Aside from finding your kids the perfect backpack , lunchboxes are the next essential for the back-to-school season.
There are so many options on the market that it can be difficult to narrow down, but consider what will help to simplify those hectic mornings when you're getting everything together. A few key tips to keep in mind: Insulation must be good to keep food cold, it should be practical and easily hook onto the backpack (or in it) so your little one doesn't lose it, and durable enough to last the entire school year—or longer!
Here are our favorite kids' lunchboxes for every age from daycare to middle school:
Leak-proof, stain-resistant and basically designed to survive the apocalypse, L.L. Bean's Flip-Top Lunchbox is a solid choice for all ages. It's compact but impressively roomy inside and the flip-top design makes everything easy to access. A mesh panel in the lid keeps ice packs or extra snacks separate, making every inch usable space.
We've always loved Hydroflask's bulletproof water bottles, so it's no surprise we're equally smitten with their durable kid-friendly lunchbox! Not only does it keep things cold for hours, it also saves them from the dreaded smushed PBJ. (No one likes that.)
Go Green Lunchbox sets take care of all things lunch in one fell swoop. The four-piece set includes a five compartment lunch box, insulated carrying bag, 8 oz. stainless steel water bottle, and a reusable gel freezer pack, which all fit together perfectly. What's more, inside the bag you'll find a wipe-off board to write a message for the day and a pocket to stash napkins and utensils. Clearly, they've thought of everything.
For picnic lunches, camp and field trips where little ones are dining alfresco, FlatBox doubles as a clean eating surface. The triple-insulated patented neoprene design features heavy-duty auto-locking zippers that allow it to keep food hot or cold for hours and fold completely flat when it's time to chow down.
Not only does Funkins have adorable designs your kid will love, but they're a mom-owned company so they're exactly what kids need for school. They're insulated, machine-washable, expandable to fit various containers, and include an interior pocket to hold notes or utensils. Plus, they're stain, tear and water-resistant and fold flat for storage.
These bento-style lunchboxes don't sacrifice on style or practicality. They're dishwasher friendly, 100% recyclable, and toxic free. The leak-proof set includes two mini containers to use for dippings or smaller snacks. They also offer insulated cooler bags .
Ultra-durable, these bags are made to last for years. They're weather-resistant, have an exterior mesh pocket for water bottles, and sit upright so food or drinks won't topple over. We love that it can piggyback on other PBK backpacks for easy transportation. Oh, and we highly recommend getting your child's name monogrammed for the ultimate personalization. Prices start at $26.50.
PackIt lunch bags fold up up flat and has cooling technology built in so it's a freezer bag on its own—no need to remember to pack ice packs, mama! Simply place it in the freezer each night and it'll be ready to go for your kids' lunch. The buckle handle clips onto backpacks and it features a zip top to keep everything inside fresh.
For the younger kids, the Skip Hop Zoo collection features adorable animal designs. We love the unicorn one. 🦄They're roomy, insulated and easy to clean for those inevitable messes. It has an interior mesh pocket inside, great for storing utensils, notes from mama and dad, or napkins.
Bentgo bento boxes check all the boxes. They're perfectly sized for kid lunches, easy-to-clean, blessedly leak-proof and miraculously manage to keep all food from touching even when banged around in their backpack.
Boon Bento is perfect for preschoolers for its size and easy-to-use clasp for small hands. The exterior design is silicone that stretches for storage, whether that be a fork or spoon, or a sweet note. The inside is built like a bento box, where you can separate foods with removable compartments. It includes a freezer pack to keep everything cool and the textured surface is perfect for writing your little's name.
The retro lunch bags are smaller and more compact than most lunchboxes, making them easier to tote around for smaller hands. But, it's still spacious enough to fit multiple small storage containers and a small bottle. The clasp at the top easily hooks on to backpacks.
For your little who needs to squeeze a lunchbox into any and every bag, the softpack cooler is ideal. It folds down so you can store it away in the pantry, while still being durable for rough hands. The top handle is easy to grip and the bag is lightweight enough for the smallest of kiddos.
This stainless steel beauty has multiple compartments for those kiddos who love variety. It also comes with two leak-proof containers for any liquid or wet food (ketchup! yogurt!) you may want to include. The best part is that the design is fully customizable with magnets you put right on the box. Makes it so easy to swap when your kid is done with dinosaurs and wants to move onto emojis. 😝
For the kiddos who insist on a warm lunch from home, the insulated containers from DaCool make life so much easier. Vacuum insulation ensures that food stays hot and doesn't leak all over their lunchbox.The spoon conveniently folds up and fits inside the lid, and the top can double as a bowl at lunchtime.
The adorable neoprene coolers from Yo To Go are perfect for yogurt-loving littles. They're designed to fit most Greek yogurt containers and can be tossed in backpacks solo for snacks or in lunchboxes as a way to keep the yogurt extra cold. They also work for things like fruit cups, cut fruit, anything you want to keep a bit chilled. And bonus! The little reusable ice packs are perfect for boo-boos!
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