Our longtime readers may know that we always get excited for the back to school season, mainly because of back to school shopping. Okay, also because we have an excuse to get the kids to bed a little earlier. But mainly it’s the shopping. There’s just something about our kids’ excitement for a new lunch box that makes us nearly as excited to start packing those lunches. Well, at least for the first week.
All items have been chosen by our editorial team; there has been no compensation in exchange for any picks. CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate.
THE COOLEST LUNCH BOXES FOR LITTLE KIDS
We love all these cute designs for younger kids, and the smaller sizes are perfect for kids still struggling to finish that half-sandwich and bag of carrot sticks. But hey, you might have slightly bigger kids who might love these too.
Insulated cooler bags from So Young
Since we first discovered So Young years ago, wow has the collection grown. Their awesome cooler bags come in two sizes complete with a carrying strap. The small one (shown here) is great for smaller lunches, but there’s a larger size too. They’re insulated, super sturdy, and the wipe-clean coated linen exterior keeps them looking spiffy. With so many designs from foxes to bikes to dinosaurs, good luck picking just one. ($29.99-$36.99, So Young)
Blue scooter soft side lunch box ($30.95, So Young)
If you prefer a more traditional lunch box shape, So Young also makes these cool soft-sided lunch boxes. They’re more spendy than a lot of bags but we’ve had ours going on three years now and it still looks terrific. Only it doesn’t have this super cool scooter design on it.
Personalized lunch boxes from Tiny Me
Also cool for both younger and older kids, it’s amazing how many variables there are, including illustrations of your own child that are entirely customizable. Just note the pink is available now, red and blue bags will ship end of August. ($32, Tiny Me)
We love the whole photo-realism trompe l’oeil trend, and this pile of multicolored is so perfect on a lunchbox. There’s a pb & jelly bean joke in there somewhere. ($12.99, Amazon with free Prime shipping)
Kawaii Ketchup and Mustard Yubo Lunch Box
We have always liked California-made Yubo lunch boxes for their smart bento construction, and the interchangeable faceplates that can be swapped out to create a new lunch box, instead of buying new ones every time your kid has a new obsession. But this design is so adorable, who could ever want to trade it in for another? ($42.95 for the complete set at Zazzle, designed by Cute as Kawaii; additional faceplates $12.95 )
Skip*Hop Polar Bear Lunchies toddler lunch pack and Unicorn lunch bag
Skip Hop just keeps rolling out cuter and cuter characters each year, and the menagerie has grown to 15. Widely imitated by other brands (don’t think we don’t see you out there), they really are well built and we highly recommend them for the price. We love the polar bear which comes with matching accessories; or visit Skip Hop for the stand-alone lunch bags. Is there anything better than a unicorn? Exactly. ($20 for lunch pack at Target; $15 for lunch bag at Skip*Hop)
Minion insulated soft lunch pack
For lots of young kids, this is the year of the Minions, isn’t it? If your kiddo is Minion-crazy (regardless of what you thought of the movie, ahem) this cute lunch box may be just what you’re looking for. ($24.99, Amazon)
Justice League superhero lunch bags
In keeping with the character theme, if your kiddo can’t choose between Batman, Superman and Aquaman, why choose at all? You get a few Justice League favorites all on one lunch bag — though we do admit we’re a little annoyed at Wonder Woman’s absence. Then again, she’s probably off fighting crime alone while the rest of the dudes are sitting down for lunch. But hey, there’s a Wonder Woman lunch bag too and she gets that one it all to herself. ($24.50, PBK plus $9 for optional personalization)
Hedgehog lunch sack by Sugar Booger
Why no, we’re not over hedgehogs just yet. Thanks for asking. ($20.95, Amazon with free Prime shipping)
Maybe if you can’t find the perfect lunch box…let your kid make his or her own. If you have a coloring-crazy child like ours are, they’ll flip over this chance to make a purple cat backpack with orange eyes and a turquoise collar. Other options include a dog and a wacky looking pirate. ($20, Kohl’s)
THE COOLEST LUNCH BOXES FOR BIGGER KIDS
Milk Dot Stoh striped lunch bags
Ever since we discovered them several years ago, Milk Dot (also at top) remains among our top picks for well-built insulated lunch bags. While they have soft sides, enabling them to collapse nearly flat in a bag when they’re empty, they’re structured enough to stand right up on their own. They’re not for the hugest eaters in the world, but you can fit more in there than you’d expect. ($26.99, Milk Dot; also in solid colors)
