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Back-to-School Guide for Lakeland + Polk County

Back to School Guide Lakeland Polk County FL

With the first day of school less than a month away, we know parents are starting to think about supplies, uniforms, new shoes, new teachers, and all the other things that go along with the start of a new school year.

We’ve got a handy dandy list of all the things you need to know for the upcoming school year in Polk County, Florida.

When is the first day of school in Polk County?

Students return to school on Friday, August 11, 2023 (no, not a typo – school starts back on a Friday due to scheduling requirements). Click here to see the full 2023 – 2024 School Calendar and contact your school directly to get dates for orientation.

Charter schools (such as McKeel and some Montessori schools) and Private Schools all have their own calendars, visit the link below or check directly with your school for those calendars.

Polk County School Calendar for 2023 – 2024

Free School Supplies and Back-To-School Bashes

Florida Back-to-School Sales Tax Week – July 24 – August 6, 2023

The 2023 Back to School Tax Free Week in Florida is July 24 – August 6, 2023. It is a full 2 weeks this year plus a second sales tax holiday in January!

After School Programs

Guide to After School Programs in Lakeland

Find after school care where your kids will be engaged, have fun, and receive homework help during the afternoon hours. All of the after school programs on our list provide school pick up.

School Supply Drives and Donation Locations

Looking for a way to help other children and families in our community? Head over to our list of Free School Supply Events to also see a list of local supply drives where you can donate supplies and make a difference in a child’s life.

Even if you are already stretching a dollar to buy supplies for your own family, there are still ways to donate without breaking the bank – buy items you need during BOGO sales at Publix and donate the extra set, or check out the 1 penny deals at Staples and Office Depot.

Our Favorite School Supplies

These are a few items that we find especially useful during the school year! Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no additional cost to you. We appreciate your support for Lakeland Mom if you decide to make a purchase.

Prep Sportswear – Personalized School Apparel

Kick off the new school year with personalized fan gear to show your school pride. Get school swag from Prep Sportswear for over 100 schools in Lakeland & Polk County! See if your school gear is on the list.

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Bentgo Kids Lunchbox

The Bentgo lunchbox gets rave reviews on Amazon. It is a leak-proof lunchbox with a dishwasher-safe removable tray. YES PLEASE! You can even get multiple trays in case you forget to wash it out. Check it out and pick from a variety of colors and styles.

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Easy Lunchboxes

These keep me sane when it comes to my least favorite school year task – packing lunches. They have 3 compartments, perfect for a main item, fruit/veggie, and side. Once it’s full, my job is done!

You can even include dividers (see below) if you need even more individual spaces. For just $13.95 you get 4 of them, and they fit nicely into most lunchboxes. They stack inside each other for storing with all the lids on top. They are also DISHWASHER SAFE.  (Note that they are not leakproof – I’ve used Glad press and seal on a few occasions, otherwise I just don’t put anything liquid inside). Click here to get a set and make lunch assembly a little easier!

Silicone Cupcake Liners

These are reusable silicone cupcake liners, but they are perfect for holding small food portions within an Easy Lunchbox. See the photo below for how these are used together. Colorful, fun, functional, and you get 12 for only $5.99! Click here to get yours from Amazon.

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Mabel’s Labels

A great variety of labels, including allergy labels for food containers, shoe labels, clothing labels, bag tags, small labels, big labels, and even make really unique ID bracelets that are water resistant and disposable, perfect for field trips and theme parks. If you’re looking for labels that are themed and fun, Mabel’s Labels are for you. The best part – FREE SHIPPING! Click here to see what Mabel’s Labels has to offer.

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Magnetic Belts

If you have a little one that is required to wear a belt to school (or just likes to), a magnetic belt is the perfect solution to make it easy on them! This was a “must have” for preschool and kindergarten in my house. Check out the ones we’ve used from Amazon – they hold up well and can be set to almost any waist size.

Primary offers classic clothes in a huge variety of colors. No logos, no slogans, no sequins, just soft fabrics. Perfect for uniform clothes that can’t include a logo or any other design. Jackets, shorts, t-shirts, leggings, long sleeve shirts, and much more. Check out and save 20% with code AFF20PCT.

Guide to Polk County Schools

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Education Guide

Check out our Education Guide for Lakeland + Polk County for other education topics including public schools, private schools, homeschooling, tutoring + test prep, school calendars, colleges, and more.