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Kids' lunch boxes

Things to hide in your kids' backpack and lunch box to brighten their day.

Sure, school can be great, but it has challenges, too. There's pressure to earn high grades, participate in sports and activities, and excel socially. It can take a lot out of a kid. Lift their spirits by adding something special to their school backpack or lunchbox to brighten their day and let them know how much you care. Just make sure you don't load them down with too much stuff. Ideally, a backpack shouldn't be heavier than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

Stylish supplies

Get your son some quality school supplies for his big test. Mechanical pencils can make it easier to write legibly since they never get dull, and there's no need to sharpen them in the middle of an exam, either. Put a few in the small pockets on the front of their roomy school backpack along with a cute eraser. If he's required to write in ink (which is common for essay exams), add a good pen so he's not stuck with a cheap ballpoint that suddenly stops working.

Helpful hydrator

If your daughter has a pressure-filled day coming up at school, help her stay hydrated. Fill a reusable bottle with water and slices of lemon and lime, or try something like cucumber and mint, and chill it in the fridge. Before she heads out, put the bottle in the mesh side pocket on her bookbag and she'll have something delicious and refreshing to enjoy.

Nice notes

Sometimes, kids need to be reminded that they're smart and loved. Write an inspiring note and put it in their lunch box for a midday confidence boost. You can also use free notes downloaded from the web which have cute graphics and designs. This is a great way to make sure they get extra encouragement before a big presentation, band concert or soccer game.

Just for girls

Starting high school is a big deal and your daughter is probably worried about looking pretty and polished. Create a kit just for her and put it in the front pouch of their backpack. It might include tinted lip gloss, hair ties, oil blotting sheets, breath mints and body spray. A few period supplies are always good to have, too.

Staying active

Does your kid love sports, or are you trying to inspire them to get fit? Slip a frisbee into one of the two zippered compartments on their pack and they'll have something to play with during lunch or recess. If they walk home from school, put a pedometer in the front pocket so they can follow their daily step count. Younger kids might like a jump rope – pack a long one in their school bag so they can practice doing tricks with their friends.

Super snacks

A quick bite to eat can help your kid stay charged, giving them the energy needed to succeed. Pack a baggy filled with peanuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips to help them power through the day. An energy bar put into one of their bag's small zippered pockets is always handy, and homemade jerky provides a protein hit.

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