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Back to School Essentials & Contest

Thursday, August 19th, 2010 — 5:18pm PDT
Comments 85

The following was contributed by Jennifer Miles who will be seeing four children off to school this fall.

It’s mid-August and the last thing on most kids’ minds is that oft dreaded 6 letter word —school. While most kids aren’t keen to leave the carefree days of playgrounds, water parks and beaches behind them, there is always a certain excitement when it comes to getting ready to go ”back”. In our household the kids are always excited to catch up with friends they may not have seen in 2 months, meet their new teachers and of course to go shopping for new gear.

While the flyers may have started piling up in July, most of us will likely only be thinking about supplies in the week or two leading up to Labour day. Seeing as we are a family of 7 we tend to stick to a pretty tight budget and like to teach our kids that not everything need be brand new each year. A lesson my Dad tried so hard to teach us when he insisted that last year’s protractor would work just as good the following year and that the unused paint set need not be replaced.

That being said I’ve enlisted the help of our four elementary school aged children to compile a list of some must-have items for kids this year.

1. A sturdy backpack

Kids are lugging around more and more gear these days and all too often their backs are overloaded and way too heavy for their small frames. The British Columbia Chiropractic Association offers tips for parents and kids to “Pack it light. Wear it right.” to avoid possible health risks.

Look for a pack made of light weight material with straps at least 2 inches thick and a waist strap. Keep in mind that living in BC, your kids are likely to get wet on their way to and from school quiet often so water resistance is also important. Of course style is always a factor and with everything from Dora the Explorer to Roots to Burton available, no matter the age, your kids will find something that suits their own taste.

2. Stainless Steal Water Bottle

As our Dentist likes to remind me each time we see him, kids should really not be loading up on sugary fruit juices throughout the day. At our kids’ school teachers encourage kids to bring re-usable water bottles that they allow them to keep on their desks throughout the day.

3. Good Quality Shoes

When it comes to kids shoes the old adage ”buy cheap, buy twice” is all too true. We learned our lesson quickly when we were having to replace inexpensive shoes nearly every month. With 3 active boys tearing up the playground every lunch hour and recess, we have found that the best value is to purchase a better quality shoe at a higher price as they easily last 6 times longer. Make sure shoes offer good arch support, they have non-marking soles for gym floors and they are properly fitted.

4. Supplies

At the end of each year schools in our area send home a list of required supplies for the following year. Duo-tangs, packs of paper, pens, paint sets and more. The lists can be daunting for parents who can’t afford the basics so the Salvation Army is looking to help out over 2,000 kids in need this school year.

There are 2 ways you can help:

  1. Drop off new school supplies and backpacks at Starbucks locations in Vancouver proper, and at Fitness Town locations throughout the lower mainland.
  1. Make a financial donation at participating Staples locations in Greater Vancouver.

5. Clothing

Even though local shops have been loading their racks with long sleeved shirts and corduroy pants for the past month, summer is long from over. September is typically warm and dry in Metro Vancouver so don’t stress about spending a ton of money on ”fall fashions” before school starts. The kids are normally still wearing shorts and Ts for the first few weeks of school so your budget can take a break before shopping for warmer clothing. When buying clothing for school here a few tips: Think age-appropriate (your 6 year old doesn’t need to look like Miley), think comfort (sitting on the floor at music class or playing dodge ball in the gym), think weather (fall in Metro Vancouver means lite-weight, water proof jackets, hoodies, jeans and of course rubber boots).

To give parents a boost for back to school has a prize pack to give away courtesy of London Drugs.

Back to School Prize Pack

This includes a $100 gift card, a Roots backpack, Roots thermal cloth lunch bag, thermos, pencil crayons, lined paper, folder, pencil case, pens, and a laptop case. The winner can keep the prize, spilt it up, or even give it to a friend or family in need.

Here are a few ways to enter to win this prize pack:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment on this post to confirm you’ve shared on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • RT to enter to win a back to school prize pack from @LondonDrugs & @Miss604

    One will will be drawn from all entries August 26th at 9:00am.

    Update The prize pack winner is Bonnie Y. — congratulations!

    A guest post by Jennifer Miles

    Jennifer Miles

    Guest contributor Jennifer Miles is a mother who loves being active with her family of seven. From camping, baseball, swimming, and day trips, she's a power-mom with a passion for BC living.

    Current contests on


    1. kelsey says:

      great prize!

    2. bekki says:

      might be good for teachers too!

    3. Helena Hill says:

      My 12 year old daughter would love it if I won this for her!

    4. Ashley says:

      I am heading back to school myself this year, I would totally use this! What a great priza!

    5. Heidi says:

      Useful and practical – great contest!

    6. Ken says:

      I’ve never heard of a thermal cloth lunch bag. I’d like to have that.

    7. Tracy says:

      Great prize! Would love to win!

    8. Nicole says:

      love those pencil crayons!

    9. Kris says:

      This is a great prize – my friends daughter could sure use some new stuff for school this year!

    10. arc says:

      This this prize would help me financially. It would give me a few extra dollars to put towards back to school clothes.

    11. Holly says:

      Awesome Contest!! What a great way to start September.

    12. Lorraine says:

      Fabulous prize! My kids would love to have such quality gear for back to school!

    13. Adelaide says:

      Great post!

