A bookshelf, Keen Newport sandals, a Thermos Funtainer water bottle and a five-pack of kids' T-shirts.
Last time you heard from me, I was shopping all of the best Prime Day deals on toys for my kids and stuff to make my life as a mom easier — and I remarked that time was passing way too quickly. Surprise: It’s kept marching on, and my older daughter is starting preschool in a few days. (Sniff.)
The silver lining is that there are a slew of extra-good Labor Day sales for stocking up on everything we’re going to need for school (along with some goodies for my younger one, who I know will miss her sister a lot during the day).
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A five-pack of vintage-inspired kids' T-shirts (20% off)
These vintage-looking tees from Walmart’s Wonder Nation brand are made from a cotton-polyester blend that's Oeko-Tex certified, meaning that they’re tested for (and free of) harmful toxins. I think these cool stripes would look great on any kid.
A parent-beloved Thermos Funtainer (20% off)
The Funtainer has long been our water bottle of choice (and is recommend by a slew of real moms), but the one we've had since my older kid was a baby is getting a little timeworn and I think we should get a new one to make the start of the school year feel special. The sturdy vacuum-insulated bottle will keep drinks cold for a surprisingly long time and comes with a grippy carrying handle for easy transport, and this straw-free model has an ergonomic drinking spout.
A single-sided book display (52% off)
I've had my eye on one of these face-out bookshelves forever. (I think it might stop my kids from pulling out every single book on the shelf and dumping them all on the floor when they’re looking for our copy of “Dragons Love Tacos” — it probably won't, but a mom can dream.) This is a pretty high-capacity one that’s actually meant for a kids’ classroom, but we have a lot of books. This white-wash color (and the one with the gray finish) is on sale for over 50% off.
A daisy-print 17-inch backpack (15% off)
While this daisy-print backpack is going to be a little too big for my daughter, I couldn't help but recommend it — I love the print, and it seems to have all of the bells that will help keep her stuff in one place, like a mesh sleeve for a water bottle and interior pockets for folders, drawings and pens.
A set of 18 (!) crafting scissors with a variety of edges (18% off)
My older one is really into scissors right now. (I know.) While it might seem un-mom of me to want to encourage a 3.5-year-old’s use and manipulation of sharp objects, I am trying to find ways to make this activity safe and fun, because it really holds her attention. I feel like she'll get a huge kick out of this set of decorative scissors that create unique edges on paper.
Keen kids' Newport close-toed sandals (50% off)
I know this is probably one of the most impractical end-of-summer purchases, but I lusted after Keen’s drop of monochrome Newport sandals for adults when it launched earlier this year and I am dying over this teal colorway in a pint size. I can justify nonseasonal purchases like this one knowing that my younger one will wear them after my older kid grows out of them. Plus, they’re practical: They’re washable and promise to dry super-fast, and are equipped with sturdy treaded soles that grip even slippery walking surfaces. The rubber tip will also keep little toes protected. Sizes are limited in this colorway, but there are a few cool multicolored options and a solid black as well.
An extra-large rope basket (36% off)
These stylish coiled-rope baskets are pretty easy to find at a variety of home-goods retailers, but I think the price (around $15) of this one is pretty good given its hefty size. This one measures 16 inches across and 14 inches in height, making it a roomy option for storing laundry, bedding, toys or “Frozen” costumes.
Over 1,500 Sanrio stickers
Recently, while drawing with my 3.5-year-old, I busted out a set of Sanrio stickers that I’d been preciously hoarding for years, and within minutes they were all over the floors (and my younger daughter’s face). This is generally a sign of something being a hit with my kids, so I think I’m going to stock up on this multi-multi-pack for future crafternoons.
A 500-piece bead kit (14% off)
The discount on this item is not very steep, but I have had this bead set bookmarked for a while. My kids played with the same kit at a friend’s house recently and were so obsessed, and my older daughter asked for a bead kit when we went to the craft store the other day, so I think we’re entering this “era,” if you will. These colorful beads snap together to form strands, and can also be attached to the included cuffs and rings to make other accessories. Based on what I've seen, the resulting designs are legitimately cool and wearable. (I'm kind of biased, but still.) There are a total of 500 pieces in the set.
A paint-marbling kit for kids ages 6 and up
This is another thing that I will super regret buying (for one, my kids are well below the recommend age limit), but come on! This is so cool. This is a must for anyone who stalks the marbling artist and designer Maisie Broome on Instagram. (So, in other words, me.)
Super affordable leggings available in 19 colors (17% off)
We have approximately 1,000 pairs of these Cat & Jack leggings already, but I'll take this opportunity to stock up on a few more. It’s not that the sturdy cotton-blend material isn’t great quality — they just get a LOT of wear and tear and accumulate stains easily on my active kids. It will be nice for my older daughter to have a few fresh pairs when she starts school.
A set of 12 child-safe beeswax crayons (20% off)
I should probably just order a set of these nontoxic beeswax crayons and call it a day, right? They’re nice and wide (in other words, harder to break) and reviewers say they also smell nice.
A set of 12 colored pencils (50% off)
My husband’s aunt — a career kindergarten teacher — recently gifted my daughter with a set of Crayola colored pencils. I'd overlooked this as a toddler-friendly option because they seemed too spindly and high-maintenance (sharpening?), but let me tell you that these are actually the ideal toddler drawing implement. They’re precise and won't break easily like crayons, but are also completely mess-free and can't do as much damage to furniture as a marker or, God forbid, a painting tool. At literally 99 cents, this is a pretty low-stakes buy that, in my experience, offers a high return.
A four-pack of pop tubes (58% off)
Literally every parent I know has at least one of these at their house, be it from a birthday party or a school event — they’re one of the most ubiquitous and weirdly engaging objects I've ever encountered as a parent. They won’t hold kids’ attention forever, but I love them for car trips, restaurants or any time you need a quick distraction. I often find myself unfurling them and collapsing them to hear that satisfying crackle.
Thayer's aloe vera facial toner (15% off)
This is for me. I'm lucky to have pretty low-maintenance skin, and I love swiping this alcohol-free toner on in the morning to wake up my face when I only have 30 seconds to get ready — a scenario that’s sure to become commonplace once we have to start hustling out the door to arrive at school by 8 a.m. The cleansing power of witch hazel with the addition of moisturizing aloe vera makes this highly rated Thayer’s toner a nice one-and-done beauty buy.