Back To School: 2013 Shopping Guide For Parents

August is when back-to-school anxiety starts to heat up…for moms and dads at least. Now’s the time to shop for pencils and search for books, to keep your kids from having teachers with dirty looks.

Here are some useful school supplies that will help you feel cool and confident heading into September – for the sake of your children, of course.

Back To School Product Guide 2013

Bento-ware Lunch Boxes

Bento boxes are fun because you can compartmentize your child’s meal and give the impression that you are offering them something diverse for lunch. Unlike traditional bento boxes, the Bento-ware Lunch Boxes are divided into smaller removable containers with sealable lids. The containers are microwave-safe and prevent leaking – eliminating the threat of soy sauce dripping from your child’s backpack.

Bento-ware Lunch Boxes, $24,

Ruler Pen

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then how powerful will your kid feel with a Ruler Pen? The Ruler Pen is actually a multi-purpose device that can also be used as a pencil, highlighter, and a PDA stylus – ensuring that your child has the write stuff.

Acme 4FP Ruler Pen Multi Functional Pen, $39

Wordlock Locker Padlock

Was that 35 left, 49 right, and 21 full circle or…doh?! Even if your child is a math genius, he or she will most likely forget their lock combination at one point or another. Remembering a single password such as BIEBER or 1DIRCTN is probably a lot easier and reduces the chances of getting the school janitor having to bust open your kid’s locker again. The Wordlock Padlock offers 100,000 possible resettable word and letter combinations and is rated at 4047 pounds cut strength. All this durability and security is worthless, however, if you child simply uses their name as their locker password.

Wordlock Locker Padlock, $10

Personalized Teacher's Gift Apple Key Chain

Some kids will try to position themselves as Teacher’s Pet on the first day of school by giving their educator an apple (especially if they went to school in Pleasantville). Give your child a leg up on these brown-nosers by sending them to school with a 1 1/4" stainless steel enameled apple charm key ring – personalized with the teacher’s name. Your child will easily win their teacher’s heart and the attention of cynical, larger classmates.

Personalized Teacher's Gift Apple Key Chain, $21

All-In-One Camo Backpack With Cooler

A child’s backpack can be a bottomless pit of homework, slugs, snails, and puppy dog’s tails. The O3 Kids Pre-School All-In-One Camo Backpack can help organize even the busiest and cluttered student. The front pocket of the backpack is an insulated lunch cooler, so kids no longer have to tote an additional lunch bag or worry about getting apple juice all over their homework.

O3 Kids Pre-School All-In-One Camo Backpack With Cooler, $41

Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case

Back in the day, a parent only had to worry about their child destroying their paper notebooks. These days, your child could come home with a $400 broken iPad because they were playing monkey-in-the middle with it. The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case not only offers aircraft-grade aluminum alloy protection from recess rough-housing or teenage negligence, it also doubles as a thin Bluetooth keyboard.

Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case, $100

Epson WorkForce DS-30 Portable Scanner

Re-writing notes is tedious and time-consuming. Save your child from writer’s cramp with the Epson WorkForce DS-30 Portable Scanner. Students can scan class notes, textbook pages, assignments and documents up to 8.5 inches x 14 inches in seconds. The scanner can then turn the file into an email or PDF and upload them directly to cloud services. Correction tools allow students to automatically remove punch holes from scanned images, auto-size documents, and enhance text quality. You can even encourage your college-aged kids to scan their receipts and email them to you – so you can see exactly where your educational investment is going every month.

Epson WorkForce DS-30, $150

ASUS VivoBook

Students as young as grade school don’t hit the books anymore – they pound the keyboard. The ASUS VivoBook S550CA is compact enough to still feel as light as a textbook, while giving students new tools such as a Windows 8 interface, touchscreen technology like a tablet, and a 2-second instant “On” power-up button for last minute studying.

ASUS VivoBook S550CA, $849

So Young Lunch Boxes

Help your kid get into the A-list lunch table with trendy lunch boxes used by the children of A-list celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Halle Berry. Students can even wear the coated linen lunch box as a backpack or messenger bag. The lunch box/bag also comes with a leak proof insulated insert for easy cleaning. Just make sure your child doesn’t start acting like a movie star diva when toting around their Hollywood lunch swag.

So Young Lunch Boxes, $32

Panasonic Toaster Oven

Parents sending their teenagers away to college for the first time have three key concerns about campus life: 1) Over-partying 2) Under-studying 3) Undernourishment (“Honey, you look so thin, are you eating right?”).

You can at least alleviate the stress of worry #3 with the Panasonic NB-G110P Toaster oven. The mini-oven features near-infrared technology and far-infrared heating elements for quick cooking without preheating – so students can make it to class on time. Clean-up is a cinch (even without mom or dad!) with the removable crumb tray. The only problem is: The toaster oven might make your kid so popular on campus that they’ll be hosting baked parties in their dorm every night.

Panasonic NB-G110P Toaster oven, $150

TANYA In Red Rucksack/Backpack

Help your kid go back to school in style with the TANYA unisex canvas backpack. Although fashion conscious on the outside, the backpack is practical on the inside — with a spacious main compartment and pockets for gadgets, textbooks, and a laptop.

The rucksack can also be used for different looks: students can carry it at the side like a messenger bag, handhold it like a purse, or wear it on their back with the adjustable shoulder straps. WARNING: With a bag this fashion forward, you are essentially giving your kid a hall pass into the land of popularity, and with it, the dangers of becoming a Mean Girl, or Mean Boy.

TANYA in Red Rucksack, $57

Hunger Games Pencils

If you’re a cool parent, you’ll know that the "Hunger Games" is a popular young adult-focused book and movie – rather than the name of what happens in the school caf when day-old meatloaf is re-served for lunch.

Be the even cooler parent by giving your bookworm some pencils wrapped in famous quotes from the Hunger Games novel. They even come in a black jewelry box with two hand-stamped mockingbird Hunger Games symbols on them.

Hunger Games Book page wrapped pencils, $7

3 Ring Binder Neoprene Tablet Cubbie

If your kid is fortunate to have a tablet, make sure they don’t break it and have to learn from the school of hard knocks. The 3 Ring Binder Tablet Cubbie is a protective case that fits in all three ring binders – making it less likely that students misplace or forget their expensive tablet. It also features heavy-duty stitching on a soft neoprene material to guard against unintentional scratches, dirt, and moisture.

3 Ring Binder Neoprene Tablet Cubbie, $27

Moto X

Think of the new Moto X phone as a really smart study buddy for your kid. Your child doesn't even need to touch the phone. It will learn their voice and tell students what they need to know using Google Now technology. The phone is so personable; your kid’s imaginary friend might get a bit jealous.

Moto X smartphone by Motorola, $190 on select 2-year plans

Panasonic Shaver

If you have a son entering high school, you’ll know it’s a time of transition as fresh faced boys start turning into scruffy young men. Make sure your son doesn't have to go to school with dots of toilet paper on his bleeding baby face by getting him the Panasonic Milano Triple ARC blade shaver. It is easy to handle, easy to clean and can take on water — making it the perfect rugged shaver to groom the developing rugged good looks of your young man.

Panasonic Milano Triple ARC Blade Shaver, $80

Personalized Notebooks From

If you have a creative child who craves independence, help them rise above the crowd with a personalized notebook from The notebooks can incorporate their favourite photos, images, quotes or even personal doodles and are created online, then shipped out. Perhaps their work of art might even be worth something someday.

Personalized Notebooks from, starting at $5