hot stuff

Back-to-School Cool

Check out these smart, stylish and oh-so-cool products for the back-to-school crew

Word Lock

Every kid needs a padlock, so why not give them one they’ll enjoy! Get the Wordlock 5-dial Padlock. With 100,000 different letter combinations, you can pick words that are easy for you to remember but next to impossible for anyone to guess. The password is easy to set, with a twist of the dial, and you can change your password whenever you want. Great for school lockers, the gym, backpack or anywhere you need a secure indoor/outdoor padlock. For local retailers, visit

Bento box lunches

Bentgo Kids is durable and colorful version of a Japanese bento box works great when you want to put a variety of foods into a child's lunch box without having to use multiple food storage containers. With a compartment for fruit, veggies, dip, an entrée, and dessert, this leak-proof lunch box organically inspires parents to pack a more wholesome, balanced lunch for their children. Bentgo Kids is recommended for children ages 3-7, but is also great for anyone else looking for a portion-controlled lunch box. Removable tray is top rack dishwasher-safe. Made of BPA-free plastic. Visit

Get labeled

Not thrilled when your kid comes home with someone else’s clothes, lunchbox, bag, etc.? Put their name on everything – and do it with style. Sure, you could sharpie everything but why would you when you can make these custom labels at Minted? Find over a hundred templates to choose from. Plus they’re waterproof and non-toxic. Visit

Backpacks with personality

The fun, vivid print design of this JanSport High Stakes backpack creates an eye-catching style for back to school. Along with its good looks, it’s smart too: Large main compartment offers ample storage; premium fabric gives it superior durability; padded, adjustable straps lend comfortable transportation; and a front utility pocket keeps essentials handy. Comes in a variety of colors and prints, including animal and camo prints. For local retailers, visit

Pack a snack

No lunchbox is complete without Welch's Fruit Snacks. These tasty little snacks are fat free, gluten free, contain no preservatives and provide 100 percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and 25 percent of Vitamins A and E, making them perfect for on-the-go. Throw a few pouches of Welch's Fruit Snacks in your bag and delight your family with the 11 different varieties, including peach, strawberry, grape, concord grape, orange and raspberry. Available locally at Fred Meyer, Carrs and Walmart.

Hot-off-the-press ideas

Does your kid turn up his nose at basic peanut butter and jelly? Make lunchtime or after-school time more fun with a grilled sandwich. The IMUSA Panini Press allows you to make restaurant-quality paninis – as well as grilled sandwiches, veggies, pork chops, meats and more. A preset temperature ensures every sandwich you grill will be toasted golden brown to perfection. (For the lunchbox, let the sandwich cool completely before packing so it won’t get soggy.) And guess what: You can even break out the panini press to grill that peanut butter and jelly sandwich – it makes the outside crisp and crunchy and the inside soft and sweet and gooey. Available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Surprise note

Write your special message on a scratch-off Lunchbox Note, then cover it with a scratch-off sticker, and tuck it in your child’s lunchbox for an exciting lunchtime message delivery. Add a penny or something else your child can use to scratch off their message. With a fun chalkboard texture and a herringbone pattern on the back, these cards are great for all ages. Set includes 20 cards and 20 scratch-off stickers. Visit

Dress a locker

Add more storage space and style with Locker Culture’s accessories for lockers, such as these colorful mesh mirrors and mesh boxes to hold pencils and more. Each comes with a magnetic back to stick inside your locker. Available locally at Office Max and Office Depot stores.

Healthy hydration

KIDS E-hydrate drink mixes can be added to any liquid to deliver vitamins, minerals and more electrolytes than the leading sports drinks without sugars and artificial ingredients your kids just don’t need. Each box contains 10 individually packaged, ready-to-go drink mixes you can literally take anywhere or drop in your kids’ backpack, lunchbox or sports bag. Contains 0 grams of sugar, 4 carbs and only 15 calories and no colors so little spills won’t stain your furniture, car or their clothes. Finally, natural tastes great. Available at Target or visit

Charge it!

Today’s schools have gone high tech and many are now incorporating tablets into daily classroom curriculum. Finding a kid who doesn’t bring a cell phone to school is also hard to do these days. But, school desks have not been outfitted with wall outlets, which can make keeping all these digital devices charged a challenge, especially if kids forget to plug them in at night. The new myCharge HubPlus 6000mAh portable charger is the quintessential powerbank.

