Pack Their Bags | Back-to-School Bags + Books They’ll Love

It’s that time of year again…summer is winding down, and little citizens are getting ready to head back to school. Whether it’s their first year or their fifth, the first day of class is always full of newness and excitement. But that same newness—new faces, new teachers, new schedules, new lessons to learn—can also be a little overwhelming, even a little foreign. What better way to ease those first-day jitters than to gear them up with a cool, new backpack filled with familiar goodies and globally-inspired books?

Flying Scot Backpack | Scots Triangle Backpack | Scotland Garden Backpack | Moggy Cat Backpack

Whether they’re feeling bold and floral, or bright and graphic, our back-to-school packs (in fun new prints) are just what they need to start their new adventure in style. Choose a favorite print, then check out these Scotland-inspired favorite reads. They’re great for passing time on the bus, and some you just might recognize.

Behind The Design | The Celtic Knot

Scotland is steeped in Celtic culture and tradition. So when our designers went on their trip in search of inspiration, it’s no surprise that they drew a great deal of artistic influence from the ancient Celtic art that adorns the country. From traditional textiles like tartan and tweed, to the decorative motifs found in Pictish and Viking stone carvings, you’ll notice a strong sense of heritage and lot of classic Scottish elements playing through our fall and winter collections.

One of the prominent motifs featured in our latest back-to-school graphic styles for girl, boy and baby is the Celtic Knot. An intriguing symbol of Scottish pride, learn more about this ancient decorative art form and the meaning behind its various interwoven patterns.

Gales, Whales and Sea Tales | The Seafaring Spirit of Scotland

With 790 islands and 6,200 miles of coastline, the Scots seaside is a world of crashing waves, windswept shorelines and picturesque fishing villages. Surrounded by water on three sides, and home to thousands and thousands of lochs (lakes), it’s no wonder Scotland takes its fish and ships seriously. For hundreds of years, local lads set out to sea in search of a catch, in hopes of returning home with a hold full of “silver darlings”, as herring—a fish of legend and song—were called.

Today, fishing is still very much a way of life for Scotland’s age-old coastal communities. As long as the sea still beckons, the traditional legend and lore of salty sea-dogs who had spent too much time at sail, lives on. And it’s this salty air, seafaring spirit that inspired so many of our favorite fall prints and graphics.

Haló from Scotland!

Here at Tea, we want to give kids the world, to help them discover that no matter where we live or what our families look like, there is so much we all have in common.  We travel to discover. To dream. To explore the wonder of the world around us, across the globe and across the street. Since 2002, we’ve traveled to far flung places, always inspired by the people we meet and the things we see. Wherever we go, from Bali to Norway, Morocco to Japan, we take in all we can and bring it back to our headquarters here in San Francisco to design globally-inspired clothing for all little citizens.

Making The Foreign Familiar Every Day :: Meet Amanda Freerksen

Here at Tea, we believe in making the foreign familiar, across the globe and across the street…Opening children’s eyes to the wonder of the world around them. Showing kids that, when you get down to the heart of things, we have a lot in common with other citizens of the world. And while a trip halfway around the world might instantly make the foreign familiar, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go far to experience new sights, sounds and tastes!

Amanda Freerksen, of the blog Queso Suizo, (and one of our Tea Ambassadors!) shares with us a bit about her family, how they came to love Tea and how she strives to make the foreign familiar for her two kiddos at home.

Hi Amanda! Tell us a bit about your family…

Our little family started a couple of years after my husband and I met on the dance floor of a night club in San Diego. The adventure began with what we like to call an extended honeymoon – living and working in Switzerland for the first two years of our marriage. Today, we are a family of four: my husband, Isaiah; our 4-year-old son, Hunter; our 20-month-old daughter, Paloma; and me! I always thought I wanted a big family with around four children, but since we didn’t start our family until we were in our thirties, I feel like we got a late start. Besides, once Paloma was born, I looked down at that sweet face and got the overwhelming feeling that our family was now perfectly complete.

What is it about Tea that you most identify with?

Goodness, there are so many things that make me identify with Tea’s story, but what stands out is this idea that we are more alike than we are different, which Tea so perfectly expresses through the company name. Everywhere you go, tea is a drink that brings people together. It might be taken or served differently from one culture to the next, but the experience of sharing this drink with people we love or new friends we meet is something we have in common. What a perfect name for a company that’s all about making the foreign familiar! Additionally, I really admire how Tea gives back to children stateside through school fundraisers and around the world through the Global Fund for Children. These days I am all about supporting brands that align with my values, and Tea’s global mindset fits the bill!

As an adventure aficionado and mother of two, how do you try to make the foreign familiar for your little citizens in your home?

I want more than anything for my children to see themselves as global citizens, and I think the best way to achieve that is for them to realize that we are indeed more alike than we are different. Though, as much as I would love to whisk them off to foreign countries to see first-hand the common threads that unite us, international travel is just not on the docket for my family for a few more years. Instead, I try as much as possible to bring the world to our home through multi-cultural crafts, music, food, languages, and more. In fact, I have a series on my blog sharing all the ways our family is intentional about making the foreign familiar. For example, during our morning commute we listen to children’s CDs in foreign languages. My son loves them, and we sing along even if we don’t really know what the words mean. Often times it inspires conversations about foreign languages, and we get to look at a map and see where the particular language is spoken.

Also, we’re pretty lucky here in the Seattle area that the Seattle Center is home to a variety of cultural festivals all year long, and in the summer they happen as often as several times per month. Festivals, celebrations, and cultural ceremonies not only offer a glimpse into the sights and sounds of a foreign culture, they are a great opportunity to show children that no matter the language, the dress, or food, we are all united in our humanity.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to parents looking to inspire global curiosity in their little citizens?

I think it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that in order for your children to experience the world they need to travel the world starting at a young age, and that’s just not doable for so many families. So, my advice is to start small. Explore your own cultural background and heritage. Invite grandparents or great-grandparents to share stories, traditions, and experiences from their childhood. When children see that culture is part of their own familiar experience, they can start to appreciate the experiences of children from other cultures.

If you could bring your family on a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I have two dream destinations on my mind right now. The first is Japan. I
think that experiencing the cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan at a young age would leave quite the impression on my children — that our world is so diverse and the way we do things in our own little bubble is not how they are done everywhere else.

My other dream destination is South Africa, which we are actually taking some action steps to make a trip come true in the next few years. My husband’s aunt and uncle live there half of the year and have invited us to stay with them, so lately I have been daydreaming about how amazing it would be for my children to see elephants up close and in the wild!

For more tips and ideas on how to cultivate a sense of global perspective for your littles, check out Amanda’s blog, Queso Suizo.

Photo credits: Family photo by Julie Rings Photography. All other photos by Amanda Freerksen.


To help everyone at Tea “go there”, we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write a blog post to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)! We’re so excited to introduce you to Kathryn, our Assistant Merchandiser for Girls Dresses and Leggings. Follow along as she shares tales from her trip to Australia! 


Tea friend and Foreign Correspondent Terumi Pong, of An Emerald City Life, spent 6 weeks traveling through Australia with her husband and two littles. Follow along as she shares adventures from her family’s dream trip on Studio Tea.