Back To School Preschool Shopping-Whats on Your List?

Let’s just say I wasn’t thrilled to learn that my daughter’s preschool parent orientation was less than a week before school starts.

As a Type A, organized mom, I need more than a week to gather the proper supplies my child needs to start her school year with success.

And so it began, my quest to determine what should be on my preschooler’s back to school shopping list. I asked friends on Facebook and moms who sent their babies off to preschool last year what they thought should be included on our shopping list.

In addition to a few new outfits and undergarments, a rain coat and boots, a fleece jacket, sneakers and shoes, here’s the top 12 things we came up with.

1. A Backpack.

While they make smaller backpacks designed specifically for preschoolers, the general consensus is they are too small. Instead opt for a small size backpack. Pottery Barn Kids, Land of Nod, LL  Bean and Lands End have great selections of child friendly back packs. We opted for the small Mackenzie by Pottery Barn Kids.

2. A Lunch Box.

Lunch boxes are out, Bento boxes are in. We opted for a PlanetBox ( It’s a stainless steel compartmentalized bento box that has a carry bag that can accommodate an ice pack, water bottle and snack. The bag has a 1 year warranty and the PlanetBox has a 5 year warranty. Since like many schools, my daughter’s is a peanut free school, I wanted to be able to pack her a variety of healthy foods easily.

3. A Freezer Pack.

To keep her lunch cool, we opted for the Ice Blanket because it fits well with the PlanetBox. Choose an ice pack that fits easily with the lunch box you’ll be using.

4. A Water Bottle.

A Klean Kanteen or other reusable water bottle was voted as a must have on a preschooler’s back to school shopping list.

5. A Sleeping Bag or Blanket and Pillow.

Most preschools have mandatory rest time. Some schools provide each child with a sleeping bag and pillow. Other schools require students to bring their own. We opted for a toddler size matching chenille blanket and pillow we had at home that wasn’t being used.

6. Slippers.

Whether you choose Robeez or traditional slippers, most preschools will require your child to wear something besides socks on her feet during classroom time.

7. Hand Sanitizer.

Hand sanitizer has made its way to the must have list on most any preschooler’s shopping list. In fact, it’s often an item teachers require students to have.

8. Pull Ups.

If your preschooler wears Pull Ups or diapers during nap time, she’ll need them for her naptime at school.

9. Wipes.

Wet wipes are great for children who are toilet training at preschool or simply to have on hand to clean up sticky hands in a moment’s notice. We love the Berkley and Jensen unscented packages of resealable wipes available at BJ’s Wholesale Club.

10. Tissues.

Individual packages of tissues are a necessity for preschoolers. Throw a pack or two into her backpack for easy access.

11. A Change of Clothes.

Kids get messy quick. A seasonally appropriate well-fitting change of clothes is essential. Whether she has an accident or spills paint on herself, a change of clothing will come in handy. Consider packing them in a Ziploc Bag so dirty clothes can be easily packed back into the bag as needed.

12. Labels.

Mabel’s Labels ( are a popular choice among preschool moms for labeling their preschooler’s clothing, jackets and personal belongings. While you can also use an old fashioned Sharpie to label belongings, if you choose to, just put the child’s last name. It makes relabeling easier if clothing is handed down to siblings or family members.

In addition to these items on my top 12 list, you’ll also need specific supplies that your child’s teacher specifies. These can include glue, glue sticks, pencils, erasers, crayons, tape and scissors.

Are you sending your child off to preschool? What’s on YOUR shopping list?

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