I have been so honored to have my own radio show, Learning and Laughter with Louise!  In December, I chose to have a Best Products for Educational Holiday Gifts show. It was very popular and fun!  So, this Summer I am having several shows that spotlight best Back to School Products.  Segments will be broken down in to products that were faves by kids of all ages, teacher faves and some for  special education.  Some of our products fit more than one category.

Here is the first list of products which were approved by my host of  preschool, elementary, middle school and high school (almost college) students.  Keep in mind that some products are for little tots while others are to help survive dorm life at college.  Items will be donated to worthy causes (eg. schools, counselors who work with high risk students, etc.)

Drum roll…. Here is the list (in no certain order)

Master Lock – Master Lock sent to us two sensational locks.  The company sent a great explanation of the two locks: “The Precision Dial and Speed Dial let your little student CREATE THEIR OWN PASSWORD (or big students as they’re great for high school and college), making it easy to remember.

The Speed Dial also features technology (first of its kind) that opens with directional movement (up, down, left, right) – making it even harder to crack. They are all available in fun, bright colors and can make locking up your things fun for your kids. “

We really liked the Speed Dial lock.  It seemed like an excellent product for children with learning challenges as it had directionality as the opening mechanism vs. numbers which can be confusing.  We had preschoolers work the lock and were successful.  Prices vary, but were very reasonable and well worth it. As a special educator I gave it two thumbs up, especially for kids with learning disabilities or other challenges. Available all over- I saw them at TARGET.

YUBO LunchBox! I thought we were going to have WW III over this cool lunchbox!  This box which is pictured with Mateo holding it, has inserts that can be changed on the outside.  The inside has really great containers for sandwich, yogurt, raising, etc.  A cool pack will help keep the product safe to eat until lunch time.  Great for elementary and preschoolers.  The kids loved it and so did I!

Here is the company info and pricing for this terrific and very durable lunch box! YUBO (WWW.GETYUBO.COM) IS THE ECO-FRIENDLY, CUSTOMIZABLE LUNCHBOX WITH INTERCHANGEABLE FACEPLATEs. Although it’s fun for kids, the yubo is also easy for moms as it’s dishwasher-safe, the whole lunchbox comes apart to go into the dishwasher, and BPA-free. The deluxe lunchbox comes with a custom icepack and 3 containers for $29.95.


T-shirt I LOVED this shirt.  When it came in a little kids size I almost cried!  Seriously, this was one way too cool t-shirt.  So comfy looking and little Frankie is pictured here making the best of her modeling session.  I liked that Frankie didn’t complain about any  scratchy label or

was uncomfortable.  She liked it so much that her mom asked for the website.  So, I am assuming you all may be curious, too!  Here it is: And the company owners couldn’t be nicer.  I like that they are a small biz.  So, go ahead and support this great group!

PortaPocket-  Here is one for the older crowd  (including kids who live in dorms.   PORTA POCKET is a great way to conceal items that need to be kept on you without advertising that you have them.  OR to carry with you comfortably and fashionably. Here is the scoop as sent by the company owner:

“PortaPocket is a streamlined, lightweight system that keeps small valuables and other essentials ON the body without risk of theft, loss and inconvenience. Versatile as designed for use on thigh, calf, ankle, arm or waist and under/over the clothing. Detachable; interchangeable. Ideal for IDs, cash, cards, keys, cell phones, ipods, small cameras, passports, lipstick, tampons, inhalers, insulin pumps, Epipens, more. Don’t necessarily ditch the separate purse or bag…just don’t put anything you can’t afford to lose in there! Keep your purse/bag for fashion; use portapocket for valuables-safekeeping function.”

(I must admit that I liked the idea of carrying your epipen on you without having to bring a long a big purse. I am allergic to bees, and I know that many teens and college students have life threatening allergies or asthma too, so how cool is this that you can carry an epipen or an inhaler concealed without toting so much more.)

See the photo of  this busy mom, who wanted to carry her phone with her to the bus stop without dragging along all her purse items. (And you know that moms often carry the kids backpacks and lunchboxes, too!)

Note that PortaPocket offers peace of mind & convenience for working out, going out, traveling, and everyday. Inexpensive, too. Kits range $8.95 to $24.95 and are available at select retailers, on amazon and at And they were “cushy” and comfortable- first hand experience says so!


I am a HUGE Eric Carle fan.  Always loved the books and was truly grateful to his kindness when he agreed to write our daughter, Natasha, a note to help commemorate her becoming a Bat Mitzvah.  (Actually he sent her a note and a whole pack full of goodies!)

EVERY KID I SHOWED THESE PRODUCTS TO RAN TO OUR DESK AND STARTED DRAWING!   Each pad was made with eco-friendly paper and kids loved the Eric Carle recognizable drawing on the cover.  All sizes for all aged kids.  Here are some smiling photos to prove that these very inexpensive pads are worth the investment.


Now when this backpack with cool pockets and places to hold a laptop and other electonic devices was delivered,  I thought I was going to have mutiny with the guys in my home.  No kidding.  I had to send my husband to TIME OUT, until he remembered to share! All kidding aside, this was VERY POPULAR!!  I am really fussy when it comes to backpacks and so were many of the teen reviewers.  This received 100% approval rating.  Available where backpacks are sold!

We even made a funny FlipCam video with our Signing Families™ model- Sam!  Check it out-

KIOCHIS Feeling Doll.

As a person who has conducted countless hours of  therapy with children, especially with kids who had difficulty with language, this is a great product.  Another winner by our team of panelists!  Each doll (character) has a pocket.  Little “faces” can be inserted in to the pocket which identify feelings such as JEALOUS, HAPPY, SAD,  LEFT OUT… and so on.  Squishy, fun and fabulous!  Or in the words of one of our young reviewers “Cool!”  Check out the photos! (Which have sign language for the feelings in the photos too!)  Buy this very reasonable addition to a classroom or your home on


Carolina Pad-  You have to LOVE a company that gives back to the community- big time.  These folks make quality products for Girls (and as it happens to be, also guys!) Many of our student reviewers loved their pads, notebooks,  journals and ring binders.  I loved the colors.  Again- we enlisted Sam, to make a great little video about how he wished for a set in GUY COLORS!  Available EVERYWHERE  ( I saw them at  Kmart in a remote town in Upstate New York!)

We have  lots more to come including Rosetta Stone, Protect-A-Bed for college dorms and your home, tons of  Back to School Items from Office Depot,  The great pens and pencils from Cadoozles (love their stuff, writing with it now!), books galore on saving you money, finding college scholarships, and helping to settle in to college.

Plus, interviews with Kat Eden from,  Sue Adair from the Goddard School, Brandon Gillespie from the Intel Reader, KidCritic- Lane Sutton, Rich Lynons from Honor Student Magazine and so much more- so remember to tune in to Learning and Laughter with Louise – every WEDNESDAY at 9 am. EST or catch us on itunes!

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