I spend a lot of time researching products I buy for our son, because I know they’re going to be put to the full test. Dropped, thrown, played in/with, stepped on, chewed on, filled with sand, filled with dirt, you name it. Can you relate? Preschool school supplies need to be durable and functional.
Today I’m sharing all our must-have preschool supplies, from lunch boxes and water bottles to clothes, shoes and masks. I hope this helps you find products you love, that will last, for your little kids headed off to school!
The Best Lunch Boxes For Preschoolers
Lunchbots is our favorite lunchbox for a few reasons:
- Stainless steel (plastic free)
- Kids can open it
- Dishwasher safe
The Cinco is quite large but it worked well for us because we could fit a full sandwich or pasta leftovers, along with a few “sides” or snacks in the box. We’d also be able to fit veggies and the smallest Tevva dip cup (linked below) right inside which was nice.
If you only need to send snacks, or have a younger child who won’t eat quite as large of a lunch, a smaller Lunchbots is a great option. This one has four sections, plus there’s even smaller options too.
We decided to go with the Lunchbots lunch bag as well because we liked that we could fit the bento box in the bottom, and still have the top open for additional snacks, utensils and napkins.
These stainless steel snack containers have leakproof silicone lids that are super easy to remove so kids can do it themselves. The larger size works great for bulky snacks like popcorn or pirate’s booty. The medium size is perfect for fruit, trail mix or other small snacks. The small is great for dips, toppings, candy, etc.
TAVVA Dressing To-Go Containers
If you aren’t buying the set above, but still looking for a leakproof dip container to go in the lunchbox, TAVVA also sells an even smaller version separately for just that! These fit perfectly into the Lunchbots container and are how we send dips like ranch dressing or ketchup to school.
If we ever need an additional snack storage option, we’ll often send them in these small reusable snack bags. They’re the same size as a snack size ziplock but you can reuse them over and over!
If you want to subdivide one of the sections in the bento box, silicone cupcake liners are great for this. They also add some fun color to lunchboxes and if you have a child that’s a more “visual” eater, they can help the different foods stand out!
Thin ice packs are great for using the Lunchbots Bag/Container! I was impressed that even though these say they only last 4 hours, they kept our son’s lunchbox cool from 9am-5pm.
We like to send one of our unpaper towels as a napkin for school. It’s small and easy to fold up, plus the rainbow edge version is fun for kids!
Lunch Box Utensils
We just use one of the smaller forks or spoons from our every day kitchen utensils in our son’s lunch most days, but if you want a small set that comes in a case (for sanitary or other reasons) here’s a stainless steel in a silicone case option and here’s a stainless steel set in a hard plastic case.
Our Favorite Kids Water Bottles
I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no perfect kids water bottle. For everyone who tells you they love one, someone else will tell you why they don’t. We have three that we like overall, here’s the pros and cons of each:
Pros: Completely plastic free, durable soft silicone straw, fits in the carseat cup holder
Cons: Straw is exposed (this top would be a good solution to that!), the bottom can bubble if dropped too often, if I were to buy it again I’d add the silicone bumper to protect it!
Contigo Stainless Steel Autospout Water Bottle
Pros: Soft silicone straw, really keeps water cold, covered mouth piece (for sanitary reasons) that flips open with the push of a button
Cons: Doesn’t fit in our car seat cup holder, we have found the mouth piece cover hard to close, which somewhat defeats the sanitary reasons for the straw being covered when kids end up touching it a lot to close it
Klean Kanteen 12oz Bottle with Twist Top
Pros: Company is a family & employee owned b-corp and climate neutral certified, straw is completely covered yet very easy to open and close, soft silicone straw
Cons: Doesn’t fit in our car seat cup holder, the metal handle is a bit shard and harder to hold
Small Backpack Options
We have attended two preschools and neither have asked us to bring a backpack, just a lunch box, but if yours is different, I wanted to recommend a few backpacks we have or friends have for other uses, because they’d totally work for school!
Mini Kånken Water Resistant Backpack
We were gifted one of these mini backpacks when our son was born and it’s been great! Has held up perfectly, is a great small size that a toddler or preschool could actually carry it, but with straps long enough that an adult can adjust and carry it too.
