What Size Backpack For Kindergarten? (Complete Guide For School)

Do kindergarteners need a backpack? Most schools will agree that, yes, your child will need a sufficient way to carry their belongings.

Most kindergarteners will agree that helping to pick out a backpack for school is one of the most exciting parts of their new journey! If you’re wondering what size backpack is good for kindergarten, then you’ve come to the right place.  

children with backpacks

How To Measure Your Child For The Correct Backpack Sizing 

Backpacks are not one size fits all, and that’s a good thing. Because our littlest of humans come in various shapes and sizes, to find the best fit backpack for your Kindergartener, you will need to determine their torso size by following two easy steps.  

1. Measure the Child’s Back Height

The easiest way to measure your child’s back height is to measure starting at the base of their neck. Have the child stand up straight and tuck their child to their chest. The bony protrusion on their neck is their C7 vertebrae, and this is a good point to use as the base of their neck. Measure down to their waistline, which should be level with their belly button. Take this number in inches, and add 2 to determine back height. 

2. Measure the Child’s Back Width

Your child’s back width is the measurement from the ridge of the shoulder blade to the ridge of the shoulder blade, as seen in the diagram. It does not include your child's arms. Alternatively, some people choose to measure from armpit to armpit. 

fitting guide for a childs backpack

Standard Backpack Sizes For Kindergarten Children 

Because we’re targeting such a specific age group, and children tend to grow throughout the school year anyways, many parents will choose to go with a standard sized Kindergarten backpack. If you’re already shopping and don’t have your child around to measure, follow this handy guide below.  

Childs Age 

Backpack Height 

Backpack Width

4 Years Old 

11 Inch 

6 Inch 

5 Years Old 

12 Inch 

6 – 6.5 Inch 

6 Years Old 

12 – 12.5 Inch 

7 Inch 

7 Years Old 

13 Inch 

7 Inch 

Small Backpacks - 15 - 20 liters

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to ensure that your child's backpack for Kindergarten is big enough to hold a standard sized folder to carry daily papers and communications home. This backpack size will also be big enough to carry a lunch box and a couple of books and would be comfortable enough to carry around for long periods of time. 

Medium Backpacks - 21 - 30 liters

This is probably the most common size of backpack that is sold for elementary-aged school children. Medium backpacks are great for students who have to carry both their everyday essentials and perhaps a laptop or a couple of textbooks. 

Large Backpacks - 31 - 40 liters

Larger backpacks are typically what middle and high schoolers go for. With several classes, sports, after-school activities, and part-time jobs, teens are prone to carry their entire lives around on their backs. It’s especially important at this age to buy a backpack with high quality shoulder straps and an ergonomic fit. 

Other Considerations When Buying a Kindergarten Backpack 

Padded and shoulder straps

Fortunately, the shoulder straps on backpacks have come a long way, and they can aid in reducing back pain while you carry your load. For Kindergarten, I recommend purchasing a backpack with straps that are at least 2” wide. Depending on your child’s frame, you may need to ensure that the straps aren’t too wide, or they may slip off from their shoulders. 

Storage Space

There are two reasons that most schools provide a cubby space for your child to store their everyday school supplies. One is so they don’t have to carry these items to and from school every day. The other is so that nothing is ever forgotten! When it comes to backpack storage space for your Kindergartener, plan for space for a folder, a couple of books, and a lunch/water bottle. 


Most modern backpacks will have adjustable straps that allow the bag to grow with your child, at least over the course of a school year! We also recommend looking for a backpack with a quality chest strap that can be securely adjusted for those days when your little one is carrying a heavier load. 


We’ll just go ahead and say it – most of the backpacks you’ll find at big box stores (the ones with the current-favorite superheroes and TV characters) are not made to stand up to having a child throw them around for an entire school year. Look for a backpack that is made from high quality materials such as water-resistant polyester. 


School backpacks are a fun way that children can express themselves among their peers. There are many fun designs, from printed patterns, character themed or even bags with specialty compartments like soccer backpacks.

Some backpacks will have additional features such as rolling wheels or glow-in-the-dark zippers. Make finding your child’s Kindergarten backpack something fun that the two of you can do together. Just be aware if the school has any restrictions – some schools will require specific guidelines to be followed. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What Are The Problems When Getting The Wrong Size Backpack For Kindergarteners? 

There are two main problems when choosing the wrong size backpack for your Kindergartener. The first is that your child will not have enough room for their required supplies and lunch if the backpack is too small. On the other end of the spectrum, if a backpack is too large, it will simply be too uncomfortable to carry, with the bottom hitting behind your child's knees.  

Should I Put My Child’s Name On Their Backpack? 

Many companies offer free embroidery or personalization with your child's name. However, we recommend only adding your child's name in an inconspicuous place (such as a small ID tag or on the inside) so as to not compromise your child’s safety. Unfortunately, we live in a world where displaying your name or other personal information could lead predators to lure your kids into scary situations.  

How Do You Read A Backpack Size? 

Unfortunately, like most things, the sizing will vary largely from brand to brand. We recommend using our guidelines above to determine the best fit for your child. Thankfully, by using the height and width of each bag, you can get a solid understanding of whether or not it will be appropriate for your child.  

How Much Weight Should A Child Carry In Their Backpack? 

Experts strongly urge that children carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight in their backpack. The average Kindergartener weighs about 45 pounds, so this means that their bag (when packed) should only weigh 4.5 to 6.75 lbs.  


Choosing a backpack for kindergarten is an exciting part of beginning the school experience. Just make sure that you follow our guide above to ensure that you have a properly fitted backpack that will provide your child with confidence and comfort.  

  • Updated November 3, 2021