Back to School Shopping Guide: Games, Labels, Cards, Toys, Books, and More!

Sunday, August 13, 2023
Back to School can be a stressful time of year for parents and kids. But it can also be exciting and fun! I've gathered some of my favorite items in The Jersey Momma's Back to School Shopping Guide to help you stay organized, calm, happy and educated. What more can one ask for in a shopping guide, right?  

Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links to Amazon. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Some items were sent to me as samples, but I promise you I wouldn't feature items in my guide if I didn't totally love them myself! So rest assured, these items all have The Jersey Momma stamp of approval.

Say Thank You with Lovepop Cards

These incredible Lovepop cards are an awesome way to ring in the school year, whether you want to thank the teachers in your child's school or surprise your kids after their first hard-working day in the classroom. There is a little blank card inside of the pop-up card where you can write a special message. These are so pretty, they can even be left out as decorations or hung on the wall. You can check out Lovepop's entire thank you card collection here, and their beautiful butterfly cards, too (click on my photos to enlarge and see the intricate details). They also have fun countdown and advent calendars for kids, and amazing cards for all occasions. 

Stay Organized with Mabel's Labels

We've been using Mabel's Labels for years, because when school starts, it's so important to label items that belong to your child. Mabel's Labels durable personalized labels are a best-seller for a reason! They're a high quality product, and they really do keep your kid's school gear from getting lost or mixed up. Here are some features I love about Mabel's Labels School Label Packs:

Laundry safe (they stay on through the washer and dryer)
Dishwasher safe
Microwave safe
Easy to apply
Super durable, won't rip, fade or peel
Mabel's Labels offers a wide variety of school label pack options. Best-sellers include:
-The Ultimate Back-to-School Combo: A classic best-seller and is ideal for all ages. Includes a variety of labels perfect for backpacks, lunch containers, clothes, water bottles, pencil cases, and so much more
-The Little Kid School Combo: Designed especially for little kids going to school for the very first time! This combo features extra-durable, waterproof labels perfect for backpacks, clothes, lunch containers, shoes, toys and more.
-The Middle School Label Pack: This school label combo features a range of modern, stylish designs and is an excellent choice for older kids. Use these sophisticated labels on school supplies, water bottles, electronics, chargers and much more!
-The Stylish School Label Pack: The most stylish way to stay organized this school year and is great for all ages. This label pack features 19 gorgeous label designs exclusive to this combo.

Use promo code MOMTRENDS for 15% off all labels at Code is not valid on stamps, reflective stickers, or sale products. Other restrictions may apply.

Talk About Emotions with Who's Feeling What

Who's Feeling What is an adorable game from Learning Resources that helps kids talk about their feelings. What's unique about it is that it's inspired by distance learning, so the 49 piece set includes a plastic "screen frame" as well as "caller cards" and chat cards. There are even double sided emoji tokens. It really is a fun, interactive way to talk about feelings and develop social-emotional learning and empathy. Recommended for ages 3 and up, you can find Who's Feeling What on Amazon.

Eat in Style with a Squishmallows Cooler Bag 

Grab some snacks and drinks for the car and toss them in this cute Maya the Ice Cream insulated bag with some ice packs, and you're ready for school! It's a little large for a school lunch box, but perfect for road trips, sports practice on the field, or class parties. The top zips up and there's a sturdy strap for carrying. It's easy to spot clean, and folds flat for easy storage. You can find Maya the Ice Cream Squishmallows insulated bag on the Big Mouth Inc. website here (along with all of their other fun Squishmallows items!). Use code THEJERSEYMOMMA for 10% off your total purchase!

Practice Breath Awareness with Pawz the Calming Pup

Kids can practice mindfulness and breath awareness with this adorable calming pup all-in-one breathing buddy and night-light from hand2mind. This cute little pup helps guide kids through a variety of deep breathing patterns. You can squeeze his foot to activate the light and follow along (inhale when the light gets brighter, exhale as the light fades). There are 5 color choices and a silent timer that ranges from 5 to 30 minutes. No batteries required, since he's rechargeable through a USB port. Recommended for ages 3 and up, you can find Pawz the Calming Pup on Amazon.

De-Stress with The Art of the National Parks: Coloring Book

Speaking of stress reducers, coloring books are a great way to calm nerves - for kids and adults! The Art of the National Parks: Coloring Book features poster-sized and stylized line-art renderings from the popular Fifty-Nine Parks print series. Using a contemporary take on the famous W.P.A. posters of the 1930s, each coloring image is an original rendition of the artist’s unique perspective on a park, resulting in one-of-a-kind illustrative tributes to the majesty of each national park. The Art of the National Parks: Coloring Book includes all 63 US National Parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Cuyahoga Valley, Acadia, Olympic, Joshua Tree, and more. This beautifully illustrated coloring book is available for pre-order on Amazon now and hits the market Sept. 20th. 144 pages, soft cover (nice, quality pages for coloring, I can attest!). 

Play School with Calico Critters

Your kids can calm their fears about school or just enjoy holding class for their favorite Calico Critters with the Calico Critters Country Tree School! "The perfect place to learn and play" is also the perfect place to enhance imaginations and encourage pretend play. The set comes with over 40 classroom desks, chairs, school books, notebooks, telescope, globe, and more! Add in your own Calico Critters character, like this sweet BBQ Picnic Set or the Calico Critters Nursery Set! Recommended for ages 3 and up, you can find the Country Tree School on Amazon or on the Calico Critters website

Have Fun Learning with Bananagrams Games

Bananagrams (makers of the award winning Bananagrams game) have created some fun learning games to help kids brush up on their skills.

Appletters: great for early readers, players take turns to build a “word worm." The first player to use all of their tiles by adding letters to the head or tail of the word grid wins! Ages 5 and up, 1 to 4 players.
Wordamelon: players take turns rolling the die, flipping the cardboard letter chips and creating words with the overturned letters. Quick and easy to learn, with varied levels of play for the whole family. Ages 6 and up, 2 to 4 players. 
Gurms: in this tile matching game for kids and adults, your mission is to complete as many pictures of the gurms as possible. Players pick one of four different pawns and take turns placing tiles one at a time. Each character has its own color and symbol and you score points every time you match them up. Watch your points add up as your Gurms "spread" across the table! Ages 6 and up, 2 to 4 players. 

Discover Fun Facts with National Geographic Kids

The school year wouldn't be complete without National Geographic Kids! These fun titles are perfect for heading back to school, Whether for book reports, independent reading, classroom libraries, or home use, all of the titles listed below are beautiful books, chock full of information that kids love. Here are some of my favorite picks (and all books listed are recommended for kids ages 8-12).

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2023 - paperback; features trends and news for the year ahead, photo feature showcasing wonders from around the world, Almanac Challenge, plus the results of the 2022 Almanac Challenge, incredible animal stories, weird-but-true facts, amazing inventions, interviews with National Geographic Explorers, games, activities, jokes, and comics updated reference material --  including fast facts and maps of every country -- and helpful homework help tips.

5000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) - hardcover; this Amazon bestseller is a treasure trove of high-interest, fascinating facts. Kids can learn fun facts about toys, inventions, mysteries of history, robots, reptiles, sports, spies, wacky words, and so much more. Always a favorite and great for keeping kids engaged and entertained while reading!

Animal Encyclopedia 2nd Edition:  2,500 Animals with Photos, Maps and More!  - hardcover;  Discover the thousands of animals that call Earth home in this big and beautiful edition of National Geographic's best-selling Animal Encyclopedia. Updated and reviewed by experts in the field for the most accurate, up-to-date information, this book features 2500 species, 1000 stunning photos, and more than a dozen maps. Jam-packed with info about animal homes and habitats, migration, life cycles and babies, the book also contains new, exclusive 'From the Field' reports highlighting National Geographic explorers working around the world to study and protect every kind of animal, from giraffes to penguins and sharks to snails. 

-Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes and Monsters - by Donna Napoli, this beautifully written and illustrated National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology offers timeless tales of gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Athena. Kids can also learn about heroes and monsters such as Helen of Troy, Perseus, and Medusa. National Geographic completes the book with embellishments of each story: sidebars for each god, goddess, hero, and monster link the myths to constellations, geography, history, and culture to help young readers connect the stories to real life events, people, and places. A family tree and a “cast of characters” profile page help make relationships between the characters clear, and a mapping feature adds to the fun and fascination. 

Ease Back to School Fear with Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Everyone's favorite square pumpkin is getting ready for school! Spookley the Square Pumpkin: The First Day of School is an all new Back to School themed book by Spookley creator and award-winning children’s author Joe Troiano. Available exclusively at Barnes and Noble, it's ideal for early learners adjusting to the classroom environment. Teachers and parents will also love the plush Spookley pumpkin and friends available, as well as the many different books and apparel available in the Spookley the Square Pumpkin line. Be sure to check out too!

Be sure to check out my other Gift Guides and 

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