Ways to entertain kids in restaurants

I like eating out with my kids. We tend to do it once a week, even if it’s just at the pub for a casual pizza. Growing up, we were lucky enough to eat out with my family every so often, but there were strict rules about good behaviour and it usually involved my little sister falling asleep under the table at the end of the night. I think that those strict rules seem to have passed down to me and I know for Rob, who has freely admitted that he really struggles when we are out with the kids and they are behaving like ferals. Something can happen, when you are out, whereby your children who would never normally do something like around the table at home, decide to stand up on the table, or scream out, or throw something. There has been MANY a time where we have had stressful dinners which end up with kids being dragged out, and a silent, fuming car trip home.

But! While throwing your smart phone at your kid is an easy option, it’s not really inclusive is it? And when you have little kids, they hardly want to sit around and talk about their feelings now do they? We have discovered a fun way to keep kids and adults entertained while waiting for food to arrive. The drawing game!

Take one piece of paper and fold it in three. Give the 3 year old the top bit, the 6 year old the middle bit and the Mum the bottom bit and you have a funny picture that will CRACK everyone up. You could do the same with stories – writing a sentence each for example. Check out one of my fav’s: A lady Bear Ballerina!

D1 D2 D4 D3

What’s some ways you keep your kids behaving in restaurants?


  1. Alli @ ducks on the dam says

    Hangman works with our 8 & 10 year old. They love it. We dont go for the devices….. scribbles is another. One person draws a scribble or shape. The next has to make it into a picture. Lots of fun.

  2. We play that game, noughts and crosses, we name fruit/countries/people with letters of the alphabet from A-Z, we do our best and worst of the day/week, we chat about things we can do on the weekend, any upcoming holidays, special things we can make to send to the grandparents etc. I have given my kids ipads etc on occasion, but usually when we are out with other families. When it is just the four of us I would feel like a complete tosser if I could not entertain and engage with my family/kids for an hour or so. My new “hate” is restaurants with “kids areas”. My kids are like participants in a Lord Of The Flies experiment.

  3. Luisa Munoz says

    We take crayons, paper and books for our two year old. We generally just placate the kids and get their meals out first. And when the HOT food comes out {which is a luxury for us} we whack the iphone in front of them to enjoy what a hot meal tastes like.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      And drink wine VERY VERY quickly. Don’t you love how dinner can be done in 25 mins?

      • Luisa Munoz says

        And I always have to remember to breathe when I eat out with friends. I sometimes forget I am sans kids and have to remember to eat like normal people and not scoff down my food.

  4. i love this idea! Will be interesting to see the success level with my two boys though (6 and 3). They are just plainly uninterested in anything crafty or arty and Mr 6 rarely picks up a pencil outside of homework (and there’s still a great deal of nagging for that!!). Mr 3 prefers to kick a ball while the rest of his class does painting. The times they have made him participate (when its raining etc) he has put a dot on the page and called out “finished” – so what do you do with that?? We dont go out terribly often, and I am sad to say Hubby is a big fan of the silence an iphone can generate, but I do try my best to fight against that – albeit at the risk of escalating bad behaviour until I am so stressed out I’ll give in!

  5. I’m a big fan of anything that give me a half hour to drink a coffee!!! I’ve got a few pencil cases and small bags in the boot which I pull out – full of books mostly. Doodle Books are THE BOMB for restaurants and cafes. These are some of my ‘packs’ http://childrensbooksdaily.com/books-for-coffee-shops-visits/

  6. Many, many years ago … when my Mum wanted to keep me quiet in church she would whip out the handy notepad for drawing … that and lollies … lots and lots of lollies.

  7. Taking them to the bathroom fifty million freaking times seems to keep them entertained … me, not so much! x

  8. My husband is really good at taking pens and paper and activity books… which keep our daughter amused… boys are very tricky though. And some eateries are much better than others – a large grassy lawn right by works well!

  9. Our Local Pub has a Kids Club on Monday Nights from 5:30pm and the best bit, Kids eat free! At the Kids Club, which is an area inside the restaurant off to the side and is run by 2 great ladies, they have craft, lots of craft and colouring in and a very talented face painter. We call the kids over for their dinner when it arrives, they gulp it down and go back to Kids Club, we enjoy conversation, a hot meal and a wine or two. The best bit, we walk home by 7pm and the kids happily go to bed since they’ve had a great night out.

  10. Maryandlil says

    haha I love it Beth! A ladybearballerina :). So cute. Going to try this game next time we are out. Also would be good for plane trips would it not?!!

  11. What a fantastic idea!! I am locking this away in the memory banks πŸ™‚ Mr almost 4 is only just grasping the concept of drawing faces and people and Miss 1, well she’s a while off yet. But definitely a great entertainer for when we very rarely venture out. Thanks for sharing!

  12. We have just been given story cubes, dice with pictures that you roll to tell a story. Worked great on recent holidays, plus hangman and UNO

  13. Love your folding idea! We do tic tac toe, eye spy, (ipad) and small one ‘reads’ us the menu with different selections C:

  14. Ok Dave made this game up years ago: rip a tiny corner of paper from a sugar sachet on the cafe table. Tell child to close eyes, hide paper under the salt or pepper shaker, then child must guess which one it’s under. Repeat 47+ times.

    So simple, and you don’t need any implements from home. Has saved our arse MANY a time we’re waiting for our ricotta hotcakes. XXXXX

  15. crazyspeedylove says

    We tend to eat out at our closest few pubs and restaurants with a play area attached – it allows us to hold adult conversations with family and friends. We always book a table with the view of the play area and the restaurant enclose them. LOVE IT!

  16. Lisa Mckenzie says

    That is a cool idea,we used to take ours out as little ones to eat and they were always pretty good but in the olden days they usually provided colouring books for kids to do and we went to Pizza hut all you can eat and they loved it.Also a warning in the ear before you leave is good too!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I remember going to Pizza Hut when it was an actual restaurant, serving you pizza in deep dishes that were hot, fountain pepsi with crushed ice and getting a ginger bread man on the way out…boy did I think that was FANCY!

  17. Carly Findlay says

    I loved this game as a kid! Loved it!! Your ballerina feet shows great artistic talent Beth.

  18. I usually go to Burgoo where my sister’s kids can draw on the tablesheet made of recycled paper. πŸ˜€ Ever since they enrolled in http://kidskorner.com.au, they learned to behave in public place like restaurants. πŸ˜€

  19. I love to eat out, but it can be hard to take kids to restaurants. I love the idea of doing the drawing game. Playing a fun game around the table as we wait for our food is a great idea for distracting the kids!

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