You’ve registered your child for preschool, and now it’s time for the fun part—shopping for all the cute supplies they will need in their preschool backpack! Chances are, your preschool or Mother’s Day Out program has provided you with some information about what you need in your preschool backpack.
Based on our experience seeing many of these lists over the years, here’s our checklist of items you can almost bet on needing for the first day of preschool and beyond to make it a great year!
Preschool Backpack: What Your Child Will Need
Preschool backpacks can be a little tricky. Most preschoolers do not need a full-size backpack that an older child or adult would use. But they do need plenty of space for the necessary items. Luckily, there are several great options!
A little less cutesy with colors geared more toward boys (also available in colors for girls), this backpack has tons of functionality. The fabric is water resistant polyester material that’s easy to wash and clean. There is a double zipper closure main compartment, front pocket, and plenty of room inside the large compartment for everything your child will need. The two side mesh pockets are the perfect size for water bottles, and the padded shoulder straps with adjustable buckle will make it comfortable for preschoolers to carry.
This preschool backpack is a little larger, but will still be appropriate for most preschoolers. They also include cute prints (trucks, ballerinas, sharks, planes, mermaids, and more), they are light-weight, and made of soft polyester. The bag features easy to open and close zipper pulls, a main zippered pocket, two side pockets for water bottles, and a removable coin purse to store small snacks or treasures.
This preschool backpack also comes in a larger size for older kids, and there are dozens of patterns to choose from, such as under the sea (pictured), fox and flower, ocean candy stripe, nebula, and several Disney options. The backpack features a padded tablet sleeve, large zip-closure front pocket, zip-closure stash pocket, and two expandable bottle sleeves on the sides. The easy-to-clean, water-resistant polyester material, reinforced stitching, and padded, adjustable shoulder straps with a buckle will make the backpack easy to maintain.
Skip Hop Backpacks
Where else can you find a unicorn hippopotamus backpack? Skip Hop does a great job of creating super cute, fun toddler backpacks that kids will get excited about. In addition to the whimsical features for both girls and boys, the materials are durable and easy to wipe clean, or you can throw them in the washing machine. The mesh side pocket adjusts to fit a water bottle, and the front pouch is ideal for snacks, lovies, or even a change of clothes. There is a write-on nametag inside the bag, and the shoulder straps are padded and comfortable for little ones.
Urban Infant Personalized Kids Backpack
This option includes your child’s name embroidered on the front by Urban Infant. The laminated backpack is lightweight, waterproof, and easy to wipe clean with a rugged design, padded shoulder straps, and a toddler-size chunky zipper. One unique feature is a vertical tube on the side where your child’s artwork, teacher’s letters, and school forms can be placed and protected. There are also hard to find patterns, such as hot air balloons, submarines, bears, bunnies, and others.
Comfort Items or a Lovey
If packing your child’s favorite stuffed animal, lovey, or other comfort item will help them as they start preschool, go for it. Sometimes just knowing it’s in their preschool backpack can help ease any jitters they may have. If you do send one, make sure the teacher knows what it looks like and who it belongs to. Be sure to label it! If forgetting or losing this special item would be a true tragedy for your child, consider purchasing a second one to have as back-up.
Diapers and wipes
For the littlest little ones who may be starting out in a Mother’s Day Out program for a couple mornings a week, you will need to provide several diapers per day. While the preschool may have a supply of wipes to use, it’s always a good idea to provide some packages of these at the beginning of the year (and again later on), and you can pack them in your child’s preschool backpack as well. If diaper cream is necessary during changes, teachers usually will apply this for you as long as you talk to them about it beforehand and provide the cream.
Extra clothes, socks, underwear
It’s almost a guarantee that at some point in the school year, your preschooler will need a change of clothes. If potty trained or in the process of potty training, absolutely include multiple pairs of extra underwear! You just never know when a spill may happen, socks may get wet while playing outside, or other accidents may occur. Many teachers will ask that you place these extra items in a large resealable bag that’s labeled with your child’s name. When the weather changes, don’t forget to change these spare items out accordingly.
You’re going to want to label all these cute items so that they don’t end up going home with another child. Mabel’s Labels are a great option because there is a huge variety of themes and colors, they come in both iron-on and stick, and there are combo packs available that provide you with all the labels you could ever need for a combination price.
Lunch Boxes and Snack Containers
Bentgo Kids Lunchbox
These lunchboxes come in cute patterns (puppies, dinosaurs, space, sports, llamas, and more) and two-toned solid color options. They feature five compartments that help make packing lunches quick, easy, and perfectly portioned for toddlers and preschoolers. The design is leak-proof, and the two latches are easy for little hands to open and close.
This 14-piece set of storage containers is BPA free, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and freezer safe. The set includes a variety of containers in different sizes with lids and ice packs that snap into the lids. The colorful plastic containers will be fun for preschoolers, and they are perfect when you want to pack lunch items or snacks separately. The marked measurements let you know exactly how much you are packing.
Yumbox lunchboxes are another great bento-style option designed specifically for little kids to help promote healthy and balanced eating. Available in a variety of colors, the removable compartmentalized tray is divided into 5 wells (plus a round dip/treat compartment in the middle), and each is sealed independently with one lid. The tray is illustrated and makes it fun to eat healthy food to see the picture at the bottom.
Kids Hydro Flask
$27.49 – $37.95
The kids Hydro Flask holds 12 ounces with a wide mouth straw lid. The perforated flex boot adds bottle protection and stability, also making it easier for little hands to pick up and hold. Also insulated, it will keep water cold for up to 24 hours. It’s BPA and toxin-free, and made with 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel to ensure durability, pure taste, and no flavor transfer. Your little one can pick their favorite color combo in pinks, blues, purples, and greens.
While many preschools will ask that you not send milk or juice, you will definitely need to send at least one water bottle. Teachers may take water bottles outside on the playground where they may sit in the sun, so an insulated water bottle is really helpful. The vacuum insulation technology of the Thermos Funtainer, 12 ounce, keeps drinks cold for up to 12 hours, and the high quality 18/8 stainless steel construction means the water bottle can handle the inevitable drops and dings that are sure to happen at preschool. It’s also lightweight and compact with a push button lid, so it will fit easily into preschool backpacks. There are several solid color options as well as fun patterns, such as Cars, Barbie, Mickey Mouse, and more.
YETI Rambler Jr.
The Rambler Jr. is a small-and-mighty kids bottle over-engineered for little ones but perfect for preschool. Both the bottle and cap are dishwasher safe, it’s BPA-free, and the 18/8 stainless steel withstands all dents and drops. The no sweat design will keep your preschoolers hands dry while drinking and hopefully help prevent drops. Even if drops or tips do occur (and they will), the leak and shatter-resistant bottle will be just fine. The 12 ounce bottles come in nine colors, such as seafoam, alpine yellow, harbor pink, and navy.
Not for the Backpack: Nap Mats
There is one more item to consider that might not actually fit in a preschool backpack: a nap mat! Most full-time and many part-time preschool programs have scheduled naptimes during the day, so a nap mat for your preschooler may be needed. Wildkin Nap Mats are very popular for good reason. They come in a variety of cute patterns (trucks, dinosaurs, princesses, ballerinas, etc.) and are made from a soft blend of cotton and polyester. The attached blanket is lined with 100% cotton flannel to keep your little one warm, and there is a built-in pillow as well. Preschool mats feature a roll-up design to make it easy to carry to and from school. It’s fun to find something unique that fits your child’s personality. There are also several matching set options for nap mats, backpacks, and lunchboxes.
If this is your first time sending a child to preschool and you are feeling a little nervous check 10 helpful tips in this article.