back to school gift guide 2023

Emily Reviews writers were sent products for inclusion in our back to school gift guide. All opinions are our own. There are affiliate links in this article. 

For The K-12th Grade Students

Playmobil School Bus

One of the best ways to ease your younger child’s apprehension about the upcoming school year is to role play.  The Playmobil School Bus is a great way to do just that!  The functioning front and rear lights flash as the bus driver approaches the bus stop and extends the stop sign. Once the double doors open, the kids can climb aboard and choose a seat. Easily access the spacious interior, with seating for up to seven figures, thanks to the removable roof.  You’ll be able to go through a variety of situations and act out how and what your child should do to respond.  It’s the perfect way to help them feel prepared and excited about school and riding the bus.  Set includes bus driver, three students, backpacks, lunch bag, pencils, and other accessories.

rab lowe alpine 18

The Rab Edge 18 is the perfect day pack for carrying your essentials for a day at school and then perhaps for a quick hike afterwards. The Edge 18 is a lightweight pack with a padded laptop sleeve along with features to help keep your stuff organized. Constructed from PFC-free material, the stylish pack features a large main opening for easy access, stretch mesh side pockets, and side compression. The built-in, padded sleeve for up to 15” laptops even doubles as a water bladder pocket! For everything from city trips to mountain adventures, the multipurpose backpack features a removable hip belt, sternum strap with whistle, front map slot, key clip, bike light loop and the capacity to hold a pair of trekking poles.

SOLOBO Uppercase Alphabet Puzzle

SOLOBO Toys is a Montessori-inspired educational children’s toy company that are recommended by speech-language pathologists to encourage natural speech development through play. From A to Z, this puzzle set features 26 capital letters that will work to help your little kiddo learn the ABCs in a fun, interactive way. Whether they’re just starting out or really mastering their letters, this challenge puzzle has learning letter recognition covered! 

Back To School, Lunch Box, Lunch To Go

Make lunchtime a breeze with Lekue’s LunchBox To Go, featuring two airtight and leakproof compartments for your favorite foods. During transportation, the compartments are held together with a sturdy silicone band. The LunchBox To Go has an extra lid for conveniently storing cutlery. (Cutlery is not included. Lekue Basics To Go set fits inside the LunchBox To Go storage space.) The LunchBox To Go set measures L 7,5’’ – W 4 – H 4,3”. It is dishwasher and microwave safe. LunchBox To Go is available in three colors- Turquoise (shown), Coral, and Translucent Green. In addition to being easy to use, the LunchBox To Go also helps you save money and reduces waste from disposable packaging.

Casio, 61-Key Portable Keyboard (CT-S1BK)

They say that kids who learn to play piano/keyboard learn better and retain knowledge more easily than children who don’t.  So this year, grab the Casio CT-S1BK Keyboard for the kids in your life.  Featuring a slim, minimalist chassis and design that seamlessly integrates with the style of users’ home, this lightweight CT-S1 is ideal for players of all skill levels.  Available at an affordable price, this model boasts the richly expressive Casio AiX Sound Source to ensure all sounds come to life with clarity and expression previously unparalleled in portable keyboards.  The CT-S1BK is a great option for anyone, of any age, who wants to play keyboard.

class artist the spunky stork shirt

For your little drawers and painters, the Class Artist Tee from The Spunky Stork is a perfect back-to-school purchase! Made from 100% certified organic cotton and available in sizes 18-24 months to Youth XL (14/16), these t-shirts are hand-printed to order from Orlando, Florida. This shirt comes in white or sand color and features scissors, glue, and a marker – fun tools for any budding artist! 

Handzies Water Wipes

Life can get messy and having Handzies Water Wipes at your fingertips can makes any sticky situation a bit easier!  We’ve been using these wipes for years and my kids absolutely love them!  They fit easily in a pocket, purse, diaper bag, backpack or anywhere and make wiping hands and faces simple and fast, no matter where we are.  These individually wrapped, cleansing towelettes features Handzies proprietary formula of pure Castile (olive oil-based) soap and water. This means they are safe for all ages and won’t cause any skin irritations as they are FREE from alcohol, triclosan, BZK or any artificial perfumes or dyes.

