While many parents and kids are getting ready to head back to school, this will be my daughter's first year attending school. There have been many bittersweet tears along with hours of looking up lunch idea recipes. However, she and I are both excited for this step in life.
Growing up, I always looked forward to school season, I was probably one of the few kids who looked forward to going back to school. I loved school and still have my heart set on going back one day to get my masters degree. I'm hoping to pass that love and passion of school onto my daughter and part of that love was shopping!
I'm not normally one to enjoy shopping (though get me in a Target and all bets are off) my daughter, on the other hand, is a little shopaholic. Shoes, bags, toys, clothes, you name it she loves going to look for new treasures. Since this is her first "back to school" shopping experience I wanted to make it special and start a new tradition. Each year I plan on taking her port side (we live in Canada, port side means going to the US) and spending the day gathering supplies and treating her to lunch. I hope she enjoys it as much as I think I will.
That being said, there are some key items that can make your back to school shopping greener and more Eco-friendly. These are my top recommendations:
1. Backpack - Probably the most important item for back to school is a backpack. You will want to make sure you find something durable that will last through the year. My go to are Herschel and Parkland. The reason I am drawn to these bags is simply because they are ADORABLE! Seriously, some of the prints they have are so cute. They are also extremely durable, which is important. Now if you do want to stick to the more Eco-friendly side of things, check out Skip Hop or Crocodile Creek.
2. Lunch Pail - Your kids will have to eat and you'll need something to put food in. Many schools these days require that lunches be litterless. Don't fret, there are some great lunch box organizers out there. This year I purchased the PlanetBox. The reason I decided to go with the PlanetBox was not due to the price, as they are one of the most expensive boxes out there. However, they aren't separate containers. I felt this was important for my 4 year old. Too many small things become very easy to lose for a 4 year old. That being said, there are lots of great choices for lunch boxes. Check out ECOlunchbox, Crocodile Creek, Lunchskins, Bentgo and U-Konserve.
3. Napkins - Let's face it, kids are messy. There is no way around it. You will have to send something for them to wipe their face and hands with, especially if you attend a litterless lunch school. I found Funkins a few years ago and have loved them since. Not only are the prints adorable for kids, they are easy to wash, hold up well and offer a great alternative to paper products.
4. Water Bottle - An important part to learning is making sure your child stays hydrated. There are a vast array of Eco-friendly water bottles out there, some of our favourites are: Klean Kanteen, Pura, Life Factory, Think Sport, Re-Play Recycled and U-Konserve.
5. Ice Packs - If you pack anything that needs to stay cold, it is important to find a safe ice pack. You will want something durable but not bulky. You will also want to make sure you know the contents of the ice pack. Some are more toxic than others. Non-toxic ones include: Crocodile Creek, U-Konserve and PlanetBox.
6. Pencils - All kids will need pencils. If they are anything like me, they will need a lot. Look for paper made pencils, they are great for the environment. Some companies that make paper pencils include: Tree Smart, Prang, Greenciles, Even some bigger name companies are starting to follow the Eco-trend so pop into your local Staples and see what Bic has to offer.
7. Notepads - Attending older grades most likely means bringing notepads. Recycled notepads are very easy to find in most stores but if you want something a little off the beaten path, check out: Banana Paper, Ecojot, Poopoopaper (my daughter was most excited for this one).
Most importantly, send a little reminder every now and then that you are thinking or your kids. Let them know what you are proud of, an inspiring quote or a little something to say I love you. School is hard for us all (parents included) but hopefully setting them on the right path with all the right tools will give them a great start.
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