Article by Sue Sinclair, who has lots of back to school finds in her shop, Raspberry Kids.
Back to school (and back to work for us big kids) is a really big deal for us at Raspberry Kids. We take great pride in sourcing well designed, aesthetically pleasing and great quality gear for kids and for all members of the family. All year long we are sourcing and testing new brands, designs and products to add to our extensive back to school collection.
We are often asked for a “one size fits all” lunch system but to date, we’ve generally advised folks that having a few options is really the best way to go because different types of food require different containers and storage requirements so it is best to have some options! The great news is many of our litterless lunch concepts double as food storage around the house. No matter the product, versatility is always something we consider as a key feature of the products we recommend. Here are some of the items that get an A+ grade and make this year’s honour roll.
Back to School Honour Roll
In addition to our very popular and existing brands such as Beatrix New York, Skip Hop, Dabbawalla and So Young (which have all added new styles this year), we are very excited to add Crocodile Creek, Milkdot Top Kat Back Packs and Schoolbags for Kids. It is important to determine the size requirements for your child and what is reasonable for them to carry whether it be for a trip to daycare, preschool or grade school. We have tons of options for the preschool set and have added lots more options for bigger kids too. Going to school is a rite of passage for both the child and parent. Letting your child help choose their backpack can help make those first day of school jitters a bit easier. A really cool mention is in order for Schoolbags for Kids who have a program called “One Here, One There” whereby they donate a schoolbag with supplies in it to a kid in need. That definitely gets top marks from us!
Another key component in your back to school preparation is the lunch bag. Insulation is a must and size is another factor that will help you determine which lunch bag is for you. For big kids (a.k.a. adults) we are big fans of So Young’s cooler bags as they look uber stylish in a vintage/retro kind of way and hold a lot of food. For the younger set, again we offer the entire adorable Beatrix New York line with a character to suit your little character. For the less hearty appetites, the Skip Hop zoo lunches are smaller in size and are a good solution. New to Skip Hop’s repertoire this year are the Dino and Hippo and coming soon are the Cat and Giraffe! The new goodbyn ecosystem has groovy insulated lunch bags that work with their components.
Containers and Reusable Bags
When it comes to containers, we are looking for mixed uses because we require a different container for cheese and crackers then we do for yoghurt or dips. For the former, Lunchbots and their divided sections are absolutely perfect, plus there is the added bonus that the foods you pack don’t touch each other. We know several kids and adults that get icked out when their food touches. For liquidy goodies like dressings or dips, Wean Green glass containers are great as their lids seal tight. The glass is tempered so they are very durable. For soups or hot foods, we suggest the Crocodile Creek thermos or the incredible quality of the Klean Kanteen insulated wide mouthed bottles which we carry in two different sizes.
Our favourite reusable bags are our beloved Lunchskins. We were the first retailer of Lunchskins in Canada, we carry their entire range and we are also the fundraising champion for them in Canada so you can tell we stand behind this brand 110%. Itzy Ritzy, ORE Originals and RuMe also offer a variety of reusable bags that not only look great but offer the functionality you need from a product you will have the pleasure of using over and over again. Considering over 20 million disposable bags go into the garbage every day in the US, you can feel good about reusing your sandwich and snack bags, no matter what brand you choose.
When you are grocery shopping for your healthy food for the daily grind of making lunches, we can highly recommend Flip & Tumble 24X7 bags. They scrunch up tiny in your purse, can hold a ton of groceries and look great!
Other Back to School Honour Roll Items Worthy of Mention
People Towels are reusable napkins that eliminate the need for paper towel or paper napkins in your child’s lunch. It’s key to really make sure your child knows and understands these are part of their lunch system and are meant to be brought home and reused over and over. For kids who enjoy drinking with straws, we definitely encourage them to not use disposable plastic straws but rather to use the amazing Onyx stainless steel straws. If your child’s lunch requires utensils, these stainless steel sets from ORE Originals are a great choice.
Last But Not Least: Labels!
Now that you have a list of our Raspberry Kids Back To School Honour Roll items, it is pretty darn critical that you keep them out of the school’s lost and found! Enter Emily Press Label’s! With a huge selection of designs and packages to choose from including allergy alerts, reusable labels, slim labels, clothing labels, you will be sure to find the perfect “gold star” to identify your child’s back to school honour roll gear with!
Despite all this back to school talk, we would really like to take this opportunity to wish all the Vancouver Moms out there a stellar final week of summer vacation, full of sunshine and family time before our little ones stride confidently off to daycare, preschool or their next year of grade school. Time just flies. And if you have any questions or require further information on these or any other back to school products we carry, please do not hesitate to get in touch. It would be our pleasure to assist our fellow Vancouver Moms and make the back to school transition as seamless and pleasant as possible!