You can show your kids you care—even when you’re not eating lunch at the same table. Pack up a lunch your kiddos will love (here are some clever recipes) and then add one of our fun lunch box ideas. They’ll love seeing a note, puzzle or something unique from mom or dad while they’re in the middle of their school day!
Add a special note or picture
Whether you quickly leave a note on a scrap of paper or print out a graphic from Pinterest, your kids will love finding a message in their lunch box. A simple I love you or Have a great day! is all you need. For something a bit more fun, try writing out a silly joke you found, or printing out a kids’ comic strip. You could even write a message on the skin of their banana!
Transform their food
Kids love to have their food presented in surprising and silly ways. Cut their sandwich into a fun shape with a cookie cutter. Draw a silly face on the wrapper of the string cheese. Add googly eyes to the yogurt cup. Show them mom knows how to make them laugh! Here’s a fun idea for a sub sandwich—stick a bendy straw in the top to make it look like a submarine, then add some gold cracker fishies to finish the effect.
Embrace holiday fun
The holidays are the best time to bring a little extra playtime to your child’s lunch. For St. Patrick’s Day, fill their lunch box with only green foods. For Valentine’s Day, cut everything into a shape of a heart, or sprinkle their snacks with pink and red sprinkles. Near Easter, consider packing their lunch in an egg carton, with all their snacks in plastic eggs! For Halloween, add vampire teeth to their sandwich.
Learn how to make a few simple origami shapes, and include one in your child’s lunch box for a fun surprise. They’ll love folded animal shapes like a butterfly, a fish or a crab. And when they get home, you can teach them how to make their own!
Think outside the sandwich
The same ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day can get pretty old. Add some unusual ingredients to the PB&J. You could also think outside the sandwich to surprise your kids. There are plenty of other foods that pack well in a lunch box! Consider homemade corn dog muffins, pizza quesadillas or even crackers with ham and cheese.
Share a secret
Put on your detective hat and add a little mystery to your kid’s lunch box.You could write a note in a coded language, with a key on the back so they can decode it. Or make your own scratch-off cards. Write a note or draw a picture on cardstock then cover it with clear tape. Next mix your scratch-off solution, all you need is 1 part dish soap to 2 parts silver paint. Paint over the taped area with a few coats of paint until the message is completely hidden. Include a penny in their lunch box so they can scratch off the silver and reveal your secret!
Include a little toy
The fun part about fast food kids’ meals is the toy that’s included. Bring the same concept to their lunch box! It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, just a small token to surprise them in the middle of the school day. Buy a few things ahead of time at the dollar store. Pick small items that will fit well in their lunch box, and simple toys that won’t distract them while they finish off their day in class. Mini dinosaurs, a little pack of stickers or miniature set of new crayons would all be great. You could pick one day a week that includes a toy, like every fun Friday!
Make the birthday lunch extra festive
If your child’s birthday falls on a school day, it’s a great opportunity to make their lunch super special. Try individually wrapping each lunch item with wrapping paper. Every little snack turns into a birthday present! Fold up a birthday message and put it in a small balloon before you fill it up. They have to pop the balloon to read the message! You could also cut out the number of their age in a sandwich.