Backpacks for Kindergarten

Updated on August 13, 2013
T.R. asks from Altamonte Springs, FL
22 answers

So I've been out shopping for a backpack for my DD for kindergarten, and I see two varieties really. One that seems useful and practical (to me) with zippered compartments etc.. and another that is cute with Disney or other characters on it, and not as useful (to me) only having the one large compartment. So I need to know.. what are kids at this age carrying in their backpacks? I will most likely be packing lunch, at least in the beginning, so there will be a lunch box too. BTW, I did buy a My Little Pony backpack because I knew she would love it, but it only has the one large compartment and seems big for her. I just want to make sure it's suitable. TIA!! :)

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answers from Austin on

Although the backpacks look large, you do have to be careful to not get one TOO small....

Most schools have the students take home a "take home" folder almost every day, even in Kindergarten.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

My daughter has a backpack with a large compartment and a smaller one on the front with a place for pens, a key hook, mesh pocket, etc. She was in Kindergarten last year. She did not use the small pocket at all. She's using the same backpack this year for first grade and I'm guessing she isn't going to use the small compartment this year. The only thing she would use it for would be to carry pencils and her school requires a hard pencil box for their "tools."

As for what they carry in their backpacks: folders, art projects, notes to parents, library books, classwork and homework were pretty much the only things that were hauled around on a regular basis.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

We only used the one large compartment last year for kindergarten. It had to fit the snack bag/lunch box, and a standard sized homework folder and "Thursday folder". All her other supplies stayed in her pencil box in the classroom (scissors, crayons) and we used ours at home. There really wasn't much to put in it other than the lunch, and on some days the folder.

And the backpack did seem big... Especially on my small fry. But it had to be wide enough for the folder. And we are using the same one this year. If I can make it last to 2nd grade she may finally grow into it!

ETA we have Hello Kitty, definitely saw no issues with the choice of character in kinder. I think it'll be a couple more years before kids care about who has which characters, so you are probably all good with ML Pony.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

The character backpacks are usually not good quality and will probably only last one year, but most kids won't want the same character from year to year either. I did buy them character backpacks the first few years, but I have since invested in good backpacks that they will be able to use for years to come. One compartment is fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

In kinder my son only carried his daily binder (1&1/2inch), his library book on library day(s), breakfast (am kinder) and his water bottle. The single compartment backpack is all they need. Once they are in 4th or 5th grade it might be time to upgrade to a good quality "Jansport" or "Eddie Bauer" type backpack that will last years. My son also carried slip on shoes, hat and gloves during the winter. The kids had a spot to put their wet winter boots and rain shoes outside the classroom and could change into dry shoes when they took off their jackets and hung backpacks. Winters her can get messy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

My son had a homework folder that went back and forth everyday, as well as his lunch. I did like having one extra compartment, because I found it to be a very good place to keep one or two sets of hats and gloves. Not sure that's something you'll need, but it was very handy for us during those cold months.

If there's anything small that she might be likely to lose otherwise, a second pocket can be helpful. Otherwise, just the one compartment should be sufficient in kindergarten.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Almost all character backpacks are very low quality.

I bought my son a Land's End backpack last year and it is great. It has multiple pockets, as well as mesh water bottle pockets. He is very rough on his belongings, but it is in mint condition after 1 year and I am confident we'll get many years of use from it. It was under $40 at Sears.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I am a teacher. A back pack with one big compartment is fine for kindergarten. She can fit her lunch box in it too if she wants.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

While my girls both had character backpacks in preschool, I purposefully chose not to buy a character backpack for kindergarten. The adjustment to elementary school can be challenging enough and I didn't want anyone commenting on my daughters' choice of characters.

I also wanted a quality backpack that would last them many years. They both have Jansport. Originally my oldest daughter's had the one compartment. That lasted her until 4th grade when they needed a binder and then she needed the extra second compartment last year so we upgraded.

I bought my youngest daughter's on clearance after the back to school season and hers already had the two compartments. Hers should probably last until middle school.

Oh and they both carry their lunches everyday (in the backpack).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

In kindergarten we only used the big pocket. Some had a small pocket that we used for a snack. This year I finally got one of the kids a good backpack. We will see how it lasts. I still have to get DD one and I am thinking about doing a good one for her too. She will be in 1st grade. Last year I got a sequin one from the Gap for her so it was fashionable and had some pockets but kind of got really dirty.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My daughter never used the one compartment in the front of her Rapunzel backpack last year in Kindergarten, except in the winter to put lotion in because her hands get very dry. I don't know if she ever carried her lunch box in her back pack or not.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My son always carried his backpack when we walked to school. It's his stuff, it's light (they usually just send a folder home, sometimes he packed his lunchbox).

