Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sack Lunch Ideas: Some Entertainment Please

Sack Lunch IdeasLunch isn't really the most exciting meal of the day (that honor would probably go to breakfast). With daily sack lunches for three kids and one husband I figure I've made approximately 6,785 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my lifetime with no sign of the trend abating. If you too are stuck in a rut and are looking for some new ideas, I'll be posting sack lunch ideas for the next few weeks the likes of which are guaranteed to bring happiness to your universe--or at least to your children's lunchtime.

Sack Lunch Idea #1: Give them some lunchtime entertainment.

I bought a joke book, a stack of index cards and a pen I keep in the kitchen. Sometimes I write a joke out on a card and included it in the lunch to brighten their meal. Here's one to get you started: What yellow and highly dangerous? Shark-infested banana pudding! Ha! That one gets me every time. Every time.

Other ideas along the same lines would be to include a brain teaser, riddle, funny fact or--for my football-obsessed son--a piece of sports trivia on a card. You could buy a small inexpensive activity book with pages of mazes, crosswords and puzzles that rip out easily and include a page from the book and a small pencil in their lunch and give them something to look forward to.

I sometimes include a handwritten note to the children "I love you and hope you do well on your test. Love, Mom" or something like that though I try to be careful not to embarrass them by writing something mushy that might gain unwanted attention from lunchtable companions.

Occasionally (and this is a good idea when it's rainy or too cold and they're guaranteed to have indoor recess) I'll leave a sticker or tiny trinket--such as a plastic ring, a tiny card game, Chinese handcuffs or sliding-tile puzzle. Just a little something to let them know I love them.

Using my custom search engine I found some other good links:

* The Daily Tiffin ("tiffin" is a British/Indian word for a light noon meal) for menu ideas.
* Life in a Box: Building a Better Bento (Bentos are Japanese lunch boxes and if you haven't been introduced to the World of Bento yet you'd better get busy!)
* Vegan Lunch Box has meat-free ideas.
* Laptop Lunches is a Flikr group that will make you salivate.
* Choice.com has an interactive lunchbox where you can drag and click items into a lunch box to see the nutritional value.
* A Peanut Butter and Jelly tip of mine from last year. It's still good.

Check in with Rocks in My Dryer every Wednesday for other good tips.

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27 comments:

Meredith said...

The joke on a notecard--brilliant idea.

My little boy would eat that up!

Trenting said...

My mom puts little love notes in my son's lunch, he absolutely adores them, now she'll never be able to stop of course..

Life on the Edge said...

I love it, love it, love it! I was looking for something to add some pizzazz to the boring task of making school lunches AGAIN! It's the part of back to school that I despise the most!!

I will be linking this to the forum on my website if that's ok with you.

:: Suzanne :: said...

Our son started school today and took his lunch in a bento box. He loves the little cupcake papers we use for dividers.

Joan said...

I tackled this from a snack-to-pack angle in a column a couple of years ago, but it's all relevant.

What amazes me is that my kids will eat the exact same lunch every single day of the week. Maybe they just don't care... or maybe they're able to trade for something different! Not that they're sneaky or anything...

Loved your PB&J tip, too, but only one of mine will eat it, and not for lunch, it's a snack to him! (rolls eyes)

I like the idea of the joke or fun fact on the index card, but I wouldn't send a toy, because the lunch periods are already so short they barely have time to eat. They're too busy socializing enough already.

my4kids said...

The jokes are a cute idea! I think I've made at least that many pb&J sandwiches myself!

Robin said...

My mom always put little notes in my lunchbox, but they were always signed "The Spook".

I love the little note cards idea. I think I'll start this now that Itai is reading (and bringing his lunch for the first time this year).

Kathy in WA said...

Great ideas! I love the tip about keeping a joke book or riddle collection in the kitchen to use in lunches. I pack breakfast/lunch for dh three days a week and I bet he would love getting little notes from the kids in his lunch.

Thanks for the reminder to keep it creative!!

Duckabush Blog

micpro said...

Ha, ha! The shark-infested banana pudding joke is cute! (Hate to hear what would happen to it if my 4-year-old got a hold of it though!)

charlotta-love said...

My mom used to do that too! Although I acted tough like it was stupid, I was disappointed when there wasn't a note. It actually made my day.

jen said...

i love the jokes idea. will file that one away for later.

Laane said...

Great idea.
I'm sure the girls will enjoy that next year at the new school.

Thanks for the idea!

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

This is our first year dealing with lunches - thanks for the tips! :)

mcewen said...

I heard a while back that there was a dad who wrote notes on his children's napkins [now published in a book!]

I like the card with a joke idea [especially for Elephant jokes]

The rainy day / inside recess is a great one! Teachers will be kissing your feet.
Cheers

Lostcheerio said...

Hmmm... now I have to start formulating the homeschool version of this. Make your own bento box? The geometry of bento boxes? How do you fit three bell peppers an an asian pear in a bento box along with five round cheeses? Hmm...

Annabelle said...

What a great idea!!

Lisa said...

These are such cool ideas. My little man would LOVE these ideas.

Your such a wonderful mom. ANd I think your kids (someday) are going to look back on their lunches fondly.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Finally Blogger is letting me leave a comment. I kept trying to leave one last night and it kept weirding out.

Anyway, thanks for the tips. My little girl loves it when I leave notes for her in her lunch box. Of course she doesn't object when I sneak in a treat, too :) !!

Lei said...

Love, love it! What a great idea.

Char said...

The first day of school I put a simple little note in my 5 year old's lunch box. When she got home she said in her "I'm 5 going on 15" voice - "Nice note Mom, could you try harder next time?" Something tells me I need to send in a joke or a puzzle for her!

I posted a list of 21 Healthy Lunch Box and Snack Ideas if you want even more ideas. I keep the list taped to the inside of my cabinet door.

Melinda said...

Okay, I gotta find a joke book. That's a brilliant idea.

Hugs,
Melinda

penguinsandladybugs said...

I did NOT know to put peanut butter on both sides! And using Nutella...gonna try that!! The jokes are pretty good, too! Thanks!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

As a kid, I remember my mom having so much fun putting little love notes and things in my dad's lunch. The one I will always remember was one Valentines Day; she went out of her way to make it mushy and embarrassing but he loved it. I will have to start doing this for Cookie's lunch.

Lisa said...

I get sick of making the same lunches, but the kids don't seem to mind. I went over to one of the sites you recommended, and some of them look really good! Thanks for the ideas!

Tabitha said...

What excellent ideas! I already have a drawer where I keep colored pens/pencils and stickers for notes in their lunch boxes. Jokes on card...activity books...little trinkets...LOVE IT!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Stu said...

This essay was voted to be sacked - no, wait, it was nominated for GNMParents' Hot Stuff Of The Week by one of our readers. Either start writing less interesting and relevant posts, or clear more space on the mantle for these awards!

Seriously, way to go on the nom, and good luck in the voting.

Vintage Lunchboxes said...

My mother used to write me notes in my school lunch. I pretended to find it quite annoying at the time, but it was really nice.