Backpacks for Preschooler

Updated on August 04, 2010
S.C. asks from Bowling Green, OH
18 answers

I'm pretty sold on getting a backpack from LL Bean for my 3 year old. She's starting preschool in the fall. She's very petite for her age (30 lbs and 39 inches). I'm having a hard time deciding if I should get the Junior Backpack or the regular sized one.
Does anybody have any experience with either?

Edited to add: She won't have to take a lunch or anything next year, but she will have to take snacks and I imagine some type of folder. Not to mention bring home all of her crafts. She also has to have an extra set of clothes, including shoes, at all times. Will all of this stuff fit into the smaller backpack? That's my main concern. I'd like her to be able to use it for two years at the very least.

What can I do next?

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

So What Happened?

A lot of great answers! I never even considered that the preschool might require a certain size of backpack. I'll definitely contact them before buying anything. If they don't have a requirement, I'll probably go ahead and get the junior since it will fit a full sized folder. That was my main concern. They have them on sale right now for $18.00, so even if she's only able to use it for two years of preschool, it will still be a good deal. Thanks ladies!

Featured Answers



answers from Cincinnati on

I did the Junior last year - first year preschool for my daughter who is petite as well - it worked perfectly and I can see where she'll have it at least into second grade. Enough room for her folder, extra clothes and projects. I'm getting one for my son for his first year of preschool. Love the LL Bean Juniors! Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I have the Junior from LLBean for my 2.5 year old and it is PERFECT! Super washable, takes a beating, and the perfect size! Definitely worth it!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Toledo on

Hi Shaun,
I was worried about the EXACT same thing and i decided to go with the jr backpack from LL Bean...i LOVE it. It is the perfect size, it does hold a full size folder and all my kindergartener needs. I dont think you will be disappointed at all. It looks so much more durable then what you find at Walmart and my daughter was very excited. Preschoolers dont usually have more then some papers, crafts and a lovey and blanket for nap will be able to use this well into elementary school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We've had both. The jr was great except what they bring home usually came home squished. If you have a lot to pack the bigger one is better. But if she is petite the jr is better for her to carry. IT seems the smaller they are the more work they bring home. I know years ago there was a bag used by kdg that had two handles and fit eveything nicely in it and was light weight. I see a lot oh high schoolers using it these days. Those would be better for small children.



answers from Madison on

A regular size back pack will be too big for her. I also recommend looking at Lands' End back packs. They make them different sizes for different ages.



answers from Chicago on

Crafts are the big thing to consider with a preschoolers backpack. My oldest had a jr backpack (she is also petite) and pretty much every project had to be folded to fit in to it. Many projects were ruined if they weren't dry (glue or pain) because they wouldn't fit flat in the backpack because it was too small. We had to leave our extra change of clothes at school & the small back pack still wasn't big enough. Go for it and get the bigger backpack. Not sure how much the LLBean ones are, but for preschool I would let her pick a character one that she loves from Target for $10. She will only get a year out of this backpack (or any backpack) because it will get dragged on the ground and it will be full of paint, glue and glitter by Christmas. lol



answers from San Francisco on

I love the backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids. They have a small Fairfax backpack that is really just the right size. Small enough to fit on your child but large enough to hold a folder. They are beautifully made and last for years. In fact my son, who is going into 2nd grade, can still use his and he has had it since he was three.



answers from Chicago on

Pottery Barn kids has a large selection in specific sizes for PreK, small, med, large, etc. Also, check Lillian Vernon for the PreK & small sizes. I had the extra set of clothes in her PreK back pack last year, but art projects did have to be folded. I would go with the next size up. This year, our school asked us to put the extra clothes in a clear plastic shoe box to be left in their lockers. Perhaps your school could accomodate that request?



answers from Boston on

the origional backpack is not that much bigger then the junior backpack. I couldn't find any small backpacks when my oldest was in preschool so I got the regular size one. It was perfect for folder, snack, extra change of clothes, winter clothing, etc I'm glad I got it. He's been using it for 4 years now so its definately worth the money. After this year he will probably upgrade to a bigger kid bag to get him through until he graduates high school.



