Lunch Box Ice Pack

3 minutes
November 13, 2022
Carole Jones
Homemade ice pack that can go into a school lunch box.  These are inexpensive because they are made from sponges so if they get lost, no big deal.  This DIY ice pack hack is reusable so it is good for the environment as well so scroll down to learn how to make ice pack….
Homemade Ice Pack - DIY Reusable Lunch Box Cooler
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 icepacks.  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 homemade ice pack.  I’ve tried freezing water bottle or juice boxes but they are never thawed by the time my kids eat lunch so then they don’t have a drink.  This DIY ice pack method is so simple and when they get lost, it won’t cost a fortune to buy new ones.

How to Make Ice Pack for Lunch Box

  1. Purchase an inexpensive pack of sponges – These sponges will not be cleaning a thing so just find a big sponge that is cheap.  One of the best aspects of using this method is that when your child accidentally throws it away, it is no big deal.
  2. Soak the sponges in water – Just grab a big bowl and let the sponges completely soak up as much water as they possibly can.  It is the frozen water in the sponges that provide the cold.
  3. Put each sponge in a small zip style bag – These bags serve two purposes.  First and most obvious is that as the ice melts, it contains the water so it doesn’t make a mess.  Secondly, keeping that water contained allows the melted sponge to reabsorb the water so it is ready to refreeze.
  4. Freeze the wet and bagged sponges overnight – In the morning, all you need to do is toss that lunch box ice pack into their lunch.  Once your munchkin gets home from school, they just toss the bag back into the freezer so it is ready again in the morning.  After a few weeks, you might need to add a bit more water to the sponge before freezing as a bit of evaporation does take place over time.

Looking for more back to school and lunch box hacks?  Check out my magic method for keeping sliced apples from turning brown for days!

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.


7 years ago

Add alcohol and/or salt then seal in vacuum food bag , will last extremely long without mold or evaporation

7 years ago

Thanks for the great tip Brian!

7 years ago

For those concerned about cleaning, sponges can be cleaned in the microwave as one person already mentioned, or in the dishwasher on the upper rack. 🙂 I do think the bag would have to be changed more often than the sponge, but overall it’s still a good idea. Thanks!!

7 years ago

Thanks for the tips!

Ella Hyden
7 years ago

Thanks for some amazing lunchbox tips. I will surely use this

7 years ago

Glad you found it useful Ella!

5 years ago

DIY Lunchbox Ice Packs: Keeping Lunchtime Cool

DIY Lunchbox Ice Packs: Keeping Lunchtime Cool

1 month ago

how long do sponges usually stay cold in coolers?

6 days ago

I have found they can stay frozen for up to 4 hours, but it depends on your cooler and what other items are in there. I always try and ensure everything going in to the cooler is as cold as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Recipes