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Food - Preparation
Packing the lunch box  Like this activity  
5 - 15 mins activity Suitable for Birth - 5 years

Location Kitchen

Talk to your child about what they might want to eat when at kindy or childcare.

How many things is that? Will they fit inside the shape of the lunch box? Do some of the things need to go into the fridge or will they all stay in your lunch box till lunchtime?
Let your child have a go at packing their lunch box. As they pack talk about the order things might need to be packed in. Before placing the objects inside the lunch box ask you child to look at each piece of food. As they pick it up talk about the different properties of the food such as soft and “squashier” compared to large and inside a hard shell or container.

Ask your child if they remember what they took to kindy or childcare last time. Ask them if it was enough food for the day or if it was too much food.

Materials you will need

  • Lunch box
  • Food

Alternative tools

  • Paper bag
  • Plastic bag

Why does this matter?

This activity helps children to explore position, orientation and shape as they orient the objects within the space of the lunch box.

What does this lead to?

This activity will give children an understanding of space and how to navigate and move objects spatially within a small confined space.

Language and Questions to use

  • Top, bottom, next to, underneath, alongside, against, between
  • Length, width, narrow, long, short, fat, thin, thick, flat
  • Soft, hard, squishy
  • Rectangle, square, round, oval
  • What do you want to eat today?
  • How much can you fit into the lunch box?
  • Does your lunch box go in the fridge or stay in your bag?
  • What shape is your lunch box?
  • What is the shape of the different things that go into your lunch box?
  • Will your lunch box fit in your bag?

Useful Tips

Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

  1. Use stacking toys and puzzles.
  2. Use pattern blocks and cards.
  3. Make a threading frame on a wire fence.
  4. See how many blocks you can stack into a shoebox.

Variation by age

Birth to two year olds

  • Build and stack with blocks of different shapes, sizes and thickness.
  • Sort differently sized shoes into shoeboxes of different sizes.
  • Dig tunnels in a sandpit and work out which truck will fit in which hole.

Questions to ask 

  • Does it fit?
  • How big is it?
  • Where does it go?
  • What goes first? What goes next?
  • How many blocks can you stack into a shoebox?

Language to use 

  • Top, bottom, in, out, under
  • Big, little, short, fat, thin
  • More, less

Three to five year olds

  • Build walls in the garden using bricks, stones and found objects.
  • Find different tubes around the house - pipes, cardboard rolls, plumbing tubes - and see which sized balls will fit down the tube. What would happen if you used objects that were not round?

Questions to ask

  • What would you need to move to make it fit?
  • Is that the right order? Could it go in a different order?
  • Why doesn’t it fit?  

Language to use 

  • Top, bottom, next to, underneath, alongside, against, between
  • Length, width, narrow, long, short, fat, thin, thick, flat
  • Soft, hard, squishy
  • Rectangle, square, round, oval

Packing the lunch box

Skills this activity improves

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