Ask Design Mom: Summer School Lunchbox

May 22, 2007

Dear Gabrielle, My eldest daughter is about to join the ranks of kindergarteners and I am looking for a cool schoolbox for her to take when her classes begin. The problem I’m having is that she’s on a ‘year round’ school schedule and there aren’t too many choices out there from which to pick right now — especially when her first day of school is in mid-July! I can’t wait for a traditional September ‘back to school’ post and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this problem. Any ideas? I want to send her off in style. :) Thanks so much. I LOVE the blog. — Heidi

Design Mom Answer:
Oh man. It was 4 years ago when I was doing my own lunch box shopping for my first kindergartener. And I found it so much more fun than school clothes shopping. It was almost as if when picking out his lunchbox, I was picking out the kind of friends he was going to have that year. (I remember being in fourth grade and totally being BFF with a girl named Kristy, because we had matching pencil boxes. . .)

Anyway. Lunchboxes in the summer can be tricky. But don’t despair. First of all, if you can stand to wait until the second week of July (I know that’s cutting it close), all the stores will have removed their Independence Day products and moved straight to back-to-school products and you’ll probably have tons of choices.

If you must have a lunchbox this minute, I have a couple of suggestions. For old school boxes, you can’t beat ebay.

Check out this Lassie box. Rad.

Or this New With Tags Return of the Jedi box.

This one is too grown-up for Kindergarten, but I want it for myself.

A quick note on vintage lunchboxes: if you find one sans thermos, don’t stress, just send your child with a little Nalgene bottle/water bottle/juice box/milk money instead.

For more current, insulated, soft-pack lunch boxes, Target has a section dedicated to these year-round in their sporting goods/outdoor gear department.

Like this one.

Or this neoprene one that comes in red, black, green, orange. . .

Target also has a more extensive online lunchbox collection than in stores. I like this orange crush lunch box.

For my son, Ralph, I remember finding a reproduction metal lunchbox featuring vintage BattleStar Gallactica at some discount store, I think it was OddJobs. It totally rocked.

Good luck in your hunt! I’m sure clever Design Mom Readers will chime in with their own ideas and sources.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erin May 22, 2007 at 8:39 am

I can’t wait until the school year is over and I can throw away the totally thrashed lunch “boxes” my kids have been using all year. I’m dreaming now about what I’ll get them next year and I think I’ll go for a bento box. I love this one because it has reusable containers. I would love to get rid of the sandwich bags! Check it out here:


2 lainakay May 22, 2007 at 8:59 am

The Macbeth Collection has these customizable beauties. A tad expensive but soooo cute. They also have a smaller one that could be used if your kindergartner only needs to bring a snack and a drink.


3 reddahlia May 22, 2007 at 9:27 am

I really like some of the BUILT NY ones at I don’t have one (yet) but I have purchased several Sigg water bottles from them, and their service is great. The Sigg bottles are awesome b/c they don’t leach anything scary into your water. I love the Kleen Kanteen for kids, too!


4 Girl con Queso May 22, 2007 at 10:20 am

The Crush lunchbox is fantastic.


5 Huckaby Fam May 22, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Thanks to Erin for pointing me to I too was looking for a cool lunchbox (for my son). I found a football lunchbox that looks like a football on sale for $8.95. WOW! Thanks!


6 mamacita May 23, 2007 at 9:37 am

You really have to check out the BuiltNY lunch kit. I’ve used it for my daughter this year and it’s the first lunch box I’ve been happy with. It’s machine washable! It comes in cute colors! I will never go back to the kind that mildew and trap crumbs in their cracks. I got one from the Container Store.


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