The coronavirus pandemic created a caregiving crisis, and working parents have paid a steep price. When schools shut down in March of 2020, they became their children’s de facto nannies and teachers, juggling at-home math lessons with Zoom meetings, work email, and other life responsibilities. Today, more than a year-and-a-half later as the delta variant surges and children under the age of 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine, stresses remain.
At a time when companies are struggling to retain workers, the strain on parents and caregivers is no small issue for employers. So, what can they do about it? What kinds of benefits can organizations provide that address caregiver burnout? How can they create part-time and flexible work schedules to keep more women in the workforce and give all employees more control over where and when they work? And finally, what can individual managers do to help parents and other workers juggling outside caregiving responsibilities?
Please join us for a live virtual conversation around these topics, moderated by Insider’s Rebecca Knight, senior correspondent for careers and the workplace. The hour-long chat is scheduled for October 14 at 1pm ET, or 10 a.m. PT. The experts will also be taking audience questions live.
Our guests include:
Adrienne Schneider, CEO, The Camille Group, Advisor, Family First, and former Director of Benefits at American Airlines
Karsten Vagner, SVP of People, at the Maven Clinic
Kate Walker, CEO, Presence Learning, and author of “The Good Boss: 9 Ways Every Manager Can Support Women at Work.”
It can be overwhelming to choose the best bottle to feed your baby. There are many types of bottles, and the truth is, sometimes you have to try more than one before you find the right baby bottle for your infant.
Different babies have different needs. For example, a strictly bottle-fed baby may prefer a specific nipple design, while a primarily breastfed baby may need a longer nipple or wider mouth. Or you may have a preemie baby, a baby with colic, or another situation that could warrant special features.
Even two babies with seemingly similar needs might have different preferences for a bottle. It can take some trial and error, and that’s completely normal.
As a parent, you may not have a problem with plastic bottles, or you may only want a glass or silicone non plastic bottle. Some bottles are easier to wash and/or sanitize than others. The CDC recommends taking additional sanitizing precautions for babies younger than 3 months, those born prematurely, or with a weakened immune system.
Ultimately, you have to find the baby bottle that works best for you and your family’s needs, so I have tested all different kinds of bottles to help you narrow down your search.
What makes me an expert to choose the best baby bottles for caregivers to use for their own babies? Well, for one, I’ve used bottles in almost all different types of feeding scenarios with my five children, including strictly breastfed babies who needed a bottle when I wasn’t present, an exclusively bottle-fed baby, a baby who received a mixture of formula and breast milk, and a premature baby who had very different needs. I’m also a registered nurse who worked in obstetrics for several years, where I bottle-fed many babies.
To help you find the best baby bottle, I put together this guide by testing all of the bottles with my own baby, from the age of newborn through 8 months old. During that time, my daughter was primarily bottle-fed, although we did attempt nursing at the breast as well. I tested bottles for specific purposes, like ones designed for breastfed babies and formula-feeding.
Pros: Affordable, glass, removable vent system, anti-colic, interchangeable nipples, easy to clean, 4- and 8-ounce options, fits in standard diaper bag pouches, dishwasher safe
Cons: Vent system can leak if not used correctly, warming time is longer than plastic bottles
I use Dr. Brown’s Options+ Anti-Colic Glass Bottle for everyday use because it can withstand full sanitizing without breaking down the way polycarbonate bottles do. One of the great things about Dr. Brown’s bottles is that the pieces are all interchangeable.There are three different bottle types: narrow, normal, and wide neck. With both the narrow and wide neck bottles, the tops are the same regardless of which size you choose.
Along with being premature, my daughter also suffered from severe colic attributed to acid reflux for the first few months of her life, to the point where her pediatrician wanted to temporarily put her on reflux medication. However, after her medication was taken off the market, this bottle helped reduce her symptoms and many parents find it’s a good baby bottle for gas. Depending on the cause of your child’s colic symptoms, this bottle may offer some relief, though there is no guarantee.
I even removed the colic vent a few times to test if it was actually making a difference — and it sure was. Without the vent, my daughter essentially gulped the air and the milk filled with bubbles, causing her to spit up and experience discomfort. The vents significantly reduced the amount she spit up, and she wasn’t as fussy after eating.
There were a few times when the vent was completely flat before I fastened the nipple on the bottle. This caused the bottle to leak, so be sure the vent is inserted correctly.
Dr. Brown’s bottles are quite affordable and sturdy. I have not had a single one break, wear down, or show any signs of damage through multiple dishwashing cycles and microwave sanitizing.
The bottles also have add-on accessories, like silicone sleeves and handles that make them easier to grip. Like the nipples, the accessories are also interchangeable. I really appreciate that the wider-neck glass bottles easily fit in a diaper bag bottle pouch, too.
Pros: 100% silicone and plastic-free, easy to use and easier to clean because of bottle’s wide neck, various nipple flow options, affordable, warms quickly, natural feel for breastfed babies, dishwasher safe
Cons: May not fit easily in standard diaper bag bottle pouches
Comotomo baby bottles are made of 100% silicone, so they’re a great option if you’re looking for something other than plastic for your baby. The bottles are offered in both 5- and 8-ounce sizes and the shape is wider at the top than the bottom, with squeezable silicone to mimic the feel of a breast.
The Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle is designed with a wide neck, which makes cleaning very easy. With some other types of bottles, it can be easy for debris from the dishwasher to get trapped in the crevices of bottle tops, but the Comotomo’s wide mouth prevents that. The top of the bottle also has a really convenient “tab” that makes putting the bottle together or disassembling it for cleaning super easy.
The nipples have two anti-colic vents, and I did notice significantly less air being “gulped” by my baby when using this bottle. You can also change the nipple type and flow as your baby grows, from one hole for slow flow for newborns, up to variable flow for infants over 6 months old — all without buying a new bottle.
For a silicone bottle, these bottles are reasonably priced. They can withstand wear and tear and are incredibly durable, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking. They don’t crack, and you can toss them in the dishwasher or sterilizer without worry. However, they may not snugly fit in some diaper bags. But, not to worry — we included our top pick for over packers in our guide for the best diaper bags, which should sufficiently accommodate these bottles.
And, while the shape is designed to be helpful for breastfed babies, this bottle proved to work well for my baby who has been bottle-fed from the start.
Pros: High quality, affordable, fits in diaper bag bottle pouches, anti-colic, convenient for formula feeding, dishwasher safe
Cons: Many parts to clean, not user-friendly out of the box, all parts must be completely dry to use, slower to warm than a standard plastic bottle
The Pop Yum 9-ounce Anti-Colic Formula Bottle is made of polypropylene while the nipple is composed of medical-grade silicone. It comes in 5- and 9-ounce sizes — for this guide, I tested the larger bottle.
