If you are sending your child off to preschool for the first time, he needs a small backpack that's just his size. Bubele's Patch Buddies are absolutely adorable and their backpacks are perfect for your little one. The "buddies" unzip from the pack to reveal a soft lovie blanket — ideal for naptime. There are 14 Patch Buddies (10 animals and four special characters) and five different backpack colors. Kids can choose a favorite or collect them all. The Patch Buddies (PatchBuddies.com, $15) and the backpacks ($17) are sold separately.
Is your suddenly-so-big-kid going off to kindergarten? You'll want a backpack that's bigger than the tiny tot size that works for preschoolers, but not so big that it tips your new school kid over. The ClassMate backpack from Lands' End ($26) is just the right size. Your child will love the design options and you'll love the quality features, including a reinforced bottom, a sternum strap, a loop to strap on a lunch box and more. Check out the entire line of "little kid" backpacks for options. You can even buy a coordinating lunch box.
For grade school kids, you can't beat the collection of backpacks from Schoolbags for Kids. These cool, colorful backpacks feature a lightweight, durable material and comfortable horizontal design. The wide-padded shoulder straps, padded back panel and adjustable chest strap make sure that your child is always comfy — no matter what's in their pack. The backpacks come in three sizes (small, medium and large) depending on your child's height. The best part about these backpacks? When you buy one, you are actually helping a worthy cause. For each backpack the company sells, another backpack filled with supplies is donated to a child in need. Check out their Signature backpacks (Schoolbags for Kids, $59) and other collections.
For high school, get your teen a backpack that is stylish and comfortable, plus features compartments for her laptop, tablet, iPhone or other electronics. We love the Kipling line of backpacks, including the Seoul large backpack (Kipling, sale: $70). This cool backpack comes in blue medallion snake fabric and has a padded laptop pocket, a cell phone pocket, iPod pocket and large zippered pocket inside. It's roomy enough to carry everything your high school student needs.
College students need a lightweight yet durable backpack that has plenty of compartments for everything from books to computers. We love the North Face Surge Daypack (eBags, $110). It offers plenty of extras for the utmost in comfort and support. This pack has a large main compartment, secondary compartment with organization, a frontside, secure electronics pocket, zippered padded laptop compartment and much more. Available in a variety of colors, this backpack is rated extremely high by buyers. This North Face backpack is great for class, for the gym, for weekend trips and just about anywhere else your college student is headed.
Kids can decorate and accesorize their backpacks to make them a little more personal and fun. If you are looking for a cool way to decorate backpacks, as well as clothing, notebooks, water bottles and more — check out Scabs. Scabs are permanent stick-on fabric patches. That's right — no need to iron. Available in fun characters and unique designs, they are durable and machine washable.
Not only will Scabs give your kids' backpacks, clothes and other items a facelift, they also benefit a good cause. Grab A Scab offers an “Anti-Bully Scab” and “Ellen Scab” which reads: "Be Cool, Be Kind, Don’t Judge." For every purchase of the Ellen Scab, $1 will be donated to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention and creating inclusive environments for kids at home and at school.
Also try backpack patches from Gutzy Gear. The high quality and colorful reusable Gutzies give children a fun and stylish way to express their personalities at school. The patches feature cool designs and characters -- from Spiderman to your kids' favorites from Monster High.
More for back to school
How to make changing schools easier for kids
10 Things moms of kindergarteners need to know
Back-to-school blues: Mom edition