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What to Pack for Preschool (Checklist for Parents of 3-5 Year Olds)

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What to Bring on the First Day of Preschool — A Checklist of Useful Supplies

Figuring out what to pack for preschool can be a little overwhelming, which is why I wanted to share with you this preschool checklist for parents of 3-5 year olds.

While schools typically send out a checklist of what to bring on your child’s first day, you might be getting a little anxious — especially if you’re the type who likes to get prepared well ahead of time.

As the mom of an almost-five-year-old who recently graduated from preschool (and is getting ready to head to kindergarten — ack!), I found the following items to be useful when sending her off to school.

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What to Pack for Preschool: Checklist for Parents

While some of these items might not apply to your situation, this list should help you get started with packing for preschool. 

1. Backpack

A backpack is probably the most exciting item on this list — at least for your preschooler. I let my daughter choose one from Walmart, and she decided on a Frozen 2 backpack.

You’ll find that a backpack, or some type of bag, will be essential for sending the rest of the items on this list to school with your child. Plus, they often come home with worksheets or artwork in their backpacks.

2. Extra Clothes & Socks

Even if your preschooler never has potty accidents, sometimes their clothes get wet or dirty, especially when playing outside. An extra change of clothes and socks are a must.

3. Extra Underwear (if Potty Trained)

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s nice to have a clean change of underwear at preschool, along with an extra change of clothes. 

4. Diapers & Wipes (if Not Potty Trained)

If your child is heading to preschool and isn’t fully potty trained, you’ll want to send extra diapers/pull-ups and wipes in their backpack. 

5. Two One-Gallon Resealable Bags

Resealable plastic bags will come in handy for that extra change of clothes. Label one for clean clothing and the other for soiled. 

Send your child’s extra change of clothes in one baggie, and if an accident happens, the teachers can put the soiled clothing in the other one.

6. Waterproof Name Labels

A permanent marker gets the job done, but personalized name labels like Name Bubbles are much more fun — plus, they’re waterproof and won’t come off unless you intentionally remove them.

Whichever route you take, make sure to label everything with your child’s name to keep their belongings organized throughout the school year.

7. Seasonal Outerwear

Of course, the outerwear your child needs will vary depending on the season. Starting out in the fall, a light jacket should suffice on chilly mornings. 

In snowy climates, you’ll obviously need a bit more:

When sending my daughter to school wearing her boots, I always made sure to put her shoes (inside a plastic bag) into her backpack.

8. Indoor Shoes

Some schools prefer a separate pair of indoor shoes to keep things clean. You’ll want to check your school’s policy ahead of time.

9. Lunch & Snacks (if Not Provided)

Some preschools provide breakfast/lunch and snacks but, if not, you’ll need to pack some healthy foods each day. You may need to come up with some nut-free options depending on your school’s policy.

10. Child’s Medication

If your child needs to take medication during the day, you’ll want to let the school know ahead of time. They will likely require you to bring it in, rather than sending it with your child.

11. Art Supplies (if Not Provided)

Before school started, our preschool asked parents to send money for art supplies so they could purchase what they needed. 

Yours might send a supply list, though, so you will want to buy them ahead of time and send the supplies with your child to school.

12. Sunscreen

If you want your child to use sunscreen during outdoor time, you will likely have to purchase it (we use Green Screen sunscreen) and send it with them to preschool.

13. Hand Lotion

I bought my daughter her own tube of hand lotion and she brought it to school each day in her backpack.

I just made sure to keep it in a plastic baggie to avoid a mess in case it leaked.

14. Lip Balm

I also gave my daughter her own lip balm to keep in her backpack. Of course, I labeled all of her personal care items with her name to keep them from getting mixed up with the other kids’ things.

15. Water Bottle

You may or may not be required to send a water bottle (they can be handy when playing outside on a hot day). If so, make sure it’s easy enough for your child to open and close.

This one is affordable and easy to use. 

Of course, you’ll want to label it with their name to avoid mix-ups.

First Day Readiness Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

Once you have everything ready to go, you might be wondering what else you need to do before the first day of school. 

Here are a few first day readiness tips for you:

  • Label everything! Water bottles, clothing, all of it. We love Name Bubbles washable name labels — read our full review here
  • Prepare clothes and lunches ahead of time. Trust me, the morning rush to get out the door only gets worse when you realize your preschooler doesn’t have any clean socks or their shoes have gone missing!
  • Read books about going to school. Listening to stories about characters who are going to school and being able to see what a school day looks like can help kids feel a little more confident on their first day.
  • Visit the classroom together. Unfortunately, I was never able to see my daughter’s classroom (due to COVID restrictions) but we were able to watch a welcome video that the teachers put together.
  • Stay positive. Keep an enthusiastic tone when talking about preschool, and when dropping your child off, it helps to keep things short and sweet — and hold the tears back until you get back to the car. 😉 

Sending your preschooler off to their first day of school can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

With this list of what to pack for preschool, plus our readiness tips for parents, you can confidently send your kiddo off to school this fall.

Read More:

3 Essential Elements of a Cozy Kids’ Reading Nook

How to Get Organized for Back to School With Name Bubbles Waterproof Name Labels

One Thing You NEED to Do if Your Child Hates Reading

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