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.
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 ($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.
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.
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 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 ($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 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!)
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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
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.
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 backpack ($85, Zara Terez)
Emoji. Backpacks. What else is there to say?
Thanks so much to our sponsor Flipp, the money-saving circular shopping app. Download it today free for Android and iOS and start saving!
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
I like the jansport for the decent price, great quality and guarantee. Plus the lightening design is unisex
love the emoji backpacks. They’re so much fun.
My pick is definitely Skip*Hop animal zoo packs because we were given a lunch bag by them and I absolutely love how well made it is! It’s has stood the test of time and the rigors of being used by my little people!
So many cute and practical ones. Ice cream backpack caught me eye but my favorite was the Nylon folding backpack. Practical, not to big/bulky and fits most anything.
Ps. Married to a teacher and have my first heading to school. It’s really cool to see companies reach out to help support teachers. TKU CMP
I can’t help it – as a child of the seventies I’m a total sucker for wonder woman!
Love the ice cream backpack, but the Milkdot is adorable. Perfect size and price.
Love the blue with white polka dot and cheetah! ❤️❤️❤️
Love the Herschel polka dot backpack but really all the options are adorable!
Love the Jansport pack – simple, holds a lot, and the lighting design is definitely easy to spot in a crowded school cloakroom.
Love the Wonder Woman!!!!
I just adore the Skip Hop zoo packs for my little ones, 4 and 1. Starting this year, my 7yo does not need to carry a clear or mesh backpack (ugh), so we went with the LLBean.
The lightening backpck is really cool!! Super fast in learning ?
I did a post very similar. Some of our content is very similar – That means you have GREAT taste. My favorite bookbags have been anything MadPax. My son has had two – Orange Spikes & the Orange Bubble. Both held up great throughout the school year.
Love the PBkids Mermaid backpack – just wish they offered it sooner – because we are all mermaids!
I love the Milkdot Mini Kawaii Backpacks! My daughter loves all things Kawaii. She would flip over the cute purple Kitty!
Love the superhero backpacks w/capes! My little superhero would love one, too!
I love the man sport lightening pack!
My niece is OBSESSED with frozen! Love the backpack! And that ice cream one? So unique!
I love the Milkdot Mini Kawaii! Appreciate the overall cuteness yet simple& modern design lines. Don’t tell that to my 5 year old Tallulah who has chosen the backpack w/ the Frozen-Olaf motif. (surprise.surprise) I’ll let it slide because I’m down w/ Burton’s quality for snowboard gear.
The Fjallraven Kanken backpacks look like they’d work for all ages and genders. My kids would like to be able to personalize these, and they look nice enough for adults to use.
The Snoopy backpack is so sweet/simple – love it!
My pony obsessed daughter would adore the Rainbow Dash Backpack!
Self-folding backpack because I can put it (and the contents) in my bag when my little one is tired of carrying it herself.
The Peanuts backpack is so cute!
The Beatrix bags are amazing, such cute prints and colors!
My favorites are the emoji backpacks, so cute for the kids!
I’m a huge Herschel Supply Co fan! Their backpacks are very sturdy for my preschoolers!
Hard to choose! My fave is the Skip*Hop Forget-Me-Not and I’m sure my son’s would be the PBK superhero cape backpack!
I like the emoji backpack.
Love the emoji backpacks @zaraterez !!!
Love the Madpax I’ve cream cones. Might need it for myself!
I have to go with the ice cream backpack! It is something new that I haven’t seen before, and it’s super creative.
Love the Burton Yeah! backpack. Looks like it has good organization, and the print makes it stand out from others.
The Kawai backpacks with their little closed eyes are the ones I prefer.
I really like the Lightning backpack, but I know my son would pick out a Superhero cape backpack. Those ARE really cool.
Nylon – so you can pack it away easily when not in use. typical backpacks take up so much space, even when virtually empty.
I like the new spin on the spike backpack, ice cream cones are so cute!
I’m loving all the Burton stuff (in the lunch box post too!) for my son, my daughter would def choose one of the cute Jansport bags. If they’d only let me pick for them it would be the Hanna Andersson SNOOPY for sure!