The bottle is designed so you can carry everything you need — both the water and the exact amount of formula — in just one bottle while on the go. You premeasure the formula at the top and fill the water at the bottom. A seal separates the two until you hit the button to allow the formula down into the water. It took me several “trial runs” before I felt confident in setting up the bottle properly.
Made for convenience, the bottle has thoughtful design elements, including a wider-neck mouth and a nipple shape that mimics the breast. The wide neck makes it easy to clean. This is especially important for a bottle that uses formula, which tends to clump and get stuck inside bottles.
Pop Yum offers three different nipple types: slow, medium, and fast-flow. The Stage 1 bottle (5 ounces) comes with three slow-flow nipples, and Stage 2 (9 ounces) comes with three medium-flow nipples. You can also purchase a two-pack of the slow-, medium-, or fast-flow nipples. Although every baby has different needs, mine was not ready for the medium-flow nipple until she was over 6 months old.
The highlight of this bottle is its convenience for use on the go because of its design. With five components, however, it takes quite some time to clean. It also needs to be completely dry to avoid formula clumping, so it’s not ideal for use as an everyday bottle.
The bottle is easy to clean and you can sterilize it with a dishwasher, microwave, boiling water, or any baby bottle sterilizer. Both the mouth and the bottle itself are slimmer than the Comotomo silicone bottle, so it has a smaller profile.
I attribute Perry Mackin’s wider top and longer nipple design to really mimicking what a breastfed experience is like for a baby. The nipple shape on this bottle is longer than some of the others I tested for breastfed babies. Because it mimics an actual nipple, I found that my bottle-fed baby had a harder time using it since she has never nursed at the breast.
Perry Mackin offers four different nipple steps, starting with a one-hole nipple for newborns that has a slower flow and going up to a full-flow nipple at around 9 months. All the nipples feature a one-way colic vent to reduce air bubbles and fight colic.
I like the design of this bottle, especially because it has a special joint-locking system that makes it easier to secure the top and prevent leaks. It may not prevent all leaks, however, especially with repeated sterilizing over time. Despite this potential setback, it has several add-ons that make it a versatile option, including straws and handles for older babies.
But it’s also pricey, and for me, the biggest drawback was that my strictly bottle-fed baby had a hard time using it since it so closely mimics the breast. All things considered, it’s good for breastfed babies and may be a consideration for those who are strictly bottle-fed.
Depending on which size bottle you purchase, the three-pack comes with one of its many nipple flow options, from the specially designed preemie nipple for the 2-ounce bottle to the standard slow flow for the 4-ounce bottle. But as with all Dr. Brown bottles, all the nipple tops are interchangeable, so it’s easy to switch to the one your baby needs. All of the bottles come with a removable anti-colic vent (the insert part).
You definitely can’t beat the price of this bottle, and it is extremely durable, as well as dishwasher safe on the top rack. The only drawback I’ve found with these plastic bottles is if you wash them along with any tomato-based residue — such as pasta sauce — the bottles tend to take on an orange hue that doesn’t fade after subsequent washings.
I first used this bottle on the recommendation of the NICU when my daughter was born five weeks early for its preemie flow nipple. Now that my daughter is 8 months old, we are still using the bottle — it has stood the test of time and met all of our different bottle-feeding needs. Although I prefer the glass option for everyday use, I stick to the standard plastic Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle to stash in my diaper bag because of its slim profile.
What else we considered
In our testing, we also considered a few other baby bottles that didn’t quite meet our standards for the best of the best.
Nanobebe: This bottle designed to mimic the breast has some admirable features like it being fast warming and adaptable for breast pump use, but I found it wasn’t as practical as the other bottles I tested. It doesn’t fit in diaper bag bottle pouches and transporting it in a cooler was cumbersome; even holding it to feed my baby felt awkward.
Lifefactory 4-ounce BPA-Free Glass Baby Bottle With Protective Silicone Sleeve: This bottle gets an honorable mention as a glass option, and I really liked the sleeve, which makes it easy to hold. It was sturdy to transport without the risk of it breaking. However, the nipple on this bottle was the deal-breaker for me — my daughter could not get the hang of it. It seemed to have a longer shape than she was used to in most other bottles, so it didn’t work for us. That said, it still may be a viable option if you’re looking for a glass bottle alternative to others sold.
What we’re looking forward to
We are evaluating additional bottles for our next update to this guide in late 2021:
Toddlers can be picky little humans. You know this if you’ve ever seen how long they’re entertained by a cardboard box or bubbles, only to leave a pricey toy sitting by the wayside day after day.
I would know – my 3-year-old has a big personality. But I’ve become a pro at buying gifts that she plays with longer than the packages they come in. Buying gifts for toddlers becomes even more complicated when you account for their rapid development. A 1-year-old might be enthralled by a toy that a 3-year-old finds boring.
That’s why I’ve rounded up 28 gifts that will be a hit with any toddler. Many of the gifts on this list have also been tried, tested, and well-loved by my own child.
This is a toy that can really span the toddler age ranges. Younger toddlers will delight in the challenge of matching shapes, while older toddlers can work on numbers and counting with the spikes. I’ve seen this toy meet my daughter at various stages of development since we started testing it over four months ago.
Toddlers love to imitate their favorite grown-ups. They also love their favorite characters, like Ryan from Ryan’s World. If Ryan’s World is a hit for your toddler, everyone will be happy with this vacuum that actually picks up dirt.
Sensory bins allow toddlers to create their own little worlds, and this one requires very minimal setup from grown-ups. Choose from six different themes: construction zone, dinosaur dig, garden and critters, ice cream shop, ocean and sand, and outer space. My daughter got the ocean & sand bin for her 3rd birthday, and it has been a huge hit.
Magnetic tiles are very much a tried-and-tested favorite in our house. When I tested this set, I wasn’t sure that the Grinch theme would be enough to make these any better than plain-colored tiles. But I was pleasantly surprised. This 19-piece set lets kids build the Grinch himself, a Whoville home, or a cozy holiday scene.
Toddlers can get in on the action with this simplified version of bingo. Each bingo card features animals in a different habitat, and the boards and tokens are made of thick cardboard that will hold up to rough play.
Recommended ages: 2 years and up
A World of Eric Carle puzzle
Mudpuppy World of Eric Carle Brown Bear 4-in-A-Box Puzzles, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $14.99
Four-piece puzzles are a step up from peg puzzles, another toddler favorite. This set of four puzzles is inspired by the popular book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” As a former English teacher, I can’t resist a toy that encourages reading. Even if you don’t have the book at home, these puzzles will still be engaging and challenging while simultaneously exposing toddlers to color matching.
Recommended ages: 2 years and up
The ultimate racetrack
Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower, available at Walmart and Target, from $29.82
This quickly became our family’s favorite Go! Go! Smart Wheels track after the company sent us a review sample a few months ago. It can be configured into one tall spiral or two smaller spirals for racing. You’ll get one race car, and the track includes a switch track, hazards, and a trap door. Five different locations along the track prompt the car to play various sounds, songs, and phrases. If you already have other Go! Go! Smart Wheels tracks, you can connect them to the tower.
If you have a Blues Clues fan, this real-life thinking chair will be a big hit. It comes with a mailbox, letters, and an interactive handy dandy notebook. The chair can detect when kids sit down or get up, and there is even a storage space under the seat. We’ve been testing it for a few months, and my daughter hasn’t let it leave our living room since.
Toddlers will think this book is magic when it changes color in their bathwater. The illustrations are the central focus with just a few words on each page. This creates an ideal environment for reluctant readers to pick up a book. Use it for some water painting fun out of the bath, too.
Recommended ages: 1 to 3 years
A dump truck made of recycled plastic
Green Toys Dump Truck, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $19.14
Whether you have a sandbox, a dirt pile in the backyard, or a bunch of toys that need to be moved around the house, toddlers will enjoy loading this truck and dumping things out. The brightly colored toy is made of 100% recycled plastic. An added bonus: After this truck spends a long day hauling materials for your child, you can throw it in the dishwasher.
Recommended ages: 12 months and up
Reusable mess-free coloring pads
Melissa & Doug Water Wow! 3-Pack, available at Amazon and Kohl’s, from $16.99
If you have a toddler living in your house and you haven’t yet discovered the magic that is Water Wow, you’re missing out. Each pad comes with four reusable boards that change color when they make contact with the water pen. They make absolutely no mess and are some of our favorite travel toys for toddlers. We keep one in the car and always bring them along to places like the doctor’s office and restaurants.
This picnic play set is one of our favorite toys for 1-year-olds. It teaches toddlers concepts like shapes, colors, manners, and sharing. The basket includes a shape sorter, two cups, two forks, two plates, six food items, and a picnic blanket.
This doll can grow with children as they move through different developmental stages. Toddlers can practice caring skills and strengthen their fine motor skills by removing and replacing the doll’s binky as well as changing its clothes. At 12 inches tall, Wee Baby Stella is also a great size for toddlers.
Dollhouses can keep toddlers entertained for hours as they imagine new scenarios and practice everyday skills. The set comes with 11 pieces of wooden furniture and two dolls, which is a big plus as many dollhouses don’t come with dolls.
This is a simple yet exciting gift for young toddlers who are just learning how to color and develop their fine motor skills. The large pictures, numbers, letters, and shapes have thick lines, and the pages are durable. These are all characteristics that make coloring easier for toddlers. Thicker jumbo and large crayons are designed for toddlers to have success coloring. This book was one of the first coloring books I bought my toddler over a year ago, and it’s still going strong.
Recommended ages: 1 to 3 years (coloring book); 3 years and up (crayons)
My neighbors can’t help but smile when they see my toddler roll by in this push car. Step2 sent a review sample that we’ve been testing since the beginning of the summer. It’s still in great shape and handles hills and bumpy roads well. Some standout features include a storage trunk, a working horn, cup holders (for you and your toddler!), and a seat belt.
Recommended ages: 18 months to 4 years
A cuddly version of everyone’s favorite Star Wars character
Star Wars The Mandalorian The Child aka Baby Yoda Plush, available at Target and Kohl’s, from $19.89
Toddlers can cuddle up with quite possibly the cutest Star Wars character ever. Toys based on characters like this one give kids just enough inspiration for imaginative play scenarios without doing all the work for them. Even if you haven’t seen “The Mandalorian,” it’s hard to resist this endearing little creature.
Recommended ages: 3 years and up
A cleaning set so they can ‘help’ around the house
My daughter loves to “help” me clean around the house and this set is the perfect size for her. It comes with a pint-sized broom, mop, duster, brush, dustpan, and even a storage rack. My toddler has consistently used it for more than a year, and it’s still in excellent shape.
Recommended ages: 3 years and up
A doctor’s play set
B. Toys Toy Doctor Kit, available at Target and Amazon, from $19.99
Doctor visits can be scary, but role-playing with a play doctor kit makes them more approachable and even fun. This 10-piece kit comes with a stethoscope, otoscope, blood pressure cuff, syringe, scissors, thermometer, mirror, a pair of tweezers, a beeper, and a carry case to keep it all organized. The pager beeps and lights up, and the stethoscope makes a heartbeat sound.
This Lego Duplo set encourages hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as toddlers stack blocks and move the truck around. It comes with 36 Duplo pieces, including 26 letter bricks, a truck, and 10 other bricks and figures.
There’s nothing quite like a classic red tricycle. Radio Flyer sent this tricycle for me to test, and I’m impressed by its quality. Depending on how you customize it, this tricycle can grow with your child from 9 months to 5 years old. Available customization options include a classic bell, a canopy, and a footrest. What I appreciate most about it is the push handle — I use it to help my daughter learn to steer and make sure she is safe while learning to ride.
This musical set inspires imagination and creativity. It includes a drum, two drumsticks, castanets, a whistle, a tambourine, and a shaker egg. All of the instruments fit neatly inside the drum so toddlers can take it anywhere.
My daughter and I have played many hours of “grocery store” with this set. It comes with a working cash register, eight pieces of play food, 10 coins, and a credit card. Prompts encourage kids to count coins, and buttons on the display correspond with the play food.
This stylish mixer can be an addition to an existing play kitchen, but it’s also ideal if you have limited space. The set comes with a mixer, a bowl, eggs, flour, sugar, milk, a baking sheet, cookies, and a working rolling pin. Toddlers can’t help but imitate daily life, and this set let my daughter “make” cookies without making a mess.
For less than $15, this toy comes with a figurine, a vehicle, and a surprise dinosaur egg. Choose from six different Paw Patrol characters: Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Skye, and Zuma. Each vehicle has a rev-up motor and a working tool.
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We rounded up the best places to shop for Halloween costumes for kids, adults, and pets this year.
Here are some of the best Halloween costumes, from spooky options to popular movie characters.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
For the fright-fest enthusiast or trick-or-treater in it for the candy, Halloween costumes are a fun way to encourage imagination and play. For kids, the excitement of a new outfit is doubled when it includes a set of Mickey Mouse ears, and during Halloween, anyone can have a unicorn right in their living room. Even your cat can turn into a piece of bread or your dog a werewolf with some costume magic.
