The Blog by Ellen Wags

a lifestyle blog for real mamas. featuring family-friendly home decor, casual mama style, and stuff to keep your kids entertained. 

Back To School We Go!

School age children ready to return to  elementary school in 2023 holding signs that read "first day of Kindergarten" and "First day of Second Grade"

Back to School Essentials 2023

I really can’t believe it’s already this time again! The summer flew by. This year I have my youngest going to kindergarten which is crazy even to say! That means I will have two girls in grade school. Before they go back I want to give them a little back-to-school refresh. I always like to get them the basic things they need for school (i.e. lunch boxes, water bottles, etc.) but I also like to give them a little wardrobe refresh.

Today I’m sharing my back-to-school essentials for 2023. Let’s get into it!

The Basics

Every kid going to elementary school needs a good backpack, lunch box, and water bottle.

I have been loving STATE bags. They have super cute patterns and appear to be very functional. You can never go wrong with a Pottery Barn Kids backpack. Lastly, this year we decided to pick up some backpacks from Crate and Kids. Blog post coming soon on the cute Stoney Clover Style personalization.

Check out some of my top backpack picks here:

I’m not totally sure how we would survive without the Bentgo boxes. They are perfect for school lunches! My favorite thing about them is you don’t have to put things in plastic baggies or Tupperware. The tray is all one piece – all Bentgo boxes have compartments that make packing your child’s lunch so easy! I picked up a new pair of the regular and the chill version.

We also have a million water bottles at our house, but somehow we always need more. I’m totally an Owala girlie right now – I grabbed one of these for each of the girls.

Twirly Dresses For Playing

Y’all know how much I love twirly dresses. I will probably never stop buying them for my girls. They are absolutely adorable, and so practical for every day when paired with some shorts underneath. These cartwheel shorts are a staple around here.

I’ve always loved Alice & Ames (see this blog post!), but I’ve also rounded up some other options from different stores too!

Perfect For Recess

Although I love the twirly dresses the most, I know my girls will need some good athletic clothes as well. I’ve shared our love of twirly dresses before, but let’s dive into athleisure. Between gymnastics, tennis, and everyday play, we have started a solid collection of kids’ activewear. I used to think it can be difficult to find athletic clothes for younger girls, but I’ve found so many options lately! I’ll share a few I love!

Since my girls are getting older, Athleta has options for them, starting with size 6.

Here are a few of my fave Athleta options:

I’ve also stumbled upon the brand Moody Tiger. They are an activewear brand with a wide variety of styles and lots of fun patterns that I’m sure my girls will love.

Lastly, Everyway is a fave – this set is still going strong around here, a year and a half later!

Shop the top here. Shop the leggings here.

Ready to Run

Why does it feel like every August is when I get all my new shoes for the whole year? Something about back to school! A fresh pair of sneakers is always at the top of our list for back-to-school essentials. This year I want my girls to have great everyday sneakers that they can be comfortable in all day and give them enough support for running around. You can never go wrong with Adidas and Asics. They have great children’s shoe options that seem to last all year round. Here are a few favorites that will hold up and look great with a bunch of outfits!

I hope y’all enjoyed this back-to-school essentials 2023 roundup! Let me know if I missed any of your back-to-school must-have items!

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