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Top Back-To-School Trends For Kids

Aug 8, 2018

by Katie Hawley

If it feels like you blinked and suddenly fall is right around the corner, don’t panic: We promise there’s still ample time to check some final must-do items off the old summer bucket list. But as you squeeze in those last-minute beach trips and backyard barbecues, if you’ve got little ones at home, it’s also time to start getting excited about back-to-school season—and this year, there’s lots for families to look forward to.

“This fall, parents are putting more of an emphasis on creativity, self expression, and individuality when it comes to tackling their back-to-school lists,” reports Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson. Forget one-size-fits-all gear and accessories: From unexpected animal motifs to inclusive toys to cheerful duds championing favorite causes, the biggest kid-friendly trends of the season are all about helping your mini-me stand out and make their dazzling, one-of-a-kind personality known.

Read on to discover some of Dayna’s favorite examples of these kid-friendly trends—and tell us about your all-time favorite back-to-school Etsy purchase in the comments below.

Inclusive toys

Every child comes into the world with their own unique point of view—so why should all their playthings look the same? “It’s so important for children of all backgrounds and abilities to have the opportunity to see themselves in the toys and games they play with,” says Dayna. And this season, Etsy sellers are celebrating the differences that make us beautiful, and reflecting them back in a line of handcrafted, highly personalized toys. “From multiracial dolls with skin tones of every shade to dolls with hearing aids and sensory-sensitive toys, playtime can—and should—be fun and inclusive.”

Llama drama

Our love of unicorns will never fade, but this fall, “it’s time for a new animal to take a turn in the spotlight,” says Dayna. Introducing: llamas. These cuties might be native to South America, but if the recent explosion of llama-adorned items on Etsy is any indication, their appeal is undeniably global. This school year, get ready to see these four-legged fuzzy friends show up on everything from personalized lunch bags to baby mobiles.

Self-care for kids

Healthy habits start young, and in an increasingly fast-paced, hyper-connected world, it’s more important than ever to encourage kids to prioritize their physical and mental health from the get-go. Whether you’re heading to a Mommy-and-me yoga class, or indulging in an extra-long bath time (cue the bubbles!), self-care can take many forms—but some of our favorites for fall put an emphasis on education. Help kids remember to check in on their well-being with a colorful four-pack of vinyl stickers reminding them to eat food, drink water, nap, and breathe, or show them how to pay it forward with an idea box full of wooden coins labeled with assorted acts of kindness. Our favorite? “Share a smile with someone.”

Little change-makers

“Today’s families are more engaged than ever in social, political, and environmental issues,” says Dayna—and it’s never too early to start educating little ones on the importance of being an active citizen of the world. Whether you’re volunteering at your local senior center, learning about sustainable food production at a nearby farm, or just taking your rescue pup out for a stroll, consider bringing your kiddos along for the ride and helping them dress the part with an on-message T-shirt or pin. Because, as Free To Be Kids reminds us with this ethically produced toddler top: “The world isn’t going to change itself.”

Rainbow bright

“Rainbows are the ultimate sign of happiness and optimism,” says Dayna, who’s calling them out as a trending motif to watch for back-to-school 2018. From literal interpretations you can hang on your wall in fiber-art or decal form to more abstract versions including a particularly fierce made-to-order denim jacket with rainbow-fringes sleeves, there’s no place this cheerful staple isn’t surfacing for kids. We were starting to feel jealous—until we realized the jacket comes in adult sizes too.

Hands-on DIYs

Sure, childhood can be messy, but this fall parents are leaning in and embracing the chaos with a slew of fun hands-on projects and activities. “The do-it-yourself trend is fun for all involved and promotes quality family time,” says Dayna. And this season’s most popular picks are all about encouraging creativity and self-expression—and giving your mini-artists room to let their imaginations run wild. Whether they’re playing toymaker by decorating a stuffed animal in the colors and patterns of their choosing, or donning their architect hat to assemble a modular wooden dollhouse based on a blueprint all their own, prepare to be impressed by the results.

Milestone signs

A picture is worth a thousand words—but that doesn’t mean your most meaningful snaps can’t benefit from a few carefully selected ones in the frame. “This year, personalize that treasured memory with a trendy sign that will make your kid stand out,” says Dayna. Make your first-day photos pop with a personalized prop—or use the same approach to celebrate another kind of exciting milestone, like a new addition to the family. Created with social media in mind, there’s a photo-ready milestone sign designed to help you capture all the moments that matter.

