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An unzipped backpack with school books and pencils falling out laying next to an apple

Gear Up for School With a New Backpack

By Melissa Summers

Each summer I carefully plan activities the kids and I can enjoy together. We visit our local pool and museums. We eat popsicles on the porch, blow bubbles and sometimes try to catch fireflies at dusk. It’s fun for the first eight weeks of summer, then August rolls around.

I spend almost the entire month imagining my children as pretzel sticks. Pretzels sticks I could dip in chocolate and roll in multi-colored sprinkles and devour. By August we’re all kind of tired of waking up each morning, looking at one another and saying, “What are we going to do today?” And when I say “we” I actually mean that by August I am a little tired of waking up and facing the “What are we going to do today?” question.

But the end is near and I have a supply list from our teachers to prove it. There’s not a lot I love more than the first day of school, it’s like Christmas only with more free time.

I’m shopping for school supplies and other back-to-school necessities. Today: backpacks.

Pack it Up: Stylish Backpacks

Red stylish backpackThe Randoseru (pictured at left) is a Japanese tradition I wish we’d made our own. These backpacks can be pricey, but I’m certainly not one to put a price tag on adorable. I picture my little girl wearing a beret, a plaid pleated skirt and Mary Janes, walking to school down a cobblestone street. Except that my daughter has declared an embargo on any article of clothing without two separate leg openings, a beret would probably get her beaten up on the playground and we don’t live in a particularly picturesque place. It’s just my fantasy.

The more practical part of me is a huge fan of the Lands End line of backpacks. The ClassMate pack is durable, classic and affordable. My daughter thinks it’s boring, but it comes in a lot of colors and a few patterns. You can get it monogrammed, too — Madison would like, “This Backpack Is Boring” embroidered on hers.

My daughter wants a dog more than anything in the entire world, she’s wanted a dog for over half of her relatively short life. I have a secret though: I don’t really want a dog very much at all and I’m not sure if we’re ever going to actually have a dog. This is why my daughter has a lot of items with dogs on them, so the backpacks from Little Pack Rats really appeal to me. A nice vinyl backpack with an adorable puppy (or cat or rabbit or eagle or dinosaur — kids like weird animals) on the back. No barking, no chewing … fine, it’s not really as fun as a real dog, but who’s side are you on anyway?

Yoda BackpackMy daughter might go for a cute dog backpack, but my son is lobbying hard for a character backpack because in his world, everything is better if it has a character on it. Of course in my world, everything with a character is just a little more tacky, but that might be our generation gap talking. I don’t know.

On the other hand, if a character backpack makes you laugh I’m all for it. This Yoda backpack will appeal to your child’s love of the Star Wars films and it will appeal to your desire to laugh just a little bit when you send your kids to school. When I showed it to Max he crinkled his nose and backed away from me slowly saying, “I just really think I want a Power Rangers backpack. Okay?” Maybe your child is a little more adventurous.

Photo source:

Ideas for Back to School From Alpha Mom:

  1. Doable Money Saving Tips for Back-to-School 
  2. Use Back-to-School Budgets to Teach Kids Money Management
  3. Make Back-to-School Week the Easiest Ever 







About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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