Back 2 School-The 4 Best Lunch Box Containers for Young Children

It is Back to School time!


Whether you’re ready or not…it’s that time again!!


These products will surely help young children be successful and independent in their school journey!


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Back 2 school…Back 2 school…

The early mornings, trying to get everyone out of the house on time, and making lunches.  Back to School means making and packing lunches. Whether you make and pack them at night or in the morning, it is still a chore to complete.  Making and packing lunches means endless amounts of zip loc baggies, tupperware containers, aluminum foil, ice packs and thermoses.


All the makings of a disaster for a teacher…let me explain.  In most, if not all, preschool (3 to 6 year old) classrooms in California, there can be a maximum of twenty four children and two teachers.  A ration of twelve to one.  If every child brings their lunch; all twenty four of them; that means that there are twenty four lunches that we have to help open.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, that’s my point!  When I worked in a private preschool classroom, at least eighty percent of the children in my classroom brought a lunch from home.


The Montessori philosophy is based on the independence of the child, and care of self.  One of my favorite quote states,

Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.

-Maria Montessori





So, how can you help as a parent?

As a Montessorian, it can be challenging to teach and implement the philosophy of nurturing the independence of the children, when parents do not always help with teaching independence for their child when considering the containers and baggies they put in their lunches.  For example, I understand that placing sandwiches in zip loc baggies are convenient and cheap, but most parents do not take into consideration how difficult it is for young children to open the baggies on their own.

In all actuality, it is actually pretty difficult for them to grip the bag just right, and get it open.  On the other side, using tupperware containers are not any easier, as they tend to have very difficult lids that are not necessarily child friendly and easy to open for small hands.  Even though aluminum foil and thermoses help keep food warm in instances when there is not a way to re warm food, but they tend to be equally as difficult for young children to open themselves.


Interested in learning more about raising your child to be independent?  Check out my post 5 Tips to Raise an Independent Child.



Promoting independence & self- sufficient traits

When I was a classroom teacher, I had noticed throughout the years that the above listed ways to pack a child’s lunch are not practical or helpful for young children. It took away from them being able to open things themselves and be independent, which is an important part of a child’s development.  It was customary in my classroom, and in many Montessori classrooms, that children be able to at least try to open their containers, lunch boxes and bags at lunch time.


In most cases, many of the children were very eager and willing to open their own things, and did not want the help of the teachers.  They were building on their ability to be naturally independent and self sufficient.  It is an important part of the Montessori philosophy to promote their inner ability to be natural learners.



With that in mind, I have come up with a list of lunch containers that are ideal in promoting the independence of your child at lunch time, which in turn leads to being independent at other feeding times as well!  The below list are of items that children have had in my classroom over the past one to two years, and are, in my opinion, the best “child centered” products for promoting independent little learners!



4 of the best child centered lunch containers


1. Bentgo Kids-Children’s Lunch Box

The Bentgo Kids container is a popular one.  It has two easy to open snap tabs, and the multiple compartments allows you to provide a variety of lunch choices for your child.  It also comes in more colors for your child to choose from.  They are durable & leak proof; and the inner tray is microwave and dishwasher safe.  The outside has rubber coated edges for maximum durability, and it even comes with a free downloadable eCookbook!



2. Lunchbots Stainless Steel Lunch Container

The Lunchbots lunch container is also a popular choice.  It has an easy to open lid, and similar to the Bentgo box, it has multiple compartments to allow for a variety of food choices for your child.  The durable stainless steel is built for long term usage.  It is dishwasher safe, and also comes in a trio; with two different varieties for the trio box!



3. OmieBox Bento Lunch Box

The OmieBox lunch box comes with a kid thermos that is insulated.  It opens easy, as does the lunch box itself with a snap lid.  It also has multiple compartments to provide a variety of food choices as well.  The leak proof, double walled, air insulated lunch box can be used for hot or cold foods, and the insulated thermos will keep food hot for up to four hours!



4. Zojirushi Mr. Bento Lunch Jar

The Zojirushi Mr. Bento lunch jar is by far the most convenient one for keeping foods hot.  It comes with four smaller insulated containers with lids, that are easily stored inside the jar.  It can keep food hot (or cold) for up to six hours!  It is vacuum insulated stainless steel, with microwavable food bowls.  The bowls come in different sizes, and the jar itself comes in a variety of colors. It even comes with a convenient carrying bag!





In the end

All of the lunch containers will provide opportunities for your child to practice their fine motor skills.  It will also give them many opportunities to be independent.  Any activities that aid in your child being self sufficient and independent will in the long run lead to them being confident and autonomous in the future, and on in to adulthood.  Come on, now who doesn’t want their young child to be more independent?!



Be on the lookout for more Back 2 School tips and tricks coming later this month!


What are your favorite and must-have child-friendly lunch box containers?  Share them in the comments!


Anitra J.