I bought his backpack from LL Bean. Both LL Bean and Land's End have smaller sized backpacks for Preschool-1st or 2nd grade. I liked this option so that he would have a backpack which fit him correctly. Here's the link to their products.

Overall, you'll find out if it works or doesn't when your daughter uses it. Make sure the straps aren't too loose; a lot of kids wear their backpacks incorrectly, hanging down low because the straps are too long. Also teach her to wear it on both shoulders, which will help. If it slides off her shoulders, it's probably too big or the straps may be too wide. If it fits well and isn't dragging down below her bottom, you are probably okay to use it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

That's fine for K. They only bring home papers

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Our son had a single compartment backpack from LL Bean that lasted him from pre-school through 5th grade.
For middle school he got a multi compartment backpack.
The poor guy had a weeping panic attack when he had his first middle school homework assignments and thought he forgot his planner at school - when it was in another compartment of his backpack (I went through it to double check for him - and he was so relieved when I found it).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

My oldest daughter is going into 3rd grade and has never had a need for more than one compartment yet.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Your kindergartner will be carrying a piece of paper home on occasion. Most of the time that backpack will be empty.



answers from Rochester on

For Kind, living in Florida, one large compartment is enough. Last year my daughter's backpack usually only carried a take home folder once a week, 2 library books once a week, her book bag folder for home reading homework every night, a jacket in the fall and spring, and in the winter her tennis shoes, extra socks and mittens, her hat, and sometimes her snow pants and/or boots crammed in on top. Her backpack had a couple of little pockets, but really we didn't use them much--a pack of Kleenex when she had a cold, hand sanitizer (that she wanted to carry), and lots of little junk.


answers from Washington DC on

My kids only brought home one folder and their lunch boxes at that age. My kids are now going into 5th, 3rd ,and 1st...we just dropped a small fortune on LL Bean Bags that will last them forever. They are too big for the 3rd and 1st graders for now, but it will do fine.

Before this, the younger ones always carried the cute ones - but we'd end up buying 2 per year because they are cheap quality.



answers from Portland on

That should be just fine for Kinder. They need the bigger backpack, because they often have art projects and bigger papers coming home. It also contains their jackets, lunches, water bottle, etc.

Next time you buy, try to get something that will last a little longer. We bought the kids Children's Place backpacks and matching lunch bags when they started 1st and Pre-K. They are still going strong, 4 years later. I finally had to buy a new backpack for my 5th grader, because she is tired of her pink backpack. It's still in great condition though, so we'll use it for other things. So, think about a pattern or color that won't get old and buy decent quality and you might get a few years out of it.



answers from Boston on

One compartment is easiest. With other compartments, things just get lost. My favorite backpacks for little kids are the LL Bean Junior back packs. They're the right size for little kids and wear like iron. Of my 4 kids, I've only had a problem with one LL Bean backpack. The bottom ripped open at the end of the school year, which is really unusual for one of those, so I brought it back and they gave me credit for it towards the purchase of another one. It was time for my son to get a bigger one away so it worked out well. When my older kids were smaller, we would get them character packs or buy a backpack from Target and they would always fall apart in a year. Once we switched to LL Bean, we've gotten a minimum of 5 years of use out of them (except for the one mentioned above).



answers from Washington DC on

When I asked, people said get a full sized backpack. I ended up getting DD a Jansport bag on sale for her summer school. It has a big central pocket and a small front pocket with little pockets for pens and things. Honestly, she rarely uses the organizational pockets in the front. She is 5. Most of the time, she carried a full sized folder, sometimes a craft, her library books, and her lunch (she has food allergies so I just pack it for her). She also keeps a pair of spare clothes, per their request (for everybody) in the front pocket. So not a lot. I expect her to use this back for a few years. I didn't get her a complicated bag and honestly it's the same bag (in another color) that her sister uses for college.



answers from Dallas on

We did character backpacks in Kinder for my first, but after that I have let them pick color and style, but with no characters. Some characters can become uncool at some point in the year, and they want a new backpack. Also one more piece of advice - pick darker colors. Light pink and white get filthy and look dirty most of the year.

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