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This fall going back to school means a whole lot more than simply heading to class and debuting a few new outfits. It’s a big-deal return to routine that’s been a little lacking. Help your minis embrace the transition—whether they’ll be attending IRL or keeping it virtual—with creative desk essentials that bring fun to any academic task at hand. From an interactive, color-in goals poster to a desktop lazy Susan catchall, these 20 back-to-school ideas will get your kids excited for day one (who knew “post-pandemic” would be one of their milestones?) and help them stay organized all year long. 

Plan Ahead

As any family knows, keeping track of everyone’s schedules is imperative, especially when it comes to those many “surprise” school deadlines (“Your science project is due today?!”). These fun planners—a colorful oversize wall calendar, a one-week dry-erase board, and a spiral-bound 17-month agenda pack with helpful prompts and stickers—make that task infinitely more enjoyable. Plus this clever goals tracker will help your kiddo set daily intentions over the course of a month. 

Control the Clutter

Desks can get overrun with bits and bobs quickly. Help kids contain the chaos (while still keeping essentials in reach) with these hardworking catchalls. Most Modest’s powder-coated aluminum caddy with a solid white oak handle comes in seven colors and has compartments for items large and small. And West Elm’s lazy Susan–style desk organizer rotates 360 degrees, giving easy access to all sides with a spin of the wheel.

Set Up for Shelfie Success

Beautify their bookshelf with these colorful accessories: a modern take on the standard-issue composition notebook by Yoobi that comes in a set of four different colors (plus for every purchase made an item will be donated to a child in need) and a set of four primary-hued bookends that incorporate an element of play—they can be stacked in various configurations.

Stay Tidy—But Make It Fun

There will be no humming and hawing over staying organized with these creative-minded accessories on hand. A silicone “grass” patch and a clever zipper pouch (attached to an oversize elastic band that fits snugly around a book or notebook) keep miscellaneous odds and ends contained, while a set of 10 happy face metal clips streamline papers (up to 30 sheets per clip). Eraser shavings and general desk dust can be swept up in the most mesmerizing way—by running a tiny car (outfitted with supermini brushes and a dustpan) over them.

Maximize Every Surface

Take advantage of vertical space with these two solutions: a modular pegboard system featuring two shelves, a wire basket, and four pegs that can be configured to fit your needs, and stackable storage bins that can be stacked three high and have fold-down handles for easy carrying.

Just Add Finishing Touches

Round out your little’s workspace with these multitasking wares: a task lamp that doubles as a pencil cup—bonus: it has an easy-to-access USB port for charging gadgets—and a storage unit that’s also a side table. (This reintroduction, based on a classic Kartell design that debuted in 1969, is made with an eco-friendly bioplastic.)

Serve Up Some Cafeteria Cool

Make BYO lunch much more enticing with these fun and functional supplies: insulated food storage with a Transformers-like spoon that collapses down; pretty printed reusable snack bags; a sleek ice pack to keep it all cool; and the pièce de résistance, a color-blocked insulated lunch bag that has an easy-to-clean lining.

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