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Oregon Family Magazine

Back-to-School Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos

09/01/2021 ● By Kelli Matthews

Backpack (Not So) Basics

All the cool kids will be carrying Kicks by Sammy backpacks. "Sammy" is 25-year-old Sammy

Handler, an artist and creator. Each backpack (or lunch tote) has Sammy's hand-drawn designs. It's the perfect option for the young and young at heart this fall.

Groovy Guy Gifts has an all-purpose rucksack-style backpack that's casual-cool for your high schooler. The Fast Track Rucksack has a large main compartment with drawstring closure, antique brass grommets & clasp closures and leather accents & buckle straps. You can even personalize it with 1 - 15 characters.  

The quintessential Fjällräven brand has a new line of backpacks called Tree Kånken. The primary material in the bag is made from Pine Weave, a durable material developed from sustainably harvested spruces and pines from FSC-certified forests in Sweden. A strong eco-friendly message and a great minimalistic design mean it's a great fit for your teen.

Lone Cone lunch boxes will be a bright spot in your kiddo's day. With various patterns to choose from Lone Cone has options for the dino-obsessed, unicorn dreamers, little shark lovers and more! The boxes are made with durable and washable 300D polyester, so any oops! can be easily cleaned up in the washer. The lunch boxes also have double layer insulation with an inner sleeve for an ice pack to ensure little one's lunches stay fresh throughout the day. 

Bonus - Lone Cone has created free downloadable lunch box notes:

Feel Good Kicks 

"Didn't I just buy you new shoes?!" is a regular inquiry at my house; thankfully, locally, we have 

Burch's Shoes to make sure kids' feet are well taken care of this fall. They recommend two styles: 

The new Keen Newport "Casual" Shoe takes the best features of their #1 selling sandal. Keen has created an all-season shoe for boys and girls. EASY for kids to put on themselves with a bungee closing system.

 The Saucony Wind shoe has all the things you want in a children's shoe. Endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association, this durable and lightweight shoe is available in medium and wide widths. Kid-friendly elastic lacing system with a non-marking sole. or Oakway Mall.

Clever Tech

FOCI is a focus tracker for students. The little thumb-sized wearable clips to your waist and tracks bio-rhythms like breathing and heart rate to read your emotions, productivity, and distractions. The idea is that with some basic biofeedback, artificial intelligence can help you work better and teach yourself better focus. Little gadget tells you you're distracted and will give you techniques or activities to refocus. It also comes with a little booklet called "Skills of Deep Focus," with some constructive tips.

Headphones might be on your kids' supply list this year. Planet Buddies is an environmentally

conscious child-friendly electronics brand with the cutest headphones for your elementary school-age son or daughter. Each product comes as a character that represents an endangered animal (we got the panda headphones).

The One by Wacom is a small notebook-sized tablet that connects to a PC, Mac or Chromebook to give kids a tactile option to learn to draw, edit photos or complete assignments with natural handwriting. And it's not just for kids. I used it as a whiteboard in a Zoom meeting with colleagues.

Very Necessary

I live and die by my planner and, frankly, I am trying to help my sophomore do the same. There's no better way to see the short and long-term view of what you have on your plate than a paper 

calendar – seeing time allows you to manage it. The Order out of Chaos academic planners are the best for middle and high schoolers managing classes and activities. The format allows for an organization by class with separate sections for afternoon and evening obligations.

If you've gotta worry about sanitizing your hands multiple times a day - and you do - you may as well carry a cute friend with you. These hand and face cleaning wipes have a mascot names Yolanda the Yak. She's adorable. But more importantly, Yipes! Wipes are designed to gently and effectively remove dirt, are 94% biodegradable and made with 99% plant-derived ingredients. Yipes! aim to inspire kids to take the initiative and learn the habit of hygiene while making it fun and approachable.

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