We’ve loved hitting all the family-friendly museums and exhibits in Singapore with our kids this summer holiday, but we hate to break it to you: it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping time. Don’t panic! Whether you’re hunting for a cool, comfy backpack and shiny new lunch box to send your little one off to big school, looking for sturdy school shoes, or splurging on fun stationery, we’ve got it on our shopping list. Our handy back to school guide will take the pain out of your shopping experience, and steer you to the best school supplies in Singapore. We’ve even got the lowdown on child-friendly salons to squeeze in a spiffy new haircut, so your kids can stride through those school gates totally school prepped.
By the way, if your little learner is embarking on their first day of kindergarten or school, it’s a good idea to gently introduce the idea through everyone’s favourite time of the day – bedtime stories! Our guide to helping kids settle in at school includes great books that help prepare kids for that big leap.
If you haven’t been forced by your school to buy the standard issue, or by your child to buy Smiggle (always a winner), we’ve got some suggestions…
Is there anything IKEA can’t do? Beyond everything you could possibly need for the home, it caries an affordable range of backpacks, drink bottles and lunch boxes. We’re rather taken with the cute stationery – in particular the bright patterned notebooks and quirky accessories. We’ve shared a few of our faves up top!
317 Alexandra Road, Singapore, 159965 and 60 Tampines North Drive 2, Singapore 528764; www.ikea.com/sg
We’re yet to find a product from local multi-brand boutique Le Petit Society that we don’t adore, and the old-school Kånken backpacks by Fjällräven are no exception. Exceptionally crafted from durable, lightweight vinylon canvas, it has all the right zippable compartments and pockets for school life. Coming in regular and mini sizes it’s suitable for kids of all ages, and is easily wiped clean with water.
6A Shenton Way, Downtown Gallery, #03-10, Singpaore 068809, and stocked at various other stores; www.lepetitsociety.com
Kids’ furniture store ERGOKID stocks a good selection of school bags by brands such as Ergobag, My Awesome Buddy (designed with safety in mind thanks to a ‘whistle in a buckle’ and reflective strips) and Satch (for teenagers) that are ergonomically designed to distribute weight properly and reduce strain on your child’s back. The bags aren’t cheap, but they’re built to last. The Affenzahn range of animal backpacks for preschoolers are super-adorable (we want the peekaboo panda!). And if you need to need to pick up a desk for those homework sessions, the workstations here are functional and stylish. Shop online or in-store.
501 Orchard Road Wheelock Place #03-07A, Singapore 238880; www.ergokid.com.
If you’re a regular at family favourite Open Farm Community in Dempsey, you’re probably all over the Tinydipity store that stocks all things cute for little ones. Read on for more on this little pocket of awesomeness, but did you see those adorable backpacks by Beatrix NY above? You know where to go.
130E Minden Road, Singapore, 248819; www.tinydipity.com
We also love the Herschel range of bags for both quality and style – it doesn’t get much cuter than a vintage car or pizza backpack! Pop into Mothercare or Singapore Herschel stockist Tangs to snap one up (but don’t get distracted by the handbags downstairs…).
Your younger poppet will be more than satisfied with the offerings at Pupsik Studio – this online store stocks brands from Disney to Skip Hop. If you love Skip Hop’s bright and cheerful style, its new ‘Forget Me Not’ backpack and lunch box sets for bigger kids is available at fab online shop Agape Babies.
LeSportsac carries tote-ally adorable, quality backpacks, bags and pouches. Your kids will go crazy for the bright new LeSportsac X Mr. Men & Little Miss collection.
#B1-12A ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801; LeSportsac Singapore on Facebook
We all know kids are often too keen to hit the playground to munch more than a bite or two of lunch. Best make their lunch boxes the main attraction, and insulated from the steamy conditions to boot. No one likes a sweaty ham sandwich.
We all want to be eco-friendly parents, so love online store Lulu + Moo. It stocks awesome re-usable BPA free ice packs, toxin-free LunchBots stainless steel lunchboxes, and the SoYoung range of insulated linen lunch bags. Cute stainless steel drink bottles too.
We’re all over the superbly designed bento-style lunch boxes from Yumbox. They have lots of small compartments handy for popping in veggies, sandwiches, fruit and other healthy snacks. And because it’s leak-proof you can be more inventive with dips like hummus, without the need for extra plastic. The kids’ Yumboxes are small enough to fit inside a standard thermal case to keep it cool in the Singapore heat.
www.yumboxlunch.com; buy in Singapore at www.bumwear.com
Redmart is now stocking Skip Hop accessories including drink bottles and lunch kits (just add to your weekly shop). We’re snapping up one of the insulated food jars to keep food warm (like pasta) for seven hours or cold (like frozen yoghurt) for five hours. www.redmart.com
Now here’s how to give your back to school shopping some pep: head to the divine lifestyle store Tinydipity at Open Farm Community, grab a Common Man Coffee Roasters brew and browse the carefully curated goodies in this gorgeous space. Our pick is the Blafre range of lunchboxes – great designs both for keeping lunch cool and looking the biz! After you’ve maxed-out your credit card (the range of organic kids’ fashion, toys and decor are ridiculously hard to resist), pop out to the playground and let the littles run off some steam.
130E Minden Road, Singapore, 248819; www.tinydipity.com
Want more? Check out our review of the most eye catching and well-designed lunch box options on the market.
HEALTHY LUNCHBOX IDEAS
Now they have the hippest lunch container on the block, we best match it with scrummy snacks and mains. The trick is to make it appetising and packed full of goodness so it doesn’t get turfed in the schoolyard. It’s tough to concentrate with an empty tummy.
We’re fans of the rainbow salad jars, super easy banana and choc chip muffins and savoury chicken and carrot nuggets by foodie mum Emily Kerrigan of Modern Family Food – add these recipes to your weekly family meal planner and follow Modern Family Food on Instagram and Facebook for more great ideas for snacks and family meals.
Want even more food inspo? For novel ideas like mini-buckwheat pancakes, sweet potato fries, ants on a log and chicken salad with apple and basil take a squizz at our Weekly Recipe Planner and New Healthy Lunch Box Ideas articles. For the uber-fussy eater take a gander at Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious blog and cookbook and you’ll be grating beetroot into their choccy muffins!
PERSONALISING THEIR GOODIES
Aside from replicating your childhood by decorating your kid’s school books with magazine cutout collages and retro plastic cover, there are plenty of great stickers and iron-on labels to give their kit a unique vibe. Stuck on you has a bright playful range of name labels, lunch boxes and drink bottles. This way even if it appears lost, the convenient name tag should help your kid’s gear find its way home eventually. Bright Star Kids is of a similar ilk to Stuck on You, and is a good choice if you left it a little late – it prints and ships in two days flat! If you need more options, check out Sticker Kid, with cute designs (LOVE the sweet little shoe labels!) and great value packs.
Just try to suppress the squeals of excitement once we find adorable pencil cases, folders, notebooks and pencils (and more once the kids see them!).
Typo stocks quirky designs at great prices. FUN!
Typo Stores around Singapore (Wisma Atria, Anchor Point, Clementi and Somerset); www.cottonon.com/typo
Kikki.K never fails to hit the spot. Just don’t steal your kids’ loot.
Ion Orchard Shop B2-53, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore, 238801, and Raffles City Shop #B1-22, Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road Singapore, 179103; www.kikki-k.com
Tango Mango has a standard range of stationery needs. Best part is you can sort your postal needs (they brave the post office queues for you) while your little’un selects their stuff. And lots of books for all ages there too!
163 Tanglin Road, Tanglin Mall #03-11A, Singapore 247933; Tango Mango on Facebook
Stationery World is a no-frills, well priced option and it stocks everything!
63 Ubi Ave 1, #07-02 63@UBI Singapore 408937; www.stationeryworld.com.sg
SCHOOL SHOES FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS
Playgroup kids aren’t confined to traditional black leather shoes. Their tippy toes can get decked out trendy treads that are supportive and have good grip.
Small in Tanglin Mall has every base covered with its extensive range of high-end Euro shoes. Everything else in the store is also hard to resist (including adults’ shoes and lovely kids’ decor).
#03-08 Tanglin Mall 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933; www.small.com.sg
We adore the range of Saltwater sandals that are perfect for the tropical outdoor lifestyle, as the leather can get wet. The design aesthetic is spot on. Adult sizes too! Available at www.small.com.sg
Crocs are a colourful, lightweight and airily comfortable option for small sweaty feet. Stores island wide; www.crocs.com.sg.
Seed Heritage never fails to come up with the goods, and its range of canvas velcro runners and mary janes are no exception. It’s on-trend peds are just perfect for kicking about at preschool as they come in mess-resistant dark colours, and are good value for money. Our pick for the little ladies is the cute as a button metallic mary janes.
There are five Seed Heritage stores in Singapore – Tanglin Mall, Wisma Atria, Paragon, Parkway Parade and VivoCity; www.seedheritage.com
SCHOOL SHOES FOR PRIMARY KIDS
School age kiddos best stick to the uniform code, so black shoes and white runners it is:
Ten Feet Tall is the first school shoe store in Singapore to provide a full-service measure and fit. Opened in July 2016 by savvy expat mum duo Nicola and Sam – it’s a huge hit with school mums island-wide. Carrying top-notch brands like Start-rite, Petasil and Ricosta, you’re sure to find the right fit for your growing child. We LOVE that Ten Feet Tall has teamed up with British podiatrist Helen Crawford to sort out any niggling foot problems, and that you can donate your used school shoes to the shoe bank for needy Asian kids: kids grow so quickly that shoes often have plenty of good life in them. Waste not want not we say!
02-16 Holland Village Shopping Centre, 211 Holland Avenue, Singapore 278967; www.tenfeettallshoes.com
Stride Rite stocks a solid range of sturdy mary janes and boy black school shoes. There’s a shoe suitable for all shapes and sizes of foot! Convenient locations too. Paragon, Forum the Shopping Mall, United Square and Takashimaya Department Store; www.striderite.com.sg
Clarks is a quality Australian option that’s had an image upgrade. Head to the dedicated store in Ion for the best selection. Clarks Ion, 2 Orchard Turn #B2-22 Ion Orchard, Orchard Road, Singapore, 238801; www.clarks.sg
Takashimaya is a good one-stop shop for all school shoe needs. Ngee Ann City Tower A, Orchard Road, Singapore, 238873; www.takashimaya.com.sg
Queensway Shopping Centre is THE place to source sports shoes. Can’t beat the prices and the range of popular brands (good selection of soccer boots too). Tip: don’t go before at least 10am as it’s all boarded up! At the junction of Alexandra Road and Queensway, 1 Queensway; www.queenswayshoppingcentre.com.
If it’s sporting equipment and apparel you need – head out to sporting mecca Decathlon where you’ll find anything and everything sport related (even trampolines). It’s super cheap!
1 Joo Koon Circle, #02-21, Singapore 629117; www.decathlon.sg
We are loving junior’s wild sun-tipped locks, but its time to tidy it up a little for school assembly. For a list of the tried and tested – refer to our go-to guide for the best kids’ haircuts in Singapore.
So we’ve left no stone unturned in the quest to be first at the front gate come bell-ringing time. Now nip off for a little quiet time and a much needed coffee hit!
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