Thursday, January 14, 2010

Custom Cereal Boxes


My kids eat a wide variety of things for breakfast, but I confess, cold cereal is one of the things on the table most mornings. Now, most breakfast cereal boxes fall into one of two categories: either they're emblazoned with commercial character marketing, or they're organic/healthy cereal for adults and hopelessly, mind-numbingly boring. Considering our household's avoidance of high fructose corn syrup and emphasis on whole grains, we automatically avoid the colorful-advertising-disguised-as-entertainment. But we've got a wide variety of intensely boring granola boxes.

Kellogg's, General Mills, and Post are well-aware of what slack-jawed sponges our children are in the mornings. That's why those boxes are such effective vehicles for marketing messages. But I say, to heck with that! Yes, my children are slack-jawed sponges in the morning! Thus, I put in front of them my own custom-designed propaganda.

After, back

In the elementary school years, I can totally see the week's spelling words making an appearance on these boxes. If my high schooler would actually sit down and eat breakfast in the morning, I'd have her Spanish vocab words on her box. But since the sixteen-year-old is out the door at 6:45 (ouch! did I mention I'm not a morning person??), my captive audience consists of a five-year-old and a nearly-two-year-old. Therefore, our current boxes are adorned with animals, planets, and letters. Another fun addition to the morning routine (along with starting with art, of course).

After, front

The easiest way to do this, of course, would be to open up a word processing document and just drag a whole bunch of fun images into it, grab a few poems or science facts or spelling words or what-have-you, print it out, and glue or tape it on. Five minutes, max. However, my printer is on the fritz, so I had to spend some quality time with the scissors and that stack of magazines I keep around for moments like these. And if you really like the box you've created, no need to send it out with the recycling when the cereal's gone -- just swap out the inner bag for a new one. (This could also be a way to sneak generic cereal into the house without some brand-concious kid calling you out on it.)

Now, you think tomorrow morning I'll actually get a chance to drink my coffee?


  1. That is a great idea! I remember when your oldest was little you enthused about the Read-a-Mat placemats (of which I have many), and this is a similar (but very creative) concept. I have a big pile of old Cricket and Ladybug magazines, and think I just found a use for them.

  2. Just came here from parent hacks, great idea! I thought "counting chickens" would be fun myself, we got chicks a year and a half ago and unfortunately we've been counting them getting eaten by wildlife! We are down to 3 but Easter may be bringing some chicks our way.

  3. Great idea! We've actually been working with my first-grader on ways to work spelling words into our day. We tend to buy the giant boxes of cereal with several uninteresting bags inside, but now I'm thinking a plastic cereal container might be a great investment. Swap out the spelling words on the side each week, and easy homework accomplished!

  4. What a great idea! I could even do this to my Tupperware cereal boxes to make them more interesting! I remember pretty much memorizing every word on the cereal boxes when I was a kid!

  5. Love this idea!! My youngest is now an 18-year-old senior in high school. I used to tape the spelling word list to the bathroom mirror so they would review it while they brushed their teeth twice a day. The bonus was longer brushing time as they went over the list!!
    Try cutting a plastic page protector to fit on the plastic cereal storage container so all you have to do is slide the list in and out.