Love the emoji back pack. So cool
I love the Skip Hop animals! That unicorn is seriously amazing
I love the madpax ice cream backpack. What a cute and random idea!
I love the Jansport lightening design that would grow with the child.
I love the My Little Pony Rainbow Dash backpack! I grew up with MLP and am so glad dd gets to love it too!
Follow on twitter and tweeted
Shared on FB: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.alvarado17/posts/952156454843490
Ooh, it’s a toss up between the lightning pack and the Wonder Woman pack for me.
I like the new spin on the spike backpack, ice cream cones are so cute!
Love the Skip-Hop Forget-Me-Not bags. Seems like we’re always forgetting something these days so this would be a great help! And the designs are adorable!
The flip and tumble bag for sure, because it’s great for travel and school!
I like the gum ball backpack!
Love the ice cream cone-spikes backpack. 1 problem: it may actually be too cool for school
So many great choices! The Skip Hop forget me not is a stand out though, if it helps us remember my Kindergartner’s lunch box!
I’m so impressed with Skip Hop forget me not sets. Plus they have matching zippered pouches? ::swoon::
My favorite is the pottery barn backpacks, love the different designs, being practical, matching lunch bag which can be strapped to the back pack.
The emoji backpacks are my fave because that’s the way my kids and their friends communicate!
I am loving the superhero/cape backpacks!
love the lightning and superhero ones!!
I love the custom backpack from the etsy shop! The possibilities are endless, and my kid would never mistake his backpack for someone else’s!
shared on FB https://www.facebook.com/murphykatt/posts/10207157858806693?pnref=story
My favorite pick on here is the Skip Hop animal zoo packs, I just love the cute animals and love that there are so many to choose from.
That lightning backpack is amazing.
The Hanna Andersson Peanuts backpack!
Beatrix Little Kid Packs
by far my fave brand, so unique and so cute! had one for my son and now will buy for my girl
I love the Skip Hop backpacks for my toddler! He has the dog design with the matching lunch box. So cute!
They’re all pretty sweet, but the PBK mermaid pack would be perfect for my soon to be preschooler!
these Nylon self-folding backpacks are genius! i would carry this sucker in my handbag so the kid can carry her own stuff when she gets tired of holding it (instead of handing it to me to stuff in my ginormous and super-heavy bag)!
I adore the super hero cape backpacks! So fun!
The Hanna Andersson Peanuts backpack has a great retro feel!
So many great backpacks! I love subtle coolness of the Herschel backpack the best though 🙂
I love the Gumball backpack by Madpax. My little one is rainbow and gum obsessed so it’s perfect for her (and I bet she would be the only one in kindergarten with that backpack).
Wow, so many cute backpacks to choose from. The Skip Hop unicorn one is adorable, though. It’s too cute to pass up.
The ice cream backpack is pretty cool!
I love the skip hop zoo packs. The animals are so cute 🙂
The Hanna Anderssen/Peanuts pack… takes me back to my yellow Snoopy kindergarten lunch box with matching Thermos!!
I love the milk dot mini backpack so much that I either a. Want to force my toddler to have one before she has much use for it or b. Bring back the 90s by rocking a mini backpack myself!
The ice cream cone pack because it made me laugh!
I love the superhero cape backpacks. It would solve so many morning arguments about her wearing a cape to school.
The peanuts backpack is my fave because it takes me back to when I was a kid. I had the snoopy snow cone machine and just seeing that backpack made me have a flashback to cranking that ice into snow! <3
I love them all, but if i have to pick just one then it would be the Fjallraven Kanken Mini backpack!!! It is so adorable!, I love that it is mini, perfect size to carry what you need without breaking your back, and they style itself is just great!
I am following on Twitter: @lifeonprint and here is my tweet! https://twitter.com/lifeonprint/status/639845574116642817
LOVE the new Skip*Hop backpacks! Too bad my kids’ are still in good shape. 🙂
FB post: https://www.facebook.com/stearns003/posts/10153551407886788
I love the Superhero cape backpacks! It would be a huge hit with my kindergartener!
I like the Emoji backpack. Cute and kids–they love those emojis!
I love the Hanna Anderson Snoopy bag! It’s so classic and fun. ::heart eyes emoji::