Cool Back to School Gear

Jessica McFadden on TV

I always have a great time visiting Great Day Washington with Markette Sheppard, Chris Leary, Meaghan Mooney and Darrell Green. This morning they had me on because they know that back to school shopping is a big deal for kids … and for us parents seeking to make life easier in the school year ahead. Here are some of the newest or most innovative items to hit the back to school shelves for 2016.

Check out the clip and get more information on the recommended products, and also check out Activity Rocket co-founder Ilene Miller’s advice on finding tutors and other resources for back to school.

Boogie Board Scribble n Play 

I am a big fan of the Boogie Board tools because they are high tech devices that get kids so excited. All three of my kids – including my 7th grader – have one (thanks Aunt Sarah and Uncle Fred!) but our favorite version is the brand new Boogie Board Scribble n’ Play featuring Color Burst. It’s the first ever color eWriter, incorporating a color LCD screen and new stylus tools to make drawing more fun. It’s the first time we are seeing eWriters in color! Kids can draw and my son uses for his homework to-do list after school. Families can save paper and have digital fun.

Boogie Board Jot. 4.5 featuring Clearview 

The Boogie Board Jot 4.5 with Clearview encourages kids to trace and play. The translucent LCD is perfect for writing practice or solving math equations. It includes set of alphabet and math flash cards, with slip-in attachment and attachable stylus tool to make tracing easy. It’s also a compact digital writer, fun for kids’ good old doodling, too.

Elena of Avalor Gear 

Princess Elena Castillo Flores is the newest Disney Princess, and the star of the Disney Junior animated show Elena of Avalor. She lives in an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore, and she is the first Latina Disney princess. Backpacks, lunch sacks and more Elena of Avalor gear are big with the preschool and primary set this fall

The Original Pencil Grips

My own kindergartner had a, let’s say, interesting grip on her pencil in preschool. But I purchased these Original Pencil Grips to help make holding her pencil more comfortable and to give her more control … and most importantly, when she uses it, her fingers are guided to hold her pencil in the correct position! Fist grips, thumb-wrapping and more common but non-ideal writing grips can be gently guided to correction. And if you have older students who complain that their “hands hurt” after a summer of slack, they also make writing more comfortable.

i am OTHER Yoobi for Target 

This school year education gear company Yoobi partnered with i am OTHER, Pharrell Williams’s creative movement. Together they designed the i am OTHER collection for Yoobi, a limited edition assortment of notebooks, binders, backpacks, pens, pencils, folders, lunch bags and more. Every time you purchase an item, one is donate to a classroom or student in need. They all have inspirational, confidence-boosting phrases on them that encourage kids to feel empowered, and the colors are bright, the designs graphic. Find them online at Yoobi or in-store and online at Target.

JanSport Backpacks in wild patterns 

When I was a student, I carried a plain, sturdy navy blue JanSport to all my classes and it held up for over 10 years. Kids these days can have that same durability and longevity, but with a whole lot more personality. JanSport’s Superbreak and High Stakes lines features premium fabrics in a variety of colors and prints, including animal and camo prints, such as our family fav: sloths riding sharks and dogs in kayaks. But even though the patterns are wild, they have the same padded back and shoulder straps that make them easy to wear when full of a laptop and books.

New PackIt Lunch Sacks 

Our kids had the original PackIt mini coolers as seen on TV, but now they are even better.  The new PackIt Lunch Bags‘ new shapes and less-bulky composition make them more compact and easier to fold. But I love how they, as always, can be freezed first and then packed with the yogurt, fresh fruit, cheeses and other items your kids love eating cold. The Pack-It will keep them chilled for up to 10 hours, which is a great solution for classrooms without a refrigerator to store the lunches.

Another key item you may need this school year is a tutor. Here is some great advice from Activity Rocket.

What is YOUR coolest back to school item find of 2016? 

Disclosure: I received samples of the Boogie Board products. All other items sourced and purchased by me. No compensation received. Amazon affiliate link used for the pencil grips. 


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