By DTO Staff
The back-to-school is a big deal for kids and parents alike, regardless of what grade is coming up. But for first-timer, it’s an extra special - and daunting - few weeks. We know, because DTO’s oldest kid checked Kindergarten off her to-do list last year. And with first grade just around the corner, she’s helped us compile a list of must-haves for first-timer kids and their parents.
1. BENTO BOX LUNCH KIT
We love bento-style lunch boxes! They let you pack a variety of foods for lunch, adding variety and fun to school meal time. When DTO kids Isla and Polly were in daycare, we used Sistema bento boxes, but once kindergarten started, we learned the hard way that they don’t do well tipped on their sides. Now we have leak-proof boxes, and we’ll never go back!
Shop local: Scallywags Kids
Scallywags Kids on the Pandosy strip is one of our favourite kids’ shops in Kelowna, and it always has a great selection of back-to-school accessories, including leak-proof bento boxes. We love the Yum Box, but you can find a variety of similar lunch kits on the market, including stainless steel ones.
Elsewhere: Can’t make it to Scallywags? You can also find leak-proof bento boxes at Superstore, the Independent, Indigo, Justice, and Baby and Me.
2. THE ULTIMATE BACKPACK
It took us a few years to find the perfect school backpack, and it was worth the wait! Parkland backpacks are made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles, plus they come in a ton of super cool patterns. Plus they come in two sizes, so your kindergartner will be carrying a bag that actually fits. This purchase was a total no-brainer, and it’s available at local stores!
Shop local: Baby and Me
Baby and Me has these amazing backpacks, and tons of other amazing back-to-school accessories. It’s one of our favourite kids’ shops in Kelowna, conveniently located right on Harvey.
Elsewhere: We’ve seen these awesome backpacks locally at several Orchard Park Mall (Kelowna) stores, including Indigo, Bentley, and SportChek.
3. RECESS-PROOF OUTERWEAR
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from kindergarten, it’s that recess happens rain or shine, and if your kid doesn’t have good quality outwear, they are going to be miserable. One of our favourite brands for keeping little ones warm and dry is Hatley. With adorable patterns and great quality product, it’s worth the splurge.
Shop local: Baby Station
Have you discovered Baby Station? Located in Kelowna in the plaza near Staples, it has a great selection of outerwear, dining gear, and baby and toddler accessories - including Hatley gear for back-to-school!
Elsewhere: Check out Baby and Me, Scallywags Kids, Carter’s, Joe and MEC for great rain gear.
5. EASY-OPEN THERMOS
One big difference between our daycare and our kindergarten (at lunch time, anyway), is that kindergarten has no way to warm up lunches. So we picked up a steel Skip Hop thermos (the unicorn one because - unicorns!), which keeps leftovers like macaroni and cheese, or chicken and rice warm right up until lunch. They are easy to open and close, and they come with a spork that attaches to the outside.
Shop local: TJ’s The Kiddies Store
Your one-stop baby and kid dining stop. TJ’s The Kiddies Store - near Banks and Baron - has it all (and not just dining gear, might I add). Grab an insulated thermos, and then shop around for other great lunchtime products.
Elsewhere: You can also find Skip Hop thermoses at Baby and Me and Carter’s. Superstore also has a great selection of kid-friendly thermoses.
5. ACCESSORIES YOU’RE WILLING TO LOSE (d’oh!)
We became well acquainted with the lost and found department this year, and learned the hard way that the expensive mitts, toques and coats live a longer, happier life when they are kept home. Invest in multiple pairs of these items, and if you don’t want to blow a small fortune in the process, visit your local second-hand store to pick up affordable gently-used gear without sacrificing quality.
Shop local: Little Plum Children’s Boutique
We love Little Plum Children’s Boutique! This consignment store in downtown Vernon features an amazing selection of high-quality, gently-used items for babies and kids (and mamas, too!).
Elsewhere: If you can’t make it to Little Plum, we also love Once Upon a Child and Play-it-again Sports in Kelowna (both are near Costco) for great second-hand outerwear. Once Upon a Child also sells mitten clips, which have become a life saver in keeping mittens from a lonely playground demise. You can also find mitten clips at Carter’s/Osh Kosh.
6. FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL SIGN
You may have noticed that these signs dominate your Facebook feed on the first week of school, and with good reason - they’re a super cool way to document your child’s first day of school each year. And what better place to start than the first day of kindergarten?