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Send the Kids Back to School in Style: 5 Must-Haves to Start the School Year

Aug 21, 2012 02:54PM ● By Erin Frisch

Send the Kids Back to School in Style: 5 Must-Haves to Start the School Year

Summer is winding down, and the start of another school year is just around the corner. That means back-to-school shopping is in full swing! This year, Americans are expected to spend a whopping $83.8 billion on back-to-school gear for kindergarten through grade 12 and college students combined. Check out the cool trends for the 2012 season with the following picks, and send everyone back to class in style!

1. Backpacks are an annual back-to-school staple for all ages.

  • As Bieber-fever continues to spread, this year the Justin Bieber bookbag is hot. It features contoured, adjustable straps for comfort, a front-zippered pocket, mesh pocket, and side pockets. Starting at $17.99, you really can’t go wrong.
  • For high school and college students, Jan Sport continues to be one of the top names in backpacks. Choose from dozens of colors and designs, with something to fit every style. These sturdy and versatile packs feature ergonomic straps, a separate laptop sleeve, a web haul handle, and a water-bottle pocket. Prices range from $25 to $40.
  • If you can afford to spend a little more, the Fydelity Stay-Puff backpack comes in stylish day-glo colors and doubles as a stereo. Speakers that hook up to an mp3 player let kids rock out all the way home from school. Starting at $55, these also come in different materials and styles.
2. Reusable lunch boxes save you money and are easy on the environment too!

Rather than sending kids to school with a brown paper bag, consider insulated lunch bags that keep food at the desired temperature until your child hits the lunchroom. Some include water bottles and thermoses for hot food. Others fold up to less than half their size when empty to make for easy packing for the walk or bus-ride home. Check out your local Walmart for a variety of brands and sizes. Japanese Bento-style lunch boxes with compartments are especially nice for young children. Put carrot sticks in one space, grapes in another, some hummus dip in a third . . . great for those who like to graze!

3. USB drive

With most assignments being done on the computer these days, equip your kids with cool new USB drives so they can have their papers and presentations with them wherever they go. There are many varieties that make these little gadgets both stylish and easy to carry. One we’ve seen is disguised as a bracelet and comes in different colors and sizes. LaCie makes a variety of USB drives that look like keys and attach right onto a key chain, so as long as they have their keys, they’ll have their files!

4. Clocky

This device is perfect for students who have a little trouble getting out of bed. After letting them snooze once, this patented alarm clock jumps three feet from the nightstand and runs away, beeping to get sleepyheads up. This is a great product to send to college with any teen who is morning challenged. End the last minute dash for the bus or carpool with Clocky, in one of the many colors and styles to match kids’ room décor, starting at just $39.

5. Trendy clothes and shoes

You can’t forget the most important part of going back to school—the first day of school outfit. One of the big trends for back-to-school this year is colored denim jeans for boys and girls. Check out Old Navy and Kohl’s for great deals on this trend. Pair jeans with some leather ankle boots or a military-inspired jacket to complete the outfit, and they’re off to school in style! Be sure to have your camera ready!

What about you? What is your number one must-have for this school year?

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