Not only does the portable charger have built-in wall prongs for easy refuel, it also has an integrated Apple Lightning cable and an integrated micro-USB cable. Staying charged on the go has never been easier. Kids can plug in their tablets and their smartphones to keep them at full battery for schoolwork and to call home for a ride after sports or music practice ends. For local retailers, visit

Cool boots

Bright enough to whisk away any cloudy days and strong enough to keep feet dry and happy when rain falls, new Jimmy Boots are sure to be a fall must-have. Super lightweight and easy to slip on. Available at Tiny Ptarmigan, or visit

2015 Back-to-School Cool

Start the year off right with these smart and stylish school essentials

Say goodbye to squished sandwiches, smelly lunch boxes and wasteful plastic baggies with Lunchsense 2-in-1 lunch box. You can have a washable lunch box set that is easy to pack, easy to clean, fun to use, and healthy for you and the environment. Cleanup is a snap – the box goes in the washing machine and looks like new, wash after wash. $29.99-$41.99.

Anywhere Labels by SafetyTat are great for toys, clothing and coat tags, school supplies, bags and totes, containers, water bottles, electronics, sports gear, and more. Dishwasher and washing machine safe when applied to any clean, dry solid surface, or care tags on clothing and soft toys. Found locally at Just Imagine Toys and Silly Munchkins. $14.99-$29.99.

Godors eliminates odor quickly and effectively. Perfect for stinky gym and sports bags. The revolutionary spray kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and 46 percent of fungi in less than five minutes, effectively eliminating the root of bad odors instead of just masking it. $4.95-$40.


This convenient PocketBac holder attaches to your backpack, purse and more so you can always keep your favorite sanitizer close at hand. These miniature must-haves contain skin-loving Aloe & Vitamin E paired with powerful germ fighters to leave hands feeling squeaky clean and silky smooth. Found locally at Bath & Body Works. $3.50-$6.

Make your workspace a work of art! Mix and match fashionable Cynthia Rowley school products, like notebooks, scissors, pencils and more. From floral to graphic, you’ll be amazed at how well these pattern personalities work together. $1.99-$14.99.

Students will love the cool-to-the-touch, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly and safe NuGreen LED Desk Lamp. With its flexible neck, the lamp features light that is similar to natural daylight with 50 LEDs for 45,000 hours of use. $69.99.

This bento lunch kit is the ideal accessory to help you or your child have a fresh and healthy meal. Found locally at JCPenney. $17.99.

The Floating Shelf is an ingenious locker organizer that zigzags vertically to create nifty cubicles. It comes in color combinations worthy of boys and girls – neon green and gray, purple and pink, and black and dark blue. $12.99.

Great for spending an afternoon on the playground in the rain, the Oakiwear Dry Tyke Rain Jacket will keep your child dry and happy. The 100-percent waterproof jacket is built with strong, three-layer breathable fabric and features easy-on elastic wrist cuffs with Velcro straps. Roomy enough to fit over additional layers of clothing. Dirt and mud wash off easily. Found locally at Tuff Kids Outdoors and available in sizes 2T up to 10/11. $49.99.

Love With Food, an organic or all-natural (also gluten-free) subscription snack box, offers a great way to get a monthly box packed with junk-free snacks right to your door to have on hand for tossing in the kids backpacks, snacks for after school, or for mom and dad whenever they need a quick, healthy snack.

Perfect for your young schooler. Go Go Backpacks are vinyl with appliquéd designs and feature a zippered top, adjustable straps, and an area on top for personalization. Found locally at Classic Toys. $26.99.

The OWC Dual USB Flash Drives make it easy to transfer and save photos, music, videos and documents between Android smartphones and tablets and Mac/PC laptops and computers. The drive features USB and Micro USB connections with capacities of 16GB-64GB.

Sip your favorite drink with your Zoo friend. The Zoo Straw Bottle with its flip-top lid and friendly faces make lunchtime fun time! Dishwasher-safe; also comes with an extra straw. Found locally at Cribs, Cradles & Things, Target and Toys R Us. $6.

The Little Green Pouch is a reusable food pouch for kids of all ages. Each eco-friendly, refillable 7-ounce pouch will save you money and reduce waste. Great for snacks or in lunchboxes for bigger kids, fill them up with healthy squishy foods, such as applesauce or homemade smoothies. Durable, dishwasher- and freezer-safe, plus free of BPA, phthalates, lead and PVC. $14.99-$16.99.

Tea Collection Clothing brings worldwide cultures and modern design to children’s fashion. The clothes are built to last in both styling and materials with natural fibers that feel great and are easy to care for. Found locally at Tiny Ptarmigan. $20-$60.

Designed by students, The Big Pen is an all-in-one school day essential. It’s a pencil case that looks like a pen or pencil and actually writes. It comes in versions that are highlighters, ball point pens, markers and mechanical lead pencils. The cases include a pencil sharpener and real erasers at one end. $8.99.