  1. This is such a good idea that i never would have thought of. Thank you!! I absolutely love the look of that first one, it’s cute AND looks functional/easy for small hands. I’m sure a lot of Montessori parents just don’t even think about this. Have you thought about sending home a little newsletter or something encouraging parents to transition to easier lunch containers? I’m sure not every parent would do it, but I’ll bet many of them would!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Brooks! It is something that most parents wouldn’t think of, that’s why I hope my post helps them realize the importance of this. I may have to send out a newsletter reminding them, like you suggested. Thanks!

  2. You have no idea how badly I needed to find this post! I will be looking into Mr. Bento for sure… my daughter loves to eat soup and this looks ideal!

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Tara! I’m glad this post helped! All of the containers I chose are really good for little ones!

  3. I never thought of baggies as being hard to open for little fingers. Interesting. My daughter loves to take all kinds of things in a thermos (like Mr. Bento) ! She loves soup, pizza rolls, pasta etc.

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Amanda! Baggies can be super hard for little fingers. The Bento boxes are amazing and they give them a chance to do it themselves.

  4. Courtney says:

    These are super cute, not to mention more environmentally friendly! I want some to use myself!

  5. Thanks for the reviews! With three kids in school, I’m always looking for clever ways to eliminate waste at lunch

  6. These lunch containers are cool! I kind of want them for myself! I think the first one would be good for my daughter. So far, she hasn’t wanted to bring her lunch. She just gets a tray. But if she changes her mind, I know what to look for!

  7. Shelanda says:

    I never considered that the baggies would be difficult for little hands. I like the 4 ideas listed. My sons school started free breakfast and lunch for everyone this year. But if they decide they want to take lunch I will consider your suggestions.

  8. Those are great ideas! Especially for preschool, it is really helpful! I struggled to find containers that my kids could open on their own. Thankfully, I found a good set by Rubbermaid that we really like. But wish I’d known about your options above when they were younger.

  9. Terri says:

    I am always looking for great lunch containers for the kids! I would love to try the bentgo box- it looks like a worthwhile purchase for sure! :0)

  10. We have been searching for a good lunchbox storage option. Thanks for these ideas!

  11. I never thought about the teacher side of lunches and snacks. Good points.

  12. We have the bentgo. I’ve mainly used to for traveling outside the house but now that my sons entering kindergarten we will try to this tear for school.

  13. We have a GoGreen lunch box. It’s similar to the ones you’ve shared – leak-proof sections, closed with four easy open easy close tabs (one on each side), and the lid stays clipped to the main box so it doesn’t get misplaced or lost. We don’t use the drink bottle that came with it, but my kids love the fun colourful bag it fits into.

  14. I’m a big fan of those Bento boxes. They’re not just practical. They make the lunches look so much more enticing and fun to eat. And they remind us to think in terms of small snacks (including healthy ones, like cubes of cheese and carrots), vs. sandwiches. (I have yet to pack a kid a sandwich that doesn’t come home at the end of the day!)

  15. We love our bento boxes for school lunches! The compartments keep the food separated, so bread/crackers don’t get soggy AND it’s so much better for the environment than all those plastic bags.

  16. Love how you are helping moms think through the practical aspects of packing kids lunches and helping them be more independent while giving teachers a break. Love these containers, thanks for sharing!

  17. Mary Ann says:

    My family loves our Planet Boxes. We have one for every person (kids and adults). My oldest son has been using the same one for seven years and it still looks and works great. My only complaint is that the box is a bit heavy by the time you add an ice pack and insulated thermos but even by tiny VPK daughter can manage. Much easier than small pastic containers with lids or wasteful plastic bags. The Planet Box slides into a single plate slot in the dishwasher every evening so I have 5 clean and ready each morning.

  18. We go through so many containers during the school year.

  19. I love these functional lunch box ideas. I def need to invest in one or three! Haha.

  20. Lauren says:

    Girrrrrl! You have so so many great tips for making lunches easy and well kept!! So excited to purchase some for my little guy.

  21. I love the bento boxes. Do you also do food presentation with your bento box? My son is still young to appreciate it but I am excited to try it.

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Peejay! I have not done food prep with bento boxes before. I’ve only used trays. But it could definitely work!

  22. I have been looking for a great lunch box and this fits the bill. I will have to look into it and see if I can afford to get a couple of them.

  23. These are really cool! I love the idea that they can help kiddos be more self-sufficient! I thought they were cute & convenient and didn’t see beyond that! Nice!

  24. I really love this post. While we’re not Montessori-based, we do apply this philosophy in our house, especially in terms of cleaning up.

  25. I’m always looking for good lunchbox containers. I have a picky eater who won’t eat anything room temperature that isn’t supposed to be room temperature, so we need ways to keep hot food hot and cold food cold! I’m definitely going to check these out.

  26. Steph says:

    These are great ideas! I’ve been considering the Bentgo for my three year old.

  27. Audrey says:

    These look great! I think bento style is def the way to go

  28. I love the stainless steel one! On my list for back to school!

  29. vidya says:

    while i have not used the bentgo brand of boxes, i have used stainless steel containers similar to the ones you have pictured for my kids when they were taking lunch to school

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