I know that children love those character lunchboxes. My daughters had them when they were young but, in retrospect, I would do a lot of things differently now.
First, I would buy lunch packs rather than lunchboxes. The ones with the lining to help keep things cool. They usually come with a pocket to hold silverware, napkins and other small items. These can be purchased during back to school sales, or even during clearance sales after school starts. You can also look at yard sales and in thrift shops.
It is not important that children have the latest character lunchboxes. What is important is that they learn the value of a dollar. Each year, they would want a new character lunchbox, but a lunch pack can last for many years. We have one that has lasted about five years, and is still going strong.
I would also purchase each child a hot/cold thermos so that I could send a larger variety of foods to school with my children. Again, I would find an affordable way to purchase these.
What goes into the lunch packs is just as important as the lunchbox itself. It is wise to pick up things as affordable as possible. Dollar stores may have what you are looking for in this area.
For instance, last month I purchased a three pack of sandwich containers. Each will hold one sandwich, or whatever else I decide to put into it. I only paid $1.00 plus tax.
Be on the lookout for different containers that will hold small amounts of foods. Yardsales are good sources. And a thermos for drinks as well. You will want to pack things like grapes, yogurt, and crackers, so look for different sized containers.
I also feel that it is important to send real silverware to school with our children, as well as cloth napkins.
It is important that our children learn not to be wasteful. Talk with them about this. Explain why it is important to reuse items, rather than throw them out. It is not only to help us to be thrifty, but it is also an effort not to add unnecessary waste to our landfills. In this way, we reduce waste.
I hope this helps some of you out. I will be posting more on school lunches soon.