Uber-cool gift ideas for kids going to - and back to - college
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Jul 17, 2013 | 250506 views | 1 1 comments | 646 646 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(BPT) - Graduation season is over, but families with college-bound teens know the gift-giving season is still in full swing. Whether you’re looking for a gift that will ease the transition for a new college freshman or something to milestone the beginning of a senior’s final year, choosing a back-to-school gift can be every bit as important as selecting a graduation gift.

A back-to-school gift is also your opportunity to demonstrate your uber-coolness, and pick something that will entertain, delight and empower your college kid. From items that will dress up any dorm, such as a removable wallpaper mural, to ones that will help them stay healthy, like an ergonomic backpack, back-to-school gifts need to be smart and exciting.

Here are four gifts ideas that are sure to be both useful and enjoyable for college kids heading back to school this fall:

1. Dorm-dazzling decor – Despite fairly recent efforts by some schools to make dorms more appealing, dorm rooms are still hardly a decorator’s dream canvas. Bright, cheerful bedding can help add personality and comfort, but the walls are the biggest workable space for decorating, and often they start out bland. Painting is out of the question, so rock band posters have long been a staple of college dorm decor. For wall decor that really rocks, however, consider giving the college student in your life a creative teen mural from Murals Your Way that clings to virtually any flat surface using space-age technology and no adhesives of any kind. You can choose from a wide range of sizes and scenes, from a full wall cityscape to a window-sized sports theme. You can even customize a mural so your college student can decorate her dorm with an image of friends, family or a favorite memory from high school. Log on to www.muralsyourway.com/ to learn more and view available images.

2. Super storage – Sure, a dresser or bureau will probably come with the dorm room, and if he’s lucky he may even have a wallet-sized closet. But college kids have a lot of stuff to store throughout the school year. Creative storage solutions that are functional and fun can be a great gift. Whether it’s a pocket sleeve that fits over the back of a standard desk chair to hold those items she needs at her fingertips, or an over-the-door shoe rack to keep all his athletic shoes off the floor, your storage gift can help a college kid stay organized. If the dorm room is big enough, consider storage that can do double-duty as extra seating, such as a foot locker. For smaller rooms, look for solutions that get stuff up off the floor, like cork boards for assignments and jewelry.

3. Safer technology solutions – It’s probably safe to say there’s no such thing as a totally tech-free college kid anymore. Laptops, tablets, smartphones and desktop PCs are all important tools for both school work and fun. Your college student probably already has his favorite mobile device in hand, but you can help him protect it with safety solutions designed specifically for use in college. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your student’s favorite device, and give her hardware specifically designed to deter theft, such as an alarm, security plate or cable lock. Ensure that even if his laptop does get lost or stolen, he won’t lose all his data by giving him a year’s subscription to an online backup service.

4. Better backpacking – A backpack is as much a staple of college life as heavy books and lots of studying. Overloaded backpacks, however, can cause back pain. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends limiting the heft of backpack contents to no more than 10 to 15 percent of the carrier’s body weight, but most college kids carry much more than that. Look for a backpack that’s designed to redistribute the weight of contents to minimize strain on the wearer’s back and shoulders. Fortunately, it’s easy to find plenty of good-looking, back-friendly backpack options, both in stores and online.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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