Back To School, Lunch Box, Lunch To Go

Zak! Designs wants you to enjoy using their products. They use popular tv characters, uplifting messages, and cheerful colors to bring a smile to your face. Zak! Design’s new Harmony water bottle is a fun addition to your kids back to school supplies. Harmony water bottles are available with two lids straw or chug. They come in 32 ounces or 14 ounces. The 14-ounce bottles are available in eleven different colors/patterns. The 32-ounce bottles are available in four colors. Harmony water bottles are made with 75% recycled material. They have double-wall vacuum insulation to help keep drinks cold for hours. Harmony water bottles feature wide carrying handles. The bottle and lid are BPA-free and dishwasher top rack safe.

rawr back to school dino shirt the spunky stork

This Rawr School T-Shirt from The Spunky Stork will be so cute for the first day of school! Featuring a purple dinosaur and available in Sun or White colorways, it has the fun play on words “RAWR-DY FOR SCHOOL” printed on the front. This super-soft organic tee can be hand-printed to order from 18-24 months to a Youth XL (14/16). Shipping is free in the USA and they’re quick to ship, too! 

Live Fit Active Balance Chair 17" Ergonomic Seating

Got a wiggly student?  Check out Simplay3’s Live Fit Active Balance Chair desk stool as it’s an affordable and flexible seating alternative to standard desk seating.  This uniquely designed seat allows movement to improve concentration and core posture while sitting and also improves core strength too.  This seat is designed to be lightweight and easy to move while also holds up to 175 pounds so even many adults can pop a seat!  

utty hanging rack

Are you tired of fretting over where to air out the kids’ sports gear between games? Check out UTTy–the ultimate vertical hanger for all your needs and activities! This space saving, gear management tool features heavy duty hooks that can be positioned exactly where you want them for storing athletic equipment, camping gear, van life essentials, and more. Best of all, it’s portable so you can bring it with to away games or keep it in your closet for a simple storage solution. 

Unicorn Backpack with Safety Harness

Preschoolers and kindergarteners will be able to head back to school in style with one of Kiddietote’s adorable backpacks. These stylish backpacks have plenty of room as well as pockets inside to keep your child packed, organized, and ready to go on any adventure. These adorable backpacks have a waterproof hardshell made with earth-friendly materials that are PVC- and BPA-free.  So irresistible, kids will be excited to pack their own bags and jump on that bus!  Check them out as they come in a variety of cute themes like this Unicorn as well as Ladybug, Rocket, Race Car, and more!

order out of chaos academic planner

Looking for the perfect school planner? The Academic Planner from Order out of Chaos is exactly what you need! This planner is ideal for all ages as it features seven subject boxes as well as after-school planning. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly page views, note pages before each month, study and project planning guides, and ample space to write assignments and activities. The planner features a handy built-in back storage pocket and comes in a variety of colors!

Light+Nine Backpacks, Lunch Totes & More

Does your big kid need an awesome new backpack?  Using the combined power of form and function, Light+Nine fuses featherweight materials with urban style so children can stand taller, play harder, and express themselves freely. These backpacks are light as a cloud as Light+Nine bags are rigorously weight tested to ensure minimal strain on your child’s back as well as to provide maximum support for your child’s wellbeing.  All Light+Nine bags are wipe‑clean, practical, and beautiful; and their rebound material is easy to clean and disinfect.

Light+Nine Backpacks, Lunch Totes & More

All Light+Nine products are made with perforated material specifically designed to be embellished with DIY NIMIX. NIMIX patches fit perfectly into these holes with a twist-on cap to secure it in the back. NIMIX come in a variety of fun characters, exciting motifs and artistic letterings to make each bag unique. Each bag comes with a free pre-selected NIMIX. In addition, Light+Nine bags are designed to help protect your family from the harmful germs and viruses that are changing our world.

starlux sardines

For a super fun after-school game, check out Seek and Hide Sardines from Starlux Games! Get ready for the worst teammate of all time: Saraphina, the singing fish. One player hides with her while the others search for them. As players find the hiding spot, they cram together like sardines…but remaining hidden isn’t so easy because Saraphina intermittently bursts into song and must be silenced. Includes one plush singing fish and USB cable.

cobra strike starlux games

Know those kids who just won’t stop roughhousing? Celebrate their energy while positively redirecting it: hit the targets, not each other in Starlux Games’ Cobra Strike! Strike your opponent’s targets while protecting your own.  Easy to set up, fun to learn – and challenging to master! Design your own game modes: player-vs-player (like karate kid point fighting), solo style (spy ninjas), in teams (sparring battles); play in a competition ring (sumo wrestling), on an obstacle course, as a backyard game; and more!

