The 7 Best Back to School Labels for Kids: For Backpacks, Supplies, and Beyond
School is back, and New York City Kids will be in person this September. The good news is that students will most likely be keeping their items a bit closer this year, but all parents know that labeling our kid’s school essentials is a must.
There are two questions to consider when it comes to back-to-school labeling: 1) What should I label? 2) How should I label? Let’s first tackle the “what.” School supplies are probably the first thing that comes to mind: notebooks, folders, pencil cases, and binders. Think about all of those times when your kids came home from school without their jacket or mixed up their lunch bag with a classmate’s. Even the things that your kids haven’t lost yet predict that they will: sports equipment, shoes, water bottles, food containers, stuffed animals, backpacks, and more. Labels also serve the function of letting others know something about your children, such as allergies or medical conditions.
Now on to the “how.” Every parent is different, so there’s a labeling mechanism for each parent-personality when it comes to labeling. Are you a parent on a budget? Do you have two or more kids? Are you obsessed with mom hacks/dad hacks? We’ve got a labeling method for every parent, complete with ideas for what to label. Just as no parent is the same, no child is the same; every process involves customization, whether designing your labels online or simply iron on a simple but sturdy label.
There’s one more bonus question: the “why.” Why is labeling so important? There’s the obvious answer — labeling stops your kids from losing things — but labels serve many other purposes. First, they prevent germs from spreading. While your little one may not have lost their lunch bag or water bottle, they could have mixed it up with someone else’s in the classroom. Labels let everyone know whose item it is so that other hands aren’t touching it by accident. And whether social distancing or not kids will be in close quarters again so keep your kids’ stuff in one place as much a possible. Next, labels provide comfort for parents in knowing that all of their child’s belongings are safe. No need to worry if your kids will come home with the new pencil cases you bought for them! Another comfort for parents is that the labels are a real money saver. Sure, you spend money on the labels themselves, but those labels prevent your kids from losing more expensive items. Last but certainly not least, labels are a real confidence booster for kids. Seeing their name on their items provides little ones with a sense of ownership. To tackle the school day, they have all of the school-related materials they need, labeled with their favorite colors or icons. When kids come home with everything they left within the morning and receive praise from their parents, they develop more confidence in themselves and gain independence and responsibility.
In our back-to-school labeling guide, let’s dive into the many ways to label.
Psst…if you’re looking for a new backpack for your little one, check out The 10 Best Backpacks for New York City Kids’ for Back-to -School
Chic Back to School Labels: Minted
Minted offers stylish clothing and name labels for your back-to-school needs. As for clothing labels, peel and stick the label to care tags, not the actual fabric! Minted labels are great for labeling coats and jackets that kids take off when they get to school or your little one’s favorite stuffed animal that they bring to daycare. In addition to clothing labels, Minted offers labels for notebooks, bottles, food containers, toys, sports equipment, lunch boxes, pencil cases, and more. All Minted labels are dishwasher safe, waterproof, laundry safe, and non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about the labels wearing down. Minted offers a variety of designs. After choosing a design, you get to personalize your label with the color and text. On average, Minted labels are 67 cents each, and the smallest number of labels you can purchase is 30 (30 for $20). For the parent looking for durable yet aesthetically pleasing labels, Minted is the place to shop. $20 to $160. minted.com.
All Around Parent’s Favorite School Labels: Mabel’s Labels
Mabel’s Labels were started years back when a group of mothers frustrated by the lost items their kids seem to ‘misplace’ every year hit a tipping point. Knowing they could do better than scribbling down names on masking tape, they started Mabel’s Labels. We have personally used the labels and appreciate that they are durable, laundry, and dishwater safe. We have hand-me-downs that have passed three kids in the family that are now on to a 4th child, and the labels are going strong a decade in! As parents, we appreciate that they are easy to order, have free shipping on all orders, and have top customer service. The combo label packs are a great value – lasting the entire school year and then some- we especially love the preschool pack for kids starting their first school year! And if you have special needs kids, we ordered these labels this year. $17 to 42, mabelslabels.com. For a special New York Family 10% discount off sitewide: NYF10 (One-time use per customer, excludes sale, face mask, stamp, and reflective products).
