Your complete guide to back-to-school essential shopping

Your complete guide to back-to-school essential shopping

kids hat

Your complete guide to back-to-school essential shopping

The new school year is just around the corner and with it comes back to school shopping.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of supplies. So, before you head on down to your closest shops to stock up on those classroom essentials make sure you read our hand 10-point checklist!

essential back to school shopping list

1. Backpack

The first cab off the rank is a good-quality, comfortable backpack for your child to take their belongings to and from school each day. Be sure to get one that’s big enough to house all the essentials, while still being comfortable for your little or big one to carry around with them.

Before you hit the bag aisle, it’s worth checking your school’s policy. Some institutions have a school backpack or certain requirements. Regardless of whether your school has its own bag, you can’t go past a functional backpack for all those extracurricular activities, or when visiting friends.


2. Lunchbox

With so many different styles of lunchboxes on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky. From bento boxes to single compartment lunch boxes, choose the one that’s going to suit you and your kiddo’s needs. Whether that is a lunch box with plenty of compartments or a more simple, easy to use design.

Make sure you choose a lunchbox that’s big enough to fit the essentials, sturdy enough to withstand daily use over the next 12 months or longer, and leakproof to contain spillages.

lunch bag

3. Insulated lunch bag

Keep food cool and fresh all day long with an insulated lunch bag. Make sure it’s big enough to fit their lunchbox and an ice brick. Some even come with compartments to store their drink bottle, making it a true all-in-one.

drink bottle

4. Water Bottle

Encourage your kids to stay hydrated throughout the day with a good quality water bottle. Available in a range of different shapes, sizes and colours, you’ll find bottles to suit even the fussiest of drinkers.

We recommend leakproof bottles to avoid wet messes throughout their school bag. If possible, choose non-toxic materials and a design that’s easy for little hands to open.

school socks

5. School shoes

Kid’s feet are constantly growing, so chances are you’ll need to pick up a new pair of school shoes each year to keep up with them. Shoes should fit correctly, be comfortable and fulfill their purpose – after all, they’re going to be running and playing in them!

Whether you choose more expensive shoes or lean towards a cheaper option, there’s no right or wrong approach, as long as they do the job properly. Don’t forget to pick up a pair of runners for sports classes too!

kids hat

6. School hat

A lot of schools have a “no hat, no play policy”, which means your kiddo might just miss out on precious playtime if they don’t have one.

If your school doesn’t already have a hat included in the school uniform, then be sure to grab one while picking up the rest of the school supplies to protect your child on the playground. We recommend choosing a hat that’s made of fabric that offers UV protection with a broad brim to keep the sun off their faces.

school shoes

7. School accessories

Once you’ve got your kid’s school uniform, shoes and hat sorted, you can’t forget about those other hair and clothing accessories that must meet the school uniform requirements.

Things like socks, hair ties, rain jackets and more often have to match the school colours, so be sure to check the uniform policy before jumping the gun and buying any old accessories.

kids laptop

8. School laptop

As technology-assisted learning becomes more and more prevalent, so too does the need for students to have access to a laptop or PC. Depending on the school your child attends, they may be provided with a laptop, whereas others may require you to bring your own device.

With so many options available, it’s important to weigh up the cost with the features available, such as battery life, performance and portability.

school supplies

9. School supplies

Along with the big-ticket items, you’ll also need to stock up on the smaller essential school supplies before your kids head back to the classroom. While some schools may supply everything for a fee, others partner with local stationery supply stores or just provide a list and leave the hard work up to you. If you’ve got to track down the goods yourself, your kid’s school should provide a list of what’s required for the year. Here are a few essentials you can count on being listed:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Highlighters
  • Crayons, coloured pencils, pens or markers
  • Calculator
  • Ruler
  • Notebooks
  • Binders
  • Folders

name labels

10. Personalised labels

After you’ve just spent big stocking up on school supplies, the last thing you want is for these items to be misplaced on the first day back in the classroom. To reduce the risk of your kids losing their belongings, we recommend picking up a pack of personalised labels so you can keep track of their bits and pieces. You can opt for waterproof labels for items like lunchboxes, water bottles and even school jumpers and hats that may find themselves in the wash from time to time.

