Thursday, August 26, 2010

the make-your-own-lunch mat

Today was the day . . . THE day . . . the first day of kindergarten  When my oldest started preschool last fall, I immediately started dreading kindergarten.  That's right . . . I've been dreading the first day of kindergarten for an entire year.  Yikes! 

But my beautiful and brave daughter handled herself wonderfully, and I could not be more proud. 

Check out the pics:

I have two goals as we begin this part of life's journey:
  1. To avoid chaos and craziness in the morning.  Okay, I know chaos and craziness cannot always be avoided, but I can try.  Right?  Tell me that I can try . . . please! 
  2. To help my daughter take an active role in getting herself ready for school.
So here's one little trick I've implemented to help my 5 year old pack her own lunch and to make sure that said lunch is well-rounded nutritionally. 

The Make-Your-Own-Lunch Mat

Here's what you need:
1 - package of laminating film or at least two sheets
1 - print outs of a food pyramid
2 - sets of individual pics that represent items from the food pyramid and lunch options*
1 - card stock page cut to about 1/4 of an inch smaller than the laminating film
1 - glue or tape
1 - roll of clear packaging or Duck tape

*My daughter and I did this project together, so we looked through pictures on my computer and she chose the ones she wanted.

Here's what you do:
1) Glue or tape food pyramid on one side of card stock

2)  Press onto laminating page.  Push firmly.

3)  On the other side, glue or tape individual pictures into groupings.  I did fruit, veggies, whole grain and protein.  These are the four basics that I wanted to focus on.  My daughter knows that she has to pick one item from each of these categories for her lunch.

4)  Press this side onto laminating page making sure to match edges.  Push firmly.

5)  Now use clear packaging tape to secure the second set of pictures to clear containers that will hold lunch options.  Again, the boxes are divided into fruit, veggies (this pic was taped on the veggie drawer in the fridge), whole grains and protein.  (Check out the plastic fruit I pulled from the play kitchen to remind her that there grapes and strawberries in the fridge.)

6)  Store mat and food storage containers in a place that your child can reach.  I also have one container that has baked chips and organic Honey Bunnies (similar to Teddy Grahams).  She gets to pick one of these for her lunch too - either baked chips or Honey Bunnies, but not both.) 

7)  My daughter pulls out the mat and picks one choice for fruit.  She places her choice over the fruit picture on the mat.  Then she moves on to protein . . . covering each picture as she goes until all the pics are covered.  I help with any cutting, sandwich making, etc., but for the most part she can do this herself. 

And she LOVES doing it!  We've only done this three times (once for practice, once last night and once tonight), but it's been a huge hit so far. 
Implement lunch-making into your bedtime routine, so that lunch is made and ready to go without any fuss in the morning.  Insert ice pack and any cold containers right before heading out the door.

A fun, practical crafty project . . .

craft on!

I may link to these great sites throughout the week.  Go check them out by clicking on the links below or visiting my "I like to party" page!

Monday - Keeping it Simple, Craft-O-Maniac, The Girl Creative, The Trendy Treehouse, CRAFT, Making the World Cuter, Mad in Crafts, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Between Naps on the Porch, Tools Are For WomenIt's So Very Cheri, Skip to My Lou

Tuesday - All Thingz Related, Sugar Bee, New Nostalgia, Creative Itch, Lucky Star Lane, Hope Studios, These Creative Juices, My Delicious Ambiguity, Today's Creative Blog-Get Your Craft On!

Wednesday - It's So Very Cheri, Beyond the Picket Fence, Blue Cricket DesignTrendy Treehouse, Tea Rose HomeSomeday Crafts, My Backyard Eden, Sew Much Ado, Night Owl Crafting

Thursday -  Fireflies and Jellybeans, Life As Lori, House of Hepworths, Somewhat Simple, Seven Thirty Three, The Train to Crazy, PonyTails and FishScales, Black Kat's Design

Friday - The Sabby Nest, A Little Knick Knack, Fingerprints on the Fridge, It's Fun to Craft!, It's a Hodgepodge Life, Kojo Designs, Amy Lou Who, A Few of My Favorite Things, Simply Sweet Home, Frou Frou Decor, Remodelaholic


Beverly {Flamingo Toes} said...

Ok seriously. How great of a mom are you???? This is wonderful. I really wish I had done something like this with my kiddos.
And how darling is she on her first day of school. Too cute.

Maxabella said...

This is such a great idea. I can't believe you would actually take the time to help her do this. I think that's so fantastic.

Here's to calm mornings and owning the lunchbox!

Jo said...

Great idea! I always found that having them pick out their clothes the night b/4 helped end some of the morning crazies

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

What a great idea! The big battle around here is going to be that school lunch is free for everyone, so we need to make lunch from home as interesting as possible...because I really don't want her eating school lunch often. It's really not all that healthy.

She looks GREAT on the first day of school!

Dana said...

I LOVE this idea! It is amazing! I plan on homeschooling my kids but it would be great to have them make their lunches anyway because it would save a lot of time and hassle for me in the long run. We'll see what happens (I only have one right now and another on the way and it will be a while before they are doing anything of that nature). I think what I love the most is that you are teaching her to eat well-roundedly. That is so needed in our society today.

Papgena Made It said...

She looks great and very brave! :)
Sorry to disapoint you but crazziness and chaos is a must, most of the days! ;)
It's a an interesting idea but, don't the school provide for the pupils'food?
In my daughter's school they provide lunch and afternoon snacks (and it's a nuticionist that makes the menus).

Unknown said...

You are too smart for your own good! :) I love little things like this that can both save parents some extra work and help teach kids some responsibility and how to make good choices. Especially at such a young age! You go, mom!

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

That is such a great idea. It's quite possible that I need one of these for myself. :)

Lynn said...

Wow, what a great idea!

Melissa said...

What a seriously clever idea.

Elizabeth said...

I have a confession ... when I first read your post I thought "what a great idea for an older child". Then I realised your daughter is as old as mine. Why can't she do this too? Fabulous idea! I may make the sandwich or main part of her lunch but there is no reason she cannot add her snacks, fruits & veggies and select her beverage. Great tip - thanks for the inspiration!

Michelle W said...

Brilliant idea!!!

Debra Hawkins said...

How cool is this? She gets to learn to be responsible for her own lunch and how to eat well all at the same time! Brilliant! You never cease to amaze me!

Jami said...

Great idea! Hope you and your little girl had a great week! My oldest startd K this week, too.

Liz @ LivingMySweetLife said...

you are a genius!
I love this idea!

Diana said...

What a brilliant idea. When homeschool starts round here (which is soon!) my youngest will be doing a project all about food.
This is just perfect.

Thanks for sharing

Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple said...

That is so fun!!

Tammy @ she wears flowers said...

Great idea!! I LOVE teaching moments that don't feel like it--this is just a whole teaching experience AND it solves other problems. Way to go! You have SO many amazing ideas--thanks!

Jami said...

This is amazingly creative. I would like to share it with my local 4H leader. What a great idea!

memakingdo said...

That is a great idea fun for the kids!

Terrell said...

You just blow me away with your creativity!! Way to go girly!! These are amazing! Thank you oh so much for linking your sweet creation to my party! I hope you come back each week!!! Happy weekend and hugs to you,
~Terrell @ Frou Frou Decor~

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Okay, that's awesome!! Love that it encourages independence and creativity. Job well done. :)

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home said...

What a fun and creative idea!

Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites!

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