14 answers

What Size Backpack for Kindergarten?

Hello everyone. I was just wondering if any of you have any suggestions on what size backpack to buy for Kindergarten? I see all different sizes at the stores. The school suggests 950 cubic inches . . . but none of the backpacks are labeled this way. They're usually labeled as small, medium and large . . . And even those sizes vary from store to store. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

T. M.

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It doesn't have to be a huge one or one with rolling wheels. But, don't get those mini size. They need to be able to fit standard sized folders, art projects, and lunch boxes/snack bags.

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Hi T.,

I would suggest you make sure that a standard size folder and notebook will fit inside any book bag you purchase. Try it at the store - also, make sure the straps are adjustable, and adjust them to fit your daughter comfortably before purchasing. So a small bag should be out of the options, but teachers/schools really don't tell you that.

Teachers will be sending home papers, and to protect them, your daughter may be required to have a folder, or maybe even a binder, to be brought home occasionally - this should all fit into the bag without bending.

When my son went into kindergarten, he was required to have all of this, and I bought him a bag that was too small, and his binder wouldn't fit, so I had to buy him another bag to fit his stuff.

Good luck

let her pick her favorite.. but try it on her back.. I remember my son... he picked a purple backpack with the telletubies.. go figure.. by Jan of that year.. he wanted a new one.. so he got a real boy type one.. he was so happy with the first one.. he looked cute.. then he went with baseball.. the ones for little kids aren;t expensive either.. his first one was about 15 dollars.. now he is going into 8th grade.. and they are about 35- to 50 each.. oh well. Bring her to the store.. and see what they have .. look for smaller ones first.. then pick out 4.. and then let her pick.. they love to pick... my daugher is going into 5th.. and now it's more of a bag.. she got one with peace signs on it... and can't wait to use it.. have fun.. also check out lillian vernon.. they have really cute ones.. so does target, walmart and toy r us..

Choose a packpack that will fit a pocket folder. Most kindergardens send home school stuff in a folder with your childs name on it.

Just make sure it's large enough to fit a folder, marble notebook and her lunchbox (so she doesn't leave it on the bus)!! That's about all a kindergartener carries!

if you go to ll bean or lands End, they label them by age...5-7 is the right size for k-2...we use and love the small haul class mate or classmate jr from lands end...I buy it for K and when they move into 3rd grade they move up to the bigger one(I've done this 3 times and just purchased the 4th as my 4th son is entering K as well...and yes they last 3 years and still look new!!)...not to mention all my kids are boys and they're extremely rough on things and the 2 older boys still use their smaller backpacks for sleepovers etc...and they're entering 4th and 5th grades and the backpacks still aren't worn out :)

Go with a small one. At best, the only thing they carry is papers. Actually, I have never heard of a backback
size in cubic inches!!!!

Depending on whether or not your daughter goes p/t or f/t i'd just find one that allows u enough room for a lunchbox (for snack) & a folder. The most I can remember my daughter bringing home from school was a library book or a craft that she had completed. While at the store try fitting one of the lunchboxes into it or maybe even find the ones that have the soft lunchbox attached to the front. Good luck!

As long as it is big enough to hold a folder you should be fine. There really isn't much that goes into a backpack in kindergarten. They don't bring home books at that level unless it is a library book.

It doesn't have to be a huge one or one with rolling wheels. But, don't get those mini size. They need to be able to fit standard sized folders, art projects, and lunch boxes/snack bags.

A kindergartener will carry a folder, a library book, and possibly a lunch box. In the winter she will probably also be stuffing her snow gear in there so she doesn't have to wear it back home when it's a little warmer in the afternoon, and sidewalks will have been cleared. So you don't want to get her the little cute ones that a lot of 5 year olds will have. Start with the next size up.

Go to www.llbean.com, they have the best backpacks and are guaranteed for ever; I won't buy anything but them. I have returned things that were 5+ years old and got them replaced with no questions asked. Plus their backpacks last forever. My daughter has one that she got when she was 10 years old, she is now 26 and is still using it. The ones they have now have reflective material on them which is great at night. I bought my son a lunch box when he started kindergarten, the blue ran when I washed it so I called them and they said that was unacceptable and replaced it immediately.

www.kidztravelzone.com makes the BEST backpacks. You order the color, the design for the embroidery and then they embroider a design of your choosing and your child's name on it. As you mentioned, there are different sizes. You would need the smallest size at this age (the kids size one). They don't get much homework at that age... for my daughter's class, the only thing she had in her bag was a paper folder that had the "homework" and she took a library book home once a week.

That being said, our school actually recommends a tote bag. The PTA actually makes them up for the kids with their names on it. It is much easier for the kids to get the paper folder out of a tote than opening the backpack and shoving stuff in there... Just a thought.

The bigger size backpacks you have seen are pretty big for little kids. My 6 year old also has a bigger backpack for camp (she needs to fit 2 towels, pool shoes and 2 bathing suits in it). It is HUGE. She can carry it on her back, but she looks like a turtle!

Land's End is currently having a backpack sale, and on their website they narrow the choices by "big kid" 8-20yo, "little kid" 4-7 yo, and toddler 2t-4t. Then if you look at the packs they recommend for each, some of them have dimensions.

The ClassMates Small Haul, recommended for 5-8yo has the following dims: 16"Hx11 1/2"Wx7 1/2"D. 1121 cu. in

The ClassMates Jr for 4-7yo is:
15"Hx11 1/2"Wx5"D. 1115 cu. in.

An example of one for 7 and up is:
17 1/4"Hx12 1/2"Wx6"D. 1345 cu. in.

A lot of the packs I saw in Walmart did have the dimensions HxWxD on the tag.

The packs above all have 2 zippered compartments, which increase their cu. in. dimensions a little (more depth). I would look for a pack with one or 2 compartments with a shorter H dimension, ~15 inches. Or go for a single compartment bag like Land's End's Extra Activity Sling Bag or Cinch Sack - even though the H of these is 17 inches, the child wears them differently so you don't have to worry about the straps not fitting your daughter right.

I am a kindergarten teacher & always recommend a full-size backpack for the children. Not only do they have to fit a folder in there, but they also frequently bring home an oversized math workbook for homework. The backpack may not be full, but the larger size helps keep these items from being bent & torn. Also, on days when the weather is warmer in the afternoon than when they came in the morning, the children often stuff their unneeded jackets into their backpacks.

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