Unfortunately, the number of costume options can be overwhelming. That’s why we researched this year’s offerings to find the best Halloween costumes for kids, adults, families, and pets. We’ve also got tips and tricks for how to navigate each retailer.
Here’s where to shop for the best Halloween costumes in 2021
Amazon has an endless trove of Halloween costumes, including accessories, pet costumes, and pop culture options.
Instead of searching “Halloween costumes” on Amazon, we recommend going straight to Amazon’s Halloween Store page. From there, you can browse costumes by categories including kids, women’s, men’s, or pets. This is a great way to get some costume inspiration if you haven’t landed on a theme yet. You can even buy your decor, party supplies, and candy from Amazon’s Halloween Store — a true one-stop shop.
There are always potential quality issues when Amazon acts as a broker between third parties. For that reason, we recommend searching for costumes that are listed as “Ships from and sold by Amazon” or “Fulfilled by Amazon.”
Adult Official Jurassic World Inflatable Dinosaur Costume (small)Adult Skeleton Costume (small)Link Deluxe Child Costume (small)Spider Dog Costume (small)
The best Halloween costumes for kids
Great Pretenders balances whimsy with budget, offering an affordable selection of full costume sets and accessories for kids.
Envisioned as a store for pretend play, Great Pretenders will spark your child’s imagination. Halloween costumes are front and center among mermaid hair elastics and superhero party supplies. Because these costumes are meant for pretend play, they can do double duty as dress-up outfits after Halloween is over.
Great Pretenders has the classics, like a spooky midnight witch dress and dinosaur capes, as well as a variety of accessories. Most outfits — capes and full sets — fall in the $20 to $40 range, with accessories below $20.
Kids can even get creative with Great Pretenders’ Colour-A Collection, a selection of colorable clothes that includes skirts, capes, and more. Each piece comes with its own set of markers.
Great Pretenders is a Canadian brand, but it ships to US customers from its Michigan warehouse and is sold at Amazon, Etsy, Maisonette, and on its own website.
Because “pretend” is in the name of the brand, if you’re browsing on Amazon, make sure to check that the costume you’re buying is sold by Great Pretenders and not another pretend play store.
Within each category, there are many popular characters available, but the size options are limited. Most of the costumes are affordable — between $20 and $30. There are also similar costumes in kid and adult sizes that can be purchased together for a family theme. The low prices come in handy if you’re looking to create a group look.
In addition to all the affordable Halloween costumes you’ll find available on Walmart’s site, there’s also a great selection of low-cost costume accessories. From wizard’s wands to bear mascot heads, you can find plenty of cheap items.
If you’re on a budget and running out of time to find a Halloween costume, you’ll appreciate the fact that many options from Walmart are available with fast two-day shipping.
Shang Chi Kids Halloween Costume (small)Burger Adult Halloween Costume (small)T-Rex Dinosaur Toddler Halloween Costume (small)Gekko Deluxe Child Halloween Costume (small)
The best family Halloween costumes
If you’re looking for a pop culture-inspired or classic Halloween family costume, Party City has you covered.
When it comes to Halloween costumes, Party City has thought of everything. Many of its outfits start at $19.99, so it’s possible to pull together a family theme on a budget. There are quite a few pet costumes for those who like to include their furry family members, too.
Party City makes the Halloween costume online shopping experience easy with a family costume page where costumes can be sorted by size, and there is also a tab for accessories. As you add costumes to your cart, the family costume page keeps track of your group costume total cost.
Descendants 3 Child Group Costume (small)Mickey & Minnie Mouse Family Costumes (small)Top Gun Family Costumes (small)Space Jam Family Costumes (small)
The best custom Halloween costumes
Etsy is where you’ll find a truly unique, handmade Halloween costume made to fit yourself or your little one.
If you can’t find the perfect Halloween costume from a major retailer, then consider the offbeat and custom costumes on Etsy. Not every store will offer matching condiment shirts, but if your friends are the ketchups to your mustard, there’s a costume for you.
Etsy can also connect you with hundreds of talented artists who can fashion just about any outfit you dream up, even a Beetlejuice romper for your toddler. These customized costumes come at a higher price, but to get a look from scratch, Etsy provides the best platform for collaboration and originality.
There are countless Etsy sellers offering Halloween costume designs that they can tailor to your measurements, and most have detailed measurements to ensure accuracy, like this C3PO-inspired dress. Because many costumes on Etsy are handmade, shipping may take longer than stores like Amazon or Walmart. Our advice is to shop early if you’re going to get a costume from Etsy.
Adult Witch Costume (small)Kids Puppy Costume (small)Little Red Riding Hood Kids Costume (small)Harry Potter Dog Costume (small)
The best sensory friendly Halloween costumes
For people who need sensory-friendly materials, Hanna Andersson‘s organic cotton costume and pajama sets are an excellent choice for Halloween.
Hanna Andersson is known for its clothing made from quality materials for sensitive skin. Its organic cotton pajamas are all made with smooth flatlock seaming to decrease skin irritation. You can pair them with separately sold accessories to create the perfect sensory-friendly costume.
These dragon pajamas are just right for a cozy Halloween party, or they can be tucked away for a chilly night. Even better, all of your family members can get comfortable and festive with matching adult and child sizes.
The site sorts Halloween attire into six categories: costumes, play clothes, matching family pajamas, baby’s first Halloween, kids pajamas, and characters. Your child can wear a full costume set, like this mermaid, or they can wear pajamas that look like a full costume, like this pirate.
Hannah Andersson’s clothing are intended to be “hand-me-down quality” and last well beyond as long as a kid can fit in them. Most pajama sets are between $30 and $40, and most costume sets are between $30 and $60.
Mermaid Costume Set (small)Mermaid Scales Long John Pajamas (small)Bat Costume Set (small)Night Flight Long John Pajamas (small)
The best adaptive Halloween costumes
Target’s exclusive Hyde and Eek! Halloween collection includes a line of affordable and fun adaptive costumes for adults and children.
From outfits with coordinating wheelchair covers to jumpsuits with side openings and abdominal access, Target offers the best options for an inclusive shopping experience for adult and children’s costumes. Both wheelchair covers and outfits are all under $40.
The wheelchair covers, like the Dragon ensemble, are sold separately from the outfits. Along with the shell-shaped wheelchair side panels, the mermaid costume comes with a headpiece for extra flair. Another feature of the shop are the onesie costumes, like the plush unicorn. The side zipper and removable extra accessories are tailored for a child with sensory needs. It also offers easy abdominal access if needed.
The selection isn’t huge, and although there are three sizing options for every costume, the measurements vary between different outfits. You’ll have to consult the sizing guide to determine if the costumes are appropriate for you or your child.
