Depending on your preschool/Kindergarten, your kiddo may be carrying his lunch/snacks, a drink, and some other supplies to school. You want the bag to be small enough for a little body but roomy enough to hold the essential belongings. Here are our top picks in the best backpacks for day care, preschool and kindergarten category:
Skip Hop makes quintessential toddler and kids backpacks for preschoolers with their signature animal motifs. The options are so adorable — shark, dinosaur, koala, and llama… — it can be tough choose. Decisions, decisions! (*Note — we recommend the “little” size, as the mini backpack version doesn’t hold much.) The new big kid version of these packs are great for bigger pre-K kiddos and school-aged kids.
For the price, these are actually pretty darn high quality — ours have held up well over time. Even with daily (ab)use, you can expect at least a couple/few years out of one of these.
Mountaintop Backpacks ~ starting at $31
This brand technically makes backpacks and gear for hiking, but it’s so functional that we believe it to be a good contender for school too. It has multiple pockets and compartments. Charlene used it for travel and it held: an iPad, multiple books and notebooks, a pencil case, headphones, fidgets and pop-its, and snacks. With all of that, the water bottle still fit comfortably in the exterior pocket. The shoulder straps are padded, and it features a chest strap to help keep it in place and distribute the weight.
The LL Bean Junior Original backpack is a solid choice all around. Designed for kids between 4 and 7, it has a large main compartment with enough room to fit projects, a lunch box, a few toys and even a change of clothes, plus some extra space for smaller items on the front. It also has a waterproof side pocket for drinks and is available in several vibrant patterns or four classic solids.
Wildkin 12” ~ $38
The Wildkin 12” toddler backpack is one of the most popular on the market for kids 3 to 6 years old. It’s affordable, high quality, CUTE, and the perfect size for littles.
We love that the front pocket moonlights as a lunch bag. Yes, it’s actually insulated (!), which is perfect storage for snacks or even a lunch (though some say it doesn’t stay cold for very long). It also has a side mesh pocket for a water bottle and reflective tape around the front pocket for those dark winter evenings. Note: they also make a 15” size (~$39), which will hold more.
7 A.M. Enfant Mini Dino ~ $45
With this Dino toddler backpack by 7 A.M. Enfant, your little one’s obsession with dinosaurs will never go extinct. Compact but mighty, it can fit all of his daily essentials: a lovey, a blanket and food. We love that it’s light and has padded shoulder straps, and the top handle makes it super easy to grab on your way out. Last but not least, it’s machine washable — RAWR-some!
STATE Kane ~ starting at $75
We love these colorful and stylish backpacks from STATE. They’re classic but playful, and are also the perfect size to fit your day-to-day gear, like school folders, pencil cases, crafts, water bottles and so on. The straps are adjustable and padded for comfort. Charlene’s children both had them last school year, and she was very pleased with them. The interior pockets helped keep things organized, they were super easy to clean after spills (there were a lot of them), and the water bottle still fit even with a backpack filled to the brim.
What’s more, for every pack purchased, STATE supports American children and families in need by donating fully-packed backpacks at signature bag drop rallies.
Pottery Barn Kids Book Bags ~ $varies
Available in mini, small, and larger sizes, the PBK kid’s backpack is a schoolroom classic. True story: teachers of small kids (especially K teachers) love the monogramming so they can tell whose is whose (allow extra delivery time for monogramming). These backpacks are super durable, cute, and come with (optional) matching lunch boxes and other paraphernalia. Ours have lasted for years.
Happy back to school, families! Let’s all hope this year goes better than last year…