August 5, 2013 - 10:48 — DeannaDonovan

Fewer words can strike as much terror into the hearts and minds of school-aged children as the phrase "back to school."   Just seeing the school supplies in store displays can evoke panic into some children but with a little planning and encouragement your child will be smiling and well prepared to begin the new school year. 

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but there is no reason why your child's lunch can't rival in importance.  With a little advanced planning you can improve upon your child's midday meal and make it a very happy experience.  Topping the items on your back to school shopping list is a lunchbox or lunch bag.  Decorating plain old brown paper lunch sacks can be a great end of the summer activity for the entire family.  Each family member can grab some stickers, a few crayons, markers, or colored pencils and create works of art designed to make your child smile at lunchtime.  But whether you decide to brown bag it or purchase a superhero or other character lunchbag either way it's what's inside that will really make your child's day. 

Keep lunchtime fun by enclosing little love notes to your child or perhaps a joke written on their napkin.  During my lunchmaking days I would cut out pictures or comics from magazines and the Sunday paper to save then stick inside my sons' lunch boxes.  I'd cut their sandwiches into shapes or perhaps offer them an alternative sandwich like something wrapped in a tortilla, tucked into pita, or a stack of crackers with cheese and meat slices.  Anything to mix it up and keep lunchtime fresh. While it's true that peanut butter and jelly is the American staple sandwich in many homes I needed to be creative since my eldest son has an allergy to peanuts.  Oh! Had I only known about Sunbutter, which is made from sunflower seeds when he was in grade school!  You can also include your children in the planning and creating of their lunches by checking out materials from our collection like the new magazine Chop Chop which is perfect for school-aged children.  Chop Chop has simple and healthy recipes that kids can create with minimal supervision. Another favorite of mine is the magazine Family Fun which also has simple, kid friendly recipes as well as cute paper craft ideas to spruce up lunchtime. 

You can even get creative with the packaging by using unexpected containers holding their lunchtime treats. 

Perhaps something like these fun little butterflies that hold small bite-sized morsels like grapes, blueberries, raisins, pretzels, or Goldfish Crackers.  And these little guys are reuseable!  They are made from a clothespin that I glued some google eyes on and then bent a pipe cleaner into antenne and tucked down until the clamp.  Place your preferred food items in the bags and cinch up the center to create the wings. So cute and so easy and sure to bring a smile to your little one's face! For more ideas on creating cute lunch sacks, shaping your sandwiches, or just creative packaging, please check out our Kid's Cuisine board on Pinterest for these and other cute lunchbox ideas. 

Also, I would like to invite you to share some of your creative lunchtime ideas with other readers in the comments section of this blog post.