You’ll be the most organised parent in the pick-up zone thanks to our guide to back-to-school essential shopping!


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V.Happy Co: Bringing to life every letter of the alphabet!

V.Happy Co: Bringing to life every letter of the alphabet!

v happy co

V.Happy Co: Bringing to life every letter of the alphabet!

The alphabet has never looked better than it does with V.Happy Co!

V.Happy Co launched in 2019 with the desire to create educationally inspired and playfully designed products for modern living, with a focus on encouraging language awareness with smart art. So basically what that means is super cool, colourful alphabet prints and products that look great in your home at the same time as encouraging early learning in your kiddos. We sure do like the sound of that.

The team at V.Happy Co create personalised art prints that bring to life every letter of the alphabet, alongside a range of lifestyle and paper goods products, created to add joy and fun and to captivate the hearts of kids and adults alike.

V happy co

More than just pretty pictures

The alphabet is the building block of literacy. Early exposure to letters can pique your child’s interest in these strange squiggles!

V.Happy Co designs are highly graphic and perfect for playful spaces. Collections are carefully designed, with a quality over quantity approach and proudly designed and manufactured in Australia with environmentally conscious materials and using sustainable practices. If that’s not ticking all the boxes, we don’t know what is!

v happy co

Smart Art

It’s playful, super-cute and so much fun! There’s an A for Apple, a B for Balloon, a C for Caterpillar and the list goes on…each print is made to order with the option of individual letters, the full alphabet or personalised prints with your kiddo’s name.

v happy co

Bag Buddies

But that’s not all! The popular alphapics range comes to life with V.Happy Co bag buddies. Personalise your little one’s backpack, keep track of swimming bags, library bags, travel bags or pencil cases – all bag tags are made by hand, making them extra special. Not just for kids, great gifts for teachers, friends, or (if you’re anything like me) yourself!

The team at V.Happy Co also create super fun cards for big and little folk and acrylic art for colourful, playful spaces!

For more information or to buy:


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Muluzu Pillowcase Pals: The calming sleep-support sidekick designed for kids by kids!

Muluzu Pillowcase Pals: The calming sleep-support sidekick designed for kids by kids!

muluzu pillowcase pals

Muluzu Pillowcase Pals: The calming sleep-support sidekick designed for kids by kids!

If there’s anything we can relate to as parents, it’s the sheer and utter torture of sleep deprivation.

We’ve all been there in one form or another over the years; probably multiple times, with multiple children, night after night… after long, arduous night, silent screaming into our pillow ‘GO TO SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!’ in the general vicinity of our children.

And while many of us use caffeine and comfort eating carbs as a remedy for the bone aching tiredness that is parenting children struggling with sleep, one (high achieving!) sleep-obsessed family were coming up with a solution instead.

Muluzu Pillowcase Pals

Enter the Muluzu crew. Four-child family and chief creators and imaginators of the Muluzu Pillowcase pal (we’ll get to that bit in a minute).

Inspired by the stress his own bedtime caused when he was younger, Kyle (13) and his older sister Samara (14), were talking about how some kids really struggle with going to bed. Kyle was a fidgeter and felt lonely at night, which made it hard for him to settle and fall asleep. Even when he managed to finally drift off, he’d sleep restlessly, often reawakening only to start the process all over again.

Like so many other kiddos who struggle with falling asleep, Kyle sought out sensory and tactile objects to help him self-soothe and relax.

Eventually, after much trial and error, Kyle and his fambam found a combination of items that helped him self-settle and transition to a peaceful, soothing, and well-rested sleep.

