Here's what COVID added to your back-to-school shopping list

·4-min read

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Back-to-school may have a deeper meaning this year, as many kids return to in-person classrooms for the first time since the pandemic began. That said, there are definitely a few more logistics to consider as you’re shopping for a return to the classroom. We spoke with teachers and parents, and these are the six must-have additions to your shopping list this year.

Durable iPad Case

No more tablets slipping out of your hands. (Photo: Amazon)
No more tablets slipping out of your hands. (Photo: Amazon)

Kids are carting tablets back and forth from school, a trend that surged due to COVID, and it’s seriously been a rough-and-tumble time for this delicate component ever since. Protect your investment with a “shock-proof” case made of premium silicone while saving cash and your sanity by opting for a clean, adult-style case they won’t grow out of. This one is just $26 and has over 17,000 positive reviews. It has a rotating 360-degree kickstand and even comes with a shoulder strap offering protective portability.

Shop it: Durable iPad Case, $26 (was $32), amazon.com

Panasonic Headphones

Don't let the price fool you: These cans are powerful. (Photo: Amazon)
Don't let the price fool you: These cans are powerful. (Photo: Amazon)

Since kids of nearly all ages are now using laptops and tablets in the classroom (see above), teachers are requiring headphones, so this is definitely an item to add to your list. Several mom friends urged me not to spend too much — kids are fidgety and tend to coil and uncoil headphone wires, which means this piece of equipment may need to be replaced again before year’s end. So yeah, this is definitely a place to save.

These are foldable with soft padding around the head and ears, plus they cost just $15! And they have nearly 16,000 reviews from other parents who give it their seal of approval.

Shop it: Panasonic Headphones, $15 (was $17), amazon.com

Personalized Name Labels

What a pretty way to organize. (Photo: Amazon)
What a pretty way to organize. (Photo: Amazon)

Name labeling has definitely taken new meaning with COVID. Most schools won’t allow for shared supplies, and pencils that hit the floor without labels are, sadly, chucked into the wastebasket. We love this 48-pack of personalized labels that are waterproof and just $10. You’ll have enough for lunch bags, water bottles, and of course, your kid’s favorite pens and markers — you know we all have one we can’t live without.

Shop it: Personalized Name Labels, $10 (was $12), amazon.com

Kids Face Mask Lanyard

No more missing masks! (Photo: Amazon)
No more missing masks! (Photo: Amazon)

Younger kids will still be required to wear masks, so cut down on your daily scramble and help kids keep tabs on masks with this lanyard that’s available in 16 color combinations and features a breakaway feature in case there’s an unexpected snag. The design also allows for reducing pressure around sensitive ears as well!

Shop it: Kids Face Mask Lanyard, $10, amazon.com

Insulated Neoprene Lunch Tote

So much cuter than the plastic lunchboxes of yore. (Photo: Amazon)
So much cuter than the plastic lunchboxes of yore. (Photo: Amazon)

Kids are carrying everything with them back and forth to minimize sharing of supplies and books, and lunch has definitely been inched out of their book bags. Moms I spoke to are loving neoprene lunch bags with adjustable shoulder straps, just like this one, that are an easy tote for kids, are machine washable, and don’t show their age ever — this thing stays looking brand-new for years. Sign me up for neoprene everything!

Shop it: Insulated Neoprene Lunch Tote, $16 (was $19), amazon.com

Portable Lap Desk

Make a desk, well, anywhere. (Photo: Amazon)
Make a desk, well, anywhere. (Photo: Amazon)

While you may want to reclaim a room you temporarily designed as the kid’s school-work space, you still need a hard surface for kids to prop their laptops and workbooks on — a nook that feels like their own, even if just for a few days since some schools are implementing a blended learning experience that includes in-person and virtual classes.

This highly rated lap desk is great for the floor, outdoors, and couch alike! It’s a one-piece design making it an easy carry, and it’s stackable, perfect for storing if you’re picking this up for more than one kiddo.

Shop it: Portable Lap Desk, $29, amazon.com

One sign of a sniffle from someone in your kid’s pod and your little one might need to quarantine for a week or more, so prep ahead with a “stay home from school” kit. Pop in some workbooks, new art supplies, and fresh puzzles into a basket for at-home entertainment emergencies.

And while it can be hectic, back to school should still feel special, so splurge on fresh pens, crayons and fun notebooks, all those items that don’t break the bank!

Any other items you’ve added to your shopping list this year? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments below!

Video produced by Kat Vasquez

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