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Water Bottles for Kids

Lose the cheap water bottles that come with lunchboxes; find ones that last.


Even though parents packing school lunches often need to include a drink, many kids’ lunchboxes don't come with a water bottle for kids' drinks. And with the ones that do, you’re probably better off throwing out the accompanying, cheaply-made bottle. They are usually not BPA free, and after a few uses, they leak.

Like a lunchbox or a backpack, purchasing a well-made water bottle for kids can mean not re-buying every year when school shopping.

Here are some features to look for about when shopping for kids’ water bottles, and below that are a few examples.

Look for:

  • Securely-closing, easy-to-work top - Kids should be able to open and close it on their own without help because they might have to do that at school.
  • Wide mouth - These are easier to clean and add ice to.
  • Double-secure lid - Anything with a pull-out sports spout or a snap-on lid should have another lid on top of it. These open easily in transit.
  • Safe materials - It’s pretty tough to keep up with what is considered safe material, but look for bottles labeled BPA free, which might be plastic, stainless steel or aluminum.
  • Appropriate size, weight - Often water bottles designed for adults are much larger than kids really need. This takes up extra space in backpacks or lunchboxes and adds weight. A 12-ounce bottle is probably sufficient; remember they can always refill it at the water fountain if they are still thirsty.
  • Carrying handle - It’s nice if it has a handle or loop (that you can fasten to a caribineer) to attach it to the lunchbox because frequently it won’t fit inside.
  • Insulated - If you regularly pack milk or other cold drinks, you may want to invest in an insulated bottle. These can be bulkier than non-insulated, but they do not “sweat” with condensation.

Scroll down to shop for water bottles for kids.

Personalized Kids Water Bottles

The good thing about these is that they are less likely to get lost. There are tons of options for personalizing kids water bottles (for both girls and boys), but not so many for the bottles themselves. They are almost all 20-ounce stainless steel bottles. Most have options for two different types of lids.
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Nalgene Tritan Grip-N-Gulp Water Bottle

Kids of a certain age may feel this looks suspiciously like a sippy cup and reject it. But older and younger ones may appreciate its benefits. The lid is spill-proof with a loop for attaching or carrying. Bottle is made of polypropylene, which is free of BPA and lighter than stainless steel. (12 ounces)

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CamelBak Insulated Stainless Steel Better Bottle

Though this one is slightly larger than most kids need (around 16 ounces). its other benefits may outweigh that. Made of tough stainless steel, it is BPA free. It keeps drinks cool using vacuum insulation. Its wide-mouth lid uses a “flip and sip” similar to a sippy cup but so much more grown up. (.5 liters)

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Thermos Funtainer Bottle

Kids love characters, and this Thermos bottle has a wide range of them--from Star Wars to Dora the Explorer. (They also come in camouflage and flower patterns for the kid who is too old for characters). These have a push-button lid that is easy for younger children to work and a pop-up straw. They are BPA free and keep contents cold for 12 hours using vacuum insulation. (12 ounces)

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Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle

What’s nice about these stainless steel water bottles is that they come in a variety of sizes (12 ounces is the smallest), and you can choose different lids. They can be fitted with a regular screw top lid, a sports spout and a sippy lid. According to the manufacturer, they are BPA free and “dishwasher friendly.” See review from About.com's Guide to Walking.

Safe Sporter Water Bottle

The grip on this bottle will keep it from slipping out of little hands when it is wet. Since it is not insulated, it will “sweat.” It has a w ide lid with a sports spout covered with a flip cap. This water bottle is made of non-leaching stainless steel, BPA- and phthalate-free material.12 ounces.
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Getting Ready for School

For more mom-to-mom tips, see my back-to-school survival guide and get tips on organizing your school shopping or find out my best school shopping purchase ever.

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