answers from Hickory on

The preschool's here send home folders for weekend work with the children. If the school there does the same you will have to have a regular size one. The folders and notebooks used now will not fit inside a Junior backpack. Also they will carry a towel, crafts home, and many other things through out the year.



answers from Chicago on

Go buy a regular sized backpack from Walmart. They need to be able to fit a standard folder---the teachers will just put all the notes home inside for you. Also the craft projects as you mentioned. The extra set of clothes will likely stay at the school in a cubby or something. Your child is young and won't be carrying so much stuff that you need to be overly concerned with quality. I bought my daughter a pony one from Walmart at the start of prek-3 for like $10 and we walk to and from school everyday. This year the backpack is still in mint condition for prek-4. Save your money imho.



answers from Chicago on


I know you're sold on the LL Bean one, but have you checked out Lands' End? They make a super backpack for preschoolers.



answers from Indianapolis on

Our preschools says no toddler-size backpacks because most toddler size won't hold a regular size folder. Plus extra change of clothes and crafts. We get the smallest regular size backpack there is - they come in all sizes. We just got our 3 year old one that's sized for 4-6 year olds (Land's End) and it fits just fine. Fit is very important. If it's too big, get another one. You may have to just buy one and see how it fits on her and then return if it you have to. You could buy the Junior first and see if it holds everything and return it if needed.

Many of the kids at the preschool have rolling backpacks but I personally do not like them. They get trashed in the winter with the snow/ice/slush/salt/sand in the parking lot because many kids won't wear rolling backpacks the real way.



answers from Indianapolis on

We have had the Junior for our son since he started day care at age 2. He was much smaller than your daughter at that time.

It's great. The strap began to fray last year around Christmas. There wasn't even a pause as to whether or not they'd exchange it for us. They didn't have the same print, but they replaced it with a new one (of his choosing), and it's held up great.



answers from Sacramento on

Don't get a regular sized one for a preschooler. There just won't be that much going back/forth in the backpack, not to mention, your child will be overwhelmed by the size of the regular one. We used a smaller one until our son started 1st grade. He has a regular sized one from Lands' End and it's a tad big on him, but it works fine at his age/size. It would have swallowed him up as a preschooler. Making the change to a larger backpack makes sense around 1st grade, when there's a lot coming/going to school and there's the big transition into regular school.



answers from Indianapolis on

I would look at the measurements, and then put some stuff together on a table and see if you think it will all fit...........since your daughter is small, you don't want her to engulfed by the backpack, but if it's too big, it will last longer...........

You'll figure it out, and she won't care..........just make sure you don't put her name on the outside...........that gives predators the opportunity to act like they know them by using their names.

Good Luck



answers from Cincinnati on

Be sure to wait until you get the school supply list. My children's preschool required a certain size back pack so that their work can fit in without being folded. However, if their isn't a requirement then I would use the smaller one.



answers from South Bend on

With our first two children we go the smaller backpacks......the we not happy about having to fold everything they made to fit into it and we ended up with either an unhappy child or having to carry all their projects home. They also didn't allow a pocket folder to fit in there without having to fold the corners down and that made them wear out faster. We didn't have to carry all the extra clothes, ect. back and forth. Just left them there. But, if you have to keep that in there, then a small back pack is not going to work at all for you. Also, they had nicer backpacks that lasted for several years and when they got to kindergarten, we were told to get a bigger one to fit folders in better anyway. It ended up being a waste of money.

Our 3rd child (youngest in her class), we used a regular sized, but light weight backpack. MUCH better choice. She looked like she had a turtle shell on all the time (lol), but she never complained about it. Everything always fit into it. All three of my kids were (and still are) small for their age. I don't think it is as hard as people think it is for kids to carry regular sized back packs.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions