Not including the millions of Disney boxed cards (“Friendship thaws a Frozen heart“–ouch!) that will be exchanged in classrooms around the country, Americans woo their loved ones with almost 1.5 million valentines each year. Commercialized it may be, the sentiment is sweet. Who doesn’t appreciate a tangible reminder that someone thinks you’re dino-mite and toadally awesome?
Kari Keown, a Special Education teacher in Santa Fe, Texas, tries to share that sentiment with her daughters throughout the school year. Every day that she packs their lunches, Kari draws Hunter (6 years old) and Shiloh (3 years old) a personalized love note. She protects each work of art from spills and condensation by slipping it in a Ziploc bag (Kari reports that she learned this trick the hard way!), and saves them in scrapbooks dedicated to each of her daughters.
Kari, this is such a wonderful project. But let’s be honest: not all of us can freehand sketch the Denver Broncos logo on the first try (see below). What advice do you have for parents who want to send their kids lunch notes but may not be artistically inclined?
I don’t draw an elaborate note every night. Sometimes I just write a message and draw stars or hearts around it. Occasionally, if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll cut out a favorite character off a box of fruit snacks or cereal and glue it on the note. Stickers are also popular. Honestly, I don’t think my kids care if the note takes two minutes to make or 20; they are just excited to have a message from Mommy.
Where do you get the inspiration for your illustrations and messages?
Sometimes I do a Google search for lunchbox note ideas; sometimes I come up with my own. Occasionally, I’ll ask the girls if there is anything special they’d like.
How have your daughters responded to your messages and drawings?
Most mornings before I leave for work, Hunter asks if I made her note. The good thing about kids is that they are pretty easy to please!
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If you’re not as comfortable as Kari with markers and Crayons, check out some of these (relatively) replicable ideas–many with free downloadable printables! And, of course, there’s always pencil and a Post-It and a knock-knock joke. It really is the thought that counts.