Wanting to help other sleep stressed sausages who just needed a little extra comfort to nod off, Kyle, Samara and their family set about creating for other kids a soothing pillowcase buddy that offers all the tactile and sensory features that helped Kyle drift off to the land of nod when he was a tired little tyke struggling to snooze.

A family affair

The creative genius behind the Muluzu Pillowcase Pal truly is a family affair, with each member of the fam taking on a different, perfectly assigned role within the Muluzu production line.

With Samara producing the initial genius prototype and product line expansion, Kyle product testing and head of market research (someone has to sus out the street cred of the product with the cool kids after all), and older sibs Jord and Cody handling shipping, social media and design respectively, the whole crew is involved. And let’s not leave out Mum, Lou, who -working around the shift work of her regular day to day- heads up the biz of managing the brand + all the other Mum related mayhem she has to sort out along the way. Phew. This is one impressive family. Probably because they get so much sleep these days!

And you can too!

The crew assures us that…

Muluzu Pillowcase Pals will: 

  • replace your evening battles with beautifully calm, dreamily stress-free bedtime routines
  • help your little ones learn to self-soothe and self-settle so they can fall asleep with ease and comfort
  • help your entire household get a great night’s sleep, night after night
  • share the bedtime love with a unique, ethically made sleep product, designed by kids, for kids

Pillowcase Pals

You can provide the ultimate Calming Sleep Experience for your kiddo with Muluzu Pillowcase Pals!

Familiar and comforting tactile fabrics create a sense of security for your child, allowing them to self-settle and self-soothe for optimum relaxation. This encourages a no-fuss transition to a peaceful sleep, leaving your kiddo well-rested to be their best self.

Ideal for all bedtime routines, holiday travel, sleepovers with friends, or lounging around watching TV. It really is a Pillowcase Pal!

Pillowcase Pals feature:

  • Warm and inviting faces set inside a heart shape to foster a sense of love and protection
  • 300TC cotton pillowcase
  • Big soft plush flippers to calm and promote relaxation
  • Shiny patterned satin under ears for that silky touch  to encourage self -soothing
  • A companion Snuggle Toy for little hands
  • A secret pocket for special treasures or to tuck Snuggle Toys into bed
  • Encouragement Cards to create and maintain positive sleep behaviours

Each Pillowcase Pals pack contains:

  • 1x Pillowcase Pal (52cm x 70cm / 20” x 28”)
  • 1x Snuggle Toy
  • 1x Set of Encouragement Cards

pillowcase pals

Meet the Pillowcase Pals

The practical and super cute sleep buddies will provide a sense of security and comfort for your kids.

The original Muluzu Pillowcase Pals are ideal for all kids, especially those aged between 2 – 10 years, and are most favourited by kids who:

  • Require extra comfort and protection at bedtime
  • Have trouble falling asleep independently
  • Are tactile and sensory seekers
  • Are mildly anxious sleepers
  • Are learning to self-settle and self-soothe
  • Are unwilling to go to bed

pillowcase pals pillowcase pals pillowcase pals

Tired parents can finally rejoice, this is the stuff dreams are made of… literally!

The original Muluzu Pillowcase Pals are not a purchase; they’re an investment for the entire household. Oh by the way, the unique Muluzu Pillowcase Pals are also a great gift idea for other parents facing bedtime battles; they’ll love you for helping them get a good night sleep too!

For more information or to buy:


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Introducing kids to calm breathing techniques with Brave and Able Breathing Buddies

Introducing kids to calm breathing techniques with Brave and Able Breathing Buddies

brave and able breathing buddies

Introducing kids to calm breathing techniques with Brave and Able Breathing Buddies

With recent news of a hybrid return-to-school plan and the ongoing uncertainty for families going into 2022, many kiddos may be dealing with BIG emotions right now, and parents looking for tangible strategies to restore some cool and calm in their lives.

There’s a lot going on right now for our little people, particularly with the start of a new school year looming and the changeable nature in how it’s going to be delivered. Starting a new school year always brings big feelings, but in these uncertain times, they might be bigger than usual…and may go hand-in-sweaty-little-hand with some inevitable nervousness or worry, particularly around how this might look different to start with.

brave and able

Fight, flight or… Excite?