    14. Lisa says:

      wow this is like a dream pack πŸ˜€

    15. Jenny N says:

      Nice contest, this pack is great for back to school.

    16. Curtis Penner says:

      Awesome contest

    17. Curtis Penner says:

      Shared on Facebook

    18. Gwen says:

      This is the first year in a while I have had to worry about back to school. Now instead of for me it is for my son. πŸ™‚

    19. Tracy says:

      Awesome prize!

    20. Rob says:

      Back to school time already? augh!!!

    21. Donna says:

      What a great contest!!
      I definitely shared it on Facebook!! Who can’t use a little help for Back-To-School/

    22. Chantal Tracy says:

      My daughter Rachel is going into grade 4 and I have started purchasing back to school supplies. Recently got laid off so we could definately use the help. Thank you.

      Chantal Tracy

    23. Michelle says:

      Great prize!!!!! Would definitely come in handy right now!!!

    24. Teresa K says:


    25. cindy quach says:

      great ideas! if i win, we will donate the prize to a needy family.

    26. liz says:

      I have 3 kids going back to school in September & none of the backpacks was salvageable,it’s always a scramble at this time of year.

    27. Desy says:

      Timely topic … which reminds me I have to start checking my daughter’s stuff and going to the stores before school really starts.

    28. Lee says:

      Would love this!

    29. Margaret says:

      This is great!

    30. John says:

      oh I love back to school products !!

    31. Richard says:

      A great back to school prize. I’m loving it.

    32. Brenda says:

      I’m interested to see what the thermal lunch bag is!

    33. Wow!! Awesome contest, great prize!!

    34. Sierra Gemma says:

      Thanks, I could use this for sure!

    35. alicia says:

      wow, i hope i win, sounds great!

    36. maria says:

      This would come in very handy!

    37. nancy says:

      to die for pack, my son would love it!

    38. Janet Hasenknopf says:

      my 11 year old son would absolutely love this backpack!!

    39. Jeremy says:

      I could use an upgrade to my school supplies!

    40. Jen says:

      What a great prize πŸ™‚

    41. Jen says:

      Great contest, thanks! This year we made use of our school’s pre-buy program…we returned the form with our money in May and now only need to pick up a few small things. Makes for a lot less stress!

    42. Jenny N says:

      Shared on facebook! (Jenn Ng)

    43. Paul says:

      ” September is typically warm and dry in Metro Vancouver so donÒ€ℒt stress about spending a ton of money on Ò€fall fashionsÒ€ before school starts.” ;a good suggestion, as there is time to keep a look out for sale priced/promotions on the new (and/or used) required items

    44. Alisa says:

      i’d love to win for my 2 kids! thanks!

    45. Marco Fanzone says:

      September – parents’ favourite time of year, better than Christmas!

    46. Bonnie Y. says:

      Another cool contest. Thanks, Miss 604.

    47. Bonnie Y. says:

      Have shared this contest on Facebook too.

    48. Maggie says:

      Back to school shopping is the best part of back to school πŸ™‚

    49. angela says:

      This would be very handy right about now!

    50. Charles A. says:

      wow! my kids would love this gift pack. THanks Miss 604!

    51. jamie says:

      we would love to win this prize

    52. Daniella says:

      This is a perfect prize to come up with!! Thank you!!

    53. Mike says:

      This would be sweet to give to my nephew thanks

    54. Graeme says:

      Great prize!

    55. Roshena says:

      I love school supplies!

    56. Taigi says:

      Great Prize, if I win, please donate it to the Salvation Army

    57. Sanaz says:

      Would be a great birthday gift to my cousin:)

    58. Fiona says:

      Time to hit the books!

    59. Keiisha says:

      tweeted and facebook’d. my lil’ sister would loveee some school swag πŸ™‚

    60. Tina says:

      my sister would love the free swag…..hope i win!!!

    61. lisa says:

      wow lots of goodies for sure πŸ™‚ the joy of back to school

    62. Nooshin says:

      It would be great prize for my son at first year is school!

    63. Linda says:

      I know just the family I could give this to. Great idea for a contest

    64. Debbie says:

      great reminders (and a little bit of ‘are we really almost there already?!?!’) πŸ™‚

    65. Debbie says:

      shared on Facebook

    66. Ann says:

      My son would love this pack.

    67. Kenny says:

      It’d be great to have this for university!

    68. Emma says:

      I love back to school season!

    69. Alexis says:

      My little guy’s still too young for school – I’d donate the prize to a family that really needed it.

    70. Ava says:

      Love back to school shopping!!

    71. Will says:

      At least one of my 4 kids would love this!

    72. Dianne says:

      Wow , winning this would sure help my with my back to school budget, everything is sooooo expensive.

    73. Katie says:

      Would love to win this

    74. Kristina says:

      This would be a great prize for my step-daughter!!

    75. Emily says:

      great prize!

    76. Vincent Yan says:

      Would love to win this!

    77. shelly says:

      i shared this link on fb πŸ˜€

    78. Kar Wing says:

      Would definitely share this with my niece who is starting elementary school this September! I used to love new stationary as a kid and I’m sure she would love it too πŸ™‚

    79. Mary says:

      back to school ready

    80. MYL says:

      This would be great for one of my kids.

    81. Bonnie says:

      Thank you for a great blog and all the great contests, Rebecca.

      Have a wonderful weekend. πŸ™‚

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