Pack a: Joke
Tickle your child’s funny bone by sending along a kid-friendly joke. The cornier, the better! Check out our huge collection of mom-approved jokes. And whether you type it up on your computer and print or simply scribble it by hand on a napkin or folded paper towel, bring the joke to life with a silly hand-drawn illustration. Get started with this fun joke: Question: Why did the chicken cross the playground? Answer: To get to the other slide.
Pack a: Riddle
Even though it will engage the brain, working out the answer to an enigmatic riddle won’t seem like extra homework. Fold up your note so that it’s hard to accidentally spot the answer right away. Get started with these riddles: Question: What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? Answer: Short. Or: What question can a person ask all day long, getting a different answer each time, yet all the answers are correct? Answer: What time is it?
Pack a: Puzzle
For more midday mind-stretchers, pack a small puzzle, like word finds, crosswords, sudoku, etc. For an easy way to include these in a lunchbox, buy books at the dollar store and tear out the pages. Page-A-Day calendar pages work great for this, too.
Pack a: Clue
Enclose a tiny clue or symbol indicating that day’s after-school activity. For example, include a tiny toy soccer ball if it's the first day of soccer practice, a little envelope containing the cut-out letters of the family member or friend who is coming over for dinner that evening, or a piece of popcorn if you’re going to the movies.
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Pack a: Photo
Slip a picture into your child’s lunchbox that will remind him or her of the past weekend’s fun activities, or just enclose a goofy, candid shot taken during everyday family time around the house. Don’t worry if you don’t have glossy color prints on hand; you can simply print images out from your computer on regular printer paper, and black and white is just fine. Here are tips for taking gorgeous candid photos of your kids.
Pack a: Creative love note
While there’s nothing wrong with simply sending the words “I love you,” you can also show a little creativity when sending a sweet, mom-type missive. For example, glue a cotton ball to a note that says "Being your mom puts me on Cloud 9."
Pack a: Coupon
Surprise your child with a hand-written coupon good for a special treat. Pick something you know your child will love, whether it’s an after-school visit to the ice cream stand, a trip to the library, playground, or pet shop, or choosing a tiny (under five dollars) toy from the store.
Pack a: Compliment
Encourage your child with a thoughtful, creative compliment. Whether it’s "You’re super at sharing," "You take great care of (insert name of pet here)," or "You're a really kind brother," it’s a boost to get this kind of good parental feedback—especially when it’s least expected, like at lunch.
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Pack a: Trivia question
You don't have to leave older siblings out of the note game. For kids who are playing it cool, simply slip in some fun facts or trivia related to his or her interests, whether it’s outer space, a favorite book series, or the pop band of the moment.
Send a: Lunchtime text
Your teenager might not be into a lunch note, but they’re guaranteed to enjoy a (quick, cute) text message from you. Stick to short and sweet sentiments with no need for a response, and you’ll be sharing your love in a teen-approved way. But avoid these super-annoying texting habits.