Backpacks, learning gadgets and back-to-school supplies to make heading back to class a little more fun.

Share story

While picking up packs of No. 2s and college-lined notebooks, be sure to add a few fun finds to your back-to-school shopping cart.

Here are some picks for gear and gadgets that will make the return to class a little more exciting.

Backpacks

Start the year with a fresh backpack that’s got its zippers and pockets intact.

The State Kane Coney Island Backpack ($65 at statebags.com) has lots of pockets and comes in cool color-blocked designs. Plus, the company donates a backpack filled with supplies to a child in need for every one purchased.

If your kid is on the go every weekend, invest in a bag that does double duty, such as the United by Blue 30L Base Pack ($108 at REI), which works as well on the trail as in the classroom.

They can show off their cattitude with the locally designed Kavu Packwood Backpack ($60 at Kavu stores and kavu.com), which features a padded laptop sleeve, external pockets and cute cat faces galore.

Clockwise from left: Funko Pop! Pen Toppers, starting at $6; Advanced M4 In-ear Monitors, $40; State Kane Coney Island Backpack, $65; Kensington Portable Combination Laptop Lock, $25; Like-it Magnetic Divided Bin, $8
Clockwise from left: Funko Pop! Pen Toppers, starting at $6; Advanced M4 In-ear Monitors, $40; State Kane Coney Island Backpack, $65; Kensington Portable Combination Laptop Lock, $25; Like-it Magnetic Divided Bin, $8

Locker décor

Bare utilitarian lockers are a thing of the past, with a boom in products for decoration and organization.

The LockerWorks 3 Shelf Hanging Locker Organizer ($20 at amazon.com) creates three shelves for books and lunch boxes, and has mesh side pockets for stowing smaller items. Six color combinations are available to suit any taste.

Keep grab-and-go items in the Like-it Magnetic Divided Bin ($8 at The Container Store), which has a super-strong magnet on the back for gripping tight to a locker door.

Hang photos or notes with the new, locally designed Three by Three Seattle Flat Cast Magnets ($8 for a set of six at threebythree.com), which come in gold hearts, silver elephants or copper owls.

Study accessories

Adding a bit of fun and personalization to study tools might help ensure they’re used more often.

They’ll have the coolest notebook in class with the Lego Notebook with Studs ($13 at shop.lego.com), which has a baseplate on its cover and comes with 60 1-by-1 flat tiles for custom fun.

Take their pen game to the next level with Funko Pop! Pen Toppers (starting at $6 at amazon.com), which add the local company’s signature big heads to ball-point pens. Varieties include Marvel superheroes, Star Wars characters and the Harry Potter cast.

Older kids can create custom planners with the sleek, cool Field Notes Pitch Black Note Books ($13 for two at fieldnotesbrand.com). The Portland-made notebooks have 64 pages, and you can choose whether they’re dotted or ruled.

Three by Three Seattle Flat Cast Magnets (left), $8 per set; Kavu Packwood Backpack, $60
Three by Three Seattle Flat Cast Magnets (left), $8 per set; Kavu Packwood Backpack, $60

Gadgets

Fidget spinners have gotten a reputation as an annoying distraction. But some kids can benefit from a less obtrusive option, such as the Antsy Labs Fidget Cube ($22 at antsylabs.com). The original fidget cube, it has a different action on each side and can be kept out of sight in a pocket.

They put a lot of thought into the perfect cellphone case, so don’t settle for just any old battery booster. The Color Spray Slim Portable Power Charger ($24 at urbanoutfitters.com) can double the life of an iPhone and has an edgy modern-art design worth showing off.

Drown out noise while studying with the Advanced M4 In-ear Monitors ($40 at adv-sound.com), which combine noise-canceling ability, comfort, great sound and a durable, tangle-proof cord, all for a reasonable price.

Computer accessories

Whether their tech of choice is a laptop or a tablet, there are lots of add-ons that will enhance their learning and keep them protected.

Defend against viruses and malware with the highly rated Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 software ($40 for three devices at bitdefender.com), which includes ransomware protection, a password manager and lots of other helpful extras (including parental controls).

They can take notes digitally with the Wacom Bamboo Ink Smart Stylus ($80 at us-store.wacom.com), which works with Windows-based devices and apps to convert their scribbles and thoughts into electronic files.

And don’t forget to protect your tech investment with a Kensington Portable Combination Laptop Lock ($25 at kensington.com), which stretches up to 6 feet, but shrinks down to just 3 inches for easy stowing.