Add a note and make lunch fun! I used to make my kids’ lunches every day, and one of my favorite things was to add a little note or a special picture or photo that they would find at lunchtime. I knew they would love it, and they would tell me so hours later when I picked them up.

Sometimes it was a handwritten note, sometimes it was a photo of a favorite animal clipped out of an old magazine, and sometimes it was a note scratched on a banana with a toothpick (use a wooden toothpick or skewer. The letters will oxidize and darken after 10 minutes or so).

Later, as they became more proficient at reading (and developed a love for corny jokes) the notes turned into jokes! Soon, Wona and I wrote a series of three Lunchbox Jokes books, all filled with tear-out notes each containing a joke. It was easy, it was fun, and kids loved it. It also turned out to be a fantastic way for shy kids to engage with others at the lunch table by reading a joke aloud.