August 22, 2013

What's cool – and not – for back to school

New fashions, accessories and electronic gadgets help take the pain out of returning to the classroom.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Long hours glued to a desk, scribbling furiously in a notebook to keep up with the teacher's rapid-fire words, one eye always on the clock.

Locker chandelier, $24.99

click image to enlarge

Minion flash drive, $10.99

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

That's how a lot of students -- especially when they're still on summer vacation -- view the prospect of being back in school.

Luckily, there is something to ease the pain: Stuff.

Cool back-to-school stuff, to be specific.

There are always new fashions, accessories and electronic gadgets on the market to make getting back into a school routine a little more exciting, a little more fun.

Even if a youngster isn't into clothes, there's a new iPhone case to be had or a cool flash drive. Even a nifty new lunch box might be enough to make school palatable for some.

Here's a look at some of the cool stuff trending right now for the back-to-school crowd, both for kids and their parents.

CRAMPED BUT STYLIN'

Once upon a time, lockers were merely book depositories. This no longer has to be the case. Companies such as Lockerlookz.com sell everything from wallpaper to faux chandeliers in a variety of eye-popping colors and designs. Some of Lockerlookz.com's items include aqua-zebra locker wallpaper ($21.99); battery-operated locker chandeliers in black, white, pink or aqua ($24.99); magnetic locker flowers ($6.99); locker rugs ($9.99) and pink or light blue hanging locker bins ($12.99).

FLASHY DRIVES

An item doesn't have to be big to have some style. A good example? Flash drives, the tiny gizmos people use to move data from one computer to another. They come in all sorts of colors and a variety of shapes, from superheroes to Matchbox cars. This fall, some of the cool flash drives for children include "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2," with designs based on the video game; cutesy characters from the "So So Happy" line; and flash drives shaped like the minions from the hit animated film "Despicable Me 2." All of the above start at $10.98 and are available at Walmart.

SHARING? THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT

Some kids will listen better to an electronic gizmo than an adult. For them, the designers of smartphone apps have come up with apps for everything from waking up to sharing with classmates and siblings. Many are free, including the "Happy Parents" apps from Storybots.com.

Coin Flip is an app that solves the age-old problem of who goes first. A referee character flips a coin, and all results are final -- beats carrying loose change. Share Timer lets parents set a timer that will then sound when time is up for each child. Up to six kids can be timed.

Beep and Boop allows parents to list custom goals -- getting dressed, getting to the bus stop on time, etc. When a goal is met, the child gets a "beep" sound; when it's not, the child gets a "boop." You can find other back-to-school apps at Appadvice.com.

BOXED LUNCH

Bento boxes -- derived from the Japanese tradition of meticulously arranging lunch in a compartmentalized box -- are the current school lunch box craze. Search online, and you're sure to find one to your child's liking. Consider these: A bright red box with a multicolored lid and matching plastic water bottle from Circo, $8.99 at Target; a Rilakkuma Bento box with a bear character on the lid, $10.99 at several stores; and Green Sprouts' "Lion on Safari" Bento box with a lion-shaped box and a lion face on the lid, $7.99 at Kohl's.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Share Timer from Storybots.com

click image to enlarge

Flip Coin from Storybots.com

click image to enlarge

"Lion on Safari" bento box, $7.99

click image to enlarge

Stylish iPhone case, $20

click image to enlarge

Puff-n-Stuff jacket, $59

Studio1912

click image to enlarge

Chukka boots, $49

Studio 1912

click image to enlarge

Uggs? ugh.

click image to enlarge

Same goes for Silly Bandz.

 


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)