What Can Kids Do While Waiting at a Restaurant? Plus, What Your Kids Do

All Ages752 Comments

We don’t go out to eat a lot.

We just don’t. Its not because we have kids, though that does play a big part in it. But even before kids, my husband and I just made it a rule for us that we don’t go out to eat a lot. We’d much rather eat at home, with home-cooked food. We actually probably eat out more now with kids than we did prior to them.

Since we don’t eat out a lot though, my kids and I are not pros at behaving well at them.

I’ve said time and time again that my kids like to move, they constantly have to be doing something.

Waiting is not their forte.

I’m gradually finding games and activities for them to do while waiting at a restaurant for our food to be served. And these have worked awesome since I started utilizing them. It makes the time pass quicker, and with better behaved kids.

Prior to doing these games, I was hoping for crayons to be served to us as we sat down. And that was still a loss most of the time for my kids (hey, they typically don’t care for coloring…). I learned to start bringing stickers and paper too, but they only lasted for a few minutes.

I also always bring along wipes. This post is sponsored by Huggies. Huggies Clutch’n’ Clean* wipes make it easy to take along and clean up when we’re out to eat. Plus they’re pretty! I don’t feel embarassed pulling them out of my bag. The designer bags (they’re refillable) look amazingly nice! Plus, I like to clip them onto my stroller when we’re out for walks, because we always stop at the bakery for a snack.

These are five games, or activities, to do while waiting at a restaurant, that work for us.

Simple things for kids to do while waiting at a restaurant. Plus, what real moms do with their kids.

They have worked great for my kids who are 6, 3 and 1. My one year old is obviously not into these really yet. But I think listening to and watching the older two is entertaining enough for him.

  1. I Spy. This is a staple for us. Almost every restaurant wait starts with this game. Its just so simple without having to have brought anything along.
  2. Play ‘What’s Missing’ with whatever is on the table or in your bag. Set out five or so objects (more for older kids, less for younger) and let them study them. Have them cover their eyes and you take one away. What’s missing? Can they figure it out? Now reverse it, let the kid take something away for you to find what’s missing.
  3. Take along a deck of cards. Younger kids can match up numbers or suits. Older kids can have a game of war.
  4. Get up and walk around. If you have more than one kid, have one parent stay sitting with kids that are busy at the table with these other ideas and ‘hold’ your table. The other parent can get up and walk around antsy kids. Walk to the bathroom. Walk outside for a few minutes. Walk around and look at the pictures on the wall.
  5. Bring the iPad or phone and let them play educational games while you wait. This is usually a last resort, but always does the trick if they’re getting really antsy after a long wait.

I also asked the hands on : as we grow community on Facebook. They are chock full of ideas of what their kids do while waiting at a restaurant! I love it! I’m so glad they shared so many fantastic ideas. My kids will never be bored waiting again.

What you do with your kids while waiting at a restaurant:

So its not just me, all of you are amazing at keeping your kids busy while having to wait around… check out these amazing ideas from ‘real’ moms.

Affiliate links to certain products are included at no additional cost to you, it just helps support hands on : as we grow, thank you.

  • Wait less! Order as soon as you get to the table.
  • ABC game about their day-take turns coming up with a word for each letter that had to do with your day
  • Play UNO
  • Coloring
  • Sticker Books
  • Dollar store toys
  • Play Math Dice
  • Etch-a-Sketch
  • Small container of Play Doh
  • Little cars
  • Play I Spy (Yep! Many of you do that too!)
  • Boogie Board (affiliate link)
  • Fun on the Run Book (affilitate link) has lots of ideas!
  • Little busy bags
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Dots Game
  • Rock Paper Scissors
  • Talk about our day
  • Watch other people and make up stories
  • Sing
  • Eat a small snack
  • Knock Knock Jokes
  • Play Pictionary
  • Pipe cleaners

Stuff for kids to do while we're waiting at a restaurant

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  1. Alyssa says

    No hangman?!? My dad was perpetually coming up with silly sayings for us to solve, as well as fun little riddles and impromptu rock, paper, scissors tourneys. He was also a major proponent for letting us be silly as long as it stayed in our booth… How quiet can you keep this spitball war?

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