SOLOBO Emotions Coin Drop

Play is fundamentally important for 21st century learning skills and the Emotions Coin Drop from SOLOBO Toys is an interactive way to start conversations about emotions from a young age. It features six colorful coins that each represent a feeling: happy, sad, angry, surprised, silly, and anxious. This toy is guaranteed to boost a kid’s hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, memory building, language development and problem-solving skills.

J + S Blue light blocking glasses

To prevent eye strain while working with screens all day, check out J+S Vision Blue Light Blocking Glasses! Extended exposure to blue light rays may cause fatigue and stress. Filtering out the High Energy Blue Light allows you to focus on your game or task at hand. These stylish glasses block out 90% of the most harmful blue light rays and can help to reduce the risk of vision conditions from sore dry eyes to macular degeneration. Available in a variety of styles and colors.


Casio FX-991CW Advanced Scientific Calculator - Black

As kids get older, most schools require an advanced scientific calculator and the Casio fx-991CW is a good, affordable option.  With an all-new quadruple graded LCD display, users will be able to easily find their cursor while writing and modifying expressions. The ClassWiz features circular, convex buttons that are appropriately spaced to prevent the mis-keying of information, and the button labels now feature glyphic representations of the functions they perform. The hard plastic case features an etched edge surface to prevent slipping in the hand. This calculator can also store and recall up to nine variables which can contain integers, computations, and functions. The variables will persist in the calculator’s memory between sessions.  Plus, all of the calculator’s functions can be accessed through the convenient Math Catalog. 

pedroc shirt

The Pedroc Dry Hybrid T-shirt is a lightweight, wicking base layer with excellent temperature regulation. The hybrid blend of fabrics offers high breathability and rapid drying performance. Designed, tested and proven in the Dolomites, its Dry’ton main jersey fabric gives enhanced moisture transport and a smoother feel. The back panel and side inserts are in a special, lightweight Dry’ton mesh. In addition, this technical tee benefits from odor control to help you stay fresh all day long.

Loma Lux Eczemol OTC Spray Natural & No Sting Hypochlorous

If you or your child suffer with eczema, then you’re most likely familiar with the dry, itchy flare-ups that come with this annoying topical condition. Although eczema has remained a common condition for decades, the relief options are limited. Loma Lux Laboratories is revolutionizing the way to treat eczema with the launch of Eczemol OTC Topical Spray, the first and only FDA cleared Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) for atopic dermatitis, 1st and 2nd degree burns, and radiation dermatitis indications.  This magical product contains the all-natural, superpower ingredient which exists in the human body and works as a natural healing response and is sure to make the school day a much more comfortable experience.

SOLOBO Learn & Drop

Also from SOLOBO, the Learn & Drop is a Montessori-inspired educational toy that has the most precise and comprehensive resources to allow children to master basic preschool concepts for language, counting, basic geometric shapes, fruit and vegetable names, birds and animals sounds, and color names. It is a great learning tool to engage a child in a hands-on activity.  It’s also an especially helpful tool when used in toddler speech development and even with occupational therapy but is also a great learning toy and tool for children with typical development.

For The College Aged Kids

Bedsure cooling mattress protector

Bedsure’s Cooling Cotton Mattress cover is great for people heading off to dorms. It’s available in Twin XL which is the typical size for dorm beds. This mattress cover will help protect your mattress while adding a little bit of extra padding. It’s available in four colors to suit different decor or personalities. It is soft, breathable and moisture-wicking so you will get a good nights sleep without overheating. It features deep pockets so it’ll stay securely on even the deepest mattresses. It’s machine washable and dryable (just on gentle settings) so it’s easy to care for. 

