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The 2010 Back to School Shopping Guide

Back-to-school shopping always sneaks up on us just as we're getting into the groove of summer. You too? Don't worry, we've scoured the web for some of the coolest finds to help make the start of school as painless as possible. Maybe even enjoyable?

And don't forget to check out the exclusive discounts we've secured for you because we love you. A lot.

We're beyond excited that Tea Collection and Em Tanner Designs have helped make this guide possible with their sponsorship. It's icing on the cake when our sponsors are the kinds of brands we adore.

children�s clothing

In fact, if you help us spread the word about our 2010 Back to School Shopping Guide by posting our swanky button on your blog or website, then email the url to contests@coolmompicks.com with "Back to School Shopping Guide" in the subject, you'll automatically be entered to win a $450 prize pack including:

*$200 gift certificate to Tea Collection

*$250 in Funky BUCK$ at Em Tanner Designs



The Coolest Lunchboxes

Lunchboxes have come a long way from the printed tin boxes of our own youth. We're pretty sure our picks will score some awards for coolest kid in the cafeteria.

british flag lunch tote

union jack lunch bag


$30 at dabbawalla
red scooter lunchbox

red scooter lunchbox


$29.95 at soyoung mother

star wars lunch bags


$22 at pottery barn kids
owl lunchbox

insulated lunchbags


$13 at skiphop
sparrow lunchbox

sparrow lunchbox


$36 at my sweet muffin
lunch bag by built

french bull lunch tote


$22 at builtnyc
punch buggy lunch tote

punch buggy lunch tote


$23.99 from little packrats
critter lunchbox

monogrammed lunchbox


$14.95 at l.l.bean
personalized lunch box

custom lunchbox system


$21.95+ at yubo
dabbawalla - 20% off with code CMP2010 through 9/15
my sweet muffin - 15% off with code CMP15 through 9/15
skip hop - 15% off with code COOL through 12/31
soyoung mother - 10% off with code CMP10 through 9/15
yubo - 15% off with code CMbts15 through 9/15


The Coolest Backpacks and Bags for Little Kids

Preschoolers need backpacks that are just the right size for that little blankie and half a sandwich. Besides, you don't want to get a backpack that weighs more than they do. We've found some of this season's cutest pint-sized packs for your pint-sized cuties.

preschool backpack - dinosaur

dinosaur backpack


$42 at beatrix ny
vintage flyer backpack

vintage flyer backpack


$40 from dabbawalla
reversible satchel

reversible satchel


$29.95 from apple and bee

checked mini yakpak backpack


$16.99 at funky shop
personalized backpack

personalized backpack


$55 at em tanner
velvet star backpack

velvet star backpack


$30 at ebags
dabbawalla - 20% off with code CMP2010 through 9/15
em tanner designs - 20% off with code COOLMOM through 9/30
beatrix ny - 15% off with code COOLMOM15


The Coolest Backpacks and Bags for Big Kids

We sure know how picky big kids can be. Our awesome alternatives to the mainstream backpacks will let even the most particular kiddo express themselves in style.

robot backpack from beatrix ny

robot backpack


$52 at beatrix ny
reflective backpack

reflective critter pack


$30.36 at l.l.bean
pink crumpler backpack

crumpler backpack


$50 at ebags
paul frank backpack

paul frank backpack


$12 at target.com
biker backpack

gray biker


$35 at four peas
kids' messenger bag

kids� messenger with backpack straps


$49 at fleurville
beatrix ny - 15% off with code COOLMOM15
four peas - 15% with code 15OFF through 9/30


The Coolest Eco-Friendly Lunchbox Essentials

We find when you invest a little in reusable bags, napkins, and utensils, you end up saving a whole lot in the long run. Plus it puts an end to eco-inspired Baggie Guilt. Yes that�s the medical term.

shinzi katoh bentos


$18+ at my sweet muffin

bambu utensils for kids


$8 at branch home

organic cotton kids napkins


$16/5 at mika+bu

kids' cold packs


$6 at pottery barn kids

custom sigg bottle


$24+ at cafe press

reusable snack sack


$9.95 at itzy ritzy

telefresh lunch kit


$2.99, $3.99 at the container store

crocodile creek insulated food jar


$15 at cattiwampus

lunchbots container


$12.99+up at lunchbots

personalized snack sack


$7.50 at bleuroo

personalized stainless water bottle


$19.00 at pottery barn kids

cleanwell natural hand-sanitizer


$3 at greeno bambino
cattiwampus - 20% off with code CMP20
greeno bambino - 20% off with code coolschool through 9/30
lunchbots - 20% off with code CMP through 9/15


The Coolest iPhone Apps for Moms and Kids

Whether it's getting yourself organized, or giving your kiddos an extra educational boost, these iPhone apps are a must-download for back-to-school. Or yet another reason to put an iPhone on your shopping list.

to help coordinate with spouses and sitters

hunny do


free at itunes

to share calendars

yadahome family organizer


free at itunes

to track chores without stickers

ireward chart


free at itunes

to sneak in one more page

kindle for iphone


free at amazon

to keep you busy in the carpool line

words with friends


$2.99 at itunes

to see what kids are texting about

lrn the lingo


$.99 at itunes

to help with phonics

abc pocket phonics


$.99 at itunes

to teach basic letter writing

letter writer oceans


$.99 at itunes

to teach telling time

jungle time


$.99 at itunes

to help with early math and reading

teach me: kindergarten


$.99 at itunes

to help with geography

geowalk 3d world factbook


$.99 at itunes

to make math fun

kid calc 7-in-1 math fun


$.99 at itunes


The Coolest Denim

Denim has gone from cool to hot this season, so you'll want to be sure your kid's wardrobe is stocked with America's favorite fabric, now making an appearance on clothes from head to toe.

