photo of kids going back to school in a crossing lane

8 back-to-school helpers that take the sting out of the fall routine

These free mobile apps can help schedule time and even pack better lunches

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When kids head back to the classroom, that can mean far more than homeroom and homework. Aside from the educational aspect, there's a long list of things parents and kids need to return to their back-to-school routine. Luckily, several helpers are available to make back-to-school more manageable, especially in today's world of over-booked students with so much on their plates. These eight "non-education" apps will help make the back-to-school season a bit more streamlined and take some stress out of the morning rush.

GoNoodle Kids

a screenshot of GoNoodle Kids app in App StoreGoNoodle Kids app available in App Store and Google PlayApp Store

GoNoodle Kids is a free app that encourages kids to move throughout their day. Sitting in classrooms after spending the past few weeks running around outside will be hard for your children. GoNoodle provides stretching routines to help get your child moving in the morning as well as games to get kids ready for school. You can check out the games, routines, and activities on GoNoodle's site.

A stuffed animal shaped like a monkey next to a smartphone with a reminder on the screenFamilies can set reminders for shopping and even school projects with each otherRemember The Milk

Remember The Milk

Families must stay organized to make the back-to-school season run without hiccups. One way to keep things under control is by managing the to-dos in a way that actually works. Remember The Milk is a cleverly-named free app that makes the chaos less confusing, with reminders for shopping, school projects, and so on. Sync up the entire family so you can share what's going on and who's responsible for what.

Multiple fingers pointing to a smartphone with a map on the screenParents get notifications with this app when children arrive at schoolHere Comes The Bus

Here Comes The Bus

Many children rely on the school bus to get them to and from school, but parents often worry about their whereabouts and safety during transport. Here Comes The Bus helps give parents peace of mind while their child is out of sight. If their school district is signed up with the service, parents can download the free app to learn where the bus is located via a real-time map and get push notification or alert along the way, including when the child has arrived at school or home.

Screenshot of an app with coupons from different brandsPull up prices through a barcode or QR code to compare costs on items during back to school shoppingShopsavvy

ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner

Back-to-school means spending, be it for school supplies, a new wardrobe, or food to fill the fridge for brown bag lunches. The bills pile up in a snap, and saving money is important for families on a budget. ShopSavvy is a free app that allows you to scan a barcode or QR Code Reader, and it will pull up the best prices so you don't overspend. Compare costs and get coupons from popular stores, including Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Save on the small stuff or big-ticket items like computers.

Screenshot with a cartoon blue creature and food options to select at the bottomKids can pick what they want in their lunch, and parents can make meals they know their children are more likely to eatLaLa

LaLa Lunchbox

Prepping school lunches is time-consuming, but the effort is worth it when the kids enjoy the meal and stay energized all day. But the work is wasted when kids can't stand what their parents made them. LaLa Lunchbox solves this mealtime mess since kids are involved in the process. Kids can choose ingredients with their parents within a fun-to-use free app, so grocery shopping and meal planning is a team effort. Find kid-friendly recipes to make with the kids too.

a screenshot of appThis is a free calendar app that can be kept just for family and school is a free calendar app that keeps the family's multiple activities all in one place. Back-to-school is endlessly busy, so rather than leaving lists everywhere and Post-Its where you'll probably forget them, is coordinated and convenient. Along with appointments and after-school activities, keep track of payments, grocery lists, and even birthdays.

A giant red circle with a plus sign in the centerSet multiple alarms, and even a backup, with this appAlarm Clock Plus

Alarm Clock Plus

No more sleeping in like you did over the summer once the school season arrives. This means you'll have to rely on a trusty alarm to get everyone up and at them. Bedside alarms have worked just fine for decades, but if the power goes out or the batteries wear, you'll oversleep, and chaos will ensue. Alarm Clock Plus is a free app that makes waking up more enjoyable, as you can set multiple alarms, set the sound to music, launch other apps simultaneously, and more. There's even a backup if you're a super deep sleeper.

A smartphone with text messages visible, photos of kids playing hockey and a score at the top of the screenFor those with children involved in sports, this app can track practices, tournaments and gamesTeamSnap


The app lets Parents and coaches organize their sports teams and related activities. TeamSnap is free and fun, keeping track of practices, games, tournaments, and more. 100+ sports and sports-related activities are manageable via TeamSnap, from Little League and up. Eliminate mix-ups and mayhem when the goal is to get the team to the top. This app will let coaches focus on the game without those human error glitches. Parents can participate and get real-time updates and pics from the practices and playoffs.

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