Back-To-School Guide 2018

Our three girls will be heading back to school next week (grades: 1st, 4th, and 6th). We're sad to give up the leisurely pace of summer, but we're also ready for a bit of routine and the promise of cooler fall weather.

I'd like to share several of our "favorite" brands and products for back-to-school as well as some new "finds" for this coming school year.

Feel free to chime in at the end with any questions or comments!


lands end womens interlock polo
Women's Pima Polo Shirt in Prairie + Classic Leather Belt in Blush

Lands' End is always my go-to brand for polos. They're soft. They're versatile. They hold their color and shape after lots & lots of washes. In short, they are the best we've found. Note that we do prefer the interlock polos over the mesh polos. Lands' End also recently introduced a new "performance" athletic material for polos, but I opted to stick with the more affordable and already-well-loved interlock polos.

We've also had success with Lands' End skorts, shorts, and cardigans.


osh kosh navy pink polka dot tennis shoes
OshKosh Athletic Sneakers
osh kosh white cardigan sweater
Cotton Cardigan by OshKosh
osh kosh navy uniform sweater fleec jacket
Uniform Sweater Fleece Jacket by Oshkosh
osh kosh pique uniform dress navy
Pique Uniform Dress by OshKosh
osh kosh school uniforms
Cotton Cardigan, Stretch Pique Uniform Polo, and Stretch Uniform Shorts
osh kosh stretch pique uniform polo pink
Stretch Pique Uniform Polo by OshKosh
osh kosh stretch uniform shorts khaki
Stretch Uniform Shorts by OshKosh

Our oldest daughter has outgrown children's brands, but I found some excellent school uniform options for my two younger daughters at OshKosh B'Gosh (aka Carter's - as far as I can tell the two brands are one in the same?). You'll find school uniform shorts, polo dresses, and cardigan sweaters for sizes 4-14.


osh kosh sweater zuca space themed rolling backpack
Wearing: Foxpaws Navy Jane School Shoes (more info below!)
zuca galaxy bag backpack
ZUCA Rolling School Backpack in Galaxy

Because there are no lockers at our daughters' school, all three of them use rolling backpacks instead of over-the-shoulder styles. So much gentler on small shoulders and much easier to transport from class to class!

The two older girls have been using their ZUCA bags for the past several years and we love them. These boxy rolling bags are roomy and well-made - plus they double as a seat! Although they are pricey when you initially buy them, you can keep the frame year after year and then swap out the insert when it wears out and/or your child is interested in a new theme.

The only design flaw in this bag is the mesh pockets on the side. They tend to tear if you carry a water bottle or notebook in that pocket (which seems like the obvious use). I hope ZUCA replaces the mesh for a cloth pocket or a stronger net material in the future.


Foxpaws navy mary janes
Navy Blue Jane School Shoes by Foxpaws

I've written about Foxpaws for the past few years and want to make sure they don't slip by your attention this year. This mom-and-pop company makes high-quality children's shoes in such preppy, beautiful styles. If you're looking for Mary Janes that are comfortable for school and play, try Foxpaws.


when in doubt go to the library hermoine granger

when in doubt go to the library quote

when in doubt go to the library womens tee

Out of Print offers some very fun literary-inspired designs for t-shirts, tote bags, pencil pouches, sweatshirts, and book pins. Our almost-12-year-old daughter especially gravitated to the black tees and totes with this quote by Hermoine Granger, "When in doubt, go to the library." Sounds like a solid plan.


velveteen rabbit book pin

Harry Potter book pin

book pin lord of the rings

Once you see Ideal Bookshelf's darling book pins, you'll want to collect them all! Photographs can't really do them justice.

Think of your favorite classic book...and illustrator Jane Mount will likely have drawn up the cover. New pins are added throughout the year so check back if you can't find what you are looking for - or tweet the company to suggest a title!

If you're looking for more generic intellectual pins like a coffee cup, pencil, or typewriter, Out of Print (highlighted above) has several excellent options.


stabilo 88 metal tin

stabilo point 88 pen roll

stabilo 88 pen roll to go

I mostly don't bother with other pens now that I have several sets by Stabilo. The 88 fine points and bold colors are exactly my style - especially for bullet journaling (which I've been doing for several years now). My kids also enjoy using them for list-making, note-taking, and doodling.

  • BUY Stabilo Pens. (The rollercase set can also be found on Amazon! Free shipping with prime!)
  • FOLLOW Stabilo Pens on Facebook.


kid made modern watercolor set

kids watercolor kit

paintbrush library kid made modern

If your kids are always asking to paint for school projects or for afternoon play, you might consider the Watercolor Set by Kid Made Modern. It comes with a full watercolor tray, plus a pad of thick paper that won't leak or seep. KMM also offers a very pretty and functional paintbrush library (comes with 24 brushes!) in case you're in need of a new stash.


sisters composition books

mr boddington’s space composition book

mr boddingtons studio composition books

Mr Boddingtons Studio Lunch Notes

I try to include little notes in my kids' lunchboxes on most days. Sometimes I make my own (out of index cards or bits of pieces or 4x6 photographs), but it's also very handy to have a stash of pre-made ones available. Mr. Boddington's Studio to the rescue!

You'll also be enamored by the retro designs for composition books, as well as the Write a Letter to the White House Kit.

  • BUY Mr. Boddington's Studio.


statue of liberty toob
Around The World TOOB by Safari Ltd
human organs toob safari ltd
Human Organs TOOB by Safari Ltd
safri ltd piglet
Piglet by Safari Ltd

If you're homeschooling or have children who do lots of projects + book reports for schools, you've got to check out the super fun TOOB sets by Safari Ltd. No matter what you're studying, there's probably a set for it - Ancient Egypt, Medieval Times, the Life Cycle of a Butterfly, Anatomy, and much, much more. These definitely fall in the collectible category.

Also - keep Safari Ltd on your mind for birthdays! Look at little Wilbur pig's irresistible face, for example. My younger kids love animal figurines and this kind of thing would be a shoe-in for a birthday present.


backpack explorer nature journal

ready for a backpack adventure

on the nature trail backpack explorer

nature explorer studies
Wearing: Cargo Vest by Backyard Safari

For the Charlotte Mason and Wild & Free homeschool set, take a peek at the newly released Backpack Explorer journal by Storey Publishing. I would say this is the perfect nature sidekick for ages 7-9, but younger and older students might appreciate it also.

  • BUY Backpack Explorer.
  • BUY Cargo Vest by Backyard Safari.
  • FOLLOW Storey Publishing on Facebook and Twitter.


apple shaped cheryl’s cookies

Happy 1st Day of School Cookies

apple cookies back to school first day

If you're looking for a sweet (literally!) and thematic 1st day of school gift for teachers or classmates, take a look at these Buttercream Frosted Apple Cut-Out Cookies by Cheryl's Cookies. They arrive individually wrapped and carefully delivered in sets of 12, 24, 26, or more.

  • BUY Buttercream Frosted Apple Cutouts.
  • FOLLOW Cheryl's Cookies on Facebook and Twitter.
  • FIND the free printable here.


What are your favorite products for the back-to-school season? Have you discovered any fun finds for this year?


* We received some of the above items for review and others we bought ourselves. As always, if you have any specific questions about the products (sizing, durability, etc), I'm happy to answer them!

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