Must-Have Products for the Coming School Year

Locally Made Masks
Masks may be the most sought-after back-to-school accessory this year, whether your child is physically returning to school or just needs to leave the house for a distance learning break. Santa Cruz resident Aretha Bright offers fun cartoon patterns for kids, with a comfortable nose bridge, at her Etsy shop Mask Your Displeasure ($15. San Francisco community art studio Creative Canopy is also selling colorfully printed youth masks with a filter pocket ($10 at, and San Francisco-based Gap has face masks across all of its brands, including a low-cost option from Old Navy with five kid-sized masks for $12.50 ( 
Water-Bottle Protection
Now is not the time to accidentally swap water bottles or sippy cups. Protect your child with personalized silicone bands from California company Mabel’s Labels, which makes lots of options to keep kids from losing clothing and other gear. The bands stretch to fit over most drinkware and are dishwasher-, microwave- and sterilizer-safe. Two for $9.99.
Better Hand Sanitizer
There’s a good chance your family has used more hand sanitizer in the past several months than ever before. Noodle & Boo, a mom-owned Los Gatos company, adds vegetable glycerin to its germ-fighting 60 percent ethanol to keep skin from drying out. Reviewers love the feel and smell of the sanitizer, which is dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic. $10.
Kind Kids
Especially in times of uncertainty, helping kids help others is a proven way to lift everyone’s spirits. Adventures in Kindness offers 52 practical ideas for children to help their families, schools, communities and beyond – from starting a family giving jar to organizing a book swap to emailing an elected official – followed by prompts to reflect on their good deeds. San Mateo artist and mom Nichole Wong Forti illustrated the book, which was written by her fourth-grade niece and sister-in-law, Sophia and Carrie Fox. $18.95.

Things We Like celebrates the best products for kids and families. Got a suggestion? Email [email protected].


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