What to draw/write on kindergartner's lunchbox notes?
August 16, 2011 3:43 AM   Subscribe

My son is 5 years old, in kindergarten, can read. I'd like to start leaving notes in his lunchbox for him to discover - I'm after ideas. I did some googling and found an industry of pre-printed lunchbox notes, but I want something more personal. After ideas for now, and for when he gets bigger as well. I was thinking: Pictures of monsters/trucks/stuff, silly sentences, jokes, Codes/Ciphers. What else? Any good resources on drawing simple monsters?
posted by antiquark to Human Relations (27 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
For monsters get thee to Ed Emberly. For personal notes, get personal.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 4:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

What about a weekly short story? You could start off by posting a who/how/why did x happened? on Monday and then providing clues each day until the mystery is solved on Friday. Bonus points if you managed to make this educational:
where did mr teddy go? ... [...] ... nowhere! mr teddy was behind the door all the time ... it's important to put stuff back in their proper place
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:19 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was also going to recommend some Ed Emberly!
posted by safetyfork at 4:34 AM on August 16, 2011

And to not get the spelling correct! It's Ed Emberley.
posted by safetyfork at 4:35 AM on August 16, 2011

If you want to stick to notes: simple mazes; cartoons cut out of the morning paper; riddles, brainteasers and palindromes (plenty on the NIEHS site, for instance); optical illusions, printed out rather than drawn if you go for the complicated ones.

If you fancy branching out into paper toys: an index card, with instructions for folding it into a jumping frog (don't do this if you think the staff might consider jumping frogs at lunchtime disruptive); more complicated action origami, already folded and with instructions for making it move; a thaumatrope with half a message on each side; a tetraflexagon or hexaflexagon.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you want a good source of ideas try an old stack of National Geographics (found at yard sales everywhere), especially any with dinosaurs. Take an afternoon and cut out any pictures you think are interesting or you think your son would appreciate, and stash them in an envelope. If you're stuck take out a picture and attach a comment on a post-it note.
posted by Alison at 5:06 AM on August 16, 2011

Enamsuabcrl het dorw!
posted by mdonley at 5:07 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

As a kid, I loved the poems of Shel Silverstein. It would be cool finding a poem in there every day at lunch.
posted by inturnaround at 5:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love the idea of ciphers. I was really into that stuff at that age. You could work through a book with him - a new cipher of increasing difficulty each week.
posted by colin_l at 5:55 AM on August 16, 2011

My mom used to cut out the short humor things from Readers' Digest (the jokes, wordplay, cute stories) and put them in my lunches -- although this was in late elementary and middle school, mostly. Daily puzzles/riddles would be neat too -- you can probably find a book of age appropriate brainteaser-type things at a local bookstore, your library, or a teacher supply store.

A daily origami thing, as someone else suggested, would be really cool, and something that you could do in the long-term.
posted by naturalog at 5:59 AM on August 16, 2011

Wen I was that age, my dad occasionally composed short poems for my lunchbox. Twenty years later, I still have and treasure them.
posted by in a dark glassly at 6:06 AM on August 16, 2011

The Daily Monster!
posted by ella wren at 6:23 AM on August 16, 2011

My big brother was great at this. Sometimes, instead of a note with a story or comic, he would pull an older brother style prank. I'll never forget the time he glued my food together. I went to pull out my sandwich and realized it was stuck to my chips which were firmly cemented to my Hostess cupcake. (Luckily, they were all individually packaged, so still edible.) At the bottom of the bag, a simple post-it read: Dear Lieber Frau, I glued your food together. <3, Big Brother.

Maybe wait til your boy is a little older for that one.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:47 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]

For a one off, you can write a note on a banana with a toothpick. Just scratch your message into the skin and by noon, the skin will be bruised black in the shape of the letters. Works best with a perfect yellow banana.
posted by Brodiggitty at 7:02 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

My dad used to make up funny menus, with joke names for all the foods. The thermos was full of "moo juice," etc.

