The best backpacks for toddlers and preschoolers should be sized to fit small bodies and have a fun design so kids want to pack them up and go.
Parents love how well Skip Hop Zoo Packs (*Est. $20) fit their children, but the 14 brightly-colored animal designs are what appeal to kids. They can't wait until it's time to grab their favorite animal friend (options include cat, dog, dinosaur, penguin, zebra, giraffe, and monkey) and go bye-bye.
The Skip Hop Zoo Pack has one large compartment and a smaller, insulated snack compartment. There's a write-on nametag inside the main compartment, and parents say the color doesn't bleed when you write on it. Parents say the zippers are sturdy and easy for even small fingers to work, and they love that you can wipe the entire bag clean, inside and out, with a damp cloth. Skip Hop Zoo Packs are phthalate- and BPA-free.
The only real downside to these packs is they're too small to fit a full-size folder or notebook, so once your child hits kindergarten and those items are added to the list of required school supplies, you'll need to upgrade. The Zoo Packs last for years, so you can always hang onto them as a toy bag or overnight bag.
The JanSport Half Pint (*Est. $25) is also durable and versatile; once kids outgrow the packs, parents sometimes snag them packs to use as a minipurse or diaper bag. They lack the Skip Hop Zoo Packs' bright animal designs, and they don't clean up quite as easily. Like the Zoo Packs, the Half Pint isn't quite big enough to fit a full-size folder or notebook.