Parents rejoice, it’s almost back to school time! From lunch boxes and gelly pens to stress toys and backpacks, here are 10 items from stores around the North Shore and Chicago that will make your kids excited for that big first day.
Wild Child, $31.99
657 Vernon Ave., Glencoe & 1114 Central Ave., Wilmette
Headphones are a must have, and this set by Tonie not only works with iPads and computers, but it pairs with the Toniebox, a screen-free device that plays music, audiobooks and more. The headphones are foldable, durable, and volume-limiting, and come in six colors. Pick up the Toniebox and headphones at Wild Child in Glencoe or Wilmette.
Kånken Mini Backpack
1708 N Damen Ave., Chicago
If you want a backpack that will last through several school years, look no further. Not only is Fjällräven durable, but their simple colors mean you don’t have to worry about purchasing a new backpack each year when your child outgrows their favorite show or character. Plus, you can pick up an adult-sized version and take advantage of a “twinning” moment (and maybe even embarrass your kid a little!).
The Sensory Kids Store, $21.99
Locally owned, The Sensory Kids Store carries a wide range of stress balls and fidgets for kids (and who are we kidding, adults too!). Kids will love to relax after school with this giant two-handed stress ball. Simply squeeze or knead for a few minutes of stress or boredom busting.
Moonlight Colors Gelly Roll Pens
2100 Central St, Evanston
These gelly roll pens have an amazing paint like effect and they even glow under black light. From doodling to sketching, they are a bold way to make homework a bit more fun.
Blue Monkey Lunch Bag
Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony, $30
1901 Central Street, Evanston
Liven up lunchtime with this adorable Monkey Lunch Bag, perfect for your child’s first year. Inside pockets keep things nice and cool, plus it’s crafted from sustainable foam textile that is degradable, recyclable and environmentally friendly.
Learning Express Toys & Gifts, $9.99
Yep, they are not going anywhere. Add a few new ones to the mix, including these bright and fun ones from Learning Express (available in multiple designs!).
Nice Lena & Friends, $5
1235 Chicago Ave. Evanston
Keep masks off the ground or lunch table with a helpful lanyard. Made from faux suede, the lanyard is soft and lightweight, and available in a rainbow of colors.
Public Sprout C20
Mack’s Bike & Goods, $380
2536 Ewing, Evanston
New year, new wheels! With a simple and stylish design, this Public bike, available at the full-service bike shop Mack’s Bike & Goods, is the best way to get to school.
Yeti Rambler Jr 12 oz Kids Bottle
Uncle Dan’s, $27.99
621 Central Ave, Highland Park & 1600 Sherman Ave, Evanston
If your child is particular about cold water, they will love the Rambler Jr. It’s small, but mighty, and with its double-wall vacuum insulation their ice cold water will stay ice cold all day long.
Personalized Hand Knit Hat
Giggles & Giraffes, $82
1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette
These adorable hats are perfect for late fall or winter, and come in seven styles. Place your order online or in store, but make sure to note the 4-5 week production and ship time!
A few more items we love:
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Macaire Douglas lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two sons. She proudly supports Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to prevent the illegal abandonment of newborns nationwide. Since its inception in 2000, more than 3,600 newborns have been safely surrendered and adopted into loving homes.