How to give your kid the best lunchbox

By kate on September 3rd, 2014

Photo by Steve LerouxIn honor of the first day of school, I’d like to share an idea that will ensure your kid has the most unique and awesome lunchbox in class.

I’ve long been a fan of metal lunchboxes. The soft, insulated ones are hard to clean when new and impossible to clean once they get some use and develop tears in the lining. I shudder to think what could grow in there. In contrast, metal lunchboxes are easy to clean thoroughly with soap and water. They last most of a school year under hard use, and when they’re retired, you can see just how much damage they’ve protected your kid’s food from.

Shopping for metal lunchboxes is tough, though. Like most children’s stuff, the lunchbox selection is rife with branded characters and exaggerated gender stereotypes, things I try to avoid. Beyond that, there are a lot of retro lunchbox designs, which may appeal to parents but don’t connect with kids. I tried a personalized lunchbox from Frecklebox, but it was expensive and didn’t last long.

Finally, I hit upon the idea we’ve been using for a couple years now. I order a plain metal lunchbox ($18 with shipping) and let Ruby decorate it herself! She uses stickers and labels from her sticker drawer (and mine), sometimes drawing on or cutting up something to make it just right. Usually, the big sides are arranged in some kind of scene related to something she’s been into recently. Here are the three she’s created so far:

Once she finishes designing the lunchbox, I simply cover it with a layer of packing tape. This protects the decorations and is sturdy enough to last as long as the lunchbox does.

If you want to do this, I offer a few tips:

  • Make sure your child’s name is in the design somewhere (so their name is on it).
  • Keep a pair of needle-nose pliers handy. The metal hinges come loose occasionally and need a good tightening.
  • When a lunchbox is retired, keep it around so you can use its parts (handles, fasteners) as spares. This makes them last longer.
  • If you don’t have a lot of stickers, your child could use markers to draw on their designs instead.

 


Filed under: consumerism, family, handiwork, parenting
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