What Reusable Drink Bottle Set Works Best for Kids?

We blush with happiness whenever people write to us with questions and quickly scramble to find answers. This week we’re calling on all our readers to help lend their input on the following email question.

“I have what I realize is a pretty specific question: what are some good ways to pack drinks with our lunches?

I pack a lunch for my preschooler nearly every day, and for myself at least two days a week. But I’m not happy with the drinks that go with these lunches. I either bring or buy a single-serving beverage — and it bugs me to pay almost $2 for a small bottle of milk.

I pack juice boxes for my daughter, but she’s had some trouble with her teeth and I would love to get away from all this juice. And of course, we’re throwing away these bottles and boxes at the end of each day.

I have lunchboxes, tupperware, water bottles, and I’m even considering getting some cloth bags to replace ziplock baggies. But I haven’t found a set of reusable beverage containers for our lunches. I’d love to hear how (okay, if) you and your readers have addressed this problem.

I’d love to find a set of beverage containers, ideally in two sizes, that I can fill with milk or some other drink and pack into our lunch boxes. I realize I may have to repurpose something; I’ve toyed with the idea of getting one of those packs of Starbucks Frappuccinos just for the glass bottles, but I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up.

Do you have any suggestions?”

I’ll give my input below, but please share yours too!

I think your idea about reusing Frappucino bottles is excellent!  They’d probably hold up for years and if they do break or get lost, you haven’t wasted any money in the process.  I’ve done the same thing with Snapple bottles.  I just put them in the dishwasher along with our glasses and they come out perfectly clean and ready for action.

At our house the kids each have one Nalgene sippy cup (which my 4 year old still uses) as well as one Camelbak Kid’s Bottle with a straw. Maybe because I’m really boring, I just fill them up with water for my son’s lunch each day and it’s so much easier!  I just have to rinse the bottles and I can just rotate between the two of them.

For my hydration needs, I have the Nathan Stainless Steel Flip Straw Water Bottle and I absolutely love it.  It’s easy to load up with ice, easy to clean, and easy to use.  For more ravings read my Best Stainless Steel Water Bottle post.

Please pitch in with your water bottle experiences!


  1. Camelbak!…for both us. I use the small, child’s size, for my 4 year old and I have the insulated one. I only wish they had an insulated one for children. Because it’s not insulated, I only send water in his lunch. The Thermos Foogo is insulated, but I’m not a big fan of the cup. We’ve had half a dozen of them and almost every one is broken around the bottom, from being dropped, and we’ve had leaking issue with them (not from being broken or dropped).

  2. We have the little SIGG bottles bought half price at WF’s sales. I like their cap covers and my two year old likes the spout. I use a Kleen Cantene and while they can get a bit battered, I love that they don’t break and can get really clean after having milk forgotten in them.

  3. My son (who’s 4 and a half) has yet to master the concept of a straw or sports bottle for some reason, so I got him a small-size coffee tumbler from Starbucks that closes completely (we also use it for hot drinks like steamed milk when we’re out and about). It’s insulated (somewhat) and while I don’t know how well it would hold up it if was sideways for a long time, I just tuck it into the cup holder on the outside of his backpack. He can easily open and close it himself.

    For myself in the past, I’ve reused small-size juice bottles but I found that they tend to leak if laid down sideways.

  4. My 18 mo daughter has a thermos foogo stainless steel water bottle. We have a 10oz that is the perfect size for carrying around every day. It also comes in 12oz. She likes that she can open and close it herself. I like that it’s easy to clean and has a straw so there’s minimal spillage if any.

  5. We only send water to school as well. My oldest has a Klean Kanteen and the younger have the stainless Camelbaks. Love them both.

  6. We have never had any success with sippy cups so when my little one was about a year old, she started using the Camel Back kids bottle with straw. She loves it. We too don’t send in almond milk. We only drink it for breakfast and dinner and no juice so it’s perfect. I was a big Sigg user until they started to chip and peel and eventually the metal cracked. I have 5 of them and have had the experience with almost all of them over the past 6 years or so. We used to bring almond milk with us and would just throw a small ice pack in to keep it cool in our lunch sack. Another option would be to use a non insulated bottle and buy some of those waterbottle ice cubes that are food safe plastic filled with water that you freeze. I’ve never tried that but thought that might help if you don’t find another solution.

  7. I dont know about the bigger ones, but we have some of those Foogo sippy cups and they keep stuff cold for a fair bit longer than they claim (I think 4 hours…at least 6). Not sure if I would count on milk staying frsh unless you maybe add a few of those reusable frozen ice cubes?

  8. I’m glad someone asked this thank you! I’ve been thinking about this lately I still keep a box juice in the car for just in case while we make trips. Even that was giving me problems Motts Tots is the only juice I could find that was watered down like I give him I ended up with boxed soy milk most of the time. But I might have to go to work for a while and get daycare for my little one so this has been a question. Thanks again.

  9. Sumayyah's Mommy says

    Klean Kanteen, all the way!

  10. Our daughter-law has been having a challenge on finding the right one for our grandson. These are some good tips. Thanks.

  11. I found this post searching for the same answer – we have a small 4 oz flat plastic bottle with a flip top straw, which would be absoultely perfect if it didn’t leak! While the suggestions are great, does anyone have any problems with the containers being biggish and round? I can’t see that fitting too well in a small lunchbox with other food and containers…

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