These Super-Cool Dads Turn School Lunch Into Works of Art

01/14/2014 at 04:36 PM ET

Funky Lunch Swedish Chef Sandwich
Courtesy Funky Lunch

Packing a lunch for your kids is no small feat, especially when there’s hair to brush, breakfast to make and permission slips to sign.

That’s why we’re crazy impressed with these dads who go the extra mile (okay, more like an extra 50 miles) to create lunches their kids will never forget—from an apple that looks like Kermit the Frog to a sandwich bag with a grinning monster sketched on the front.

Bonus: The silly presentation sometimes encourages their kids to try new foods. Broccoli on a plate? Blah. Broccoli as hair? Bingo!

Check out some of our favorite photos below and who knows? You may be inspired to turn a tangled pile of pasta into Rapunzel from Tangledor at least to invest in a few fun-shaped sandwich cutters.

Lunchbox Dad

Lunchbox Dad
Courtesy Lunchbox Dad

Beau Coffron of blog Lunchbox Dad started making creative meals for his daughter right when she started kindergarten. “I wanted to let her know that I was thinking about her and love her when she is gone,” he tells PEOPLE. Now 7, she still loves what they call “Fun Lunch Monday.”

Chewbacca—actually a sandwich on a bed of blackberries—and a Finding Nemo landscape (sweet potato Nemo; cheese starfish on seashell pasta) have been two of his favorites, while his daughter was smitten with the My Little Pony made from mango.

Lunchbox Dad
Courtesy Lunchbox Dad

Lunchbox Dad
Courtesy Lunchbox Dad

Lunchbox Dad
Courtesy Lunchbox Dad

You’ll find full recipes in Coffron’s book, Adventures in Lunchboxing. Or if creating your own designs, he recommends planning ahead—”I usually think about my lunches for a few days before I make them”—and getting ideas simply from watching your kids. “I pay attention to what they’re playing with, reading and watching,” he says. “This has really helped bring us closer together.”

Coffron also includes a sweet note in each lunch—something that’s meaningful with or without an artsy sandwich to back it up.

Sandwich Bag Dad

Sandwich Bag Dad
Courtesy David Laferriere

For nearly six years, dad David Laferriere has been sketching animals, monsters and all sorts of silly creatures on sandwich bags, which he then ships off to school with his now 14- and 16-year-old boys.

“I had tried to draw directly on the bread with food coloring,” he tells PEOPLE. “The results were terrible. I saw a Sharpie maker on the kitchen counter and figured I’d try drawing on the sandwich bag.” The rest is history, captured on his Flickr page.

Sandwich Bag Dad
Courtesy David Laferriere

Sandwich Bag Dad
Courtesy David Laferriere

Sandwich Bag Dad
Courtesy David Laferriere

Sandwich Bag Dad
Courtesy David Laferriere

Sandwich Bag Dad
Courtesy David Laferriere

Replicating Laferriere’s work would be tough—he’s a Rhode Island School of Design grad with a BFA in illustration—but anyone with a few markers can draw a simple smiley face, heart or star on a sandwich bag. If you’re really artistically challenged, get a set of stencils.

For the record, Laferriere’s kids won’t admit to having a favorite drawing, but they definitely have favorite sandwiches: His oldest prefers turkey or ham with cheese and the youngest likes peanut butter and jelly.

Funky Lunch Dad

Funky Lunch Dad
Courtesy Funky Lunch

Now a British company that caters parties and does food art workshops in school, Funky Lunch started in 2009 with a dad who wanted to get his 7-year-old son to eat tomatoes.

“I made a SpongeBob Squarepants sandwich with a tomato for a tie. Oscar didn’t want to eat it but I said if he didn’t he couldn’t eat the rest, so he did and now he eats tomatoes,” dad Mark Northeast told the Daily Mail.

Since then, he’s created sandwiches that look like the Muppets’ Swedish Chef, avocados dressed up as sailboats, mini potato people and much more.

Funky Lunch Dad
Courtesy Funky Lunch

Funky Lunch Dad
Courtesy Funky Lunch

Funky Lunch Dad
Courtesy Funky Lunch

Inspired? Check out Funky Lunch’s Facebook page for dozens of ideas that are almost too cute to eat.

—Marissa Conrad

FILED UNDER: Kids

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Tina on

Absolutely amazing. I love it.

Daril Bonner on

I love this! Think outside the box and dreambig! I’m sharing this with my clients!

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