Did you know our brains use the same part to tell us if we’re scared or excited?

For kids, this can mean that happy feelings can be overwhelming too! Sometimes they’re so full of excitement that their brains get confused and the big feelings in their bodies spill out into all kinds of confusing behaviours.

So how can we help?

One of the best ‘tools’ for kids (and adults) is calm breathing. With some slow, strong, calm breaths it’s easier to break out of our body’s natural fight, flight, freeze response and figure out if our brain is scared, or just excited to be trying something new.

We’ve found out a little bit more about the science behind calm breathing techniques how Brave and Able Breathing Buddies work to build these lifelong skills, empowering kids to be their most brave and able self, in any situation.

Introduce Calm Breathing with Brave and Able Breathing Buddies

Developed in consultation with children’s psychologists and educators, Brave and Able Breathing Buddies offer slow, deep breathing guidance without the need for an app or a smartphone. Guided light teaches kids how to calmly take control of their breathing and regain focus.

This skill helps them focus in the moment on something within their body, and within their control – as opposed to the “the thing” (or things) that are making them sad, mad, or frustrated. It also helps them to slow down physically, stopping within a moment and acts as a ‘pause’ button for them to take a break from their thinking and emotions.

Scientific studies have shown that slow, deep breathing has the ability to reduce anxiety, increase confidence and memory, and even grow new brain cells! Slow, controlled breathing skills are the most widely used, first prescribed coping technique in managing anxiety.

Calm breathing with your kids

The most important factors to remember when teaching your kids to breathe calmly, is the acronym CALM (we do like to make it easy for you):

  • C – create a safe space
  • A – accept feelings that arise
  • L – learn when calm
  • M – make it fun

brave and able

Let’s break it down in a bit more detail.

C – Create a safe place – we want to create a safe place for our kids to practice breathing – this might be a special place in the house, or backyard, or a physical item they connect to ‘calm’ – like a toy, or sensory activities. This might also be about creating a safe space mentally – when there is no time pressure, with or without parent assistance (depending on their preference).

A – Accept feelings that may arise – meaning you may need to be extra patient, accepting and expect a variety of feelings. Including resistance, boredom, frustration and anxiety around practicing breathing. Like all things, it takes practice and persistence. It’s okay for these emotions to arise, they do in adults too. Make space for them, normalise it and breathe through it.

L – Learn when calm – we cannot implement a new skill or coping mechanism, like calm breathing, when we’re in the middle of feeling big feelings. We need to embed and practice these skills when we are calm and when we are capable of learning using our frontal, cognitive brain. This helps us feel more confident and comfortable in implementing it when we are struggling or challenged.

This means we need our kids to learn and regularly practice when we are calm – ideally every day, so that it is accessible and easy to implement when the big feelings come up. Once we have mastered it while we are calm – we can practice it when big emotions come up. As a bonus, research has shown that practicing deep, calm breathing regularly improves mental health and gives a sense of calm – meaning it acts as a preventer for big emotions to arise.

M – Make it fun! – Use imagination. Use toys they love. Bring a Brave or Able Breathing Buddy along and do it together. Ensure it’s something that they enjoy, not a punishment or something they do not want to do.

Some fun ways we can do that include being creative with breathing exercises, for example:

  • Practise calm, slow breathing near flowers in the garden
  • Have your child blow out the candles on a make-believe birthday cake, drawing a deep breath in and blowing it out strongly through the mouth
  • Practise with bubbles – try and get them to blow big, slow bubbles – blowing out their breath soft and long

Implementing calm breathing with big emotions

It is hard to remember to use calm breathing when big feelings come up – partly because of how our brains navigate big emotions and partly because it’s not necessarily intuitive, for adults or for kids. Kids need our help to help them regulate. So how can we gently remind them?