Buy it:


Cariloha Bamboo Bath Towel Set - 3 Piece

Do you have some kids going off to college?  If so, check out these Cariloha Bamboo Bath Towel Sets!  Made of Viscose from Bamboo Plush, these towels and rags offer perfection and luxurious softness.  It’s a combination that will give skin the ultimate in comfort and is perfect for everyone, including a stressed out college student who needs a little relaxation and pampering.  The extra-smooth, slightly twisted yarn is loomed perfectly to 600 grams per square meter for increased comfort.  These towel sets are available in 7 color options, so you’ll be able to find the perfect one for your scholar.

jokari shoe organizer

Keep all of your school shoes organized with Jokari’s 30-Pocket Shoe Organizer! This over-the-door shoe caddy fits universally on closet doors and saves so much space. You never realize how much room footwear eats up until you organize all the boots, sneakers, dress heels, pumps, flats, flip flops, slip-ons, slippers, and more. This organizer hugs tightly to your door and won’t swing and crash when opening or closing the door. The clear pockets make it easy to organize and find your favorite pairs of shoes. Plus, they send extra hooks to make the shoe organizer compatible with dorm room or residential sized doors!

Back To School, First Aid Kit

Keep Going First Aid kits are an essential item on your teen’s back-to-school supply list. Keep Going First Aid Kits enable teens to treat minor injuries while they are away from home. The kits come in several sizes and designs. GoKits are the perfect size for school backpacks, sports bags, and vehicle glove boxes. The GoKit includes first aid supplies needed to treat skinned knees or elbows, small cuts, minor burns, blisters, nosebleeds, and more. GoKits have regular and waterproof bandages in multiple sizes. They come with individual-use packets of hydrocortisone cream, burn cream, antibiotic ointment, and hand sanitizer. The GoKit has a durable carrying case with organizational slots to securely hold first aid supplies. Everything is easy to find when you are in a hurry. GoKits are available in twelve color/pattern options.

Bedsure muslin throw

Muslin isn’t just for baby’s receiving blankets and toddler quilts anymore! This Bedsure 100% cotton muslin blanket comes in throw, twin, queen and king sizes, and three colors. Muslin is a soft fabric that gets softer with each wash. It’s highly breathable, making it great for covering up with in the dorm room any time of year. The colors make it a suitable gift idea for any gender. 

Buy it:

Simplay3 20" Live Fit Active Balance Chair

The Live Fit Active Balance Chair desk stool by Simplay3 is the affordable and flexible seating alternative, especially for college students!  Instead of the  standard desk seating, this stool allows movement to improve concentration and core posture while sitting.  It’s designed to allow the  lower body to move from side to side and back to front while the upper body concentrates on the task at hand.  Made in the USA, this stool offers a flexible seating option that’s sturdy (holding up to 250 pounds!) while also being lightweight and easy to move from from college study space to a gathering with friends.  It’s also a great option for gaming or extra seating anywhere it’s needed. 

dynafit sky shirt

Ultralight and highly breathable: The Sky Shirt from Dynafit is perfect for running and gym class. To ensure you can give your all, you must feel good in your clothing. They simply can’t make you sweat more or stick to your skin uncomfortably. This versatile, minimalist Sky Shirt with its air permeable, light fabric ensures long-lasting comfort and a good conscious with its sustainability: It is made 100% of recycled polyester and is bluesign certified. The Polygiene treatment prevents the buildup of unpleasant odors for a fresh feel from the first to the last step. Sky Shirt – ready to run!

Heart Blasters Matching Pieces

One of the most popular clothing trends of the last few years has been matching sweat sets and with Heart Blaster’s adorable pieces, all the kids are guaranteed to make athleisure look stylish!  Being comfortable and looking good is important and helps kids thrive in their daily life.  These sets come in a variety of colors, as well as shorts and sweatpants for an opportunity to mix and match however they would like for the school day!  

