The four essentials
School supply lists are pretty darn specific these days, as in “five packs of 12 Ticonderoga No. 2 wooden pencils.” But the world is your oyster when it comes to the four essentials: backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles and lunch bags. Here are our picks for the best gear for kids in pre-k through early elementary school. Our criteria: It needs to be easy to clean, easy for little hands and not cost a fortune (because it will get forgotten somewhere).