Checklist: Back to School Supplies Every Kid Needs

New Year. New You. Same school routine. 

But, hey, let’s start the back to school business with a bang and get our kids’ stuff sorted extra early this year. What do you say?

We’ve compiled a list of our very favourite back to school supplies and items that are bound to get the little ones excited AND ensure they are kitted out with all the necessities. Talk about saving on time and effort – just click on the buttons to buy the goods!

That’s right – never step foot in a shop AND take it all home for the kids, thanks to our Ultimate Back to School Guide!

From water bottles to stationery, from labels to lunch boxes, here’s our top picks on all things back to school.

Back to School Supplies Checklist

1. Lunch Box

Forget the soggy sandwiches, limp carrot sticks and melted cheese sticks! The best modern lunch boxes have separate sections to help keep food fresh until the kids are ready to eat it. Many schools now have a brain food snack in the morning as well as “first lunch” and “big lunch” breaks, so giving your child a variety of foods will make sure there’s enough to last the day. Look for a lunch box that is easy for your kid to open – and close – on their own. Make sure it doesn’t have flimsy hinges – you want it to last the whole year, after all. An all-in-one bento style lunch box is good because you can fit all the food groups – fruit, veggies, sandwiches or wraps – in one place

OUR PICK: Stuck on You’s Bento Boxes ($49.95) are the way to go this year! Made entirely from food-safe materials, BPA-free and Phthalates-free, they are dishwasher safe, come with six compartments for easy separation of food and a leak-proof silicone seal lid.

Choose from three colours, you can also personalise the front and make school lunches fun!

Plus, buy now and get 20% off using the code mumcentral*. 

back to school checklist stuck on you bento box

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2. Backpack style school bag

A cool backpack is a must for kids of all ages. It’s important to make sure the bag can fit everything they need for a day at school without being too heavy or awkward to carry. Look for a backpack sized to fit your kid with good, heavy duty or padded straps that can distribute the load evenly. One with separate zippered compartments helps new school starters find what they need and stops library books from squashing their brain food snack. Bonus if there’s an easy-to-access spot to stash a water bottle – starting school is very thirsty work – and a place to put canteen money!

OUR PICK: Little Nation delivers the goods with their exclusive range of children’s backpacks ($49.95) for younger students. With 12 designs to choose from, including unicorns, mermaids and dinosaurs, these are perfect for daycare, kindy and junior primary school students. There’s plenty of secure zippered compartments too so your child will know where everything is.

back to school checklist little nations backpack

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3. Drink bottle

Drink bottles often get a bit of a thrashing so look for one that’s durable and won’t break the first time your child drops their bag in the playground. Make sure it’s easy to put the lid on and off in case they need to refill it at school. One that won’t leak when it tips over is also a good idea (you’ll thank us when your kid’s in a rush and chucks the bottle INSIDE their bag). Water bottles can get a big manky if you don’t clean them properly so look for one with a wide mouth that you can get a bottle brush into to give it a good scrub. As a bonus, a wide mouth means you can add some ice to help keep the water cool on hot days.

OUR PICK: Smiggle water bottles are bright and fun and we especially love the Mega Thirst 1l bottles ($19.95). They hold a whole litre of water so your kid won’t go thirsty. And the silicone sleeve means your kid can keep a good grip on it while they sip. It’s also BPA free and has a handy straw spout for sipping. Schoolyard hydration, here we come!

Smiggle mega thirst drink bottles

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4. Personalised name labels

The one thing this checklist will show you is that kids need A LOT of stuff for school. And for sure some of it’s going to get lost. And probably more than once. So name labels are a must. Put them on EVERYTHING – hats, school jackets, pencils, lunch boxes, water bottles – pretty much anything your child brings through the school gates. Not all labels are created equal, so look for labels that can go through the wash or dishwasher without peeling off. Labels with curved edges tend to stick better and are trickier for your poppet to pick off (trust us, they will try). Match a name with a fun graphic or symbol for kids who can’t quite read yet. Look for label value packs that give you more bang for your back-to-school buck.

OUR PICK: Identi Kids labels are made from industrial grade vinyl so they’ll take anything your child can chuck at them. Or on them. They are guaranteed to stick to just about anything. We especially love the Colour My World Pack ($69) which will get you through the first few years of school. It includes 40 vinyl stickers, 40 permanent coloured iron-ons, 30 mini labels or pencil labels, 10 shoe dots and an identiTag for the school bag.


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5. School shoes

Considering the amount of activity children get up to, and their still developing physical structure, they need good footwear more so than adults. Your child will wear their school shoes on average for over 1500 hours per year, jumping, kicking and running around on hard surfaces. It is important that their school shoes provide ample cushioning and support. Make sure that the shoe fits correctly. Take them to a specialist footwear retailer who are experts in fitting kids feet. Have both feet measured to ensure a professional fit for school shoes.

Here are a few tips for buying school shoes.

