There’s something so fun about picking out that first backpack for a younger child headed off to preschool or kindergarten for the first time. So we love helping you do that very thing! Check out our picks for the coolest backpacks for smaller kids who don’t yet have to tote six hardcover library books too and from school each day…yet.

Related: Click here for our 2019 guide to the coolest backpacks for preschool and kindergarten
The coolest preschool backpacks | Cool Mom Picks back to school guide 2015


All items have been chosen by our editorial team; there has been no compensation in exchange for any picks. CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate.


Milkdot Mini Kawaii Backpacks for preschool | back to school 2015

Milkdot Mini Kawaii Backpacks ($29.99, Milkdot)

Milkdot, makers of some of our very favorite lunch bags, is out with a brand new set of super cute kawaii backpacks sized perfectly for smaller people. And those of us big ones who won’t mind smiling at these every single morning. They’re as durable as they are adorable.


Lightning backpack for preschool and smaller kids from Jansport | back to school 2015

Jansport lightning backpack  ($39.99 on sale, Kohls)

We love the photo-realistic fabric trend, and it looks amazingly cool on a tried-and-true Jansport backpack, that happens to be on sale at a sweet price. Check out the five other fun styles, too.


Wonder Woman cape backpack for preschool | back to school guide 2015

Superhero cape backpacks for preschool | Back to school guide 2015

Superhero cape backpacks ($39.50, PBK)

From Wonder woman to Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Captain America, we are swooning over these awesome preschool sized backpacks complete with retractable superhero capes.


Fjallraven makes the classically hip backpacks that last, including a mini version perfect for preschool

Fjallraven Kanken Mini backpack ($65, Zappos)
Still the hipster bag of choice, we give huge thumbs up for the Fjallrven backpacks of all kinds which are a great option if you shy away from the licensed characters. Still, our kids dress them up with fun backpack charms and buttons to give them loads of personality. The mini shown here is a convenient 8.25 x 11″ for young kids; if you think you need more room, go for the original Fjallraven Kanken backpack which holds plenty of school supplies, has a water bottle sleeve, and only costs $10 more. It will last you multiple years — and possibly multiple kids.

Dreamer print backpack from Etsy shop Mokoyubi threads, made in California

Dreamer Print Backpack ($85, Mokuyobi Threads)

A handmade backpack made right in the USA that isn’t $400? We found it. The Mokuyobi Threads Etsy shop has some wonderful styles, including this fun Dreamer fabric that lots of kids in our lives could lose themselves in. It’s definitely spendy but a fun choice if you’re looking for something no other kid in class will have.



Skip Hop zoopack backpacks are adorable for preschool, and love the new unicorn! | Back to school 2015

Skip*Hop animal zoo packs ($20, Skip*Hop)

Skip*Hop’s sturdy, adorable, affordable backpacks are a must-have for so many preschool parents, and we love some of the new designs in the Zoo Pack collection like our favorite, the unicorn. (Psst…check out the matching lunch pack too!)


Rainbow dash backpack for preschool | back to school 2015

My Little Pony Rainbow Dash backpack ($45, ebags)

We love the throwback to My Little Pony nearly as much as our kids do, and if their favorite is Rainbow Dash, they’re in luck with this fun backpack we found.

Hanna Andersson Snoopy + Woodstock backpack: Love!

Hanna Andersson Peanuts backpack ($52, Nordstrom)

Want to throw back a little further? Peanuts is back! There’s just something about Snoopy that’s so timeless, your kids will love him even before they can read their first Peanuts comic strip.

Mermaid Backpack for preschool at PBK

Mermaid preschool backpack ($29.50, PBK + $9 optional personalization)

PBK always has a ton of fun prints and that awesome personalization option, but we’re gravitating toward this fun mermaid print that might keep your kids dreaming of warm days, even when the weather turns fridgid.


Skip Hop forget me not backpack and lunch box sets

Skip Hop Forget-me-not backpack and lunchbox sets ensure (hopefully) kids remember to bring their lunchesSkip*Hop Forget-Me-Not backpack and lunchbox set ($40, Amazon or Skip*Hop)

This ingenious new idea from Skip*Hop is themed in fun motifs like cool shades lightning bolts, hearts and clouds.  The see-through window on back is a quick way to tell whether the lunch bag is packed inside there…or your kid has forgotten it on the kitchen counter. Again.


Herschel Supply Co polka dot backpack | back to school shopping

Herschel Supply Co Settlement Backpack ($49.95, Nordstrom)

This is Kristen’s pick for new backpack for her own daughter this year and we don’t blame her. What a fun blend of polka dots and just enough leopard that it’s a little edgy, but not…Vegas.




Flip and tumble backpacks fold into their own lightweight pouches | back to school 2015

Nylon self-folding backpacks ($34, Flip and tumble)
From the same sturdy nylon as your favorite reusable market totes, these bags are big enough to pack in lots of nap blankets and snack bentos, but then fold up into their own tiny travel pouch when empty. The truth is, these would be great for kids of any age — and adults, too.


Beatrix NYC backpacks featuring adorable original animals like this fun octopus | back to school guide 2015

Beatrix Little Kid Packs ($42, Beatrix NY)

We always love the creative, original illustrated creatures in Beatrix NY’s collection of sturdy preschool backpacks, but Penelope the Octopus might be the favorite. She even has a matching Cuddly Octopus Key Charm.

Madpax new ice cream backpack for preschool | back to school shopping 2015

Madpax ice cream half-pack backpack ($65, Madpax)

The uber hip backpacks from Madpax just got more fun, with their classic “spiketus rex” style turning those spiky (but soft and totally safe) protrusions into ice cream cone splatters.

MadPax bubble pack backpack in half and full sizes | back to school guide 2015

Gumball backpack by Madpax (full size $80 on sale at Amazon; half pack $48 at Madpax)
They’ve also got this fun bubble pack, printed with all kinds of cool patterns, but we’re loving the gumballs. And so are our girls.  t





Disney's Frozen Olaf backpack for kids by Burton | back to school 2015

Frozen Olaf print kids’ backpack ($34.95, Burton)

Don’t let the adorable Olaf print deceive you; Burton has created a seriously sturdy, smartly designed backpack for kids that carries more than your average preschool backpack, and the price is fantastic.


Cool preschool backpack from Burton | back to school 2015

Yeah! print backpack for kids ($34.95, Burton)

For a totally different style with the same smart features, this print is aptly called Yeah! Which is what your kid might say when you ask if they want this one.



Emoji backpacks for preschoolers | back to school 2015

Emoji backpack ($85, Zara Terez)

Emoji. Backpacks. What else is there to say?


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Back to School Guide 2015 posts:

12 awesome DIY back to school crafts your kids can actually do
The coolest lunch boxes and bags for kids of all ages
The coolest backpacks for preschool and little kids
The coolest backpacks for big kids
The coolest lunchbox accessories