Kids’ Adaptive Mermaid Halloween Costume (small)Kids’ Adaptive Princess Carriage Halloween Costume (small)Kids’ Adaptive Batman Halloween Costume (small)Adult Adaptive Witch Halloween Costume (small)
The best Halloween costumes for pets
Dress up your cat, dog, or guinea pig in one of Chewy’s many pet Halloween costumes.
Don’t leave your furry friend behind on the spookiest night of the year! Chewy has a wide variety of pet costumes for dogs and cats of all sizes, as well as a few for small pets like guinea pigs. The prices vary, from cheaper simple costumes to pricier intricate ones, but all are $30 or less.
Go for a classic look with the cat bread costume, though you’ll have to provide the grumpy kitty face. Many costumes fit both cats and dogs. Pet costumes are intended to be worn with supervision and for a short period of time, as adorable as the walking werewolf and taco cat look would be all the time. Some costumes are made with small parts, too, so keep an extra close eye on your power chewer. Because the closures vary from pullovers to velcro, you’ll also want to consider your pets sensitivities when choosing their look.
This year, Chewy is also offering a virtual costume experience through its Fur-tual Boutique. You can upload a photo of your pet to capture a realistic image of them wearing one of seven exclusive Frisco costumes. For more ideas and to learn how to make any costume your pet’s favorite, check out our roundup of Halloween costumes for dogs and cats.
Bread Cat Costume (small)Front Walking Werewolf Dog & Cat Costume (small)Chef Guinea Pig Costume Hat (small)Wonder Woman Dog and Cat Costume (small)
What else we considered
Pottery Barn Kids Costumes: If you’re looking for a light-up astronaut costume or want to turn your baby into a plump pumpkin, Pottery Barn Kids Halloween costumes are for you. The prices kept Pottery Barn from landing in a top spot, but the thoughtfully designed, high quality costumes are worth checking out if you plan to spend extra.
Rolling Buddies Adaptive Costumes, available at Etsy and Rolling Buddies: For more adaptive options, the Rolling Buddies shop specializes in wheelchair costumes. Due to its prices and limited selection, it wasn’t our first choice, but we appreciated the abundance of choices for wheelchair panels. Unlike Target, there aren’t any matching clothing options, but there is a wider range of wheelchair side panels.
Shop Disney: While there are markdowns and the children’s selection is more reasonable, the price of the elaborate character costumes can balloon quickly. If you are going for an unmistakable Disney look, we’d recommend looking at the kids section and keeping an eye out for sales. However, if you’re looking for an adult costume, try supplementing a basic (and cheaper) outfit with Disney accessories. Disney also added adaptive costumes to its collection this year.
Primary: Primary’s website is chock full of ideas for costume you can make with its clothing. The keyword here, though, is make. There is at least some sort of DIY involved in each of Primary’s costume options, like this Blippi costume or this family BLT sandwich.
HalloweenCostumes.com: As a website devoted specifically to Halloween costumes, you’ll certainly find plenty of options on this site. While you can’t beat the selection, you can beat the price with most of these costumes. Very few are below $30, and many start at $60, like this Ghostbusters costume. For each costume, the site offers suggestions for accessories, which often start around $10 and go up from there. If you don’t mind spending $60-plus to be Poseidon, this site is worth a look. Many of their baby costumes are more affordable.
Melissa & Doug: Similar to Great Pretenders, Melissa & Doug offers Halloween costumes that are intended for dress-up play. Kids will love pretending to be a pilot or a fire chief well beyond trick-or-treating. The prices are reasonable with all sets coming in at $32.49. However, with only 19 options, you’ll find more variety elsewhere.
When we’re young, we’re often told by our parents and those in positions of care that we need to be sensible with money.
While some may say you can only get a feel for money once you start really looking after it by yourself, you’re usually taught to always have a little saved aside.
However, a study carried out at the University of Arizona may suggest that this isn’t the most important financial lesson we should be imparting to our kids.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, earning and saving money isn’t as important as getting your kids involved with fundraising activities at as early an age as possible.
The research suggests that family socialization doesn’t just influence our own generosity in terms of how much we donate; there also seems to be a correlation between this learned behavior and a child’s personal wellbeing.
Through interviewing participants across three generations, researcher Ashley B. LeBaron explored how children learn to donate from their parents and how attitudes to such activities are passed down through generations.
Although the respondents weren’t asked directly about any philanthropic activities, the majority of respondents identified this aspect as an important part of their upbringing and financial education.
“When you think about money and what kids learn about money from their parents, most of us wouldn’t think about giving as one of the basic principles of finance,” LeBaron said in a press release. “It was surprising but really cool, to see that giving was so prevalent.”
The study participants described various motivations behind why they considered philanthropy to be an important part of raising their kids.
In addition to religious reasons, many parents also cited the desire to be helpful as a motivation, as well as wanting to give something back to society.
The study identified three particularly common themes with types of donation, the first and most popular being donations to religious or charitable organizations.
Many of the participants in the study also encouraged their children to donate directly to people in need.
Some of the interviewees explained that they went out of their way to get their children involved in these activities as part of an experimental learning experience, so they could understand the first-hand effects of charity.
That said, the study suggested that the most popular way of donating was within one’s own family.
Making financial sacrifices for children, for example, in the form of travel or private music lessons, teaches them to place importance on less materialistic experiences as opposed to direct possession of money or other goods.
Generosity makes people happy
According to the researcher, learning to be willing to donate is important for several reasons.
There is the argument that children can learn the basics of business and saving: “If a certain percentage of your money goes toward giving, that’s the start of a budget right there,” said LeBaron.
The scientist also explained that philanthropic tendencies also help people achieve personal happiness. “People who are generous tend to be happier and have healthier relationships, so this is shaping not only kids’ finances but aspects of their health and wellbeing.”
The study also showed that parents should demonstrate generosity towards their children too, in order to act as role models.
There are other things parents can do too, such as getting their kids involved in charitable causes in a more “hands-on” way.
LeBaron also suggested that people in educational roles should also be placing more emphasis on teaching generosity.
According to the researcher, the school should be a place where children can learn not just about budget planning but about philanthropy too.
When my daughter was born prematurely, feeding her was a challenge. She couldn’t seem to get the hang of breastfeeding, so I pumped in the hospital during her stay in the NICU and continued to try to nurse her at home without much success.
Every day and night soon became an exhausting blur of trying to nurse her, then pumping, then feeding her the expressed breast milk. After about a week of this, I broke down and spent $500 on the Elvie Pump Double – the first wearable, hands-free breast pump I’ve ever owned.
