Must-haves for back-to-school

Our 7 must-haves before heading back to school

By Ana-Maria Klizs


I vividly remember looking forward to back-to-school shopping with my mom when I was in elementary school. Before I grew up enough to want to do that sort of thing alone or with my friends, my mom would make it a day to head to all my favourite stores, to pick out all the things I needed for class, and a few special things I just really really wanted. Like that cute canvas Club Monaco tote bag that stretched and pulled under the weight of all my books and binders, but which I carried around proudly anyways because it was the “it” bag at that time.

I LOVED back-to-school shopping as much then as I love it now, maybe because I get to bring back a small part of my childhood every year? Or maybe because I see how excited the kids get and I am very much aware that it is just a fleeting moment in time. Either way this is something I look forward to and Johannes looks forward to as well.

This year is a little different for us. Not only is Johannes starting Grade 2, but Magnus starts Junior Kindergarten and Henrik starts Montessori as well. They all need new gear, new essentials and a few of their favourite things too. So here are our 7 must haves before heading back to school in a few weeks.

1 New Running Shoes

The older boys wear a uniform at school, so the day-to-day clothing is more or less taken care of, but running shoes are a big deal! They need two pairs each, one as their indoor shoes and one as their outdoor shoes. Both pairs must be durable, comfortable, have non-marking soles and close with a Velcro strap. We love the New Balance kids line-up of shoes so much because it ticks off all of those boxes. Their soles are super flexible - they withstand all the rock climbing, asphalt running, scooter riding …and that’s all before gym class. Plus the boys think they look really cool too, so while the New Balance shoes are a MUST for me, they’re also a WANT for them.

2 Reusable Water Bottles

I actually found these really cool Contigo water bottles at Costco last week, that also have a little spot for snacks. This is key for two reasons. First off, the boys’ school is litter-less, so they need reusable containers for snacks, lunches and drinks. They also love to bring their snacks and water outside for recess, so having a two in one container is kind of brilliant.

3 Packable Rain Jackets

The boys go outside even if its drizzling some days, so having a lightweight coat that can easily be squeezed into their backpack after is really helpful. I scored two cute jackets from Marshalls the other day and the kids are really excited to wear them again.

Ana and her children are ready for school in their New Balance sneakers.

4 A Watch

Ok, this is definitely a WANT for them but I think it’s also educational because they’re learning to tell time. I love the new Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch. Magnus already has one which he loves learning the numbers on, so I have to pick one up for his big brother too.

5 Wet Bag

Henrik and Magnus are still small enough that they have lots of spills and accidents, and the best way to bring home their soiled clothing is inside a wet bag. It’s reusable, washable and it’s helpful to reduce the need for plastic bags too.

6 New binders, pencil cases, crayons and all things stationary

At Johannes age especially this is a NEED, and a non-negotiable. But of course Magnus wants to be like his brother, so while I plan on reusing Johannes’ pencil case from last year, I’m letting Magnus pick out one of his own with a few crayons in his favourite colours. Johannes has an entire list of items he needs, so he’s planning on supervising this trip of ours.

7 Snacks

They get to come with me for snack pick-up too. We’re in the habit of letting the boys pick out one or two of their favourite snacks to go along with the healthier options I pick out. I find it’s made it easier for them to finish their lunches! The rule is they bring their favourite snack, but they can only eat it if they’ve finished everything else that I gave them.

This content was produced by The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio, in consultation with an advertiser. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.