STEM Learning

Best Small Business Back-to-School Products | 2021

August / 2021

Whether you're finding the best supplies for your classroom or you're shopping for your family, here are five small businesses to check out this year.

It’s August, and that means it’s the back-to-school season! Given the timing, we know many of you will be purchasing back-to-school supplies and products (or maybe you have already.) As a small business, we wanted to put together a list to help you find quality supplies from other innovative small businesses like us.


About The Company: CreativeQT stands for Creative Quality Time. This company is a company founded by parents who sell storage and organization products as well as MakerBase® Creative Play Solutions for LEGO™.

“We’ve built these kids’ toy storage and organization products as parents, for parents—because we saw an opportunity and a need. Living in the trenches ourselves has sparked our product ideas for organizing and storing toys, stuffed animals, Legos, blocks, and more because we thought of something to give parents the small wins that keep us going.”

Why It’s Great: If you’re looking to spend more quality playtime with your kids, this is a great option! These storage and organization products can help you be present during the fun and organized enough afterward to avoid the overwhelm of toys lying around your house.

Where You Can Purchase It:

Lovie Window Backpack

About The Company: Lovie Window Backpack is a backpack with a see-through window pocket on the front. Your child can display their favorite stuffed animal (lovie), toy, or anything else they’d like to show off.

Why It’s Great: 5-year-old Adele invented this product after she missed seeing her lovie during naptime at school! By supporting Lovie Window Backpack, you’re not just supporting a small business; you’re also supporting a kid inventor's dreams.

“In 2019, Adele and her family launched a Kickstarter to raise money to fund an initial run of the backpacks. After being featured on Denver's 9News and with support from friends and family, the Kickstarter was a success!”

Where You Can Purchase It:

Blocks Rock!

About Us: Yes, we’re on this list! Blocks Rock! offers structured block games for ages 4 to 104. In the game, two players, or two teams of players, compete to build a color-and shape-specific structure in the shortest amount of time. Our products include the regular Deluxe Game, Preschool STEM Cards, and the free 3D Companion App.

Why It’s Great: Blocks Rock! has been proven to improve STEM skills in young children! If you’re looking for STEM or learning through play activities, this is the game for you. Blocks Rock! allows hands-on play that builds STEM learning skills; it’s fast-paced fun with little oversight required.

And as a bonus reason to buy, Blocks Rock! was invented by students at the Wilbraham & Monson Academy.

Where You Can Purchase It:

Oompa Toys

About the Company: “Oompa is the first online retailer to sell only organic and sustainably produced wooden toys and products for children...All of our wooden toys – from building blocks to dollhouses–are made from sustainable forest products, and finished only with natural oils or safe, water-based coatings. We sell no plastic toys, ever.”

Why It’s Great: This company is run by parents in Maine! They understand the worries of toxins being used in the toys our children play with, and want to help put a stop to it. “Safe for your child. Gentle to the environment. Fair to workers. Meeting those standards is our passion at Oompa.”

Where You Can Purchase It:

Little Partners

About the Company: “Little Partners strives to help parents and caregivers create environments that nurture young children and provide ample opportunities for kids to learn independence through exploration, interaction, and play.”

Why It’s Great: This company was founded when their founder, Gamble, “noted that there were a good many tasks her daughter was capable of and desiring to complete by herself, but she lacked the appropriate environment in which to do so.

“With this in mind, Gamble set out to design what would become the Original Learning Tower, an adjustable-height platform offering quality, safety, and most importantly, a space for toddlers to act independently as well as interact with adults.”

Where You Can Purchase It:

Have fun shopping small!

Our spending choices can have a huge impact on small businesses, especially after a year like 2020. We hope you love these small businesses as much as we do, and would love to hear about your experience with them - tag @blocksrock in your photos on Instagram!

If you’re looking for STEM toys, gift guides, or other products, check out our Learning Resource Library.