the best lunchbox for kindergarten pictured empty

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Finding the perfect lunchbox for kindergarten or early elementary school can be a challenge. Let me save you some time and recommend my all-time favorite lunchbox: the Yumbox.

Whether you’re looking for a new lunchbox for kindergarten as part of your Back to School shopping or you’re looking to replace an existing lunchbox for an older child that has fallen apart, I think you’ll love the Yumbox. 

the best lunchbox for kindergarten hands down printed above the box
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{Note: Yumbox did not sponsor this post in any way– I just really love ours! After recommending it countless times to friends, I decided to write out a post for why. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure policy for details.}

It’s a great lunchbox for kindergarten and early elementary school, and they also sell a larger version for older kids and adults (we haven’t needed this yet, as my second-grader is still using the same Yumbox lunchbox he’s had since kindergarten). 

Personally, I would have loved one of these for me to take to work (but now I’m a full-time stay at home mom). I suggested getting one of these lunchboxes for my husband and he rolled his eyes so far back he saw his spine, so… for the kids only in our house.the Best lunchbox for kindergarten shown closed empty best lunchbox in powder blue

Why this is the best lunchbox for kindergarten 

The Yumbox is a bento-style lunchbox. What I love best about this lunchbox for kindergarten is that

  1. It’s durable.
  2. It’s leakproof.
  3. It’s only two pieces.
  4. It allows me to pack a variety of things without ziploc baggies or other containers (which saves money and reduces waste: a double-benefit).

*Read on for more details about all of these features

My oldest starts second grade next month and he is still using the same Yumbox lunchbox we bought him for kindergarten. That’s two full years, nearly every single school day, with a 5, 6, and then 7-year-old boy who is rough on his belongings. 

best lunchbox in green open after two years
After two full school years (kindergarten and first grade), the lunchbox is still like new.

To put it in perspective, three of his backpacks bit the dust in the same amount of time. 

It’s easy to open, even for a first-day, brand new kindergartner, but it stays closed in their backpack (no leaking or spilling contents).

best lunchbox for kindergarten in green and closed
The outside is still like new as well.

Side note: I actually had first-time-kindergarten-mom jitters that my son wouldn’t be able to open it at the lunch table on his first day, so I eased my nerves by having him practice twenty times at home. Spoiler alert: it was easy to open and he was perfectly fine. First-time moms can be a little crazy. 

I think this lunchbox makes it easier to pack lunches

I like having the different compartments to choose from. It makes it easy to send in a variety of little snacks to try and it encourages me to diversify what I pack. It also keeps me from overdoing it and having a ton of food wasted (elementary students talk a lot and they don’t get a ton of time in the cafeteria. They tend to eat less than they do at home). 

Best of all, the Yumbox makes the lunch look nice and creatively assembled, even when I’m scrounging through the pantry because I failed to go grocery shopping yet again. As I try to slap together a meaningful lunch out of a few completely random items in Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, the bento-style compartments make it look like I intentionally chose croutons as a side item. Thanks for that.

best lunchbox packed for kindergarten
Struggling to piece together a lunch with the only produce in the house and leftover Potbelly oyster crackers? It still looks nice packed in the Yumbox!

Your kindergartner will waste less food with this lunchbox

When you send lunch items in ziploc baggies, there’s a tendency for kids to throw away what they don’t finish. Two years in, that temptation hasn’t really hit for us because it takes more effort to throw uneaten food away than it does to just bring it back home. 

When my son doesn’t eat something, even food he doesn’t like that much, rather than toss it out, he just closes up the Yumbox when he’s finished and puts it away. It’s less effort than putting it in the trash (and we all know kindergartners and elementary schoolers can be a little lazy — especially boys– but I digress).

If it’s something really perishable, I toss it out when he gets home (food safety and all that), but I still know how much he did or didn’t eat and can adjust what I pack accordingly. If it’s something that can be reused, I just give it to him (or a sibling) as a snack later rather than wasting it.

What I love best about this lunchbox for kindergarten

The best feature about the Yumbox is that it has little leak-proof compartments, so you can pack a variety of snacks or food items in your child’s lunch all within the one larger container. You don’t have to waste money (or environmental resources, if good stewardship is important to you) on a bunch of ziploc bags that will just get tossed in the trash.

The Yumbox lunchbox comes in a lot of different color combinations. My middle son is about to start kindergarten, so I just purchased two for him and one more as a back-up for my oldest (second grade). That means that we’ve now purchased four different Yumbox lunchboxes: the green outerspace/food group version, the Neptune blue outerspace one, a powder blue emoji one, and a powder blue animal one. 

the best lunchbox for kindergarten pictured empty

My top choice for boys is the Neptune blue outerspace one. The powder blue ones are pretty gender neutral, but still a little feminine. My kindergartners have never cared about that, but by second grade, my oldest is starting to prefer more stereotypically “boy-ish” things.

If you have a girl, especially a girly-girl, not to worry. The Yumbox also comes in cute pinks and purples if that appeals to her or you (or not, if it doesn’t).

This lunchbox is easy to assemble and disassemble (just two pieces)

The best lunchbox for kindergarten should be easy to assemble, disassemble (for cleaning), and have few pieces to lose.

The Yumbox lunchbox only has two pieces: it’s just the outer shell and the inner tray (all the compartments are part of one, single piece).

best lunchbox shown open and disassembled in two pieces

Some of the other bento-style lunchboxes I’ve seen have individual removable pieces for each compartment (nightmare!). I would give my kindergartner less than a month (probably less than a week) before parts were lost.

