12 Best Toddler Backpacks for Preschool & Daycare, According to Parents | Glamour

Find anything you save across the site in your account

Find anything you save across the site in your account Cute Back Packs For Teens

12 Best Toddler Backpacks for Preschool & Daycare, According to Parents | Glamour

It may surprise parents who are new to the game, but pint-size humans headed to preschool or daycare need a surprising amount of stuff. The best toddler backpacks aren’t just useful for storing food and snacks—whether that’s a milk bottle or lunch—but also for transporting a spare set of clothes (just in case) and a folder packed with artwork. These are just a few things your little one may need to get through the day. In chillier weather, they may need even more space to stash items like gloves and a hat. What better time—and what better tool—for them to start learning how to keep track of their belongings, now that they’re a big kid and want to do it themselves?

Despite all of that stuff, for safety reasons, those little people need special backpacks to match their small size. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a backpack that’s too large or too heavy is not only hard to wear, but can even lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain now or down the road. To avoid this, the AAP says the weight of a child’s loaded backpack shouldn’t exceed 15% of their body weight. At age two, the average child weighs somewhere between 25 and 30 pounds, meaning their backpack and its contents shouldn’t exceed about three or four pounds, so you’ll want to start with a lightweight pack.

The AAP also suggests looking for backpacks with two wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist belt or chest strap to help better distribute the weight, plus a padded back to prevent any of the interior contents from poking your kiddo when they wear it. A variety of compartments can also help more evenly distribute the weight of the backpack.

To help you find the best toddler backpacks on the market, we scoured top retailers for bestsellers and well-reviewed options. We also polled parents who’ve been there, done that, to see what they recommend the most.

All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Recommended for children ages two to four, this high-quality backpack is just right for the preschool set. Multiple parents we polled agree, noting it seemed to be the Goldilocks of backpacks—not too small, not too large, but just right. For even more comfort, there’s padding all around, on both the straps and the back panel. It’s easy for little ones to open and close this bag, too, thanks to a two-way zip-around closure that opens the roomy interior pocket.

Save when you shop the best toddler backpacks with these Bloomingdale's promo codes.

You’d be hard-pressed to walk into any school or daycare and not spot at least a few Pottery Barn backpacks. In fact, all of my kids (and multiple classmates) sported them while they were in daycare. They’re small enough for the preschool set but have many of the same great features of full-size backpacks, including padded straps, side mesh pockets, and a top carry handle. But one of the things parents love the most? This backpack comes in dozens of really fun patterns and colors to suit your child’s interests, plus it can be personalized with their name or initials. You can even get a matching lunchbox to clip on or pack inside.

It should surprise no one that toddlers tend to gravitate toward the most colorful and fun options out there—and this backpack sure does fit the bill. Of course, the brand also makes other cute designs, like rocket ships and rainbows, if your little one prefers. It’s not all about aesthetics, though. Skip Hop’s backpacks also have a host of enviable features, including a larger main compartment, mesh side compartments, adjustable padded straps, and a top grab handle.

Let them say whatever they want to, but sometimes a leash is the safest way to travel with your kid in a crowded spot like an airport or theme park like Disney World—especially if you have a runner on your hands. This cute-as-can-be shark backpack features a built-in safety harness with a 50-inch tether to ensure you and your little one never get separated. It also has a main compartment complete with a matching insulated lunchbox, as well as two mesh side pockets.

Though on the larger side, this backpack is a fun option for taller toddlers or kids approaching kindergarten, since it can grow with them. Like other great backpacks, this has features like a top carry handle, a front zip pocket, and adjustable shoulder straps. But what really sets it apart? The special patent-pending hook-and-loop design system that allows your little one to decorate it to their heart’s content with interchangeable patches (sold separately).

Save when you shop the best toddler backpacks with these Saks Fifth Avenue promo codes.

Another great option for big kids, this backpack is a bit larger than most others on our list, but it has the wide, adjustable straps and the padding you need to keep the weight inside evenly distributed. For convenience and practicality, it also comes with a matching insulated lunch bag that will help keep your kiddo’s meal nice and cool until the lunch bell rings. As a nice bonus, it comes in 22 fun patterns and colors for your child choose from.

This backpack may be suitable for toddlers, but it’s one adults like, too, making it an especially versatile pick for your household. It’s as simple as it gets—a roomy main compartment and a smaller exterior zippered pocket—but what parents love most is the durable canvas construction. It’s water- and stain-resistant, which is perfect for little people who tend to be rough on their belongings.

Save when you shop the best toddler backpacks with these Nordstrom promo codes.

It doesn’t get much cuter than this pint-size pack. It’s so adorable that I’ve borrowed my two-year-old’s on more than one occasion and garnered multiple compliments each time. And although it’s on the smaller side, the backpack doesn’t skimp on functionality, thanks to a main compartment with a two-way top-zip closure, a smaller exterior zip front pocket, side bottle pockets, plus adjustable shoulder straps and a top carry handle. The cherry on top? The whole thing is water-resistant.

Save when you shop the best toddler backpacks with these Nordstrom promo codes.

A grown-up favorite in a toddler size, this backpack is simple yet high-performing. It has two pockets—one roomy interior pocket and one smaller zippered exterior pocket—which is all your little one really needs for a few essentials. It also has all the comfort features they need, like padded adjustable straps, a padded pack, and a chest clip.

Another leashed option for the runners in the bunch, this retro-inspired backpack is far less likely to garner complaints from toddlers who want their freedom. (At least one can hope!) And even tethered, your little one will be perfectly comfortable, thanks to the addition of cushioned, adjustable straps and a secure chest strap. Parents rejoice—the whole thing is machine-washable too.

Save when you shop the best toddler backpacks with these Maisonette promo codes.

It may be a very budget-friendly pick, but this toddler backpack won’t leave you (or your little one) wanting much more. For starters, it comes in a host of fun patterns to delight the kids. More importantly, though, it’s the perfect size for their little bodies and the essentials they need. It also has adjustable padded straps, mesh side pockets, and a top carry handle.

This lightweight backpack was the perfect transitional pick for my preschooler. Though big enough to fit his lunch, a change of clothes, and a folder full of papers every day, the bag itself is made of such a thin material that it never seemed too heavy for him to carry. We did wish for side pockets on more than one occasion or a dedicated water bottle pocket, but ultimately the front zipper pocket served as a suitable alternative for his water bottle. We also had ours monogrammed for an extra sweet touch.

12 Best Toddler Backpacks for Preschool & Daycare, According to Parents | Glamour

Best Back Pack For Kindergarten © 2024 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Glamour may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices