Need to find new and exciting ways to keep your kids distracted at restaurants? You are hardly alone. Try any and all of the following tried-and-true options for entertaining little ‘uns while waiting for a table…or waiting for anything, actually.
Play an old-fashioned game of ISpy! This is a particularly great idea at a restaurant that covers its walls and ceilings with stuff–think Cracker Barrel, Chilli’s, and local haunts filled with interesting things. You might be able to throw a short history lesson or two in depending on what you’re “spying.”
Keep pipe cleaners in your bag or purse and whip them out only when waiting for a table. This makes them extra special to children, and therefore more fun. Use the pipe cleaners to create bracelets, rings, crowns, stick figures, cars, chains, monsters…they also provide you with the chance to encourage creativity in your younglings.
Purchase flashcards featuring fun images, such as animals, art, cars, plants, etc. Use them to start conversations with your kiddies, such as discussing the differences between big cats and little cats, what it’s like to live in other parts of the world, and anything else you want to talk about.
Bring storybooks with you to turn waiting time into reading time. Look for pocket-size books in your local bookstore and use them whenever your kids need to be distracted.
Play the question game! Ask questions such as “Would you rather be a dolphin or a cheetah?”, “Would you rather live in outer space or underwater?”, “What are your top three ice cream toppings?”, “What is your favorite fruit?”, “What is your favorite game?” “What is your favorite toy?”, etc. Feel free to make the questions as silly as you want, as kids usually love answering goofy questions!
Use magazine paper, newspaper, and any other paper you have available to make origami. If you aren’t adept at the paper folding technique, get an instruction book from the local library or look up simple ideas online. Enthrall your children with paper cups, animals, and anything else you can make, and teach them the technique!
It is entirely possible to wait for a restaurant table without your kids driving you crazy…keep them occupied and enjoy your dinner!