Cool For School

School supplies don't have to be boring and bland. Consider these trendy school supplies to make going back to school fun for your kids.

Young boy on iPad

1Character backpacks

For little ones in preschool or elementary school, backpacks featuring cartoon characters such as Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, the Disney Princesses and traditional superheroes are very trendy. Look for a backpack in the appropriate size for your child's age. Also, make sure that the backpack isn't packed too heavily and that it fits him well. Check out these backpack tips.

2Dry-Erase crayons

To save paper, some schools are turning to dry-erase boards. Crayola's DryErase Crayons have no odor or caps, won't dry out, and wash easily from hands and clothes. Ask your child's teacher if her class is using the boards and other dry-erase surfaces in the classroom this year.

3Portable flash drives

For older kids, a portable flash drive is a must. If your child uses as computer at school, she may be required to save her work and bring it home to finish. A portable flash drive works on almost any computer; she simply plugs it into the USB port. For a fun twist, you can find flash drives that feature different animals and characters. Check out fun, affordable MIMOBOT flash drives.

4iPad2

For college (and possibly high school) students, the Apple iPad2 is a hot choice for accessing the Internet, reading books, watching movies, storing photographs, and using tons of fun and practical apps. This updated version of the original iPad is thinner, lighter and faster than the original. Prices start at $499 at apple.com or your local Apple store.

5Wordlock

Your child doesn't have to use a traditional combination lock on her locker. Instead, purchase a Wordlock, which uses a child-selected four- or five-letter password rather than a traditional numbered code. It's available in four fun colors online at wordlock.com or at big-box stores such as Walmart or Target.

6Cotton lunch bags

Organic cotton lunch bags are taking the place of paper sacks and lunch boxes. For something really trendy and cool, consider the reusable sandwich and snack bags from eco-ditty. Featured on the Today Show in a segment about the best back-to-school supplies of 2011, these colorful organic cotton bags are eco-conscious and fun, too.

7Anything green

It's not just lunch bags that are going green. Eco-friendly backpacks and other green school supplies are all the rage. From green paper to solar-powered backpacks, check out these green school supplies for grade school, high school and college kids.

Kids love anything with bold color and unique texture. Other trendy school supplies for 2011 include scented highlighters and colored pencils, funky-shaped colorful erasers, knit pencil bags, and bejeweled scissors and calculators.

More tech tips for kids

Looseleaf vs. laptops: When to use electronics for learning
Electronics your students actually need
Top 5 educational gadgets for kids

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