The Tot’s guide to day-care and school essentials

Not sure what to pack for your little one when you send them off to day care or big school? Our guide will help you avoid complaints from your child and stern notes from their teacher.

Photo by Syrie Wongkaew

Most parents face the first day of day care or school with a mix of pride, excitement and sadness. Your little baby is all grown up! There’s probably a healthy dose of worry thrown into the mix too… Will they settle at naptime? Will they like their teacher? Will they feel scared or sad without you? Did you pack everything they need?! Deep breaths, mama. You’ve got this and so does your child!

Here at The Tot, we can at least help you with one thing: figuring out what to pack so your mini-me has everything they need to feel safe and secure while they’re away from home. And all our products are safety-tested and free from harmful toxins to boot!


HOT TIP: Keep a set of essentials just for day care. That way, if their sleeping bag or cuddly toy gets dirty during the day, you won’t have to worry about frantically washing and drying them before bedtime. You can just pull out your “home” set and voila!






Mini STATE Bags Backpacks are the perfect size for toddlers and preschoolers. Perfectly constructed to hold all your little one’s essentials, the Mini Kane is perfect for the Kindergartner or elementary student in your life. They come in a range of fun and fabulous colors and prints that your tot will be proud own!



Young children love picking at a variety of tasty morsels in a bento box-style lunchbox. With LunchBots’ Bento Cinco, you’ll never throw out an untouched sandwich again.

Reusable food pouch


Fill your Little Green Pouch Reusable Food Pouch with yogurt or a homemade smoothie for a snack that’s not only healthy but kind to the planet by reducing waste.

Drink Bottle


Thinkbaby’s Sippy of Steel doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals and it features a no-spill, medical-grade silicone spout for a mess-free drinking experience.

Baby bottle


If your baby still has a bottle during the day, Natursutten’s Glass Baby Bottles are a safer choice than plastic because they’re free from BPA, PVC, phthalates, chemical softeners and artificial coloring.



Ecopiggy’s Orthodontic Pacifier can provide comfort to your little one at naptime without any nasties thanks to its 100% natural Hevea rubber construction.

Sleeping bag


Kyte BABY’s sustainable bamboo rayon Printed Sleep Bag will help your child feel cozy and safe as they drift off to La-La Land.


Change of clothes



It’s an inevitable fact that your tot will get wet and dirty at day care! Throw any of the gorgeous organic and sustainably produced pieces by Buho or Go Gently Nation into their backpack so they’ll always look fresh and fly.


As your child prepares to enter the big leagues, here are the school essentials they’ll need.



No more cutesy toddler backpacks – your half-pint needs one that’s roomy enough to carry all their books and school supplies. STATE Bag’s Kane Backpack‘s main compartment fits a standard school size folder, and is equipped with organizational zip pockets, slip pockets and pen holders. It can hold a 13″ laptop, lunch box, and more.

Eco-friendly backpack


Petit Collage Eco-Friendly Backpacks are crafted from eco-friendly cotton canvas and coated with a wipeable, biodegradable laminate made from sugar cane. You’ll love that they’re free from toxins such as BPA, PVC and phthalates, and your big kid will fall hard for their vibrant designs.

Pencil Case

 Sticky Lemon Pencil Case Orange & Navy Stripe

 Light + Nine Pencil Case in Hunter Green

Made from recycled PET bottles, the Sticky Lemon Small Pencil Case helps keep little ones organized and prepared for their next writing/ coloring adventure. It’s also great for storing tiny accessories like hair elastics or small figurines. We also love the light as a feather, the Light + Nine Pencil Case that can be customized with super cute Light + Nine Patches (sold separately).


Sandwich wedge


Marcus & Marcus’s Collapsible Sandwich Wedge is made from lightweight, collapsible food-grade silicone to prevent squished-sandwich disasters.

Snack bags


You’ll love Silikids’ Siliskin Reusable Sack Bags. They’re made from 100% food-grade silicone and they’re perfect for storing all manner of nibbles. No more wasteful plastic bags!

Straw Bottle


This 11 oz straw bottle is the ideal bottle for Pre-K to early elementary school kids. Their 100% medical grade silicone straw top eliminates distracting drinking or lid removal noises of traditional bottles making them a teacher’s favorite! True to their plastic-free mission, Pura’s straw bottle is 100% plastic-free unlike other bottles that use plastic components in their straw bottles.

Change of clothes



It’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes in case of a muddy puddle emergency. Try DL 1961’s Brady Jean and a Chaser Vintage Longsleeve Jersey Tee.