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Back-to-School 2017: Toddler + kid backpacks to send them off in style

Shopping for a back-to-school bag? Motherly’s got your back.

Back-to-School 2017: Toddler + kid backpacks to send them off in style

Nothing takes us back to the first day of school like a brand-new backpack. It’s every kid’s must-have to kick of the year and the best (and most useful!) accessory for that Insta-worthy first day pic.


We’ve rounded up eight of our absolute favorite, insanely adorable, and totally functional backpacks for kiddos from the preschool crowd all the way up through to bigger kids. Your biggest problem is going to be choosing which one to pick!

1. Babymel Zip & Zoe

We cannot say enough good things about the ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE Zip & Zoe line of backpacks, lunch bags, and drink bottles from Babymel. Vibrant, ultra-cool designs, toddler and big kid sizes, and lots of zippers and pockets to hold everything and anything your little one will need to rock back-to-school. Each item even comes with its own unique accessory—everything from a figurine key chain to a musical tag.

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Pro tip: The mini backpacks feature a toddler “safety harness” (read: baby leash) to keep your little one close by until they’re ready to roam free. No judgment here, mama—you gotta do what you gotta do.

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2. SoYoung Raw Linen Backpacks

SoYoung’s Raw Linen Backpacks stand out as a beautiful, eco-friendly alternative to some of the synthetically-made backpacks available this season. Made from 100% raw linen and available in an assortment of simple, charming designs (dinos or foxes, anyone?), these packs are sturdy and completely machine washable (??). They’re perfectly-sized to hold just the right amount of stuff, and the padded straps make them easy enough for a toddler or bigger kiddo to comfortably carry.

Pro tip: These bags come in toddler and grade school sizes, and you can attach a matching lunch box to the outside. Win!

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3. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpack: Ferguson Fox

It’s pretty much impossible not to smile when you lay your eyes on Ferguson the Fox. Skip Hop, a brand we’ve come to love, doesn’t disappoint with their newest backpack for the preschool set. Great design, durable material, and a roomy main compartment makes this a go-to bag for back to school.

Pro tip: Not diggin’ the fox? Choose from the rest of the zoo—penguins and owls and zebras, oh my!

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4. Hanna Andersson

There is pretty much nothing that Hanna Andersson makes that we don’t ❤️, and these backpacks are no exception. Small, medium, and large sizes mean that toddlers through bigger kids are covered; lightweight-yet-rugged fabric means that these packs will stand the test of time. And the patterns—ahhh, the patterns! We couldn’t love them more.

Pro tip: These can’t be thrown into the washing machine, so we recommend you spot clean instead. The fabric is stain and water resistant, though, so you shouldn’t have to fight too much dirt!

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5. Fjallraven Kanken Mini

Did you know that these iconic Scandinavian adult backpacks came in mini sizes? Well, now you do—and you’re welcome. The Fjallraven Kanken Mini is practical, functional, and beautiful: pretty much the perfect design trifecta. It’s also water resistant, so your little guy can stomp those puddles without fear!

Pro tip: Treat yourself: buy the Kanken pack for you and the mini for your little one. Who are we to stand in the way of you and your matching backpack ultimate cuteness?

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6. Herschel Survey Kids

For a more unique pack, check out the the Herschel Survey Backpack, which was inspired by classic scouting bags. Ideal for kids 3 to 6, this pack comes in too many awesome hipster patterns to count. (I mean, come on with this. And this!) Magnetic closures, lots of zippered pockets, and the signature striped fabric liner make these bags seriously too cool for school.

Pro tip: Some pack styles feature leather straps, while others use rubber instead, which we thought was a pretty thoughtful option.

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7. Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids’ backpacks are insanely popular for good reason: they are durable, they are well thought out, and they are downright adorable. From toddler all the way through big kid and featuring about a zillion pockets, straps, and gear loops, PB’s bags really get the job done. 2017’s new crop of kid-friendly patterns include rainbows, glow-in-the-dark moon and stars, alphabet, and neon dinos, just to name a few.

Pro tip: Add a monogram so your little’s bag will stand out on the coat rack!

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8. TWELVElittle Big Kid Courage Backpack

We can’t stop swooning over these packs since we first laid eyes on them a few months ago. The Big Kid Courage backpack just could not be cooler. The crinkle nylon keeps it durable and lightweight, and the spacious main compartment is roomy and easy to open. But the best part? Iron-on patches! We told you—swoon!

Pro tip: Need more patches in your life to decorate your pack? Who doesn’t. You can snag them here.

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We only include products we’ve tested and loved in MotherlyLoves. Through affiliate programs, we may receive a revenue percentage if you purchase through our website.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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