For those kids who are headed to preschool or kindergarten for the first time this year, their first backpack is really special. So we’ve worked hard to seek out more than a dozen of the coolest backpacks for preschool and kindergarten — all mall in size, but big on the wow factor.
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Updated for 2021
14 cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten that we love
Graffiti toddler backpack ($35 soyoung)
Long one of our favorite back-to-school brands for making sturdy, incredibly well-made, beautifully designed coated canvas bags and backpacks, this print is perfect for the kid who’s glued to the Olympics skateboarding events this summer.
Maruchan mini backpack ($44.90, Hot Topic)
How can this backpack for preschool not make you smile? Especially since ramen is my kids’ favorite meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And in case you can’t tell from the picture: the zipper pulls are chopsticks. Adorable.
Lilo & Stitch Scrump backpack ($31 on sale, Hot Topic)
Lilo & Stitch is making a comeback with the live-action film in the works. How cool is this Scrump backpack for preschool or kindergarteners? (Actually, our tween and teens kind of love it too.)
Dabbawalla makes some of our favorite backpacks for preschool and kindergarten — they’re one of our top rated brands of all the backpacks and lunch boxes we try each year. the size is perfect, and the neoprene can take a beating and then clean up beautifully in the wash. They have lots of fun styles beyond what’s here!
Small reflective gray camo backpack ($49.50, Pottery Barn Kids with optional peprsonalization)
Another pick for durability plus coolness, the small backpacks are perfect for kids who need to bring a small lunch, water bottle, maybe a change of shorts. As long as they can find it each morning. (Ha, get it? It’s camouflage!)
Metallic Mint Mini Kane backpack ($75, State)
I wasted way too much time clicking through all the cool backpacks at State, but ultimately this Metallic Mint was one of my top choices. Yes it’s expensive, but for stylish kids, it’s a winner. The mismatched straps are just so fun.
Shark Mini Backpack or Tiger Mini Backpack ($30 on sale, OMG Accessories at Nordstrom)
These little backpacks for preschool or kindergarten pack a lot of bite…in the best way. If your kids say not to baby sharks or baby kittens, these might be more their style.
Cinderella Mini Backpack ($79, Petunia Picklebottom at Nordstrom)
One of our favorite last-forever bags for moms, now in a mini-backpack size for our preschoolers and young kids. It’s like a fairytale come true if you have a Disney obsessed kid. (Check out their complete Disney collection to get the exact right bag for your little fan.)
Skip*Hop Koala Big Kid Backpack ($28, Nordstrom)
We have loved the teensy Skip Hop preschool backpacks for years, but it can be hard to fit in notebooks and binders. This “big kid” version is the perfect size for the little kids bringing more than just a tiny water bottle and bag of goldfish to school each day.
Ponyo backpack ($44.90, Hot Topic)
Ooh, I secretly want this Ponyo backpack for myself, Mizayakii fan that I am, but the fact that it wipes down so easily makes it perfect for my messy littlest kid too.
Kiki’s Delivery Service mini-backpack ($35 on sale, Hot Topic)
Speaking of classic Studio Ghibli films, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a top-five all-time movie in our house, and my daughter even dressed up like Kiki for Halloween. But if it’s not your very favorite, that’s okay: there are so many other patterns in this bag style at Hot Topic. Even Totoro!
Confetti Backpack ($95, State)
For the kid who’s expecting kindergarten to be an absolute party, this backpack should send them to school in style.