I went from spending hours pumping, tied to a wall, to being able to hold my baby during pumping sessions, or make breakfast for my other kids, or drive them to school.
I’ve been using the Elvie Pump successfully for the past four months. Here’s my experience with it, and why I think it’s worth considering this wearable electric breast pump.
Design and specs
I opted for the Elvie Pump Double, but you can also buy the single – the only difference is that you get one pump instead of two.
The pump is an all-in-one seamless unit that easily fits in your bra. The design is sleek and minimal, with simple, straightforward controls.
Each unit consists of three parts: 1) the Hub, which houses the electronics and actual pumping apparatus, 2) the detachable milk bottle with spout and valve, and 3) the breast shield and seal that houses your nipple and breast.
4 5-ounce milk bottles with storage lids – all BPA free and dishwasher-safe
4 seals, 4 spouts, 4 valves
2 24mm breast shields and 2 28mm breast shields.
4 bra adjusters
2 micro USB charging cables
2-year warranty for the Hub, 90-day warranty for the washable parts
2 carry bags
2 modes (stimulation and expression) and 7 suction intensity settings
Infrared (IR) energy sensor monitors milk volume in the bottle
Automatically starts in stimulation mode and switches to expression mode after two minutes or if the sensor detects let-down
Sensor detects when the milk container is full and automatically stops pumping
Free app links to each pump through Bluetooth so you can actively monitor milk while pumping, see your stats for past sessions, and check output levels. The app also works as a remote to start or pause pumping, switch intensity settings, and change to expression or stimulation mode.
Manual controls on each pump to start and pause pumping and change intensity levels
Though it’s marketed as a “silent” breast pump, the sound is noticeable – though significantly quieter than other pumps.
FSA/HSA funds-compatible and reimbursable by many insurance companies
What it’s like to use the Elvie Pump
Out of the box, it took me less than a half-hour to get everything set up. Both pumps were fully charged in about two hours.
The first time I used the Elvie, it took me a few tries to get the nipple alignment right, but now I can literally assemble and place it on in the dark. When I started pumping, it felt too good to be true. Compared to the traditional electric breast pump I’d been using, the Elvie felt downright invisible.
It’s incredibly effective. I went from pumping for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours to pumping a full feeding of 5 ounces on each breast in around five minutes. While I prefer to use the manual controls on the Hub, the app is handy if you need to switch back and forth between stimulation and expression modes, which cannot be controlled manually.
One of the most clever features is the IR energy sensor that automatically pauses pumping when the milk container is full. Knowing I can just pop the pump in and let it do the rest has been invaluable. It’s also easy to switch out the milk container when pumping is paused and the easy-pour spout prevents messes. I also like that you can easily see the milk container on the Elvie (unlike the Willow Pump), so I can peek to make sure the milk is actually flowing and readjust the pump or settings to ensure milk flow.
The battery charge lasts me through almost a whole day of pumping, which is typically four times a day.
How to clean the Elvie Pump
Aside from the Hub, everything is dishwasher safe on the top rack or can be cleaned and sterilized in boiling water or a microwave sterilizer. Just make sure all of the parts are completely dry before using them again – I’ve found that if the breast shield seals are even slightly wet, it will affect the suction.
The Hub itself should only be wiped clean with a damp cloth. I occasionally have some milk splash up onto the Hub and into its crevices but have found a soft toothbrush works to gently remove any dried milk.
Notes on milk overflow
Initially, I had some issues with milk overflow. Milk would back up into the plastic on the Hub, making it difficult to clean. After reaching out to customer service via email, I learned the brand released a firmware upgrade (1.7.0) in October 2019 to improve the milk volume algorithm and increase the accuracy of the overflow sensor. Since upgrading my firmware, my overflow issue has completely resolved.
If users experience overflow, aside from getting in touch with customer service, the representative suggested wearing a dark-colored bra or shirt, as the color contrast helps the auto-sensor detect the lighter-colored milk.
A company representative said all data is kept totally private and not shared with third parties. Their website provides full details on how the data is stored anonymously. If you choose to operate the pumps manually without the app, be sure to open it periodically to check for software updates.
The downsides are very small in relation to how much I love this pump. I wish it came with a sturdy carrying case instead of two small velvet-like drawstring bags that aren’t at all practical for carrying the pumps.
Second, the Elvie isn’t completely discreet. The pumping sound and the lights on the hub – which can’t be turned off – are definitely noticeable. The lights shine through most of my shirts, and while it’s a lot quieter than any other pump I’ve used, if you’ve ever pumped before and happen to be sitting near me, you’ll definitely know what’s going on. I’d feel comfortable using it in a noisier location where the sound would be masked, but not in a quiet setting.
The bottom line
If you’ll be pumping for any regular amount of time, the Elvie wearable breast pump is worth the investment. It truly gave me my life back, taking the hour-long feeding process with my baby down to minutes and giving me the freedom to pump on the go. I can enjoy the extra time I have with my baby and provide her with breast milk with confidence – a win-win.
If it’s within your budget, I recommend getting the Elvie Pump Double, for convenience’s sake. However, a single pump is fast and efficient enough that you could get away with simply switching sides to pump both breasts.
During back-to-school season, police departments and popular TikToks are warning parents that revealing too much information about their kids in social-media posts could put them at risk for predators and scammers.
Taking photos of children posing with chalkboards or signs stating personal information, like their name, grade, and school, are popular on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but these posts might not come without risks.
Personal information like this could be used by predators to build trust with a child or could be used by scammers to answer security questions, Travis Waas, a Grand Chute Police Department officer told WBAY-TV.
A predator could say: “‘I know you! Your favorite color is blue, and you like doughnuts, and your birthday is April 25. I know your mom!’ And it builds this false sense of security with this person that really should not be around your child,” Waas said.
One TikTok with over 300,000 likes advised parents to avoid posting personal information and instead write something simple on the chalkboard, like “first day of school” instead.
While there is still time for students to soak up the summer sun, plenty of retailers are taking the opportunity to host back-to-school sales.
To save you the trouble of having to scour the internet for deals, we rounded up the best back-to-school sales in 2021 that are happening right now. From clothes, Apple products, and school supplies to mattresses and dorm room essentials, you’ll find everything you need for heading back to school. Even if you’re not a student, you’ll likely find great deals on clothes, tech, and more. We’ll continue to update the best back-to-school deals here as they come up.
Here are the best back to school deals available in 2021
New MacBook Air (M1) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Mac Mini (2020) with M1 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Hum Smart Electric Toothbrush Kit (medium, Preferred: Amazon)cleaning set (medium, Preferred: Grove)BlackWidow TE Chroma V2 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)
The best back to school deals on mattress, bedding, and dorm room essentials
Avocado: Get $100 off latex mattresses now through August 9 using promo code SUMMEROFAVO.
