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Keeping kiddos entertained at a restaurant is no easy feat. I’m the first to raise my hand and admit I’ve resorted to my phone or a tablet to keep our daughter occupied. On the flip side, I’m trying to cut back on the amount of screen time she has. I’ve found some awesome items that keep little ones engaged and entertained while you can all enjoy dining out together. But let’s be real, most of these will work just about anywhere; doctor’s offices, grocery shopping, traveling, and even waiting at the DMV (oh goodness, help us!). Here are my best screen free activities to keep kids entertained:
Guest Check Carbon Pad– Children love doing anything adults get to do (except cleaning, that is!) so bringing along a small guest check pad will make their day! Ask to keep a menu at the table and take turns placing orders with your “server”. Let them name their restaurant that you can jot at the top. If you have more than one kid, they can take turns being the server or one could be the server and the other the chef, etc. Whether its just scribbling or practicing letters and spelling, kiddos love being the “one in charge”. Best part? Keep the carbon copy in the pad to keep mementos of fun nights out and their creativity.
Wikki Stix– My daughter is absolutely obsessed with these. Wikki Stix are wax covered yarn pieces that you can twist together or manipulate into different shapes. These kits come with sea creature cards that kids can connect the dots with to “draw” the animal. You can also toss back in the bag and reuse again and again–assuming they escape the ketchup and remain clean.
Play Pack Grab and Go Sets– These little guys are just given. I can’t walk past the dollar section at Target without grabbing a handful. Coloring pages, stickers, and crayons included, these packs are worth every penny.
Kids Table Topics– This set of cards are a great conversation starter. We got a set as a toy in a kids meal late last year and my daughter asks to do “questions” all the time. It finally occurred to me that these would be great for eating out too. If your kids are a bit younger, just modify the questions to their level. Way better than, “so what did you do today?”
Eye Found It! Card Game– A twist on the classic “look and find,” you can ask your kids to find specific objects on each image or you can had out a few cards to each person and list an object to search for. Anyone who has that object in their cards gets to discard it and the first person to get rid of all of their cards wins. The cards are super detailed and the game is easily modifiable for any age level.
Scotch Tape– I’ve had Scotch tape in my bag for a couple of years now and if we’re going out to eat, I frequently bring it with me. Talk about a lifesaver. Click here to read my post about why it’s a must!