Like many others with late birthdays, my youngest son will only be three when he starts school this fall. To help him prepare for the self-help skills he'll need, we've been in prep mode all summer long; teaching him how to take off and put on his shoes, get dressed, and vocalize that he needs to use the washroom.
As an elementary teacher, I know a lot will be expected of our little ones once they walk through those doors in September. Every fall, I also see each child rise to the challenges while their independent skills rapidly grow.
One of the best ways, we as parents can help our kindergarteners during the school day is to pack easy to manage healthy foods for their snacks and lunches.
In many kindergarten classrooms, children are expected to choose snack time as an activity and independently manage eating. My 5-year-old graduated from full-day senior kindergarten in June. I learned the more simply I pack his foods, the more likely he is to eat. A variety of foods encourages eating, too! After two years of kindergarten meals, I've come up with a list of reusable lunch gear that is easy for small children to use and for parents to organize healthy food choices.
Litterless Lunch Shopping List
- 2 Kids Konserve Ice Packs : Keep food fresh until lunchtime. They make amazing ice packs for childhood falls, too!
- 1-2 Stainless Steel Insulated Food Jar : A hot lunch is a nice break from the sandwich rut especially on nights when you have leftovers.
- 1 set of Stainless Steel Snack Trio: I used one of these each day to designate the snack food rather than the lunchtime meal.
- 1 Stainless Steel Sandwich Container: This container can fit your child's whole lunch meal with space for a sandwich and room for extras like raisins, veggies, and cheese.
- 1 Bento Lunch Box: I especially adore bento lunch gear because I can pack a healthy lunch using whatever is left in the fridge! Bonus…kids adore the choices!
- 2-3 Small Reusable Snack Bags : These are the reusable alternative to ziploc baggies. Fill them with crackers, grapes, or veggies. Wash them on the weekends.
- 1 Toxic-Free Lunch Bag: Choose a wipeable lunch bag that is PVC-free, Phthalate-free, and BPA-free. My current favourite kindergarten-friendly choices are Crocodile Creek or Stephen Joseph for their fun designs.
- 2 S'well Water Bottles: The small opening means your child's face won't be covered while drinking, reducing spillage. It is also perfect for the child who has outgrown the sippy spouts
- 2 Stainless Steel Water Bottles: The lids cover the sippy spouts to prevent leakage all over your child's school bag.
- 1 Spork: Space efficient and sized for small hands. The bamboo spork (spoon and fork) means you won't be missing any cutlery from your kitchen set!
If there's room in your budget, I recommend buying multiples of some of the litterless lunch gear. To help with the cost, sign up for terra20's Clean Start program to receive a $20 discount off your first purchase, and a discount on your child's birthday.
Preparing To Use Litterless Lunch Gear
Items do get lost on the school yard and coat room, label everything with your child's first and last name. Buying extras will prevent the 11 p.m. panic when you discover you don't have any kid-sized reusable containers.
Before school begins, pack your child their day's snacks, and lunch in their litterless lunch bag. Let them practice using the containers, and cleaning up after themselves. This activity will not only build excitement for school but help you feel confident that your soon-to-be kindergartener is able to keep themselves nourished during the day.
Disclosure: This post was compensated by terra20. All opinions and ideas for preparing for full-day kindergarten are my own.