The best back-to-school products and where to buy them in Chicago

Half of acing the first day is about showing up with the right goods. We review our favorite products of the B2S season and tell you how to get them in your backpack. (What backpack, you ask? Click to find our fave!)

The perfect pack

It's hard to find a backpack to fit your preschooler or tiny kindergartner, but Simply Good has come up with a winner with My First Bag. Not only is it the right size for little bodies, it has a separate insulated compartment for kids' snacks or lunches. $27.50,


Sneaky Snacks

The fight with preschoolers over getting more veggies in their diets gets easier with Revolution Foods' Mashups Fruit and Veggie Smoothies. The organic snacks hide the taste of veggies with the taste of fruit in a fun, squeezable pack just right for little hands. Pack Carroty Chop, Blueberry Blitz and Beetbox Berry in the lunch box and feel good about it. $4.99 per pack, or at Whole Foods.


If it's time to get your older elementary or middle school child a cell phone to give you that added sense of security for afterschool activities or study sessions at friends, you might want the Pantech Crossover from AT&T. With a 3.1-inch touch screen and full sliding keyboard, the Android phone is easy enough to use for calls and texts from mom, but allows kids all the fun of easily downloading apps (Angry Birds, anyone?) when their homework is done. $69.99


No more tangles

End the tears and fights over combing your little one's hair with L'Oreal Professionnel's Series Nature Tendresse Shampoo and Leave-In Detangler. We tested it on a child who has never had a detangler work before, but this one did the trick. No tears. Best of all, it's natural and smells nice. Shampoo $19, detangler $14, or select salons.


Calendar Control

While modern moms and dads are turning to electronic calendars, nothing beats the old-fashioned way of keeping everyone on the same page. The Organized Family School Year Calendar from Glow Baby might be the best calendar for your busy family. It gives everyone in the family a look at the month ahead, but also features an additional 52 removable weekly planner pages to let mom or dad see the details that make up the week. Filling it up is on you. $26,


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