- At My Three's school, it is compulsory to wear a uniform. Although I find the uniform shop a struggle every year I really don't mind that they have to wear one. I think it's best that all the children have the same universal uniform. It gives them all an even basis and there can be no bullying for what a child wears. Our school is very good at trying to keep all their pupils the same as they ask for no branded clothes in PE uniforms and to buy as plain as possible school shoes and trainers. This is something that Schoolwear Association work hard to promote in all schools too. They work with parents, schools and retailers to make sure that they all know / get the benefits of pupils wearing a uniform. They say that wearing a uniform gives each child a sense of belonging. They also say that students who wear school specific uniform are said to behave better, have better attendance and potentially achieve more academically.
- Shoes are probably the most important piece of school uniform I buy. When I look at buying shoes for My Three I look at the quality, comfort and style of shoes available. I want something that looks good and will last more than a term but as the boys have to wear them most of the day they have to be comfortable. I like that Chatham’s children’s deck shoes look stylish, but are practical and comfortable. For little ones that can tie their own laces Chatham's Skipper shoes are ideal or for those who can't or prefer a Velcro fastening shoe there are their Anchor shoes. Their shoes are made from premium leather but have rubber soles for extra grip. Both pairs of shoes come in brown, black or navy and cost £39 and are available online from Chatham.
- As we know school uniform, books, bags etc can be expensive to buy and no one likes the added expense when something is lost or misplaced. I always ensure My Three's things are labelled but in the past, we have lost things when labels have come off or when the pen I have used has washed away. To solve the problem this year I will be making the most of the Brother PT-H105 handheld labeller. The printer is designed for labelling anything that you can possibly think of and especially all of your children's school things, from jumpers and lunchboxes to books, PE kits and coats. The printer produces hard wearing labels that can stand up to the demands of school life. I love that the printer is portable and easy to use. There’s a range of labelling tapes available including iron-on fabric. You can make each label unique as the printer has 9 fonts, 178 symbols and 7 frames that you can use to customise your labels.
I think stationary shopping is My Three's favourite part of the annual back to school shopping trip. They love nothing better than a new pencil case filled full of new pens, pencils, pencil crayons etc. But as they are in different classes / age groups what they need in a pencil case differs. Here are a few ideas for you if like me you have children with different abilities when it comes to writing, colouring etc.
- Bic has a wide range of pencils, pens, felt tips, colouring pencils and crayons available for any child heading back to school. college or even those big kids heading to university. For younger children, they have a range of products to help children learn. Prices start at £1.99 so they won't break the bank and are designed for little hands so a little more resilient to snapping when being used. For the bigger kids, there are a variety of ball point pens available in an array of coloured inks - perfect for class work, coursework and homework.
- When I was little I would have loved the Stabilo range of pens that are designed for left and right handers. As a left-hander, myself pens used to always feel awkward in my hands and I can't help but feel that having had a pen designed especially for a left-hander might have helped me. Stabilo has different ergonomic products for children of all ages, mechanical pencils for those just learning to write, ball point pens for those who can write with a pen and they even have a range of refillable pens for those who like to write in real ink. Their mini highlighters are both cool and cute too. They would look great in any pencil case.
- This year is the first year that Nathan has been allowed to take a pencil case to school with him and he is so excited to be able to take a Spiderman Pencil case filled full of stationary bits and pieces. It contains over 30 pieces of stationary and is perfect for either taking to school or being used at home for all that homework. Items included are pencils, pens, pencil crayons, a pencil sharpener, eraser, scissors, ruler and colouring pens. You can buy this set from the Disney Store for £10.95. There is also a different set available from the Disney Store that includes a pencil case, sharpener, eraser, ruler, pencils, notebook and folder, this set is also priced at £10.95 and at the minute you can buy all your back to school Disney items on offer at three items for the price of two.
- For students who have to write their coursework up on a computer let me introduce you to Okiiyo. There are 5 Okiiyo smart pals to collect. Each one is an SD card reader and each one comes with a lanyard so you can keep your card reader safe. It has a detachable head that can be used as stylus too. A pretty cool way to transport all your coursework without the hassle of continuous emails or the possibility of losing a memory card.
- I always like to have stationary items at home in a big box as you never know what things we asked to make as part of homework projects. Within my box of tricks I have pens, pencils, sticky tape, Post-It notes and glue. I have found you can never have enough of these items as there is always something that needs sticking or labelling up. Over the holidays Callum has had to make a family shield and all my little bits and pieces came in handy.
Each week the boys always get some form of homework whether it be maths, handwriting, phonics, spelling or topic work for subjects like History and Science. Having products to help with this helps me no end.
- For helping younger children with their phonics there is a DVD available to buy called Phonics School. This DVD is exclusively distributed by BBC Worldwide Learning and introduces your little ones to the world of phonics via cute cartoon characters. Phonics School tells the story of the young 'phonikers'. They learn that they can transform into anything that begins with their sound, under the guidance of Master Anok, their bear teacher. The DVD contains 16 episodes all of which were expertly developed in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- For those who need a little help with their time's tables. ZooBookoo has the perfect learning aid in the form of a double-sided, re-useable place mat. Each mat comes with a dry wipe pen so your little ones can practice their time's tables from 1 right through to 12. Once they have written their answers they can use the secret decoder to see if they got the answers right. I love that the mats can be used over and over again so you can keep using them to help with tests and revision.
- I love the idea of things being reusable. Especially workbooks that can be used by your little ones to practice their handwriting, spellings etc. My Three used to use a lot of paper and although we do recycle this once it's been used I still didn't like it. I can't wait for them to use the reusable whiteboard notebooks from Magic Whiteboard. There are a variety of reusable books available in different sized pages including, plain, lined and squared pages - perfect for any school work. You simply write on each page with a dry marker/correctable pen and once you are done and it has been checked you can simply erase it quickly and easily with a wipe or tissue and start all over again. Books start at £1.99 each.
- A Rant & Rave Journal (£9.99) will inspire your children to write, draw and doodle about the things they really care about. This is a unique journal with a fun twist. It has a double cover that lets you rave about the good bits, flip it over and the journal becomes a place to rant and let off steam. Guided prompts within the journal give your child a place to rant and rave about important friendships, playground antics, teachers, and lots more.
- Both Callum and Nathan take packed lunches to school with them. Callum now takes a plain lunchbox because at the grand old age of 10 he has decided that characters are so not cool anymore. Nathan on the other hand still loves when we got on the "lunchbox" shop as he gets to choose which one he likes for the next school year. The Disney Store has a huge range of lunchboxes and matching drinks bottles (£10.95 and £5.95) for both boys and girls. Nathan loves their Avengers range and can't wait to show his new lunchbox off at school.
- My Three are allowed water bottles in class and although the younger two love their character themed bottles Callum is now too cool for such things. Luckily for him, the new BRITA Fill&Go Bottle (£14.99) is both stylish and practical. This new bottle is different to others though as it filters your water while you drink. All you need to do is insert the BRITA Fill&Go Filter Disc once a week and fill up with tap water. There are four colours available all of which can be cleaned in the dishwasher.