Good Size for a Kindergartener's Backpack?

Updated on August 23, 2011
A.D. asks from Parker, CO
24 answers

I would like to buy a new backpack for my little guy who's beginning kindergarten in the fall. What size would you recommend?

(I'm looking at Pottery Barn's backpacks - small backpack is 11 x 5.5 x 14", large backpack is 12.5 x 7.5 x 17")

Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your insightful comments! I went ahead with the larger Pottery Barn backpack.

I think it's a good plan!

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.R.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi A., my name is J., I have a almost 4year old and almost 7 year old. I just ordered their backpacks from LLBean, I read great reviews on it and have a friend whos daughters has had their packs for 3 years and it still looks brand new. LLBean also have a smallpack specially made for 4 year old children and up. The website is LLbean and then go to luggage and click on book packs. It is worth it.
Good Luck

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.G.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My daughter used a small backpack that I bought at Kmart (held up great!) for Kindergarten and first grade. It is just big enough to hold a folder and regular paper. Large projects we just carry home. I have loved that she doesn't have to haul a huge bubble of a pack around and it fits much easier in her shared locker. Go small. After all most kindergarten parents pick up their kids and if its too big to fit you can help out.

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.G.

answers from Denver on

A., the backpack needs to be able to hold a folder easily. Take a paper type folder with you when you shop and make sure your kindergartener can get it in and out easily by themselves. It will also help if they can fit a pair of shoes in there as well for the days when snow boots are required. The backpack needs to fit on their back well and they need to be able to get it on and off by themselves.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.R.

answers from Denver on

Big enough to hold a folder, a snack, and a water bottle (assuming your school allows). With room for jackets and such that are needed in the morning but not the afternoon.

Not too big and definitely go CHEAP - they get lost, stepped on, thrown around, etc.

Not worth spending a great deal of money

- From a mom of two boys and a kindergarten teacher

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.K.

answers from Denver on

I would get one at Target/Wal art and save yourself money. They end up getting dragged, dirty and all that. Make sure it is big enough for artwork, extra boots, socks and so forth. Our school has Friday folders with the kids work sent home and that is 8x 10 or larger. Get a cheap one as kids the next year think they need a new one, believe me!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.W.

answers from Provo on

I think it depends on the size of your child. I have seen little kindergarteners with backpacks the same size as them! You'll want to make it comfortable for your child. If it is a backpack they will use for a couple years - I would say get the bigger one. One word of caution. Often the pottery barn things come with the option of embroidering their names - I suggest not putting their first name where it can be seen. There are bad people out there that could take advantage of that situation by calling their name (that they have read on the backpack) and get them to come with them or something terrible like this. If you would like to embroider - maybe just initials would be better. Just a suggestion.

A.C.

answers from New York on

what dimensions- these small and large comments are useless

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.L.

answers from Boise on

My kids aren't old enough for school, so I don't have any personal experience, but here's what happened to my sister.
She handed down a backpack to us from her son. She was delighted to find a small backpack so her son didn't look smaller than his backpack! It held his books and crayons okay, but the first day of school, his teacher told her to go buy a full-sized, regular backpack. The problem is that when kids take their construction-paper sized projects home, they don't fit in the little backpacks, get scrunched, and then the kids get upset.
So my nephew used his one day and then got a big one. We sure like the little one--I make my 4 year old haul diapers and wipes when we go places! But not good for school.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.H.

answers from Provo on

The bigger the better. As a preschool teacher, I always hate folding up the kids work to put in their cute, but tiny backpacks!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.W.

answers from Denver on

Both my older daughters have used the small backpack from LL Bean and it's been perfect!. My oldest daughter didn't switch to the larger size until 3rd grade. Before that, the larger size would've been far too big. The smaller size has been perfect for everything they've needed to carry (even a coat). I've even used it myself for hiking and things like that I love the size so much. I also like them a lot because they can be personalized with either names or initials (I chose initials).

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Denver on

It's crazy how much these little guys have to haul back and forth to school! I would recommend a rolling backpack. It's a lot easier on their backs.

