Transformers Bento Box Lunch for the Rising Kindergartner
This post is sponsored by Target. More Transformers, More Than Meets the Eye: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Transformers at Target.
My five-year-old son is starting kindergarten this fall and it’s so exciting! Exciting for me, at least. For him, it’s a humongous source of worry. He is worried that when he goes to elementary school he’ll get lost in the big building, that his teacher will be mean and that they will give him the same homework that his 4th-grader brother did last year. He is also worried about leaving his beloved preschool behind, along with all his friends and his very best buddy who was born almost on the same day as him. My Augie is a worrier, and so we’ve been talking a lot about what kindergarten will be like. We’ve peeked in his classroom window. I’ve told him kindergarten teachers are the nicest teachers of all and I’ve assured him that his homework will be just right for a kid his age. We’ve also talked about how changes are scary sometimes but that they can also be really great — like when a caterpillar changes to a butterfly. “Caterpillars are nice,” I said, “but a butterfly is even better.” And then my son, who had been watching Transformers: Rescue Bots earlier in the day made another connection: “Cars are nice, but robots are better, right Mom?” Yes! Exactly! Changing from a preschooler to a kindergarten is like changing from a car to a robot! I loved that he made this particular connection because it’s one I know I can run with to encourage him through the weeks leading up to the start of school. Butterflies? Fine. Transformers? Perfect for a kid who has been enamored of cars and robots since he was a toddler! To reinforce this idea, we made a quick trip to Target where he picked out an Optimus Prime toy that he could use when he wanted to play “kindergarten.” And then while we were there, we bought a new Transformers lunch bag and water bottle that he could use for snack time next fall (and also because his Mom has a bit of an obsession with lunch gear…ahem). And then I got the brilliant idea to make him a Transformers lunch, because that would reinforce the Transformers metaphor even more. And now I’m going to show you how to make a Transformers bento box lunch for your little Optimus Prime or Bumblebee:
What you’ll need to make a Transformers Bento Box Lunch
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- 2 slices of cheese
- sliced deli meat such as ham or turkey (optional)
- mayonnaise and any other desired condiments
- Divided bento box that’s big enough to hold a sandwich and a few sides
- Paring knife
- Transformers Optimus Prime toy product packaging
- Circle-shaped paper punch
- Transformers lunch bag
- Transformers water bottle
How to put the Transformers Bento Box Lunch together
I used three special techniques to make this lunch look Transformers-y: a sandwich shaped and decorated with cheese to look like the Autobots symbol (those are the good guys in case you didn’t know), cucumbers cut to look like gears, and a home made pick with a picture of Optimus Prime on it (the leader of the good guys). Let’s start with the sandwich: The first step is to cut your bread into the basic shape of the Autobots symbol. I did a quick Google search to find an image I could use as a reference while I was cutting and I recommend you do the same. Start by stacking two pieces of bread on top of each other so you can cut through both slices at once. This will save you time and it will also ensure that the pieces end up the same shape. Use the paring knife to cut the bottom crust off the bread in a straight line. Make two small horizontal cuts on each edge of the top of the bread and then connect them by cutting an arch. If you follow the curve of the bread crust this is pretty easy. Make two vertical cuts, angling them slightly toward the middle of the bread and then cut the bottom corners off each side of the bread at an angle. When you’re done cutting you should have something that looks like this: You’ll notice that you have a bunch of bread scraps leftover when you’re done cutting. I put my bread scraps in a zip top bag and store them in the freezer to use for making bread crumbs so they don’t go to waste. Now we’re going to cut a slice of cheese to look like the Autobots symbol and use it to decorate the top of the sandwich. This is the fussiest part of this lunch, but I promise that if you take it one step at a time it’s not too hard. If you mess up and cut in the wrong place, don’t sweat it! You can just push the cheese back together and no one will be the wiser. Also, you are making a cheese Transformer for your kid’s lunch, for Pete’s sake! He’ll be thrilled even if it’s not 100% perfect. Start by centering a bread slice on two slices of cheese. Cut around the edge of the bread to make the basic Autobots symbol. Set one of the cheese slices aside and then cut the other slice into pieces with the tip of your paring knife following the step by step photos up above. Again, it’s helpful to have a photo of the Autobots symbol nearby for this part. I left a few of the details off the symbol to make it a bit easier. Now it’s time to assemble the sandwich. Start by placing the slice of cheese you’ve reserved on one of the pieces of bread. If you’d like to add some deli meat such as ham or turkey, trim that to fit inside the sandwich the same way you did with the cheese and add it, tucking any scraps on top. Add mayo and any other condiments you’d like to the second piece of bread and close the sandwich. Assemble the pieces of cheese you’ve cut to decorate the sandwich on top of the bread. I spread a little mayo on the back of each one to sort of glue them down. This will help to keep them in place when the lunch is being transported to school or camp. When your sandwich is decorated, add it to the lunch box. Now we’ll make some gears from a cucumber. I used a small Persian cucumber for this lunch, but a larger cucumber works just as well and you won’t have to cut as many slices which will save a little time. Cut a chunk of cucumber that’s about an inch thick, give or take. (The one in my photo is longer than an inch, but you won’t make that mistake now that I’ve given you this good advice.) Make about 12 shallow cuts around the diameter of the cucumber. You can do more or less, but you want to make sure you make an even number of cuts. When you’re finished scoring the skin of the cucumber, cut it into slices about 1/4 inch thick. You should be able to see the cuts you made through the skin going all the way around the cukes. Use the tip of the paring knife to cut out a chunk of skin between every other cut. This will give you the effect of gears. Cut enough gears to lay flat in a single layer of the space where you’ll be placing the cucumbers. Cut regular slices of cucumber and layer them in the box. Use the ones you’ve cut to look like gears for the top layer. The last fun addition to this lunch is a home made pick that we used to decorate the strawberries. I particularly like this one because my son is the one who thought it up! I wanted to add just a little more Transformer-y goodness to the lunch so I asked Augie if he had any ideas. He suggested we cut pictures out of the packaging that his new Optimus Prime toy came in and put those in the lunch. Clever boy! I thought his idea was a good one, but I decided it would be more practical if the picture was turned into a pick so I cut a piece out of the packaging and cut Optimus Prime’s face out with a circle punch that I use for crafting. If you’re going to try this, turn the punch upside down and center the piece of packaging in the hole so you can see exactly what you’re going to get before you punch it. Tape a toothpick to the back of the punched shape. Then add the strawberries to the lunch box and poke the fancy pick you just mad into one of the strawberries. The last thing I did was fill in the empty spaces around the sandwich with some grapes. Not only did this look a little nicer and add an extra serving of fruit to the lunch, but it also will help keep the sandwich from moving around when it’s in transit. Ta-da! When you’re done you’ll have a lunch any Transformers lover will be thrilled to eat as he changes from a preschooler to a kindergartener.
This post is sponsored by Target. More Transformers, More Than Meets the Eye: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Transformers at Target.Published June 25, 2014. Last updated June 27, 2018.