Dreo Cruiser Pro T2 Tower Fan

Dominate heat even at the most extreme conditions with the Dreo Cruiser Pro T2 Tower Fan. This large 42-inch oscillating fan comes with a powerful motor and an airflow design that delivers faster cooling speeds with a massive 1236 CFM. Get cooling airflow even in the largest rooms or squishiest dorms and forget the sweltering with the help of Dreo.  This tower fan comes with a large LED display and a straightforward control panel where you can manage oscillation, fan speeds, modes and mute.  You can also easily connect and control your fan with the Dreo app or smart voice command.

  • Buy It:
  • Discount Code:  Use the code ‘THRIFTY15’ to receive 15% off your DREO purchase. (ChefMaker not included)

Dreo Nomad One Tower Fan

Dorm rooms can be stuffy and uncomfortable.  Bring some peace and a better nights sleep with the help of the Dreo Nomad One Tower Fan.  Enjoy all the serenity you deserve after a hard day with this ultra quiet fan.  It’s fine-tuned impeller, noise-canceling electric motor, and vibration damper all work together for a tranquil cooling experience, day and night.  Designed to be easy to clean, it’s also able to be controlled through Smart Connectivity, which allows you to share and monitor your fan anytime, anywhere.

  • Buy It:
  • Discount Code:  Use the code ‘THRIFTY15’ to receive 15% off your DREO purchase. (ChefMaker not included)

Dreo Atom One Space Heater

Feeling a little chilly, this Dreo Atom One Space Heater is perfectly sized for personal space!  I love using mine as a desk space heater but it would also be a great option for a dorm room.  Loaded with great features, this handy space heater is compact, portable, and easy to carry.  It features a washable and reusable dust filter because nobody has time to be running around trying to find replacement filters.  The digital thermostat is programmable for your perfect choice between the 41-95°F range.  It also features options for oscillation, 1-12h off timer 4 quite modes (High, Low, ECO, Fan).  Finally, the overheat and anti-tip protection make is a super safe option.

  • Buy It:
  • Discount Code:  Use the code ‘THRIFTY15’ to receive 15% off your DREO purchase. (ChefMaker not included)

HB Cosmetics LUX Lip Tint

Is your teen or young adult looking for a lip product they can keep with them all day long? Heart Blaster’s collection of lip balms and tints come in a variety of colors along with scents that are perfect for keeping lips hydrated all day long with a little bit of added glow. On top of that, their packaging is completely biodegradable, so they’re great for helping the environment!

SanDisk Memory Card For Chromebooks

If you have a Chromebook, then you need a SanDisk Ultra® microSD™ Card for Chromebook. The microSD card gives students peace of mind knowing their hard work is safe and easily accessible. Students can store photos, videos, and files. The SanDisk Ultra® microSD™ Card for Chromebook is available in 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. With capacities up to 256GB students will have enough storage to save hours worth of work and will also have fast transfer speeds of up to 120MB. The card is water-proof, temperature-proof, X-ray-proof, magnet-proof, and shock-proof! SanDisk Ultra® microSD™ Card for Chromebook is compatible with microSDXC and microSDXC UHS-I supporting host devices.

Buy it:



This post currently has 5 responses.

  • gloria patterson

    Oh so many great things on this list. A couple great niece and her mommy have already picked up. I took great niece (6) shopping for some school clothes at walmart. OMG she found the Justice Power Puff girls clothes. It tooks us less then 10 minutes she pull sstuff off the rack is this my size? Then LETS GO she was done

  • Peggy Nunn

    I like the J+S Vision Blue Light Blocking Glasses for the kids when they are on the computer for class.

  • Maria Egan

    The Rab Edge 18 Backpack looks exactly like something my grandkids need. It seems that they have more and more to carry and need something sturdy but yet comfortable.

  • gloria patterson

    I have been looking for a heater for my bathroom. My apartment has the wall air/heat for the living room and a small hole cut in the size for the bedroom. But there is not heat in the bathroom …………….. this Dreo Cruiser Pro T2 Tower Fan. is perfect will be ordering it.

  • gloria patterson

    what I like about gift guides is that I can go back to them weeks later and still find something in them that i want or need as a gift

Leave a Reply

* Your email address will not be published.