Remember when date nights at restaurants used to be calm, cool, and collected? Even dare I say it, romantic? Ya, I hardly remember those times either. Things sure do change once you have kids. While going to restaurants might be a lot more challenging once you have children, it’s still possible to have a great dinner out with your children in tow. Today I’m sharing some fun ideas on how to keep your children busy in a restaurant.
1. Pack the kitchen sink. Okay, don’t really pack the kitchen sink, but make sure you purse is fully stocked! Bring small toys, extra paper and crayons (because we all know those cheap crayons they give you at restaurants break in two seconds), and other small items that will keep your children entertained while they are waiting for the food. These fun placemats are great to leave in your car for whenever you’re eating out.
2. Preload the iPhones and iPads. Before you go to the restaurant, download some new apps or a new movie on your iPhone and iPad. My son is always so excited when there’s something new to watch or play with on my phone and it ensures that he’s entertained for a lot longer than if it’s a game he’s already played a dozen times.
3. Snacks. No shame in my game. Pack some fruit snacks or crackers along with you so your children have something to munch on while they wait.
4. Play a game of “What’s Missing?” This is something you can do anytime you’re sitting and waiting, even at the doctor’s office, and it works really well for little ones. Just take whatever you have to hand- sunglasses, a napkin, a sugar packet, a spoon, and line them up. Name each item, close your eyes, and ask your little one to remove one so you have to guess what they took! Then switch turns.
5. Work those children’s menus. We always do every game, crossword puzzle, and coloring activity on the children’s menu. Those little suckers easily buy you a good 15 minutes.
6. Mess free coloring books. No seriously, these are mess free imagine ink books! They’re just one marker that when used, display different colors and some hidden pictures your kids have to find. They come in so many different varieties of your favorite characters here.
7. Use what’s on the table. I love this fun idea from Pinterest on using your silverware to construct a tic tac toe board and use the sugar and Splenda packets as your X’s or O’s. Play a few rounds of tic tac toe. You don’t have to make a mess, but get creative!