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Best Preschool Backpacks & Lunch Gear

08.08.13 Best Preschool Backpacks & Lunch Gear

molly with her school gear

My 3-year old starts preschool this year and she couldn't be more excited about it.  In fact, every night she asks to sleep with her "packback" on, asks daily for a packed lunch/dinner (to eat in the backyard) and LOVES to tell her little brother about all of the snacks she has in her lunch bag...typically followed by, "HEY, THAT'S MINE!"because of course, he wants a share in the goods.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was equally as excited - I finally have a legitimate reason (read: stop trying to justify that a Papar the Owl lunchbox is totally for adults, too) to purchase some of MightyNest's amazing preschool lunch gear!  My daughter's school is 3 half days plus one afternoon she'll stay for "lunch bunch."  She doesn't need a lot of gear but she was super excited to pick out her new stuff.  Much to my despair, my daughter has an affinity for dinosaurs not owls, as you'll soon see in her picks below:

First up, the backpack. Most backpacks are too long, wide and/or bulky for preschoolers.  Knowing this, MightyNest found 3 great options - the Sidekick Backpack, the Grade School Backpack and the Little Kid Backpack.  All three are perfect because they fit everything she'd need without weighing her down.  We (she) ultimately ended up choosing the Little Kid Backpack because...

  • It has a side water bottle pocket which she'll need everyday (the Grade School backpack does, too, but its a bit longer and heavier...)
  • She won't be carrying a lunch everyday so I opted for the smallest of the 3 backpacks and figured she can carry her lunch separately
  • It has a nametag on the back for easy identification
  • It has one compartment which means only one zipper for her to tackle
  • It has a big, green dinosaur on it

The Little Kid Backpack fits an extra set of clothes (with room for hats, gloves, etc. in the winter months) a coloring book, some crayons and pencils (there's a handy inside pocket that is perfect) and still has room for a furry friend just in case she needs a companion at school some days.

And now on to lunch gear...some lunch gear is difficult for even adults to open (or maybe that's just me) so I carefully selected products that I knew she'd be able to open on her own.

Wildkin's Munch N Lunch Bag is my favorite lunch bag for preschoolers.  The velcro closure is perfect for small hands - no frustrating zipper to get stuck when all you really want to do is eat!  It has a loop handle on top for easy carrying and has plenty of room for lunch and/or snacks and a water bottle.  Plus, its insulated.  

Speaking of water bottles, I highly recommend the Foogo and FUNtainer water bottles by Thermos.  The push top makes them super easy to open and close.  And, when properly closed, they are 100% leakproof!  They are available in 10, 12 and 16 ounce sizes, along with a variety of colors options.


On the topic of leakproof, Kinderville's Little Bites Storage Jars are pretty darn close to being leakproof, while still being easy to open...which is a problem with a lot of seriously leakproof containers.  Silicone is a plyable material but as long as my daughter's lunch doesn't get sat on, I think her applesauce will be safe and remain separated from her other lunch gear.

Speaking of separation, the LunchBots Pico is the perfect container for preschool sized portions.  My daughter can easily open them and she loves the variety of treats that await her inside.  All of the LunchBots products are great but we chose one with a stainless steel divider sandwiched between the two sides - the perfect barrier to keep the the oh-so-coveted cheddar bunnies from eating all of the celery sticks!

That reminds me, sometimes for lunch you'll want to pack a sandwich. There are a lot of reusable sandwich & snack bags to choose from.  My daughter picked the Tangerine LunchSkins which works for me!  LunchSkins have a super convenient place to write her name, they are easy to open and super easy to clean (wipe clean, throw in your dishwasher or washing machine!).  Plus, they come in fun, bright colors and patterns so she'll want to bring them home ensuring they won't accidentally end up in the trash can!  The high-quality fabric will keep her sandwich fresh until lunch, too!

To ensure that her entire lunch stays fresh, we also invested in an Ice Pack with a Sweat Free cover.  This little guy is so handy because its slim and stays pretty flat, not taking up much room in the lunchbag.  It really doesn't sweat so it won't drop condensation all over my daughter's carefully packed lunch.  And, like all things MightyNest, its totally non-toxic so I don't have to worry about some scary chemical ending up in/on my daughters food.

The other essential preschool item worth mentioning is our nap mats. My daughter won't be at preschool for nap time so she doesn't need one, much to her dismay. If your preschool allows you to bring your own I highly recommend these.  They are free of flame retardants, PVC and other harmful chemicals. Plus, they come in fun patterns and are super cozy.  Too bad they don't come in adult sizes...

Now that my daughter's all set for school I guess its time to prepare myself for that first day at drop-off!

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