Fun and Frivolous Stuff for Back to School

Useful but Non-Essential, Cool Gear and Gadgets for Students of Life

Forget the must-have backpacks and latest notebook organizers; here’s the gear kids really want for heading back to school.

Bird song

Tweeting takes on a new meaning with the adorable Fauvette Bird Speaker from ChicBuds.  Shaped like a little sparrow with a designer paint job, these tiny 2-watt birdies belt out loud and clear sound when attached to your computer, iPod or other audio player with the included USB-to-3.5 mm RCA cable.  Its built-in lithium-ion battery can amp up for four hours of play time on a single charge. $34.99  at

Fountain of youth

Host the best after-school playdates ever, or be the most popular kid in the dorm with the Oster Chocolate Fountain.  It uses any brand of the sweet stuff to create a melted cascade of chocolate bliss adn inlcudes 8 fondue forks and drip tray.  Parts are dishwahser safe for easy clean up.  $39.99 at Target.


Light bud

You won’t get caught in the dark with the Verilux ReadyLight solar rechargeable flashlight by the Healthy Lighting Company, with six super bright LED bulbs.  Its NiMH battery pack powers up in the sun, outdoors or in your window sill, for up to four hours of Natural Spectrum light when you need it, for reading under the sheets, lighting the way home from late-night study hall, or of course, emergencies. $29.95 at Amazon and other national retailers or

Brush up on flossing

Kids hate flossing almost as much as homework, but the Waterpik Water Flosser for Kids turns dental care into a fun activity.  It’s designed for little hands and comes with removable cling decals that kids can use to customize their unit.  It also features extra safe, kid-proof electrical design, three pressure settings and compact size for easy storage. $49.99.  Available at major retailers nationwide, including Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid and

Call me any, any time

Multi-tasking teens glued to the phone at home can chat away and never miss a call, even if a call comes in on their cell, with the new V-Tech DS6421-3 DECT 6.0 digital Connect-to-Cell phone system ($99.95). This three-handset system comes with all the modern bells and whistles, like push-to-talk intercom, digital answering system, base and handset speakerphones, caller ID and capability to download your directory from your cell, with the bonus that it can make and receive landline or cellular calls — both with the range and quality of a landline, ideal for households with spotty cell reception or without landline service.  Get the DS6421-3 + ONE IS6100 system to include an optional lightweight headset ($149.00).


Real Fine Streaming

No more huddling around the desk to watch a Netflix movie, YouTube video, or any other streaming video on your computer screen.  Warpia StreamHD and A/V Adapter is the PC-to-TV solution that lets you wirelessly stream video from a computer to a big TV screen or projector.  The easy-to-connect system includes a USB dongle and a receiver that contains an HDMI or VGA port to access any TV or monitor.  Your TV or projector will mirror exactly what shows on the computer screen, from up to 30 feet away.  Warpia Stream HD for $169.99 and Warpia Wireless USB PC to TV Adapter for $129.99, which includes a one-year warranty. Available at

Just chill

Bringing your lunch to school just got cooler with Icy Diamond Totes ($10.95), an insulated, compact and handsome silver-lined canvas pouch designed to keep contents cold and fresh.  Available in black, brown, pink and blue with a detachable carry strap and caribiner hook.  For larger items, pack it all in the super cool Icy Diamond backpack ($26.95), in black or zebra-print leather.  Order at

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