Best Value Back to School Labels: Stickerkid
Are you always looking for the best deal — the one in which you get the absolute most for your money? If so, the School Mega Pack from Stickerkid is perfect. You get 32 large labels, 14 shoe labels, 120 small name labels, ad 48 clothes name labels, for a total of 214 labels! This ultimate pack includes labels for shoes, pencils, notebooks, pencil cases, scissors, folders, clothes, and more. Customize each label type with the color, text, and icon. The whole pack costs $49.95, which is quite the deal for all of these personalized labels. $16 to $40, stickerkid.com.
For the Safety-Concerned Parent: Sticky Monkey
Kids, especially preschoolers and kindergarten students, can’t always speak up for themselves, and they shouldn’t have to! While schools certainly take note of allergies and medical conditions, it doesn’t hurt to have another reminder. Sticky Monkey offers safety labels for allergies, medical alerts, car seat safety, and emergency contact. Label lunch boxes and bottles with allergy alerts, which lets other kids and teachers know of your kid’s allergy in a cute and creative way. If your child is diabetic, autistic, asthmatic, or carries an EpiPen, make sure that others are aware by sticking a label on their backpack, medical devices, or medications. Safety should always be a priority, whether your kids have allergies/medical conditions or not, which is why Sticky Monkey also offers car seat safety and emergency contact labels. If it’s the first time you’re sending your little one off to school, the safety labels will likely also make you feel more comfortable, knowing that your child is safe in case of an emergency. $4 and up, stickeymonkey.com.
Best For The Eclectic Back to School Label: Kidecal
You will know this as a parent when it happens. You lose control of the school supply and clothing aesthetic. You can hold your ground or choose your battles as this is a small one to give in to in the scheme of things. So why not give your child the labels that they will be happy to have on their belongings? Kidecal labels are fun and come in an eclectic range of designs that we guarantee you will find a label that your child (and you!) will love. There are even keyboard stickers for the computer! $19 and up, kidecals.com.
For the Parent on a Budget: Avery Durable Labels
The no-iron are available in an of 45 labels of assorted shapes & sizes for only $8.32.avery.com. They’re great for t-shirts, baby and kids’ clothing, caps, coats, backpacks, sweatshirts, and more. Just write on the labels with a permanent marker, peel, and stick it directly onto the fabric.
Avery Durable Labels for Kids’
Another affordable label option from Avery is Avery Durable Labels for Kids’ Gear provides another perfect solution for easy labeling. The labels are dishwasher and microwave oven safe, making them great for labeling lunchbox items, sippy cups, water bottles, thermoses, and more. Peel and stick the labels onto your kid’s school gear. Now, here’s where the fun part comes in: if you’re really on a tight schedule and your kids are of elementary school age or older, why not let them make their own labels? Lay down a garbage bag on the table and bring out the permanent markers. They can design their labels any way they want, with their name, doodles, and colors. Kids will love the feeling of independence, and every day they’ll get to see their mini-masterpieces on their school gear. But proceed with caution: as these are permanent markers (permanent markers are best for these labels), make sure that you completely cover the surface your kids are working on. Parental supervision is definitely recommended. Also, make sure that your kids are old enough to handle permanent markers. If not, the Avery Durable Labels for Kids’ Gear are still quick & straightforward to do yourself! $4.19, amazon
For Back to School Crafty Labeling: Washi Tape
For the parent who jumps at any opportunity to get crafty and creative, Washi Tape is for you! Washi Tape comes in a variety of colors and patterns so that you can pick out your kid’s favorite color. Cut strips from the Washi Tape and stick them right onto pencil cases, water bottles, folders, clothing tags, and more! You can get very creative with Washi Tape, as you don’t have to stick with the strip. Create shapes such as hearts and squares, or write out your kid’s name in Washi Tape. A bit more time-consuming than buying a label, but if you have some time on your hands and are in a crafty mood, give it a try! Worst case scenario and it doesn’t work out, Washi Tape is easy to remove with no damage to the back-to-school item you stuck it on. $6 to $18, amazon.com