The Most Practical Items You *Seriously* Can’t Forget to Add to Your Back-to-School Shopping List

With most schools set to return to in-person learning this fall, it’s time to make sure you and your kids are fully prepared with the essentials. Since we’ll never again make the mistake of putting off school shopping until the last minute, we’re offering up our list of the most practical items (aside from the usual pens, pencils or crayons) to add to your BTS shopping carts—stat.

ziploc brand sandwich bags

Ziploc® Brand Sandwich Bags

When it comes to your kid’s lunchbox, keeping the food fresh inside is a top priority. Since stale pretzels and soggy sandwiches are no fun for anyone, do your entire family a favor and stock up on boxes of Ziploc® Brand sandwich bags with Grip 'n Seal technology. In addition to maintaining the freshness, each bag has an extended tab and a textured, easy grip seal to make it easier to open and close.

rafi nova kids face masks
Rafi Nova

Face Masks

Yes, face masks are still a thing. For in-person learning, the CDC recommends universal masking indoors for all teachers, staff students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. We like the masks from Rafi Nova because they come in sizes for every age and have adjustable ear loops for a better fit. Might we suggest a mask lanyard too?

grey kanken laptop backpack


Speaking of backpacks, we’re partial to this one thanks to its timeless style and the fact that it’s made from a durable moisture-repelling fabric—so it’s ideal for any environment. Tip: If you’ve got a kid in middle or high school, get a backpack with a laptop (or tablet) sleeve so they can easily transport it to and from school.

yeti rambler jr

Reusable Water Bottle

A must-have for any student, no matter their age. For the younger ones, opt for a water bottle with a sippy straw that doesn’t leak and an easy-to-hold handle. Older kids might prefer one that can also be used for tea or hot chocolate. Either way, investing in a quality water bottle will save you tons in the future.

usb flash drive pack

Usb Flash Drive

Make life easier for your middle and high schoolers by getting a pack of USB flash drives. If they don’t finish a project or assignment on the school computer, they can easily bring it home and work on it at a personal or library computer. Just make sure you teach them how to properly save work so nothing gets accidentally lost.

minted personalized name labels

Personalized Name Labels

Ideal for any kid who happens to be, um, forgetful. These personalized labels will make it so much easier for teachers or other students to identify your kid’s items, from lunch boxes to pencil sharpeners and even clothing (just stick the label on the clothing tag).

packing cubes

Packing Cubes

Because accidents are bound to happen. For younger children, stash a packing cube with an extra set of clothes in their backpack. That way, if they spill on themselves or have a minor accident, they’ll have something clean to change into.

21 22 academic planner

Academic Planner

These are an absolute must for any student who needs to track multiple assignments across various classes. Not only will a planner keep them organized, but it will also hold them accountable for their work. Plus, they can add in monthly goals or tasks they want to complete.

bentgo lunch box chiller

Bento-style Lunch Box

Parents are obsessed with this leakproof lunch box—and for good reason. It comes with a removable ice pack to keep food cooler for longer, has a portion-perfect meal tray and features a single kid-friendly latch for easy opening. It can also be used in the microwave and is dishwasher safe. Win-win.

everyone organic hand sanitizer spray

Hand Sanitizer Spray

Well, because germs. We like this one because it contains 62 percent organic ethanol and has no artificial ingredients. The natural and refreshing lavender scent makes us forget we’re even applying hand sanitizer.


Director, Special Projects & Branded Content

Rachel joined PureWow in 2016 and is the Director of Special Projects where she helps oversee the editorial production of sponsored content campaigns and organizes large-scale...