Note: This backpack would be TOO small to fit the lunch bag I mentioned above.
Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack
I have a few friends who have and love this backpack for their kids! It’s slightly bigger than the above backpack, but still small and great for preschool size.
School Clothing & Shoes We Love
Native shoes are our all around favorite kid shoe. They slip on, so kids can put them on themselves, they’re easy to wipe down and can act as water shoes.
When we send our son to school in shoes that require socks, we love Bombas socks for him. It’s a one-for-one company, so for every pair purchased, a pair is donated.
Note: I don’t have a shoe to recommend here because we’ve found that our son wears through sneaker style shoes very quickly, regardless of price and quality. So, we typically just buy inexpensive shoes at Target and wear them into the ground.
We love June & January basics for school clothes. They’re comfy, easy to move in, wash up well and are tagless for kids sensitive to tags. They’re all solid colors or simple prints so it’s easy to mix and match, too. We also find we can get a few years of wear out of all of their pieces by sizing up.
First time customers can use the code ‘STUDIODIY20’ for 20% off your first purchase!
The Best Masks for Preschoolers
Similar to water bottles, we’ve found there is no perfect mask when it comes to fit, weight, protection and environmental factors. Here’s a list of our favorites and their pros and cons:
- Oso & Me Kids Masks
- Pros: The best fit we’ve found for our 4 year old, and the most sturdy with slightly wider elastic
- Cons: No filter pocket, straps aren’t adjustable but we have just tied small knots and it’s worked out great
- Daily Disco Kids Masks
- Pros: Great fit, super lightweight, has a nose-wire, adjustable straps and filter pocket
- Cons: Because they are embroidered, it makes it difficult to insert a filter inside
- Mamask Kids Masks
- Pros: Comes with a reusable fabric filter (You can buy just the filters FYI! We use these in our other masks too), good coverage, adjustable straps, seems to ship quick
- Cons: The adjusters are the straps are loose so they slide around a bit when putting the mask back on, the filter pocket spans the entire top of the mask, which means the filter could fall out when kids are removing their masks to eat, etc.
- No-Fog Face Mask
- Pros: Great filter pocket and nose wire, sturdy straps, super soft, has great reviews for not fogging over for kids who have glasses
- Cons: The fabric is not as tightly woven as others, so I would not use this mask without a filter in it
- Disposable 3 ply Kids Masks (Size small!)
- Pros: Lightest weight and most breathable option, has a nose wire for a better fit, we sometimes cut these up and use them as filters as well
- Cons: Not environmentally friendly since they are typically single-use, straps break easily if stretched too far
- KF94 Kids Masks:
- Pros: Protective but relatively lightweight, great fit
- Cons: Disposable (can only be used for a certain amount of hours), slightly large from top to bottom so they hang over the chin a bit more than necessary. Note: Be sure you’re getting the “KF94” and not the “KN95” if buying for preschoolers. They are listed in the same listing and the KN95s are MUCH larger.
If you are looking for protective filters that are not fabric like the ones I mentioned above, these five layer filters are a great options for little ones.
Mask lanyards are great for keeping track of masks when kids have to remove them for meals or other reasons. We got a simple mask lanyard like this second hand, but here’s a few cuter options from small businesses:
- Snap style mask lanyard in great colors
- Braided leatherette mask lanyard
- Rainbow beaded mask lanyard
- Dinosaur mask lanyard
- Stretchy snap style lanyard
Books To Prepare Kids for Preschool
Here are a few picture books we read that have school themes that would be perfect for a preschool transition!
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
This book really helped us with our preschool transition, it shows Llama Llama being very scared and sad about going to school, but then how he learns he can both love school AND his mom at the same time!
King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Brantley-Newton
A book about a boy who excitedly heads out to his first day of kindergarten, chronicling all the encounters he has throughout the day!
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
A cute book concept about the first day of school from the school’s perspective, showing that he has some first day jitters too!
Do you have any must have preschool supplies you’d add!?
OMG School’s First Day Day of School is precious. I am a teacher and tell my kids I’m nervous on the first day too. Thank you for this list!
Aw I love that so much!!
This is so helpful, thank you! I wanted to share that we absolutely love the Simple Modern water bottles and they fit nicely in both our cupholders and the car seat cupholders.
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