for your child’s first school experience by stocking up now. Prevention starts with Lice Shield Leave In Detangling Spray, and Lice Squad Canada Louse Trap Comb helps with treatment.
- Cold & flu treatment: With autumn chill comes cold season, and schools are breeding grounds for seasonal bugs. Stock up on Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold & Flu Kids Chewable Tablets , Homeocan Kids 0-9 Cough & Cold Syrup and Vicks VapoRub Ointment. And for seasonal allergies, try Orange Naturals Seasonal Allergies for Kids.
- Back-up Snacks and Drinks: For when there’s no time in your schedule for a trip to the grocery store,
- Extra lunch bag & containers, reusable snack bags, & water bottle: Inevitably, your child may forget their lunch bag, water bottle, or snack containers at school. Be prepared with extra ones so that you won’t have to scramble.
For the Backpack
- Backpack: As your child enters higher grades and school work gets more involved, backpacks for elementary school will have to be bigger. Also, your child might not be as interested in animal figures as they once were. For grade school, look for supportive packs for ages 6-11 in bright colours like those made by Parkland (look for “Bayside” in the name), Jansport and Fjallraven.
- School supplies: Grade school students will need sturdy cases like the Parkland Fraction that features cool patterns. Stash pencils, pens, pencil crayons, glue, pencil sharpener and scissors inside.
- Pocket folder & notebook: Don’t forget a pocket folder for all those permission slips and pizza day sign-ups! An Oxford Twin Pocket Folder is perfect for their backpack, throw in some notebooks too!
- Labels: Emily Press has got you covered for preventing losing lunch bag, water bottle, or backpack entirely! If you want to ensure the labels really stay on (especially for clothes), opt for iron on labels from Stuck On You.
- Lunch bag: Patterned lunch bags from Parkland, Fluf and Jansport are great for elementary school aged kids. PackIt lunch bags are freezable so you can keep lunches cool until lunch, without needing any ice packs! If you’re looking for a complete lunch kit option Zoli now offers a matching set that includes an insulated food jar, water bottle and lunch tote.
- Lunch containers: We can’t guarantee that your kids will always eat the lunch you pack them – but there’s a higher chance if it’s packed in a fun bento box like one from Yumbox or Little Lunch Box Co.!
- Insulated food jar: If you’re packing a hot lunch, be sure to use a Zoli Dine Insulated Vacuum Food Jar or Thermos to keep it warm until the lunch bell rings!
- Reusable snack bags: Active kids are hungry! Snack bags with funky prints will keep them on trend while they refuel. Look for ones that are dishwasher safe or machine washable, and stock up on a few sizes.
- Water bottle: Children starting grade school can graduate to bottles that don’t have straws. Small bottles that can hold 250 to 350 millilitres from Klean Kanteen, or Hydro Flask Kids are great choices for early elementary school kids. Older kids can handle up to 500 millilitres (especially if they’re active), S’ip and Nalgene have lots of fun colours and patterns to choose from.
- Extras: You’ll want to throw in an ice pack, napkin and cutlery like the pack from Monbento to make sure your grade schooler has everything they need for lunch.
- Snacks: Healthy snacks that are also fun enough to avoid trading with friends are perfect for grade school kids. Fruitivity Snacks Crunchy Apple Chips or Pressed by KIND Bars, for instance, get them some much needed fruit servings. Sneak in some veggies with MadeGood granola bars, all made with one full (secret) serving of veggies per bar. Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies and Joseph’s Chocolate Nutless Clusters are perfect to grab on the go.
- Hand sanitizer: For before meals or after recess, or any other time they can’t get to the bathroom to wash their hands, Everyone Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray Coconut & Lemon kills germs without drying out hands – and smells great!
- Tissues: Grab a pack of environmentally friendly Caboo Bamboo & Sugar Cane tissues to get you from home to school and back.
- First aid: Band aids are a must as kids become more independent, learn to ride a bike, and the scraps and scratches that go with growing up – luckily Band Aid has lots of fun designs so they’ll be happy to wear them. For bigger cuts and scrapes use Polysporin Kids Antibiotic Cream to help speed up the recovery process.
- Sunscreen: Long afternoons of soccer practice under the (still hot) September sun call for Green Beaver Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Kids. For more convenient on-the-go options, try thinksport Kids Safe Sunscreen Stick or Live Clean Kids Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 30.
For Backup at Home
- Vitamins: As kids grow up, you might want to try a chewable tablet rather than a gummy. Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Chewable Multi-Vitamins support overall health and the immune system, and come in cherry, orange and grape flavours. Also, try Flora Kindervital to support your child’s growth of healthy bones and teeth. If they’re not ready to give up the gummies, opt for SISU U-Cubes Multivitamin Gummies that don’t have any high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colours.
- Lice prevention & treatment: Lice is still a risk throughout grade school. Help prevent it with Lice Shield Shampoo & Conditioner in One and if needed, treat with Thursday Plantation Head Lice Kit.
- Cold & flu treatment: Be sure to have Boogie Wipes Simply Unscented and Homeocan Kids 0-9 Flu Buster on hand for when the inevitable sick days come.
- Extra lunch bag & containers, reusable snack bags, & water bottle: Yes, still. No matter how hard you try to teach them, kids might forget their lunch packs. Or they may bring home the lunch bag without any of their containers inside! Be sure to pick up some extras just in case.
There’s so much to organize for the first day back to school. So bookmark these lists so you’ll have everything you’ll need for the new school year!