  • Get down on their level – give them eye contact and talk to them softly and calmly
  • Model it yourself and explain what you are doing – e.g. “Mum’s feeling some big feelings at the moment, so I’m going to go and do some calm breaths”
  • Help them find a safe place
  • Offer to do it with them – and respect their choice either way

One of the best things about breathing is we can do it anywhere – we always have our breath! We can practise in the car, in our bed, or on a walk.

Whenever we practise and build the skill of breathing, remember the CALM principles. There are so many different breathing exercises out there – and different ones work for different children and people.

Practice makes progress

We need to build the skill of calm breathing when we’re are calm so that we can use our conscious brain to learn, develop and master the skill. This means we need to practise it often – daily, and in a safe place where it’s unlikely to perceive or have any real threats. Practise it daily and after a while, you and your child will be able to use this skill when big waves of emotions hit.

Calm breathing is a great tool for helping our kids to regulate their emotions and improve their wellbeing. When practising, we need to remember the CALM principles.

There are many ways we can try to practise and it might take some time to work out what works best for you and your kids and family!

For more information on Brave and Able Breathing Buddies: 


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Celebrate Summer with Sportscraft Childrenswear Collection

Celebrate Summer with Sportscraft Childrenswear Collection

sportscraft kids

Celebrate Summer with Sportscraft Childrenswear Collection

Welcome Australian summer in style; The Sportscraft Childrenswear Collection has officially launched!

Designed so families can focus on having fun, we can’t get enough of these relaxed, affordable, everyday looks you and your little ones are sure to love.

sportscraft kids

Timeless styles

The Sportscraft Childrenswear collection features timeless styles in fresh colour palettes, with a beautiful assortment of lightweight florals, linens and easy wear cottons.

The range includes babywear, girls wear, and boys wear from infants up to 10 years old, perfect for holidays and summer evenings!

sportscraft kids collection


sportscraft kids

Clothes for the whole crew

The Sportscraft Childrenswear Collection focuses on natural fibres for kids to breathe in, clothes that kids aged 0-10 can live and play in, dress up or play up in!

sportscraft kids

Designed for dancing and playing

From fun prints, to sundresses, the collection offers easy to wear looks for every kind of summer adventure!

Made to last

Lovingly made from high-quality fabrications, the Sportscraft babywear promises day-to-day comfort and ease, with mix and match styles built to last!

sportscraft kids

sportscraft kids

Small Designs for Big Adventures

Invite some fun into your little one’s wardrobe this summer with the Sportscraft Childrenswear collection, welcome warm weather days in style! Easy to wear, so families can focus on what’s important…having fun!

sportscraft babies sportscraft baby sportscraft kids

Available in limited distribution through the Sportscraft retail stores’ network and online from November 30, retailing from $39.99 to $119.99 until sold out.

For more information or to view the collection:



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‘I want to be a Scientist’: A book to inspire curious little Scientists

‘I want to be a Scientist’: A book to inspire curious little Scientists

i want to be a scientist

‘I want to be a Scientist’: A book to inspire curious little Scientists

From nature, to energy, our bodies, and the stars, ‘I want to be a Scientist’, a book featuring South Aussie Scientists, encourages young children to choose what interests them and delve into the curious world of science!

Perfect for the future pharmacists, next generation Geologists and imminent immunologists among our little ones!

i want to be a scientist linda matto

Designed to celebrate our wonderful and diverse Scientists working in and for our community and environment, this reader aims to connect young children with the characters and see themselves as a Scientist through role play, identifying their own curiosities with facts and activities and hopefully aspiring to one day become a Scientist!

The book looks at the many different types of Scientists that work in all different settings, and introduces some of our South Aussie Scientists to find out what they do!

i want to be a scientist

i want to be a scientist linda matto

‘I want to be a Scientist’ is available to purchase in the South Australian Museum shop and Zoos SA Shop at Monarto Safari Park and Adelaide Zoo RRP $19.95.

To buy online: 


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