super skinny jeans


$17.50 at old navy

hickory stripe denim vest


$39 at tea collection

little boys� trucker jacket
(and for girls)

$44 at levis

appaman denim hoodie


$63 at psychobaby

denim leggings with heart kneepads


$24 from zupers

pleated denim skirt


on sale for $31.80 at ses petites mains

denim mary janes


$52 at artebebe

terry unisex �jeans� for sensitive dressers


$30 at soft clothing

flipside hat


$17 at cat in an apron
arte bebe - 10% off clothing with code SWEETFALL through 9/30
cat in an apron - 25% off with code coolpicksBTS through 12/31
psychobaby - 15% off with code CMP15 through 9/15
ses petites mains - 20% off with code coolmom
soft clothing - 20% off with code coolmompicks


The Coolest Reading Helpers

We're pretty sure that reading is always cool, so here are a few fun tools to help make sure it stays that way, whether they're reading board books or Balzac.

clip-on book light


$12.44 at amazon

miss rhonda�s readers


$19.95 at amazon

quail book plates


$4.50 at boygirlparty

ecotots bedside book caddy


$100 at modern nursery

brain quest workbooks


$12.95 from workman

readeez learn-to-read dvd


$15 at readeez

personalized book plate stamp


$15 at scribbling club

3 shelf bookrack


$99 at pottery barn kids

magnetic fabric bookmark


$6 at bonistudio
modern nursery - 10% off and free shipping on orders over $75 with code coolmomship
readeez - 15% off with code MOMPICKS through 9/30 (Do not use "one click purchase;" the code must be manually entered)


The Coolest Sneakers with Style

We're all for making a statement with shoes, and these swanky sneakers add that special finishing touch to a back-to-school wardrobe without sacrificing comfort.

dr seuss chuck taylors


$35+ at converse

vincent "luke" shoes


$23.45 on sale at vincent

old skool vans


$35 at zappos

camper kids


$75 at zappos

keen polar bear shoes


$40 from piperlime

lacoste for kids


$45 at zappos

fair trade veja sneakers


on sale for $68 at nonchalant mom

black sparkle keds


$35 at stride rite

simple kids satire sneaker


$42 at zappos


The Coolest Purple Everything

We love that purple is the color for Fall, whether you've got girls or boys. Use it as a great neutral alternative to brown and black, or just to add a little punch of color to your back-to-school basics.

purple vans


$35 at zappos

retro puffy vest


$55 at psychobaby

handmade hair clip


$10 at chloe in style

buckle beanie


$33 at two seaside babes

lilac boot


$75 at hunter

rugby stripe tunic top


$26.50 at gap

skull backpack


$26.50 at gap

birdie scarf


$14.99 on sale at oliebollen

leggings


$8.50 or 2/$12 at old navy

plaid tie


$17 at baby by stevie

smocked skirt


$14.50 at old navy

hooded dress top


$38 at boden usa
chloe in style - 10% off with code BTS10 through 9/17
oliebollen - 15% off with code COOLMOM through 10/1
psychobaby - 15% off with code CMP15 through 9/15


The Coolest Special Little Extras

Every kid needs one special little splurge that helps show off his or her personal style, even if it's not on the official school supply list.

japanese pencil cases


$12.95 at japanistic

kids' reusable tote


$15 at kamibashi

recycled pencils


$3.50/12 at earthzone

build your own 3d notebook


$9.99+ at snapily

recorded message backpack charm


$16.99 at talkatoo

smens scented pens


$12.95 at stubby pencil studio

personalized portable photo album


£13.99 at memolio

woodland animals pencil case


$18 from pocket carnival (ships from australia)

planetary sketch book


$7.95 at stubby pencil studio

iron-on patch


$6.95 at japanistic

monster coin purse


$13 from zomb

microscope necklace


$12 at shanalogic
memolio - free shipping worldwide
shanalogic - 10% off with code cute
snapily - 15% off with code coolmompicks through 9/15
talkatoo - 10% with code CMPBTS10 through 9/17


The Coolest Moms' Lifesavers

As moms ourselves, we know that sometimes it's the little things that make the difference between a success and a disaster. Here's what we rely on to keep our sanity during this busy season.

clothing labels with designer patterns


100 minis/ $19.99 at oliver's labels

hp photosmart printer


$157.95 at amazon

lunchbox love notes


$3.99 from say please

lil davinci frames


$27.95 at amazon

sandwich cutters from lunch punch


$16/4 at amazon

my lunch box: 50 recipes to take to school


$11.53 at amazon

allergy alert labels


$18.50 from mabel�s labels

storage boxes


$11.99 on sale at the container store

"sniff, I can't believe my baby is starting school" box of tissues


$various at alice
alice - new members - spend $50 and get $10 credit
say please - 10% off with code LBLCMP, plus free shipping for 4 or more volumes of lunchbox love




The picks here represent the stuff our editors adore, and have not been bought with money, gratuitous compliments, or chocolate chip cookies.

Cool Mom Picks is an Amazon and Alice.com affiliate.