Neoprene cat wearing sunglasses lunch bag
A cat wearing giant sunglasses lunch bag. Because, a cat wearing giant sunglasses lunch bag. ($12.99 Amazon)
Burton Insulated Lunch Box
For an impressively built lunch box that’s going to last through multiple grades, we really like the options from Burton (yes, that Burton) which are sturdy, sizeable, and have a clever insulated zipper upper compartment inside, to either separate out sandwiches or breakable bags of chips; or to pack in an extra ice pack or two. Very cool designs, too — we could see getting them for ourselves to bring to work. ($34.95, Burton)
Is it for big kid? For little kids? For their parents who buy it pretending it’s for their kids then secretly bring it to work? We don’t care we we love it. ($34.50, Cafe Press)
Mackenzie Navy Dragon all-in-one lunchbox and bento
For those of us with grazers for kids, you probably know the hassle of trying to scramble for clean containers in the morning, and match them with the lids. So we like this all-in-one bento set from PBK in a ton of different styles and colors — but the dragons are way cool. ($59.50, PBK, plus $9 for optional personalization)
Okay, so you might have to explain what that little thing is at the top, with the two circular spool-y loooking things. Still, we think this old school metal lunch box will make your kid the coolest kid in the lunchroom. ($11.74, Amazon)
Art of Lunch neoprene lunch bag artist series
This entire series is so beautiful, featuring work from global artists all printed onto a high-quality, stretchy neoprene lunch bag. But the brilliant colors of this one by Portugal’s Danny Ivan just makes us happy. ($26.95, Amazon)
Insulated felt lunch bag for bentos
If you’re a Lunchbots bento fan like we are, you’ll appreciate their new felt lunch bags that are made to fit a stack of their own metal boxes perfectly. Plus, they’re great looking. ($21.99, Lunch Bots)
How sophisticated is this brand new lunch tote from Built that’s as cool for a kid as it is for an adult? Now sing it with us: Cause updown lunch gon’ give it to you… ($29.99, Built NY; subscribe for 15% off your first order)
Back to School Guide 2015 posts:
– 12 awesome DIY back to school crafts your kids can actually do
– The coolest lunch boxes and bags for kids of all ages
– The coolest backpacks for preschool and little kids
–The coolest backpacks for big kids
–The coolest lunchbox accessories
I keep eyeing that Art of Lunch bag on Amazon. It’s been sitting in my cart for a few weeks for myself. My preschooler, however, would love the superhero lunchbox.
Great list! Thank you!!
Thank you! My kids used these last year and will again this year. I was very happy with them – held up really well, washable, and bonus: opens out to be a placemat! Because ummm, lunch tables… ick.
The insulated felt bento box is so gorgeously minimalistic…love it.
i love pottery barn kid’s lunch box!
I’m a Goodbyn convert and I have had them since 5 years. It’s very hard to find a lunch bag for the old style though!
I like the Neoprene cat wearing sunglasses lunch bag because I know it would make my kids smile.
I follow you on twitter(kellydpa) and tweeted
I love all of these! The jellybean lunch box is very retro but I think my favorite has to be the hedgehog!
The fox bag from so young is adorable!
Oh wow this lunch boxes are so cute . I really like the personalize lunchbox , the pink one with the raindrop and the emoji even though all of them
Are super cute and different.?
The uptown lunch tote I love ! I would like to have it for my lunch because it looks like a cool bag instead of a lunch box .. But my daughter would probably pick the justice league one ?
I Love the milk dot lunch box because it’s compact and different. But there are so many other cool ones, so hard to pick just one!
Love the So Young ones. Minimal and cute.
I really like the ketchup and mustard bag. So different and cute.
Entered, entered and entered! Thanks!
Love the skip hop toddler lunchies because I have a toddler and he’s had 2 so far and they are not only “so cute” but they are great size to fit their lunches and also small enough for them to carry themselves 🙂
The uptown lunch tote
Like you on Facebook and shared post :
Love the milk dot bag!! I love the insulation and how they unzip!! Also, that they fold flat when finished!! Perfect for remembering to bring home 😉
I am loving the Boom Box lunch box. I’d have to explain to my kids how we used to tape songs off the radio with the cassette player! It’s a learning tool and a lunch box too!
Liked and shared on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmhagan/posts/10153560683879777?pnref=story
Did everything 🙂
I like the So Young lunch bags & I bought my Kindergartener a Darth Vader lunch box.
I love the Wonder Woman lunchbox from PBK. Girl power!
Love the Milk Dot Stoh lunch bag! Might need one for me!