  • Make sure the shoe is firm around the heel. Press on the back of the heel and make sure it is firm enough to hold the foot in the correct position.
  • Make sure the shoe has good stability. Hold both ends of the shoe and twist in opposite directions. There should be minimal movement. Torsional stability protects the foot from rolling in or out too far.
  • Make sure the shoe bends in the right place. Squeeze both ends of the shoe together. The shoe should bend at the toes where the foot naturally bends.

OUR PICK: ASCENT Apex school shoes $114.95 to $134.95. The Apex provides stability, durability and cushioning no matter what adventures lie ahead. Ascent Footwear has 34 black formal school shoes in their range. This includes half sizes, widths, various foot shapes and a range of buckles, laces and hook and loop fastening options. They look like school shoes, but are actually Sports Shoes in Disguise. Ascent offers a 6-month outsole guarantee on most styles and is the only school shoe brand endorsed by both the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Australian Podiatry Association.

apex school shoes back to school gift guide

mum central

6. School socks, jocks and underwear

Is it even a new school year if you don’t restock all the uniform basics? Make sure their jocks are comfy – you don’t want wedgies in the school line! Girls who wear school dresses often prefer to wear monkey bar knickers so they can hang upside down and climb things without any cares. Stock up on plain socks in whatever uniform colour the school requires so you can pair them more easily. Cotton is good because it breathes and helps sweaty feet stink less! It’s a good idea to discreetly put a spare pair of jocks or knickers in the school bag in case of any accidents.

OUR PICK: Bonds can kit out kids from head to toe in comfy cotton basics! No matter how your kids like their socks – low cut, crew, knee high, turnover or footlet styleBonds have feet ready to hit the school playground in comfort. Singlets and Chesty vests, shorts, trackies, tees and all the jocks, trunks and undies in between. Yep, even monkey bar knickers!

Plus, buy between the 10th and 28th of January, 2019 and receive 30% off kids’ undies and socks!**Bonds back to school

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7. Back to School Supplies

Pencils, library bags, exercise books … the list of things your child needs for the classroom is long. Many schools like to give the kids the basics from their own in-school booklist,, but that doesn’t mean you can’t personalise their school stationery and make it fun. Think bright book covers or a pencil case in their favourite character. A special shopping trip to stock up on back to school supplies can help build excitement for first-timers … and for kids reluctant to call quits on their summer holidays! Covering exercise books helps protect them and makes them stand out from the crowd too so it’s easier for your child to find theirs in a stack.

OUR PICK: Big W has heaps of fun colourful and licensed back to school stationery, including an exclusive Transformers Bumblebee collection. Get ready to transform the whole school kit and caboodle with Transformers Bumblebee accessories! There’s a neoprene pencil case ($10), 50 pack pencil tin ($10), library bags ($10), easy-to-apply book cover sleeves ($2.50) and adhesive book covers ($2.50). You’ll be a busy bee painting the school year yellow!

Big W Bumblebee stationery

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*Valid until 15th Feb 2019, excludes value packs and cooler bags.

**Bonds Terms & Conditions: % off applies to RRP. % off not in addition to other discount offers. Prices as marked. Offer ends 11:59 PM AEDT on 28/01/18.

Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!


  1. Avatar of Kylie T

    Thank you for this amazing opportunity to win and good luck everyone.

  2. Avatar of Patricia Comer
    Patricia ComerReply

    Hmm just spent $92 to top up my daughter’s school uniforms for grade 3. And next week I am taking my son in to try on his new uniforms in preparation for starting kindegarden. I haven’t thought about shoes yet or school bags but between now and next payday I will be looking at the all important, functionable lunch boxes. fingers crossed.

  3. Avatar of Leanne Baker
    Leanne BakerReply

    With Miss five just starting out,
    The basics we need without a doubt.
    Bento boxes are the way to go,
    So we’ve been told by those who know.
    Stuck On You have the goods,
    Helping cut down on packaging like we should.
    In need of a backpack with spots for everything,
    For all the items they need to bring.
    Fun and funky in their design,
    Quality to stand the test of time.
    The range on offer from Little Nation,
    Deserving of a standing ovation.
    Drink bottles play an important part,
    Smiggle brings ones that are works of art.
    Durable and functional they need the be,
    Funky and of course BPA Free.
    Name labels are a necessity,
    Put them everywhere you see!
    Pen can fade and wash away,
    Durability to stay vibrant day after day.
    Dishwasher proof is the way to go,
    This is something Identi Kids know.
    Supportive school shoes are a must,
    You need a brand that you can trust.
    This is something Ascent Apex school shoes know,
    Providing cushioning support as they grow.
    6 month outsole guarantee,
    Ticks all the important boxes for me.
    The not to be forgotten is socks and underwear,
    Need a daily supply and a few spare.
    For comfort and style then Bonds gets it right,
    And with 30% off it’s great if money’s tight!
    While stationery lists continue to get longer,
    Big W’s range continues to get stronger.
    Everything you need plus a little more,
    Even licensed ranges to explore.
    We’d love to win this amazing prize,
    Epic content and generous size.
    Thank you Mum Central for this chance to win,
    To let the best start to her schooling begin!

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