Shop kids and babies

A Little Dirt Never Hurt, Organic Shirt, Gender Neutral Baby Clothes, Outdoor Baby, Unisex Baby Clothes, Baby Clothes, Baby Bodysuit
A Little Dirt Never Hurt, Organic Shirt, Gender Neutral Baby Clothes, Outdoor Baby, Unisex Baby Clothes, Baby Clothes, Baby Bodysuit
$27.99 USD
Save the Bees Kids Shirt, Organic Kids Clothes, Gender Neutral Baby, Organic Kids Tshirt, Save the Bees Shirt, Organic Cotton Shirt, Bees
Save the Bees Kids Shirt, Organic Kids Clothes, Gender Neutral Baby, Organic Kids Tshirt, Save the Bees Shirt, Organic Cotton Shirt, Bees
$27.99 USD
Adopt Don't Shop Pins / Pet Adoption Pin / Adopt Pin / Pet Rescue Pin / Animal Rescue / Rescue Pet Button / Rescue Pet Pins / Rescue Pins
Adopt Don't Shop Pins / Pet Adoption Pin / Adopt Pin / Pet Rescue Pin / Animal Rescue / Rescue Pet Button / Rescue Pet Pins / Rescue Pins
$5.00 USD
Young Activist Shirt, Kids Activist T-Shirt, Baby Toddler T-Shirt, Social Justice for Kids, Protest Shirt, Woke Shirt, Woke Fashion, Leaders
Young Activist Shirt, Kids Activist T-Shirt, Baby Toddler T-Shirt, Social Justice for Kids, Protest Shirt, Woke Shirt, Woke Fashion, Leaders
$16.95 USD
Kids World Changer Shirt - Child Activist - Raising Word Changers - Little Changer
Kids World Changer Shirt - Child Activist - Raising Word Changers - Little Changer
$15.95 USD
Hearing aid tilda doll, fabric doll with cochlear implant, girl figurine, gift for teen girls, brown hair doll, pretend play dressed toy
Hearing aid tilda doll, fabric doll with cochlear implant, girl figurine, gift for teen girls, brown hair doll, pretend play dressed toy
$67.00 USD
Custom Family Portrait of 5 Custom Dolls Wooden Dolls Family Portrait Hand-Painted Peg Dolls Wooden Toys Peg Doll Cake Topper Goose Grease
Custom Family Portrait of 5 Custom Dolls Wooden Dolls Family Portrait Hand-Painted Peg Dolls Wooden Toys Peg Doll Cake Topper Goose Grease
$235.00 USD
Cloth Doll with Pigtail Black Hair, Light Olive Skin, and a Removable Dark Purple Hijab
Cloth Doll with Pigtail Black Hair, Light Olive Skin, and a Removable Dark Purple Hijab
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Wooden baby gym mobiles. Set of 3: cactus, llama, ring. Desert. Boho. Travel. Play Gym Accessory. Activity center toys. Baby Shower Gift
Wooden baby gym mobiles. Set of 3: cactus, llama, ring. Desert. Boho. Travel. Play Gym Accessory. Activity center toys. Baby Shower Gift
$37.49 USD
Back to school planner band - llama bookmark and clippies set accessory - planners happy mambi bullet journals - teachers gifts
Back to school planner band - llama bookmark and clippies set accessory - planners happy mambi bullet journals - teachers gifts
$19.99 USD
Personalized Lunch Tote, Llama, Neoprene Lunch Tote, Lunch Bag-Monogram Lunch Tote-Lunch Bag, Monogrammed lunch tote
Personalized Lunch Tote, Llama, Neoprene Lunch Tote, Lunch Bag-Monogram Lunch Tote-Lunch Bag, Monogrammed lunch tote
$27.00 USD
Caring, Teaching Manners, Acts of Kindness, Teaching Empathy, Helping Others, Kids Valentines Day Gift, Preschool Manners, Community Helpers
Caring, Teaching Manners, Acts of Kindness, Teaching Empathy, Helping Others, Kids Valentines Day Gift, Preschool Manners, Community Helpers
$19.99 USD
Self-Care Stickers—eat food drink water nap sleep breathe breath reminder caring gentle adulting responsibility resist resistance persisted
Self-Care Stickers—eat food drink water nap sleep breathe breath reminder caring gentle adulting responsibility resist resistance persisted
$4.00 USD
Sprinkles Bath Sugar | Bath Candy Self Care Girlfriend Gift Gifts for Kids Best Friend Gifts Free Shipping Bridesmaid Party Favor
Sprinkles Bath Sugar | Bath Candy Self Care Girlfriend Gift Gifts for Kids Best Friend Gifts Free Shipping Bridesmaid Party Favor
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Children's mindfulness-based activities for bedtime.
Children's mindfulness-based activities for bedtime.
$12.97 USD
Rainbow wall decals, Colorful Eco-Friendly decals, Kids room wall decals, Colorful wall decals, Colorful wall stickers
Rainbow wall decals, Colorful Eco-Friendly decals, Kids room wall decals, Colorful wall decals, Colorful wall stickers
$21.07 USD
Rainbow Polka Dots | Colourful Confetti Spots Circles Wall Decal Vinyl Sticker | Size Options | Round | Baby Nursery, Boy, Girls, Kids Room
Rainbow Polka Dots | Colourful Confetti Spots Circles Wall Decal Vinyl Sticker | Size Options | Round | Baby Nursery, Boy, Girls, Kids Room
$13.34 USD
Fiber Rainbow Wall Hanging "Candy Land"
Fiber Rainbow Wall Hanging "Candy Land"
$125.00 USD
Rainbow Fringe Denim Jacket - Kids
Rainbow Fringe Denim Jacket - Kids
$55.00 USD
Kids Travel Journal, Travel Journal for Kids, Vacation Journal for Kids, Kids Travel Activity, Travel Notebook for Kids, Kids Gift
Kids Travel Journal, Travel Journal for Kids, Vacation Journal for Kids, Kids Travel Activity, Travel Notebook for Kids, Kids Gift
$11.99 USD
Modular Tree House and Building Walls // Natural Wood Dollhouse Toy will Challenge Kids' Creativity  //Modular Building Blocks
Modular Tree House and Building Walls // Natural Wood Dollhouse Toy will Challenge Kids' Creativity //Modular Building Blocks
$163.00 USD

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