The best place to get this lunchbox (and how much it will cost, roughly)

I bought all of ours on Amazon, and while the price can vary, I have found that they are typically somewhere around the $30 mark. 

If that seems like a lot of money to you, I get it. I consider myself a practical spender and when I first considered buying a $30-lunchbox for kindergarten, I balked at the idea. 

However, it was for my first child and it was just a few days before school started. My choice was to Amazon Prime one or go to an actual store (something I hate doing). Plus, with your first, I feel like you’re more prone to make pricey purchases. I’m so glad that was the case because we have loved this lunchbox and it has lasted for years. It has been a very worthwhile investment for us.

Can you find these lunchboxes on sale?

I’ve only purchased these from Amazon, and they are not usually marked down. They also sell them on Walmart.com and a few other websites, but the price always seems to be the same (roughly $29.99 every time I’ve checked).

However, on Amazon Prime Days (usually mid-July), they were marked down to 20% off (most versions– a few remained full-price) and they sold out pretty quickly on the first day. That’s when I snagged three extras (we had been using the same lone Yumbox lunchbox for two full years.). 

different kindergarten lunchbox open with bigger compartments
If you want fewer compartments, this lunchbox is the same size, but is divided into three compartments instead of six.

You could also check on Black Friday (but I don’t know a lot of parents who want to wait until November to buy a lunchbox for kindergarten). If they mark them down again, that could be a nice time to snag a back-up. 

How do you send this lunchbox to school with your kindergartener?

The Yumbox lunchbox is a pretty standard size, so it will fit in most regular cooler-bag style lunch sacks. We’ve used several over the years, but this Pokemon one (pictured below) is what we’re currently using.

lunchbox for kindergarten sack to hold Yumbox

It’s roughly 9.5″ x 8″ and it holds the Yumbox, a drink, and an ice pack.

best kindergarten lunchbox pictured inside a bag with milk and icepack

You can actually buy special Yumbox-shaped icepacks, which are pretty cool and convenient (and reasonably priced). I never bothered with this because we already had a bunch of icepacks in the house. However, as our supply dwindles, I’ll probably buy a few of these down the line.

A note about this leak-proof lunchbox

How leak-proof this lunchbox remains is really up to you. 

I say that because, in the beginning, I packed yogurt, applesauce, etc. with abandon and it never leaked. That’s because I hand-washed it daily (we used the same, single lunchbox every single day. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy more. Probably a combination of cheap and lazy.). 

If you continue hand-washing it, you can continue packing runny, liquidy items, presumably forever, with no problems. Once you start putting it in the dishwasher (it’s top-rack dishwasher-safe), you’ll need to stop packing liquids in it (unless it’s something really thick–then you might be able to chance it or slap some plastic wrap on the top of that particular compartment). 

That was no problem for us: I was lazy and preferred to toss it in the dishwasher. With five people and a lot of meals eaten at home, we run the dishwasher almost every night. The container remained relatively leak-proof — I could still pack all the sandwiches, fruit, snacks, nuts, etc. that I wanted. By mid-year, if I wanted to pack yogurt or applesauce, it went in a separate container. 

This year, now that we own several back-ups (and because I’ll have two kids in elementary school), I plan to have one for each kid that gets dish-washed and one for each kid that I hand-wash. 

According to the Yumbox website, if you just hand-wash the outer shell, it still stays pretty leak-proof (so you would put only the inner compartment in the dishwasher). I can’t personally attest to that, but it’s apparently an option. 

What’s your favorite lunchbox for kindergarten or early elementary school?

If you already have a Yumbox, let me know what you thin about it in the comments. If you have a different favorite in your house, let me know which one!

Shop these Yumbox lunchboxes:

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6 Comments

    1. Hi Gina,

      Yes, they really have some awesome lunchbox options! When I was trying to find the best lunchbox for my kindergartner, I was surprised by how many different options there were (like, hello decision fatigue). We ended up going with the Yumbox and I have been so happy with it!

      Charissa

  1. These look like awesome lunchboxes! I don’t like to send my son to school with a bunch of Ziploc bags either, but sometimes all those reusable containers don’t fit into his lunchbox. I’ll have to keep this one in mind for this year.

    And, just so you don’t feel completely alone, I did make my son practice opening his lunch containers before he started kindergarten too! lol!

    1. Hi Meredith,

      Yes, when my kindergartner was younger and went to a babysitter and I would have to pack a lunch in just one of those big lunch sacks, trying to shove all the different containers in was kind of a fool’s errand for me. We ended up using (ie wasting) a ton of Ziploc bags. I love how the Yumbox has only two pieces (both for packing but also for cleaning).

      Thanks for the solidarity! Now that my second is getting ready to go to Kindergarten, I’m all “here’s your lunchbox, figure it out when you get there,” but when I was sending my oldest I worried about every little thing haha. Live and learn, I guess!

      Charissa

  2. I love that the sections are labeled so you can easily choose good choices to pack. Thank you for the great review, and I really appreciated the honesty about hand-washing vs dishwasher used and if they can be relied on for leak-proof packing.

    1. Hi Denise,

      Me too — I think it’s cute and fun (although truthfully, when I’m packing up the lunchbox, I generally disregard the labels and just put things where they fit best).

      And yes, I definitely want people to know the truth about how leak-proof the lunchbox is (or isn’t)! A review that isn’t honest isn’t very helpful to anyone!

      Thanks for reading!
      Charissa

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