Organized for school: 5 creative lunchbox ideas

My five-year-old is very curious, excited, and maybe a little nervous about starting kindergarten in a few weeks. Last night at the dinner table we discussed the importance of shifting to the new school year routine before school starts.

After much negotiation on last night’s bedtime, he agreed that when we’re back from our week at the beach on August 14th, we’ll start heading to bed 5 minutes earlier each night. That way, it won’t come as a shock to our system when we have to go to bed at 7:30pm and wake up at 6:30am.

We also talked about lunches. Summer camp has gotten us in the habit of packing lunches every day, which we both enjoy. He especially likes to try to guess what’s going to be in the surprise bag (from Graze Organics).

His lunch bag is looking a little worse for the wear, so we went “shopping” for a new one after the dishes were done. He browsed the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and delighted in the monogrammed Spider Man lunch bag. But then I found this adorable customizable monster truck lunchbox on Etsy and he agreed it was “AWESOME!”

We placed the order then and there. Man, I love back to school shopping online!

Because I know mornings are going to be a lot more hectic in a few weeks, I thought it might be a good idea for us to come up with some lunch themes so I wouldn’t have to “wing it” every day. I asked Will for some ideas, and here’s what he came up with:

M= MONSTER TRUCK (duh!) Monday
T = TOW TRUCK (double duh!) Tuesday
W = Wacky Wednesday
T = Turkey Thursday
F = Fun Friday

He was so excited about his theme ideas that I had to document the brilliance on the chalkboard next to our fridge. He added a few squiggles for flourish.

I have to admit, when I looked at the list later that evening, I was a little nervous about my ability to pull off this theme idea of mine. What on earth was I thinking?!? Why couldn’t I just leave it at a cool lunchbox and let that be the excitement?!

Then I remembered – Pinterest! There just had to be some brilliant bloggers out there doing marvelous things with their sandwiches and taking pictures of it. I logged in and sure enough, within a few minutes, I had ideas and instructions for every, single theme my son had dreamed up. (If you want an invite to this marvelous virtual pinboard, just send me your email address to sarah at getbuttonedup dot com and I will invite you to join).

Monster Truck Monday:

This comes courtesy of Kids on the Grand. I’ve got a round biscuit cutter, which should work for the wheels – and the body looks straightforward enough to cut by hand. The other bonus – this shape should work with virtually any kind of sandwich filling.

Tow Truck Tuesday:

This ingenious creation comes courtesy of Funky Lunch. They literally wrote the book on how to make fun sandwiches! I might need to practice a bit to nail this one though – thank goodness they have a tutorial on their blog. I just wish I could be there to see the look on his face when he opens his lunchbox!

Wacky Wednesday:

I love the wide-open angle to the Wacky Wednesday theme. In my wanderings I stumbled upon This Lunch Rox – which has literally hundreds of cool lunchbox ideas. You know which website I’ll be visiting Tuesday nights.

Turkey Thursday:

I am grateful that this basic theme has me technically off the hook for cute designs, but I couldn’t resist this little turkey sandwich I found on Meet the Dubiens. I doubt my guy will eat the peppers, but maybe if I include a little bit of ranch dressing…?

Fun Friday:

Like Wacky Wednesday, this day could bring anything from sandwich roll-ups to crazy creations like the ones below.

There’s something fun about a sandwich you get to disassemble to eat. This one sort of reminds me of a Snackables – but in a cuter package. Image via: Photo Find

And what about this little crab sandwich courtesy of Family Fun? The trick with this one will be in keeping it together in-transit. So darn cute though, I know I’ll just have to try!

After organizing along this theme, I am getting excited to actually make these sandwiches (for week #1 anyway!). Something tells me I’d better put them together the night before though – I’m not so sharp in the mornings!

What do you think – crazy fun, no? Would you ever go to great lengths to make fun sandwiches like this for your kid or do you think it sets them up for major disappointment when they encounter just a “regular” sandwich?