Swell: Get 25% off select water bottles. Discount applied at checkout.
Target: Save money with office and school supplies starting at 25 cents.
Walgreens: Save 20% on select items using the promo code SCHOOL20.
Walmart: Get school supplies for as low as 25 cents.
The best back-to-school tech deals on laptops, tablets, and more
Apple: Get free Airpods when you buy select MacBooks and iPads or the iMac.
Best Buy: Save hundreds of dollars on laptops, iPads, and accessories through Best Buy’s Student Deals.
Dell Outlet: Save on a variety of new and refurbished laptops.
HP: Get up to 58% off laptops, monitors, and more.
Lenovo: Save up to 76% on clearance items, including laptops and accessories.
Frequently asked questions
When do back-to-school sales start and end?
Although students head back to school in late summer and into fall, sales usually start in July and run through late August or early September. Many retailers have student and teacher discounts year-round, too. Discounts for students include deals on Amazon Prime, Paramount Plus, and more.
What’s on sale for back-to-school shopping?
Popular items for sale during back-to-school shopping include apparel, technology, school supplies, and dorm supplies for college students. Often, you can find office and school supplies cheaper than $1 during July and August. If you are unsure what you or your child may need, take a look at this back-to-school guide for shopping list inspiration.
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We’ve compiled a school supply list full of everything students need for a successful school year.
From elementary through high school, here are the best backpacks, remote learning supplies, and more.
We also included essential hygiene products for kids, including face masks and hand sanitizer.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
Every year, kids get a school supply list filled with all the gear they need to make it through the year. While your kids may take this as an excuse to get new clothes, shoes, and gadgets, you need to get all the basic school supplies for them, too.
Since the back-to-school season can be pricey, we’ve worked hard to create the very best school supply list, while still saving you some money. We included general supplies that often appear on kids’ lists, whether they’re starting kindergarten or heading into their last year of high school.
L.L.Beans makes high-quality backpacks that are both fun and practical. The Junior Original Book Pack backpack is sturdy, just the right size, and includes a pocket for a water bottle and reflective strips for safety. You can read our guide to the best student backpacks here.
JanSport is still the go-to backpack brand for tons of school kids. The Superbreak backpack is sturdy, simple, and it comes in tons of colors and patterns. The list of options on Amazon is epic. You can read our guide to the best student backpacks here.
Superbreak Backpack (small, Preferred: JanSport)
The best high school backpacks
In high school, a backpack serves two purposes. It’s a practical place to toss your books, pens, laptop, phone, and lunch; but it’s also a fashion statement. If you just want a practical sporty look, the North Face Recon is the best backpack for you. Those of you who are more interested in style than pure function will like the Fjallraven Kanken Big Backpack.
Recon Backpack (small, Preferred: The North Face)
The best preschool lunch box
The Bentgo Kids Bento Box is made from sturdy plastic with rubber edges, so it won’t crack if dropped, and the two clasps are easy for little hands to open and close. The inner tray is portioned into five compartments just the right size for the appetites of the pre-school crowd. Best of all? The foods won’t touch. You can read our full guide to the best kids lunchboxes here.
The Wildkin Lunch Box is insulated, so you can pack hot or cold lunches. It zips shut all the way around and has a convenient carry handle. It comes in tons of fun colors to make every kid happy, and the square size fits most bento boxes.
Lunch Box (small)
The best middle school lunch box
The Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Dual Lunch Box comes in a ton of patterns so your middle-schooler can have their choice. It has two main compartments so you can separate hot and cold foods. It also comes with a shoulder strap, carrying handle, and interior mesh pocket.
Mackenzie Dual Lunch Box (small)
The best high school lunch box
The Rubbermaid LunchBlox is perfect for high-schoolers to pack everything they need for a sandwich or to separate food for snacking throughout the day.
The Rubbermaid LunchBlox is well-designed with four different containers that snap together so your high schooler student can pack sandwiches, chips, or other goodies that might otherwise be easily smashed. The containers snap onto an ice pack, helping to keep food at a safe temperature. These containers can be carried in a simple lunch bag or you can purchase the LunchBlox bag separately.
If you love ballpoint pens and hate the way gel pens smear, you’ll love the Uni-Ball Jetstream RT Pens. The ink is a school-approved black, and it dries almost instantly to avoid any smudges as you frantically take notes in science class. The anti-smudge property makes them ideal for lefties. These pens come in a three-pack on Amazon for a reasonable price, so parents will love them, too, though you’ll probably need more than three to get through the school year.
If you prefer gel pens and you don’t mind the occasional smudge, the Pilot G2 gel pens are the best ones you can buy. Although your teacher will skin you if you turn in homework in colorful ink instead of blue or black, having multiple colors for note-taking can be very helpful. Take it from a serial color coder — it helps. I’ve been using these pens for the past few years to keep my editorial assignments in order (and color coded!), and I’ll never go back to normal pens.
Dixon’s Ticonderoga wood pencils might as well represent the word “pencil” in the dictionary. These pencils are iconic for a reason: They write well, last long, and satisfy that “number two” pencil requirement for scantron tests (do they still have those?).
If you hate sharpening your pencils, you’ll love the Uni-Ball KuruToga mechanical pencil. It’s not your average mechanical pencil, either. It has stronger lead for less breakage and it’s very comfortable to hold. You will need to buy more lead and possibly some erasers after a while, but that’s the case with all mechanical pencils.
When it comes to highlighters, Sharpie is probably among the best-known brands. These Clear View highlighters come in narrow and wide sizes so you can choose which kind you need. The highlighters will last you a long time even if you’re a highlighting fiend, and you get four different colors in a pack for color-coding.
Elementary school supply lists always include a composition notebook, but if you like to have one for high school or college, you can get the college-ruled version instead of the traditional wide-ruled option. Amazon makes great composition notebooks with sturdy covers, sewn bindings, and good quality paper, so you can’t go wrong here — especially if you get the four-pack.
Composition Books (small)
The best wide-ruled notebook
If you were a cool kid in school, you probably had Five Star notebooks. These are great notebooks, even though they’re pricier than some. They’re durable enough to last through a school year, and come with holes ready to snap into a three-ring binder. Check out our guide to the best notebooks here.
Wirebound 1 Subject Notebook (small)
The best college-ruled notebook
Once you hit high school, you need a notebook for each subject. Five Star notebooks are a great deal at less than $3 each. The notebooks are sturdy, the paper is crisp, and the covers come in different colors to help you color code your subjects if that’s your jam.
No matter how much mom harps on about taking good care of your school supplies, some of you won’t pay her any mind. To make your folders last longer, get these heavy duty plastic ones from STEMSFX. You even get six different colored ones in a pack, so you can color code your subjects.