PS My daughter was complaining that her back hurt...we finnally weighed her backpack full of stuff...it came in at an amazing 14 pounds!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.B.

answers from Denver on

Parents tend to pack way too much in the back pack. So it depends. Are you having him carry his own or will you carry it and using it to stuff in his coat and everything? I would go for a smallest size. It should fit on his back so when you look at him rom the front,you can't really see it over his head or on the sides. It may just be big enough for a lunch sack, sweater, and a few take home papers. The total weight should never be over 1/4 his body weight. when he is older, it should not weigh more then 1/3...so like I carry a 35 pound pack back packing. I see too many teens with heavy packs and it is ruining their posture. It may be you need to have a smaller pack for him to carry and then bring a tote to stuff coats in the winter depending on storage at the school.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.W.

answers from Pocatello on

I purchased one of each size from pottery barn this past year. The small for my daughter to take to preschool and the regular for my Kindergartner...the regular one does seem big at first, but there have been many days that I was glad he had the bigger size; for art projects, extra clothes in the winter, etc. The small would have been too small for him and would only have lasted the one year...the regular I expect him to use for at least the next several years, so a better investment.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Take him to the store and try them on. It should be big enough to hold regular sized folders/paper (i've seen kids stuff papers into the little backpacks and parents never know what is coming home). But make sure it fits well. It should not hang down to his knees! Get one with adjustable straps to fit better.
And avoid the temptation to spend a lot on a really darling or 'sturdy' backpack or get a bigger one to 'last a few years.' Young kids are REALLY hard on backpacks and if he doesn't loose it by the end of the year chances are it will be worn out/dirty/ripped/lost strap, or that he will want a new one next year anyway! (I always go to Wal-Mart/K-mart/Shopko and spend aroud $10 per bag if I can, or get them when they go on sale).

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.J.

answers from Casper on

Lands End makes a great backpack for little ones.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.P.

answers from Grand Junction on

We went through this with our girls. The big ones seem SO big. But it is the one that they truly need. They get crammed full of projects and books and such. They need the room. Your teacher will thank you when shes not having to shove all of your childs stuff into a tiny backpack. Just get the regular (big) one - they can use it again in first grade.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.M.

answers from Denver on

It needs to hold folders and 8 1/2 X 11 inch papers easily.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.R.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi A., my name is J., I have a almost 4year old and almost 7 year old. I just ordered their backpacks from LLBean, I read great reviews on it and have a friend whos daughters has had their packs for 3 years and it still looks brand new. LLBean also have a smallpack specially made for 4 year old children and up. The website is LLbean and then go to luggage and click on book packs. It is worth it.
Good Luck

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.T.

answers from Boise on

I can't help with dimensions for a backpack, however, you may want to make sure that the one you buy will hold a full size folder or papers. Otherwise all of your papers will get munched going into the backpack. I also wouldn't get one that has wheels and a handle for them to pull. Those types add a lot of extra weight and pulling them is kind of a hassle for them and they get in the way.

M.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.P.

answers from Provo on

My son used a smaller size backpack for kindergarten and first grade and it worked fine. It was just the right size for his homework folder and we never had problems with things fitting. He even stuffed his coat in a few times. I bought it at The Children's Place. I think the regular size backpacks are too big for most kindergarteners and the bigger the backpack, the more stuff they tend to want to carry in it.

R.M.

answers from Denver on

The best size to get is folder size
at our school the teachers send home a regular size folder
plus on some days he will need to stuff his coat in during those wonerful day of unprdictable weather. And one other thing make sure you put his mane on everything so that when he loses it it can be returned. My daughter lost her brand new winter coat but it got returned because i put the phone # as well.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.A.

answers from Colorado Springs on

A. - As a Kindergarten teacher I am going to tell you to please get your child the bigger of the two backpacks (the regular size that most school children use). If your daughter is on the small size get one with wheels so it's easier for her to transport. Also make sure she can put her backpack on and take it off independently.
Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.G.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My daughter used a small backpack that I bought at Kmart (held up great!) for Kindergarten and first grade. It is just big enough to hold a folder and regular paper. Large projects we just carry home. I have loved that she doesn't have to haul a huge bubble of a pack around and it fits much easier in her shared locker. Go small. After all most kindergarten parents pick up their kids and if its too big to fit you can help out.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.H.

answers from Denver on

Smallest one you can find. My son used a small lightning mcqueen backpack we found at Target for about $10. They really should not need a big one in kinder garden, might have to upgrade as he progresses through school.

I also agree that backpacks are too heavy for these kids, especially in grade school. My niece had to get one of those pull dollies for her backpack because she was having back issues as well. Books are too heavy for a 7yr old! Thats ridiculous.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.M.

answers from Denver on

With 3 kids and my youngest having just finished Kindergarten this last year - get a regular sized backpack! They do have all kinds of artwork, and they are sad when it doesn't make it home well - you have a better chance with a regular-sized backpack. I have purchased backpacks at Target, Wal-mart, but really love the ones we've gotten at Children's Place, especially when they're on sale!! The straps are padded and they have a buckle that comes across the front for even more support. And they've lasted for more than one school year, which is more than I can say for the Tinkerbell one! Have fun with it!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.C.

answers from Denver on

Any average sized backpack is what he needs, nothing to small because they bring home big library books and regular sized folders, etc.

Next question: Backpacks for Preschooler