He also used to write two excuse notes for when I'd been absent. One would be the "real" note, and another would be a joke for the teacher. The one I remember most clearly was "Dear Mr. Teacher, please excuse That's Numberwang! from missing school yesterday. She was performing brain surgery on Billy Carter. Signed, Epstein's mother."

Yes, I grew up in the 70s.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is a friend's blog: WanderMonster

He draws part of a comic/story on a post-it for his son's lunch every day and his son finishes it. It's pretty awesome.

He happens to be a professional artist, but I don't think artwork quality would really matter.

Have fun!
posted by pantarei70 at 8:57 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stupid jokes! Knock-knock, riddles, stuff like that appeals to little kids.
posted by raisingsand at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another bit of daily-monster-drawing-for-the-kiddo inspiration here.
posted by aka burlap at 10:33 AM on August 16, 2011

Such a great idea. Start a story line, and add to it often. Some days, a cartoon, or just an I Love You, other weeks, a chapter in the ongoing story of Caleb The Knight. Save everything, or copies, as this will be a great gift to your child and grandchildren. At bedtime, I told my son stories about Prince Ian, which involved all of his favorite stuffed animals. I wish we'd taped them or written them down, though I remember most of them.
posted by theora55 at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2011

Check the library or a used bookstore for Love, Dad by Patrick Connolly. It's a collection of a dad's daily notes (saved by mom) to his two sons, over the years. They were always personal and relevant to what was going on at the time. Memories about a vacation they just shared, praise for last night's band concert, cheers for today's big game, that sort of thing.

Even if you don't feel like you can draw well, still go ahead and doodle. I still remember (and still have) some of the notes my mom left in my lunchbox. And while the doodles weren't great, they were from her, and that's what's important.
posted by xedrik at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2011

My son brings toast to school every day for lunch. One day I put a "HELLO my name is TOAST" nametag in his lunchbox. He was amused.

I've photocopied various toys of his and put the copies in there, with speech bubbles. A toy soldier saying "I order you to have a good day!," his favorite stuffed animal with her paws outstretched saying "I love you THIS MUCH," that sort of thing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:03 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


posted by The corpse in the library at 3:05 PM on August 16, 2011

My mom used to write notes bananas when she put them in my lunch. I think it was as much for her enjoyment as mine (and how can you not love writing on a banana with a ballpoint pen!), but they always made me happy. Silly stickers on fruit were always a hit, too. Something like these facial feature stickers would probably be a lot of fun.

As for how to draw monsters and such, go check out the kids drawing books at any craft store. The Dover books by Barbara Soloff Levy in particular have really charming, simple drawings (although no monsters).
posted by duien at 3:14 PM on August 16, 2011

Trucks, huh? A crazy mom would probably consider doing up a little papercraft truck for him? The instructions make it look like it'd take a half hour or so if you were a tad sloppy.

But there are tons of monster-related paper crafts that are basically "gluing a paper box together" but are super cute, and may even make a cool contribution to the classroom. Lots of them that you can print off, cut out, and glue in about 10 minutes. I like to use 110 lb. craft paper from any office store.
posted by circular at 3:35 PM on August 16, 2011

I love this thread! It's so sweet and almost makes me feel like something is caught in my eye. I don't have kids but now feel like adding little notes and puzzles on random lunches. But I wont. I'll just give my cats some treats.
posted by mokeydraws at 3:54 PM on August 16, 2011

Does your son have any stuffed animals that he's particularly attached to? My mom is not a doodler or drawer by any stretch of the imagination, but she often drew these little one-shot one-panel comic strips for my lunch box that featured my two polar bear stuffed animals (that really just looked like blobs with noses and eyes). They would be doing all sorts of silly things like mowing the lawn or playing guitar, but I was really into it. I wish I still had them.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:39 PM on August 16, 2011

I just put Illustration School: Let's Draw Cute Animals on my Amazon wishlist for almost the same reason (daughter, though)...
posted by sugarbiscuit at 9:22 PM on August 16, 2011

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