You can buy the Staples Better Binder in a variety of sizes to suit your teacher’s preferences. These binders are known to be fairly durable and the rings are well made unlike the dollar store versions that always fall apart. Check out our guide to the best binders here.
If you have a ton of subjects or you just like being organized, the Avery Insertable Dividers will do a great job of corralling your subjects into sections in your binder. These tabs are sturdy, so they shouldn’t rip like flimsier versions.
If you need markers, crayons, and colored pencils for your kid, look no further than the Crayola Core Back to School — Grades 3-5 kit. It comes with pretty much everything your kid needs for art time in elementary school, and its $12.99 price tag is decent.
Who wants sticky glue bottles when you can have glue sticks? Elmer’s Glue Sticks are better quality than the cheapo ones you’ll find elsewhere. The glue is stickier and longer lasting than other brands’ glue sticks. You can get them for a good price, too.
Scissors are one of those things that you shouldn’t skimp on. Dollar-store scissors don’t last long, they break, and they’re dull. Fiskars’ scissors may be pricey at $10.50, but they are great. These scissors are sturdy, strong, sharp, and safe for kids with their blunt tips. You can also get them with the pointy ends if you’re not worried your kid will poke themselves (or a classmate) with them.
If your budding artist needs a real sketchbook, you can’t go wrong with Strathmore’s wares. The paper quality is excellent, and these sketchbooks are even made with recycled paper. I’ve used these sketchbooks exclusively for more than a decade, and they are top notch.
The best printer
The Canon Pixma TR4520 has a built-in scanner and easy-to-use interface, but best of all, it costs less than $100.
The Canon Pixma TR4520 is an inkjet printer that has all the features you need for an incredible price. It has a built-in scanner and copier, so you won’t need to buy those separately. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa voice assistant and wireless, so you can print from anywhere nearby, as long as you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the printer.
The best USB drive
The PNY Turbo is an affordable USB drive for students who need to transport files between home and school.
Students may need to bring documents back and forth with them for sharing or printing, so they’ll want to have a flash drive on hand. The PNY Turbo has good read and write speeds (180MB/s and up to 80MB/s) for basic everyday use, and that’s why we named it the best budget option in our guide to the best USB drives.
If you’re a flashcard person and a color coder, you’ll love these colorful Oxford Ruled Index Cards. You can easily make flashcards for studying or take notes on them, and the different colors in each pack help you color code by subject or topic.
Some school supply lists include a good ruler, and the Westcott Stainless Steel Office Ruler is a good bet with its sturdy metal design and non-slip cork base. It’s also 15-inches long, so you get a few extra inches.
The best sticky notes
Post-it Notes are amazing for note-takers, color coders, and organization freaks who cannot live without lists.
Take it from a sticky note addict: Post-it Notes are great. They come in fun colors for color coding, they’re stickier than imitators, and they’ll help you be more organized.
The best pencil case
The Zipit Pencil Case is the perfect place to store pencils, glue, and other school supplies.
The Zipit Pencil Case comes in three fun patterns. It has a hard outer shell to protect all the supplies inside. The case also zips shut, so you won’t find your supplies scattered all over the floor if it gets knocked off your desk.
Include medium product card. Copy can be: The Zipit Pencil Case has a hard outer shell to protect all the supplies inside.
Hand sanitizer will be a must this school year, so be sure to stock up. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer has a high concentration of ethyl alcohol (70%), making it very effective at killing germs.
Advanced Hand Sanitizer Soothing Gel (8 oz) (small)
The best face masks
Cubcoats makes adorable cloth masks that kids might actually want to wear.
While not all schools are requiring masks this year, some families are choosing to continue to wear them as a precaution. Cubcoats’ reusable masks are made of two layers of fabric. Older kids might gravitate toward the simple design of Vida masks.
Kids Face Mask 2-Pack – Kali the Kitty & Bori the Bear Mask (small)Protective Mask (5 Pack) (small)
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We rounded up the best back-to-school essentials for remote and in-person learning in 2021.
Whether your child needs a backpack, laptop, or notebook, we’ve researched and tested the best ones.
Below are our favorite classroom and virtual learning supplies, tech, and safety essentials.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
Back-to-school season is stressful at the best of times. Between making sure your student has the right number of notebooks, folders, and every textbook on their list, the sheer amount of essentials to stock up on can be overwhelming.
With remote and in-person classes factoring into the 2021/2022 school year, there are even more essentials to consider to help students stay organized and focused during the school day and beyond. These include products like face masks, hand sanitizer, virtual learning supplies, and even online tutoring services.
Here at Insider Reviews, we’ve made it our mission to research and test the gear your kids will need for a successful school year, whether they’re attending elementary school or junior or senior high. From backpacks and lunch boxes to laptops and printers, we’ve put together this list of dozens of reviews and buying guides to bring you a comprehensive school supply list.
We’ve also included a selection of health and safety supplies so kids can stay safe if they’re returning to the classroom amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more about our favorite back-to-school essentials for all grades:
The best back-to-school deals
Back-to-school shopping can be an expensive undertaking, but we’re tracking discounts on kids clothing, basic school supplies, laptops, tablets, and more. You can save money at stores like Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Staples, Target, Apple, and Best Buy.
For students headed back to the classroom or learning at home, they’ll need many of the usual school supplies, including pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, and planners. Backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles will be on many school supply lists too.
Superbreak Backpack (medium)Advance 3 Subject Notebook (medium)Pencils (medium)Lunch Box (medium)
The best tech essentials for school
More and more schools are integrating laptops into their daily learning, and it’s even more important to have the right tech when students are attending school virtually. Whether you need a webcam to add to your preexisting setup, or you want to invest in a new laptop that your child can use for years to come, we have great tech guides geared specifically toward students’ needs.
Chromebook 4+ (medium)2020 iPad 10.2-inch (8th Gen) (medium)Idea Pad Flex 5 (medium)
The best remote learning essentials
Transitioning to virtual learning was a bit of a shock at first, but as a new school year starts, we recognize how to make the most of it for kids and parents alike. We’ve compiled several resources and tools to help your kids thrive in a homeschooling environment.
Malm Desk (medium)Wave Headphones (medium)Tutors (medium)C920 HD Pro Webcam (medium)
Our recommendations for health and safety supplies for in-person learning
Keeping kids healthy and safe is front of mind as students return to the classroom. To help protect kids and their teachers, we’ve rounded up face masks for kids and hand sanitizer, as well as products parents and teachers can use at home and in the classroom. And be sure to read up on CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools.
Read our guides to the best health and cleaning supplies: