Lunchbox Icepacks

The first week of school was 89% disaster-free.  I consider that a complete success.  My kindergardener doesn’t start until tomorrow and I am anxious for that beautiful day to arrive.  He was completely insulted that all his older siblings got to start last week and he was stuck at home with his mom and 2-year old sister.
A certain child of mine, and I won’t name any names (Luke), tends to go through at least 3 lunch boxes a year and countless reusable containers and ice packs.  Last year, I made him pay for his own replacements in an attempt to make him more responsible.

I was thrilled when I found this method for making your own ice packs.  So simple and if when he loses them, it won’t cost him his college savings to buy new ones.  I buy the cheap pack of 4 sponges from the dollar store to make the loss-impact even less.

To make, just saturate a clean sponge with water and place into a ziplock bag.  Lay flat in the freezer and freeze overnight.  In the morning, just toss them into the lunch boxes.  As they melt, they will reabsorb the water so just toss them back in the freezer after school!!!


  1. Libby says

    My elementary school used to use these in the nurse’s office as ice packs for injuries. I’d totally forgotten about them until this post!

  2. says

    Susan – I would think for as long as the sponge lasts! After about 8 or 9 uses, I add a bit more water to the sponge, but other than that, I just toss them back in the freezer when the lunch boxes come home. If you use regular Ziploc bags to keep them in, you might want to double up the bags, or use a heavier style of bag.

  3. Heidi says

    Do you think these could also work as warm packs if put in the microwave? Just curious. My middle school son wants to take vegetarian hot pockets to school. Not sure how to keep them warm though. Thanks! – Heidi

  4. Anonymous says

    Heidi – use uncooked rice in bag- sew a quick pouch with two squares , fill with rice, sew shut. Then heat in microwave. The rice holds the heat for a long time. Use a soft sturdy fabric – thin tight fleece. Make any size/ shape. The weight feels good for tension relief of the shoulders too!

  5. Anonymous says

    I’ve used the rice heating packs also, but I’ve found that uncooked corn (deer corn) holds the heat way longer because of the thick shell it has. A little built in natural insulator! So the heat releases slowly and stays longer than the rice.

    • Rose says

      I tried to use corn to make a heat pad, but the corn started popping, so I went back to using rice.

  6. Anonymous says

    I disinfect my sponges every couple of days by microwaving them for a minute. You probably wouldn’t have to do this as often since these sponges aren’t used for cleaning.

  7. says

    Thank you so much for this. Although I don’t have any young children in school, I do need the Ice packs to keep my allergy meds cold when going to and from the allergy clinic. These are great for anyone!

  8. says

    I found out several health tips in which you could use up a lot of kitchen stuff in your home as an alternative. Recently, I also got a souvenir item made out of sponge and different kitchen wares, they all look amazing and interesting I must say.

  9. says

    Now there’s a great go-to accessory for anybody in a bit of a bind. No need to go anywhere else when you accidentally touch over the hot surface of a pot while cooking or something.

  10. says

    Wow! That sure is a one very good idea to make the life span of an ice longer. Guess, I’ll be buying quite a number of sponges to serve as a coolant to any food I have. Thanks for this idea, it do help a lot!

  11. says

    All that I can say is wow! I am amazed with creative people. To be able to come up with something from nothing. Keep it up and I’m sure that creativity will bring you fortune someday.

  12. Anonymous says

    I love these. We currently are only using a small bar fridge & these are small enough we could use them. Most freezer packs are too big for our tiny freezer.

  13. Anonymous says

    I wouldn’t put them straight in back in the freezer, I would give them a rinse first and replace the bag every day and the sponge every week. Water gets stagnant, these would be really unhygienic.

  14. Anonymous says

    I wonder would “chux” style wipes be more hygienic? they could be washed and dried daily on a cycle (fast drying), some in freezer, some in wash cycle. they could also act as face and hand wipes after lunch:)

  15. Gini says

    Wonderful, fantastic ! I don’t know the best words to discribe your invention (I’m french)
    Thank you so much, you deserve an award !

  16. CleaningTheClutter says

    I would probably wash them (hot water/bleach) after the 3rd use. Since they only cost a dollar at the dollar store, maybe I would just toss after the 3rd use and then buy new ones.

    Great tips.

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