Shared on FB … https://www.facebook.com/cloualter?pnref=story
I think my top choice are the So Young cooler bags. Cute and functional!
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Shared on Instagram: username hazel.manaig
Retweeted on Twitter: username edsboo619
I love the minions lunch box! What a happy face!
Love the Hedgehog lunch sack by Sugar Booger! So cute! No one better try to steal MY lunch!
love the Boom Box lunch box – because some of us remember them!
so young bags are my fav!
Love the Uptown Lunch Tote. My daughter–going into 7th grade–would agree that this is just the kind of lunch accessory that older kids would love.
Forgot to mention my favorite… The unicorn lunch bag from Skip Hop. I love the colors, design (a rainbow on the zipper!), and it’s a unicorn!!
My favorite is definitely the Art Of Lunch bag. Big enough to stack bento boxes or the snap-together plastic containers my son is obsessed with, and being able to carry them upright means less risk of spilling. Plus all the designs are so beautiful, when my son outgrows it, I’ll want to use it no matter which one he picks.
I love the milk dot lunch boxes as well as the ones you can color on. The coloring one will make a great gift for a little one I know with a birthday right before school starts!
Love the So Young lunch boxes!
Absolutely love the Mackenzie Navy Dragon All-In-One Lunch Bag. It would be a great upgrade for the new school year! Yes, the dragons are too cool!
love the minion lunch box! So cute.
We LOVE our SkipHop lunch bags. They’re great for daycare snacks, preschool lunch, or even carrying action figures to Nana’d house!
Love the PBK Justice League! And personally, I want the Wonder Woman one!
The dragon bento box is awesome. I want that for my adult lunch box!
Up-town lunch you up! Uptown lunch you up! Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself.
Love them all! I especially like the PBK with the bento box!
Love the big kids MILK DOT lunch totes because they ROCK 🙂
You did well with this list. Lots of great options. Knowing my little girls, my youngest would adore the Color a Kitty lunch bag and my oldest would go for the Justice League Superwoman bag.
The love emoji because it’s sweet and cool.
That Boom box is everything! ?https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10208011622835258&id=1439059676
I love the skip hop unicorn!! Adorable! who wouldn’t love taking it?!
The skip hop bags are too cute!
I love the Milk Dot Stoh striped lunch bags, because they are insulated and not decorated with prints that my 1st grader might think is too “young” (despite the fact that she is young, haha). Thanks for the chance to win!
I love “Art of Lunch neoprene lunch bag artist series”. I am following you twitter, facebook, instagram too.
My kiddo would be all over that Wonder Woman bag– she’s obsessed. But I might push hard for that cow, it’s so stinkin’ cute!
Love anything with hedgehogs!
LOVE the milkdot bags- I hadnt seen them before, LOVE how they can collapse, yet hold so much! thanks for the heads up!
I LOVE the Boom Box Lunch Box!!!!
The Pottery Barn Kids dragon bag with bento box is my favorite.
I love the boom box lunch box!
I love the lunchbots! Super cute!
Milk Dot (foldable) – because it can easily fit in my little-one’s backpack after lunch
I love the Tinyme lunch bags! I like that I can customize with my kids’ names, and they are just the right size.
I love the MacKenzie lunchbox and bento- trying to reduce our use of plastic bags!
All of these are adorable but I really like the Kawaii Ketchup and Mustard duo lunchbox and the Skip hop polar bear lunchie. My son had the minion lunch box last year and it help up really good, made it through the whole year! lol
CMPs has the best back to school guide, I look forward to it every year! I like the Neoprene cat wearing sunglasses lunch bag because it reminds me of my own little kittens making their way in the world. Thank you!
These are adorable! Wishing they had these when I was young! I love the Uptown Lunch Tote.
Tweeted about the awesome giveaway!
strike earlier comment – forgot to include link so Tweeted again and included link to this post!
I like the scooter lunchbox.
I now follow on IG! and regramed @milkdot cute lunch bags.
I love the Tiny Me lunchboxes! Not only are they cute, but they are personalized so no more lost lunchboxes at school!!!
I love the uptown Lunch Tote. For me. 🙂 Seriously sophisticated.
I have a So Young lunch box and love it, but for my kid, I would have to go with the Pottery Barn Dragon bag with the bento box for the win!
The pink tinyme lunch box is so cute!
I love the Milk Dot Lunch bag. Everything in it’s place and not smooshing together? Love it. Plus the fact that it stands on it’s own .
Cat with sunglasses! Too cool and my kids love cats. For me – the uptown for work and Art of Lunch for fun.
I remember seeing Yubo lunch boxes on Shark Tank and I was interested in them then, but that ketchup and mustard faceplate makes it that much cuter!
Love the all-in-one Bento box, because I have one of those grazers you speak of!
I like the Milk Dot soft lunchbag…looks like you can indeed get a lot in there!
Love the PBK bento box – sleek and totally cuts down on the clutter of little containers!
The Skip Hop ones are so cute, I also like Milk Dot
What a great post since the lunchbox we used this week was not ideal. Thanks!
Burton! Functionality (keeping that yogurt cold!) and looks great! 🙂
I like the blue scooter lunchbox. I guess I am just a traditionalist. 😉
LOVE the Skip Hop unicorn lunch bag.
I love the adorable Skip Hop bags – just so much fantasy and innocence of childhood!
I love the Unicorn lunch bag! Dd would love it!
Follow on twitter and tweeted!
Shared on FB: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.alvarado17/posts/952156051510197?pnref=story
I’ve been looking for a bento box for my boy. The Mackenzie Navy Dragon all-in-one lunchbox and bento fits the bill!
Milk Dot. I’d borrow it for my own lunch because of the classy style!!!
I love the black purse looking lunchbox! So chic!
I love the Milk Dot bag… a blue bag that’s good for a girl!
The Aquarius Boombox is awesome! I would love that for myself actually.. My kids? Probably the superhero or unicorn one.
Incredibly cute lunch bags and boxes!
What a great round-up – I love the hedgehogs from Sugar Booger (plus it’s fun to say!). I’ll be using this guide to guide my daughter in her lunchbox choice! Also tweeted from @nutmegknitter!
I’m swooning over the cute polar bear lunch box set from Skip Hop. I immediately bought the backpack version for my toddler!
The so young bags are so cute…but my budget is more like the 12$ range…
I love the Wonder Woman lunchbox! Perfect for my little girl!
BOOM BOOM COOL!!
Boom box lunch box – for my BIL! He would totally appreciate it!
I love the Uptown Lunch tote for my middle school and me—even though I work from home.
Milk Dot Stoh striped lunch bags
i love how much food it holds, as my son is getting bigger his calorie intake is growing!
Anything from So young! And I’m also loving that Lunchbots bag. We love our LunchBots!
we love the Skip*Hop Polar Bear Lunchies toddler lunch pack and Unicorn lunch bag–these bags are the perfect size to hold my daughter’s yumbox–and even the lunch bag will hold a thermos on the inside along with the box. although i totally love the lunch pack, too!
I love the pottery barn bento lunch box- does away with all the separate containers and can go right in the dishwasher itself.
Love the Burton insulated– should be able to avoid ice packs crushing pretzels with that one!
Loves this article! My kids are in need of new lunch boxes/bags. My daughter in Jr High would love the Uptown clutch, so much cooler than a brown paper bag! 🙂
The Boom Box Lunch Box is AWESOME! I might just buy one for myself and my daughter 🙂
Boom box lunch box is my favorite. I think my son would love it.
The skip hop ones are adorable!
I NEED that Uptown lunch tote!!!
My little girl is unicorn-obsessed, so I was very excited to see the Skip Hop lunch bag. It’s adorable and she’ll love it!
Felt! I love the felt!
The neoprene bag! Such pretty colors.
I totally love the minion lunchbox and am a little sad my 4th grader thinks he too old for it.
I love the Boom Box lunch tote is so retro and cool.
I love the Uptown lunch tote for my daughter who is a Freshman in highschool!
I love the Art of Lunch neoprene lunch bag for myself (not my kiddos)! Is that allowed?
So many cute lunch boxes!!
That boombox lunchbox is amazing! It totally made me smile!
The fox insulated lunchbox at http://us.soyoung.ca/collections/small-cooler-bags is adorable!
I like the Art of Lunch neoprene lunch bags… maybe for me! The simplicity is great. For my kids, we use the Easy Lunch Boxes, so finding a lunch bag to fit them can be a little tricky, but Target has the perfect size (I just wish they had cuter designs!).
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That boombox lunchbox will be mine. Um, maybe I will buy one for the kids too.
I love the Milkdot Stoh lunchboxes! I want one for my own lunches!
Digging the Burton box!
The Sugar Booger lunchbag is my favorite… I want it for work!
Uptown Lunch Tote
Love the Dragon Bento box! No separate containers needed.
I love the Cat Wearing Sunglasses lunch bag. Cause we love all things cat!
Love the Burton tie dye lunch box